Winning an NBA Championship is one of the toughest things any team or player can achieve. In fact, there are plenty of franchises that have never been able to pull it off, while some teams haven’t even made it to the NBA Finals once in their history.
So many legends of the game have retired without knowing what it’s like to be an NBA Champion. Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, and Patrick Ewing are just a handful of those Hall of Famers that never got any silverware.
That’s why we just don’t want to see history repeat itself once again and see some of the best players to ever do it retire without ever holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Today, we’re going to talk about the top 10 NBA players we all want to win a ring before retiring:
10. Dwight Howard
It seems like people forget just how much of a dominant force Dwight Howard used to be in his prime. He led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals with little-to-no help and even though he couldn’t get the job done, he was the best big man in the league by a long stretch.
Howard is one of the greatest defenders and rim protectors of all time. It’s glad to see him turning back the clock and embracing his new role with the Los Angeles Lakers and hopefully, this time he’ll get that much-desired and deserved reward.
9. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook has always been a subject of controversies. Some people call him out for ‘stat-padding’ but if anyone could post the number he posts, everybody would do it. He’s one of the most talented and athletic players to ever do it.
Westbrook will have to take a look in the mirror and be self-aware of the same mistakes that have haunted him for his entire career. He’s got the talent to lead any franchise to a Championship but his overconfidence often gets the best of him.
8. Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic hasn’t been around the league for that long but he’s quickly become a fan favorite. His charisma, passion, and the fun way he plays the game make him a must-watch kind of guy on a league where few players dare to do something different.
Jokic isn’t just the best passing big man in the history of the league. He’s one of the best passers ever. Period. He may not be much of a defender but the way he’s redefining the center position makes him one of the best big men in the league right now.
7. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has been through it all. He’s been pointed out, called toxic, and a bad teammate. He just doesn’t care, and makes sure that you’re well aware of it. That’s the way he handles his life, and that’s the way he plays the game of basketball.
Butler has turned the Miami Heat into a Championship contender. He’s the fierce, restless competitor every single coach would kill for. Now, he’s on the verge of winning his first-ever NBA title after bouncing around the league over the past couple of years.
6. Damian Lillard
It took him a while but Damian Lillard is finally getting the praise and recognition he deserves around the league. He’s one of the best and most unstoppable scorers to ever do it and his determination to stay with the Blazers is just remarkable.
Portland needs to do a better job of surrounding him with elite talent. They had a solid core this season but struggled mightily with injuries. He’s been open about his desire to stay at Rip City until his retirement so hopefully, he’ll deliver a ring before it’s all said and done.
5. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis took the league by storm since day one. He proved that he was a special talent right out of the gate and continued to work on his game to be more than just a rim-running threat and an elite rim protector. Now, he can do it all.
Davis has lived up to the challenge of being the Los Angeles Lakers’ go-to-guy and taking the keys of the team from LeBron James. He’s an unstoppable scorer from all three levels and can also lock down the other team’s best scorer on a nightly basis.
4. James Harden
James Harden has earned a lot of detractors along the way for his attitude, antics, and the way he tricks the refs into blowing the whistle. Then again, no one can deny the fact that he’s one of the most gifted offensive juggernauts in the history of basketball.
Harden continues to come up with ways to bend the rules in his favor and it’s just mesmerizing. He may need to change his playing style if he wants to win an NBA Championship but a player as talented as that shouldn’t have to retire without a ring.
3. Derrick Rose
Let’s be honest for a second here: No one can hate Derrick Rose. He’s the most humble and easy-going guy in the league and it seems like all basketball fans around the world have been rooting for him since he was drafted 1st overall by the Chicago Bulls.
Rose was the most exciting player to watch during his prime. Injuries took the best of him but now that he’s turning back the clock, he’s proving that he can still play a big part on a contending team. Hopefully, he’ll put an end to those doubts about his Hall of Fame case with a ring.
2. Carmelo Anthony
Let’s start this argument by saying that everybody should apologize to Carmelo Anthony, even those who always rooted for him. The league did Melo dirty and treated him like a scrub and a scapegoat when he clearly had a lot left on the tank.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest scorers of all time. Period. He’s a walking bucket, he’s always been a walking bucket, and he’ll always be a walking bucket. He silenced his critics by embracing a lesser role with the Blazers and showed that he belongs in the league.
1. Chris Paul
Chris Paul has a strong shot for being a top-3 point guard in the history of the game. Talent-wise, skill-wise, impact-wise, he definitely is. However, he’ll always have to deal with the burden of playoff failure and never making it past the second round.
To be fair, Paul has never been the one to blame for those struggles but that’ll still be a huge stain in his otherwise flawless résumé. Paul has made all his teams better with his pesky defense and impressive basketball IQ, so hopefully, he’ll find that much-desired ring before calling it a day.