What do these names all have in common? They are all great players in their own rite. They are all hall of fame players. However, they headline a group of players that most of the general public firmly believes are “franchise players”. I know, I get it, some of these players are your favorite players of all time and you grew up watching each of them. You can tell me where some of these players had incredible moments and I am absolutely crazy. But allow me to not just give you what the right criteria is, but what you should expect from your Franchise player.
What is a Franchise Player?
Well, most will say it’s a player that helps you win a championship. Well as another writer already laid out for you, there are only 3 or 4 teams every year that are true contenders and it’s been that way practically throughout the history of the NBA. Thank you Mr. Price for eloquently putting that the information out there for us to see. But if you still think you are right with your opinion that a Franchise player is that, then you are saying Mark Madson is one? We obviously know that isn’t the case. So what other way could you explain a Franchise player to me? Instead of going down every reason why you’re thinking i’m wrong, I will help you and tell you what a true Franchise player is.
A FP is someone who you have in the top 5 or maybe top 10 in the NBA. They also have to not only help you compete for a championship year in and year out but also reach the finals. Winning one is a major plus. So with that being the criteria how many FP has there been since 1990? Go ahead, pause and think that through. Im sure you will say something along the lines of 25 or 30 right? I know I originally guessed there was 33 FP, yes I like odd numbers. Well, what did you come up with? Ok, are you ready for the answer? Good part about this is you don’t have to flip to the back of the book for it. The correct is…… drum roll….12. Let that sink in for a moment. Since 1990 there is only been 12 FP. 27 years of amazing players and watching this beautiful game, there is 12 players that fit the mold of top 5 or top 10 in the NBA that consistently competed for championships. Once I list them you won’t have to think twice about if they are or aren’t, or at least I sure hope not. In no particular order outside of the oldest to youngest.
Hakeem “The Dream”
The only one on that list that did not win a championship is Charles. However he was considered top 5 and he led the Suns to a great run to get to the finals only to face his good friend and arguably the greatest player of all time, MJ. Oh by the way, Scottie was playing sidekick. MJ and Scottie held a lot of teams ring-less during their run with Chicago. If you have to ask yourself if any of these players deserve to be considered a FP then we need to have a discussion and we need one fast. These are so no brainers that regurgitating a resume for each is pointless. I know you are yelling at yourself saying “but Dan I know you see a lot of talented young players in today’s game that will join this elite list soon. The players and game has gotten so much better”
Well that brings me to the future of the today’s stars and the next class of FPs. If you aren’t shocked yet, get ready to be shocked. I only see 4 right now that is on the verge of taking over and joining the elite group of 12 FPs over the 27 years.
While some may argue Steph is there now, I believe he needs to really show out in the upcoming finals. he’s had two subpar performances and with his early career injury problems he kinda got a late start. The two MVPs helps and one Chip helps. But he needs to sustain it a little while longer.
Kawhi just came into his own this year. He has made rapid improvements to his game and now that the Spurs are in a transition phase of having Duncan, Manu, and Parker to Kawhi is the main focal point of the offense. It shouldn’t take him long as long as he can stay healthy.
John Wall, he like Kawhi had a breakout year. He’s always been known as one of the fastest players with the ball and an elite passer. But I felt like this year he slowed down just a notch to allow his team to catch up and it showed. If he can continue this and keep going deeper and deeper in the playoffs he will be on the short list in a matter of a few years.
Lastly, Anthony Davis. Arguably the best defender in the game. The way he plays vs the pick and roll is just scary good. He practically plays both men while guarding the rim at the same time. He’s still young and his offensive game is improving year after year.
The general public is going to cry and be up in arms that I don’t have Westbrook ( he is my favorite player by the way ) or Harden or even KAT up there and I get it. But two of the three broke the record for turnovers in a season. The other just got into the league and is just a baby still. We need to sit back and let him grow up some and then come back to this conversation at a later date.
My job here at Four-Guys is wake you up from the fantasy land that ESPN and FOX and all the other sports media has brainwashed you with. It is ok to be a great player, but not every player is a FP. We don’t have to knock someone else to elevate another. As always, feel free to email me with your opinion and insight on this subject or any others, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org