Welcome back to the Upside Hoops best players by the decade series. Today we are looking at the best NBA players of the 1970s. A decade that was well-known for its parity, the 1970s was chockful of NBA legends and icons.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 24.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 3.6 apg
Abdul-Jabbar, formerly known as Lew Alcindor, has a legitimate for argument for being the greatest NBA player of all-time. As a player for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970s, earning six MVP awards and leading the Lakers to five NBA championships. He is still currently the all-time leading scorer in NBA history and was known for his signature skyhook shot.
Oscar Robertson: 25.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 9.5 apg
One of the original versatile combo guards to play in the league, Oscar Robertson played for the Cincinnati Royals in the 1960s. He earned one MVP award and led the league in assists six times. He was a versatile player who could score, rebound, and pass at a high level.
John Havlicek: 20.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.8 apg
Havlicek was a dominant small forward for the Celtics in the 1960s, earning eight All-Star Game selections and leading the Celtics to eight NBA championships. He was a skilled scorer and an excellent defender, and he was known for his clutch performances in big games.
Walt Frazier: 18.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.1 apg
Frazier was a dominant point guard for the New York Knicks in the 1970s, leading them to two NBA championships and earning seven All-Star Game selections. He was known for his defense and his ability to run the fast break.
Bill Walton: 13.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.4 apg
Though oft-injured, the incomparable Bill Walton was an unstoppable force for the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1970s, leading them to an NBA championship in 1977 and earning two MVP awards. He was a dominant rebounder and shot blocker, and he was known for his passing ability.
Elvin Hayes: 21.0 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 1.8 apg
Hayes wowed fans during his time with the Washington Bullets in the 1970s, leading them to the NBA Finals in 1971 and earning eight All-Star Game selections. He was a dominant rebounder and scorer, and probably best known for his physical style of play.
Dave Cowens: 17.6 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 3.8 apg
Cowens was known for his tough, physical style of play and was a tenacious rebounder and defender. He was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1973 and was a seven-time NBA All-Star. Cowens also won two NBA championships with the Celtics in 1974 and 1976.
Jerry West: 27.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 6.7 apg
West was a dominant shooting guard for the Lakers in the 1970s, leading them to the NBA Finals nine times and earning one MVP award. He was a skilled scorer and an excellent passer, and he was known for his clutch performances in big games.
Barry is widely considered one of the greatest shooters in the history of the sport and was known for his unorthodox underhand free throw shooting style. He was a 12-time NBA All-Star and was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Barry won an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors in 1975 and was the NBA Finals MVP in that year.
Pete Maravich: 24.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.4 apg
Better known as “Pistol Pete”, Maravich was known for his incredible ball-handling skills and scoring ability and was one of the first players to embrace the three-point shots. He earned five All-Star Game selections and led the league in scoring in 1976. He was a skilled ball handler and a creative passer, and he was known for his flashy style of play.
If you haven’t already, check out our other articles in this series. The best NBA players of the 1960s and 1950s.