It is often extremely difficult to rank the greatest players who have ever played. It is even harder to divide the best players into their respective positions to create the all-time greatest GOAT Squads. But we have managed to sort out the 5 greatest lineups in NBA history consisting of the top 25 players ever.
By completing the standard 5-man lineup of 2 backcourt and 3 frontcourt players, it is time to see how the GOAT Squads are set up. Here are the top 5 GOAT squads ranked all-time, starting with GOAT Squad 5.
GOAT Squad 5
PG – John Stockton
Career Statistics: 13.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 10.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
John Stockton might not have won an NBA title but he was arguably the greatest playmaker in NBA history. With Stockton at point guard, the Utah Jazz never missed the playoffs once and that is a direct correlation. Stockton leads all players in most assists all-time and ranks first in steals. His passing, shooting, and defense gave the Utah Jazz enough to be title contenders every year, and his partnership with Karl Malone was one of the best ever. Unfortunately for them, they ran into Michael Jordan in the Finals twice but Stockton is otherwise an easy inclusion into GOAT Squad 5.
SG – Jerry West
Career Statistics: 27.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.7 APG, 2.6 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Jerry West, the NBA’s logo, is one of the 5 greatest shooting guards of all-time. A Lakers legend and one of the best scorers ever West averaged 27.0 PPG on 47.4% from the field for his career. Clearly, he was a sharpshooter and scorer of the highest order and one of the best guards we have ever seen. Jerry West might have gone 1-9 in the NBA Finals over his otherwise illustrious career, he was incredibly dominant and if he had a slightly better team he might be on a stronger GOAT Squad.
SF – John Havlicek
Career Statistics: 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Celtics legend John Havlicek had one of the greatest NBA careers in NBA history. Winning a whopping 8 NBA titles aside, Havlicek captured the 1974 Finals MVP and made an incredible 13 All-Star Teams. The all-around forward made the All-NBA Team 11 times and also the All-Defensive Team 8 times. The Boston Celtics have had some incredible talents over the years, but Havlicek ranks among the very top and makes GOAT Squad 5.
PF – Kevin Garnett
Career Statistics: 17.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.4 BPG
Kevin Garnett, The Big Ticket, was the epitome of intensity and leadership every time he took the floor. Very few players, if ever, had KG’s passion and intensity, but he was also a very talented and skilled performer on the court. KG was a former MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and NBA champion who accomplished everything on an individual and a team level in the NBA. Garnett makes the top-5 list of power forwards due to his defensive leadership and also his scoring ability in his prime. Kevin Garnett and Hakeem Olajuwon make up an all-time great frontcourt for GOAT Squad 5.
C – Hakeem Olajuwon
Career Statistics: 21.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 3.1 BPG
Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon had the best post moves in NBA history and was one of the best 2-way players in the game. He won two straight NBA championships with the Houston Rockets, being the leader on both offense and defense. Hakeem averaged 21.8 PPG and 11.1 RPG for his career, winning 2 Defensive Player of the Year awards and making 12 All-Star teams. No player had Hakeem’s footwork and that is why current NBA players still train with the Rockets legend until this day.
GOAT Squad 4
PG – Oscar Robertson
Career Statistics: 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Oscar Robertson, before Russell Westbrook made it normal, was the very first triple-double king. His numbers were extraordinary, averaging 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 APG for his career. Robertson impacted the game in every single way possible and many of his peers consider him to be a top 10 player of all time. Especially after winning an NBA title as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, Robertson solidified himself among the 5 greatest point guards ever. A duo of Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson is enough to have more than enough playmaking and scoring in the backcourt for GOAT Squad 4.
SG – Allen Iverson
Career Statistics: 26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Allen Iverson, known as “The Answer”, is one of the most iconic superstars of all-time. Even if he did not win an NBA title, he carried the Philadelphia 76ers team with an old Dikembe Mutombo as his best teammate to the NBA Finals in 2002. Iverson is one the best scorers ever, and possibly the best little man to have ever played. Despite his miniature stature and slim frame, Iverson was incredibly quick and arguably the best dribbler of all-time which made him unguardable at times.
SF – Elgin Baylor
Career Statistics: 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 APG
Elgin Baylor is often underappreciated for how dominant he was in his prime. Baylor did everything in the game of basketball although he didn’t quite capture an NBA championship. Elgin Baylor was absolutely unstoppable on offense and was one of the best rebounders at his position ever. If Baylor managed to capture an NBA ring or two, we might be talking about an undisputed top-10 player of all-time. Still, he is an easy inclusion into GOAT Squad 4.
PF – Dirk Nowitzki
Career Statistics: 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Arguably the greatest shooting big man ever, Dirk Nowitzki managed to win an NBA title and be Finals MVP by leading the Mavericks over a superteam Miami Heat team in the 2011 season. Besides his incredible championship run, Dirk Nowitzki was a pure shooter and one of the greatest scorers ever. A top-50 player with ease, Dirk is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and legend who broke new grounds for current NBA players. Dirk’s one-legged fadeaway is one of the most unstoppable moves in NBA history and was certainly the demise of many defenses throughout his career.
C – Bill Russell
Career Statistics: 15.1 PPG, 22.5 RPG, 4.3 APG
Bill Russell is the greatest winner in NBA history, winning 11 rings in 12 Finals appearances. Bill Russell might be the greatest defensive player of all time who made his name altering shots and being the outlet passer out of the post. If defensive stats such as blocks and steals were tracked back in the day, Russell would most likely have some records to his name alongside Wilt Chamberlain. Russell’s leadership of an 11-NBA champion Boston Celtics earns him an easy spot for GOAT Squad 4.
GOAT Squad 3
PG – Isiah Thomas
Career Statistics: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 9.3 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
One of the greatest pure competitors of all-time, Isiah Thomas is one of the most complete point guards in NBA history. A player that is loved and respected by all his peers and players that came after him, Thomas was able to lead the Pistons to back-to-back championships during the 1989 and 1990 NBA seasons. Thomas is a Hall of Famer and one of the 50 greatest players to have ever played despite being slightly undersized. When it comes to being on the Mt. Rushmore of point guards, Thomas is one of the top-3 point guards ever due to his ability to win games and lead his team on both ends of the floor.
SG – Dwyane Wade
Career Statistics: 22.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Dwyane Wade is the 3rd best shooting guard ever and it is by quite a margin when looking at his career. He put together arguably the most dominant Finals run in the 2006 season and knocked off the heavily favored Dallas Mavericks led by Dirk Nowitzki. Wade won Finals MVP that year and has 3 rings in total. Wade is also the best shot-blocking guard in history and is a complete player with no real weakness. Wade did it all for the game of basketball and he retired as the greatest Miami Heat player of all-time.
SF – Kevin Durant
Career Statistics: 27.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.1 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Say what you want about Kevin Durant taking an easy road to win 2 NBA championships, he is undoubtedly one of the game’s greatest scorers. Even if he remained ringless until now, The Slim Reaper would probably remain on GOAT Squad 3. Durant’s height and shooting ability made him one of the most dominant NBA superstars in the modern era. His 4 scoring titles fit nicely in his trophy cabinet alongside his 2 NBA titles and 2 Finals MVPs.
PF – Charles Barkley
Career Statistics: 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Charles Barkley was a very dominant force in his prime, with the ability to be the best player on a championship team in his prime. Barkley was a superstar scorer and rebounder despite being undersized as a post player. Barkley was arguably the most dominant inside presence during the ’90s and the only knock against him was that he never won an NBA title over his career. Nonetheless, Chuck forms a completely unstoppable inside presence alongside Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain.
C – Wilt Chamberlain
Career Statistics: 30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG, 4.4 APG
The man with the majority of NBA records to his name, Wilt Chamberlain earns the center spot in GOAT Squad 2. There isn’t a surprise to see Wilt Chamberlain when you consider the records this man has broken, such as scoring 100 points in a single game or grabbing 50 rebounds in a single game among many other records. Nobody owns the stat charts like Wilt Chamberlain, who dominated the 60’s and early 70’s as the league’s greatest stat-sheet stuffer.
GOAT Squad 2
PG – Stephen Curry
Career Statistics: 23.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Recency bias aside, it is hard to not place Stephen Curry in GOAT Squad 2. Curry is the most recent all-time great point guard to grace the game of basketball and has changed the NBA game for the foreseeable future due to his shooting and dribbling. Stephen Curry is simply unstoppable in today’s game and gets his lightning-quick shot release off with ease. He is also the best shooter we have ever seen, a two-time MVP, and a three-time NBA Champion. As far as we are concerned, only a few players have actually single-handedly changed the game and Curry is one of them.
SG – Kobe Bryant
Career Statistics: 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Kobe Bryant is firmly and forever the second-best shooting guard of all-time. A no-ballot Hall of Famer and extremely gifted scorer, Kobe was the Michael Jordan of the modern generation of players. He won 5 NBA titles with the Lakers, staying his whole career with the famed franchise, and consistently made his case as a top-two shooting guard to have ever lived. Kobe’s “Mamba Mentality” is one of the most hyped personas that we have ever seen in professional sports. Bryant dedicated his whole life to dominate the game of basketball, and we are all truly grateful for that. 5 NBA titles, 2 Finals MVPs, 2 Olympic Gold Medals, and 11-time 1st Team All-NBA make him the second-best shooting guard ever and it is not close.
SF – Larry Bird
Career Statistics: 24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Larry Bird was graced with basketball skills, a killer instinct, and tremendous charisma. Larry Legend was known for his on-court dominance and also his trash talk because he always seemed to back it up. Bird was probably the only player other than Michael Jordan who would tell you what he was going to do on the court and go out and do it every time. Bird’s 3 MVPs and 3 NBA championships make him the easiest inclusion into GOAT Squad 2.
PF – Karl Malone
Career Statistics: 25.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Karl Malone is probably the most unstoppable power forward of all-time because no player could score like him at that position. He is currently the second-leading scorer in NBA history, with 36,928 points scored, and had a career that spanned nearly two decades. Malone had a career average of 25.0 PPG a game due to his array of mid-range and inside buckets and is probably the most unlucky player ever to not have an NBA ring. Other than Tim Duncan, no power forward dominated the power forward position better than The Mailman and he is an easy inclusion to GOAT Squad 2.
C – Shaquille O’Neal
Career Statistics: 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, 2.3 BPG
Shaquille O’Neal is arguably the most dominant NBA player of all-time. He stood over 7 feet tall and weighed over 300 lbs, so he simply could not be stopped inside the post. Shaq won 3 Finals MVPs in a row and also made a whipping 15 All-Star teams over his illustrious career. Shaq probably has the most dominant run in history during the years 2000-2003 and his partnership with Kobe Bryant in GOAT Squad 2 is very fitting since they ran the entire NBA for at least 4 straight seasons. O’Neal completes a scary frontcourt with Karl Malone that is talented enough to legitimately make a case for GOAT Squad 1.
GOAT Squad 1
PG – Magic Johnson
Career Statistics: 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG
There is no doubt who the greatest floor general in NBA history is. Magic Johnson revolutionized the game of basketball by being an ultra-large point guard who can play any position on the court. No player in history had Magic’s leadership and his basketball IQ was off the charts. Magic Johnson was a magician with the ball in his hands and was the best player in NBA history on the fast break. Playing with the other all-time greats on GOAT Squad 1, Magic will completely run the show.
SG – Michael Jordan
Career Statistics: 30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG
In a league that has been historically filled with fantastic talent at the shooting guard position, Michael Jordan is the greatest ever. He is the most famous NBA superstar and legend for the league and the single almost unearthly athlete we have ever seen. Jordan’s 10 scoring titles, 6 NBA titles, 6 Finals MVPs, and Defensive Player of the Year Award puts him far ahead of every player we have ever seen. It was Michael Jordan who was the face of the league and still remains the most iconic and well-known player in the world. Jordan is also recognized as the best player of all-time so he sits comfortably in GOAT Squad 1.
SF – LeBron James
Career Statistics: 27.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG
There is no more doubt that LeBron James is the greatest small forward we have ever seen. While many old heads might give the edge to Larry Bird, LeBron has been too great for too long and can’t be disrespected any longer. James is a 4-time NBA champion, 4-time Finals MVP, and a 4-time MVP. His numbers and accolades speak for themselves and he will easily be part of the GOAT Squad 1 where his playmaking and floor leadership will be irreplaceable.
PF – Tim Duncan
Career Statistics: 19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 2.2 BPG
No doubt about it, Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward ever due to his on-court success. He was the best defender at this position ever and was mainly responsible for capturing 5 NBA rings with the San Antonio Spurs. Tim Duncan is widely regarded as a top-10 player ever and his impact on the game was tremendous despite his relatively boring style of play. Anytime Tim Duncan is on a squad, the team gets a massive boost on defense and also a go-to scoring option in the post. With his patented off-the-backboard shot, Duncan was a true force at his position and forms the best frontcourt ever with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
C – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Career Statistics: 24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG, 0.9 SPG, 2.6 BPG
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is widely recognized as the most talented and overall best center of all time. He has the most records, won at every level, and had the most unstoppable move in basketball history in the skyhook. Kareem also made 19 All-Star teams, 15 All-NBA teams, 11 All-Defensive teams, 6 MVPs, and 6 NBA titles. Not to mention, Kareem is first among all players in points scored with 38,387 total points and could impact the game for 2 decades. He stars alongside Tim Duncan as the NBA’s best frontcourt duo of all-time.