PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is one of the most respected advanced stats that is used in the NBA. It basically includes all a player's contributions (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) and subtracts negative contributions including turnovers, shots missed, and free throws missed.
While there is more to the game than box score numbers, PER is a great indicator how much a player is doing a lot on the floor. That is why most of the greatest players ever have high PER ratings. By which player has the highest rating of all time? By the end of this article, we might understand the most impactful players on the court.
10. James Harden - 24.82
James Harden kicks off the list of top-10 players ever in PER. The Beard does a ton on offense, including scoring the ball and being the primary playmaker. His years with Houston have allowed Harden to capture a very high PER rating.
James Harden is a triple-double threat every night, but his ability to score 30 points without putting in much of an effort is the reason his player efficiency rating is so high. As an offensive player in today's game, James Harden can be a PER phenom.
9. Chris Paul - 24.87
The fact that a miniature 6'0" point guard can be so effective in every facet of the game is a testament to Chris Paul's greatness as a player. His peers regard him as the best leader in the NBA right now, and it is hard to argue that point.
Chris Paul makes every team he's on better, whether they are fighting for the playoffs or contending for the title. The "Point God" will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when it is all said and done, and his ability to do a ton of positive things on the floor is the main reason why.
8. Kevin Durant - 25.24
A 6'10" small forward with unlimited range, how can Kevin Durant not appear among the top-10 in PER rating? Durant is arguably the most spectacular scorer in history due to his size, and he seems to continue to refine his game.
Many critics place asterisks next to Kevin Durant's championships with the Warriors, but there is no denying the impact he has on the floor. His PER rating alone is second-highest among small forwards, and the 4-time scoring champion could soon be mentioned with the apex of NBA stars when his career is complete.
7. Bob Pettit - 25.34
The man who won the first-ever MVP Award, Bob Pettit makes the top-10 list of PER leaders. The big man played his entire career with the Milwaukee/St. Louis Hawks, averaging a career 26.4 PPG and 16.2 RPG.
Pettit has a high PER rating because of his ability to score in the paint and pull down a ton of boards. 11 All-Star appearances, 2 scoring titles, and an NBA title are in the resume of the Hall of Famer who ranks 7th all-time in player efficiency rating.
6. Wilt Chamberlain - 26.13
What statistical category does Wilt Chamberlain not appear in? The man who owns the record books is on another advanced stat list because he scored and rebounded the ball better in his era than anyone else in NBA history.
The center was indeed bigger and more athletic than the competition he came up against, but putting up monstrous numbers the way he does requires spectacular mental fortitude and fitness. Wilt Chamberlain also stuffed the stat sheet, which is why his PER was so high.
5. David Robinson - 26.18
Yet another big man appears in the top-10, which is unsurprising considering how much impact a talented center can have. "The Admiral" is truly one of a kind as a leader on the floor and a consistent two-way superstar.
Robinson won an MVP as the best big man in the league and multiple titles with the San Antonio Spurs franchise. In terms of scoring, rebounding, passing, and blocked shots; Robinson was one of the most talented centers who ever played the game.
4. Shaquille O'Neal - 26.43
Arguably the most dominant physical force in NBA history, Shaquille O'Neal ranks in the top-5 in PER among all players. That should not come as a surprise, because the big man in his prime dominated the floor unlike anyone since Wilt Chamberlain.
Shaq won 4 championships and 3 Finals MVPs thanks to his dominance, and the big man is truly the gold standard as a two-way big man who plays with no-nonsense. O'Neal stuffed the box score like few big men ever and sits firmly at 4th.
3. Anthony Davis - 27.10
Although the script of his career is not fully written yet, future Hall of Famer Anthony Davis is ranked 3rd all-time in PER. The big man is an extraordinary talent, capable of dominating on offense with inside and outside scoring.
On defense, Davis is versatile and can defend guards or other bigs. We have not seen a big man like the 2020 NBA champion before, and he will only get better as long as he keeps healthy. Overall, Anthony Davis contributes positively to the court due to his size and skillset and is only behind 2 players in NBA history.
2. LeBron James - 27.39
At number 2, LeBron James holds a convincing 27.39 PER rating. This means that The King is a monster stat sheet stuffer and does a ton of positive things on the floor, which should come as no surprise to anyone who followed his career.
LeBron James plays like an oiled machine, carrying teams when necessary and playing like a triple-double threat every night. Of course, LeBron wins a ton of games this way, and the stats he has accumulated over 18 seasons place him on Mt. Rushmore.
1. Michael Jordan - 27.91
Unsurprisingly, Michael Jordan is on top of all players in the most respected advanced stat. What Jordan brings to the table is scoring at an elite level, lockdown defense, and intangibles that show up in the box score.
Jordan is normally first in most statistical categories so it is not surprising that the GOAT sits firmly at number one in PER. In his era, Michael did almost everything better than anyone else which is why he tops the chart in player efficiency.