Honorable Mentions: Dwyane Wade, George Mikan, Elvin Hayes, Jason Kidd and Gary Payton
5.) John Havlicek
Career averages: 20.8 PPG/6.3RPG/4.8 APG/44% FG
One of the most complete players of all time, Havlicek was a key figure of the Celtics’ dynasty of the 60’s and 70’s.
He started his career as a role player coming off the bench on an already stacked C’s squad, and eased into his role as his career progressed, winning 8 championships and making 13 All-Star teams in the process.
4.) John Stockton
Career averages: 13.1 PPG/10.5 APG/3.0 RPG/52% FG
Widely regarded as the best passer of all-time, Stockton is also one of the unluckiest players of all-time.
Playing in the Jordan era was not only the reason that Stockton finished his career ringless, but also accounted for the fact that a player as talented as he was never remotely talked about in the MVP race. During Stockton’s hayday in the 90’s, it was Jordan vs the field, and Jordan pretty much always won, and the field was left with scraps.
3.) Elgin Baylor
Career averages: 27.4 PPG/13.5 RPG/4.3 APG/43% FG
If John Stockton isn’t the unluckiest player of all time, then this guy is.
Baylor revolutionized the game with his lethal outside scoring and generational athleticism. He took a league that relied almost entirely on interior scoring from bigs, by storm.
Unfortunately for Baylor, he played in an era where Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain stole both the headlines and the awards, and he ended his career both ringless and MVP-less.
2.) Isiah Thomas
Career averages: 19.1 PPG/9.2 APG/3.5 RPG/45% FG
The undisputed leader of the Bad Boy Pistons, Thomas possessed both the talent and grit to win the MVP award, but never did.
Maybe it’s because the best of the 2x champ came out in the postseason, including his famous 25-point quarter on one leg to carry the Pistons to victory.
And with all of his postseason success, Thomas isn’t losing any sleep over never capturing this regular-season award, believe me.
1.) Jerry West
Career averages: 27.0 PPG/ 6.7 APG/ 5.8 RPG/ 48% FG
Jerry West came in second so many times throughout his career it’s comical.
He lost in the NBA Finals 8 times, and came in second in the MVP voting an equally incredible 4 times.
But don’t let that take away from how good of a player he really was.
The Logo was one of the first sharpshooters in NBA history, and was named to 14 All-Star teams and still stands as the only player in NBA history to win the Finals-MVP on the losing team.