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Greatest Player in the History of Each NBA Franchise

Every NBA team share common goals: to make the NBA playoffs, go to the NBA Finals, and win a NBA Championship.  In order to accomplish this feat an NBA franchise must scout, plan, and build a champion

Every NBA team share common goals: to make the NBA playoffs, go to the NBA Finals, and win a NBA Championship.  In order to accomplish this feat an NBA franchise must scout, plan, and build a championship caliber team.  The first step in doing that is finding a star player that can lead his team to the promise land.

Finding a superstar player and leader to carry a team is not an easy task.  Whether its through drafts, trades or free agency, obtaining a superstar on a team is easier said than done.  The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted LeBron James in 2003 and although they have not won any NBA Championships yet, James has taken them to the NBA Finals twice, which is a pretty good start.  Now that he is back and has the addition of teammates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, they are Finals contenders every season.  Others teams were not so lucky with building their teams.

In 2001, the Washington Wizards drafted Kwame Brown 1st overall, which put them in a very deep hole for a very long time.  In 2007, the Portland Trailblazers drafted Greg Oden, which wasn't a terrible pick, but his injuries were unbearable and cost the Blazers a couple of seasons.  To make matters worst, Kevin Durant was drafted right behind Oden by the Seattle Supersonics.

Every NBA franchise has a player that left their make on their teammates, coaches and fans.  These are the best players from every single team, whether it's from bringing the team championships, leading them in statistical categories, being a leader, or simply the all around impact left on the franchise.

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30 Atlanta Hawks: Dominique Wilkins 

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In 1982, Wilkins was drafted 3rd overall by the Utah Jazz, but  money issues led to him being traded to the Hawks, a decision the Jazz probably wished they handled better.

During his rookie season, Wilkins proved he was NBA ready, averaging 17.5 PPG and 5.8 RPG.  Wilkins led his team to the playoffs, but they lost in the first round to the Boston Celtics in a best-out-of-three game series.  During his ten seasons with the Hawks, Wilkins led the Hawks to the playoffs seven times, but never managed to get past the second round.  Wilkins was a nine-time All-Star and two-time Slam Dunk champion, bringing forth his nickname "The Human Highlight Film."

Wilkins was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Wilkins had his #21 jersey retired by the Hawks on January 13, 2001 and left as the Hawks all-time leading scorer in franchise history.

29 Boston Celtics: Larry Bird

via ask.com

The Celtics have had a lot of great players in their franchise, but none come before the great Larry Bird.  Bird was drafted 6th overall in 1978 by the Celtics and remained there for his entire 13-year career.

His rookie season, Bird averaged 21.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 4.5 APG. Bird led the Celtics to 32 more wins than the previous season and carried them to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers.  That lost motivated Bird and the very next season during his sophomore year, Bird carried the Celtics to the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets and led them to a 4-2 victory and his first NBA Championship.  The next season, his third year, the Celtics made the Conference Finals again, where they played the Sixers for the third straight year, but this time fell short.

Bird was a two-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, three-time three-point champion, and made the All-NBA First team nine times.  Bird had his #33 retired by the Celtics in 1993.  In 1998, Bird was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and then again in 2010 as a member of the "Dream Team."

28 New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets: Jason Kidd

via netsdaily.com

Jason Kidd did not start his career with the New Jersey Nets.  Kidd was drafted 2nd overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1994.  After just two seasons with the Mavericks, Kidd then made his way to Phoenix to play with the Suns for five seasons.

In 2001, Kidd found a new home with the Nets and led them to their first 50 win season in franchise history.  The Nets made a 26-game improvement from the last season and went 52-30 on the season.  Kidd averaged 14.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 9.9 APG during his first season with the Nets and led them all the way to the NBA Finals for the first time in their franchise history.  However, they were swept by Kobe, Shaq, and the Los Angeles Lakers. The very next season, Kidd and the Nets came with a vengeance.  Kidd's numbers were still good all-around as the Nets went to the NBA Finals for the second straight year, but they fell to the Spurs in six games.

Kidd is still the Nets franchise leader for total assists with 4,620 as well as the third most triple doubles in NBA history with 107.

27 Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets: Muggsy Bogues

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Muggsy Bogues is arguably, at 5' 3, the shortest player to ever play in the NBA.  Bogues was drafted in 1987 12th overall by the Washington Bullets.  After just one season with the Bullets, Bogues went to the Hornets for the next ten years, which was a brand new franchise during his first season. During his time with the Hornets, they made the playoffs three times, which is not bad for a team that has only made the playoffs nine times in their franchise history.  Bogues is still the franchise leader for assists with 5,557 and steals with 1,067.

His career might have went better if he never had that encounter with Michael Jordan, who supposedly shot his confidence and career.

26 Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan

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Of course there is no surprise here who the Bulls best franchise player is and that is the man himself, Michael Jordan, the best player to ever pick up a basketball. Jordan was drafted 3rd overall in by the Bulls.  Before Jordan was drafted, the Bulls had never made the NBA Finals in their franchise history.  Little did they know, that was all about to change for the better.

During his time with the Bulls, Jordan led the team to the playoffs every single season. Jordan and the Bulls went on to the NBA Finals for the first time in their franchise history in 1991, where they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.  Jordan and the Bulls went on to five more championships, including two three-peats.  .

Jordan's Hall of Fame career has a long list of accomplishments.  Just to name a few, Jordan was six-time NBA champion, six-time NBA Finals MVP, five-time NBA MVP, two-time Hall of Famer (Individual and Dream Team), two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time Slam Dunk champion, 14-time All-Star and made 11 All-NBA teams.

25 Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James

via latimes.com

Love him or hate him, LeBron James is a great player and the best thing that ever happened to the the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Before James entered the league, the Cavs had never reach the NBA Finals in franchise history, but since then, James has led them there twice despite losing both times.

Already in his early career at the age of 31, James is a two-time champion (both with Miami Heat), been to six NBA Finals, two-time NBA Finals MVP, four-time MVP, 11-time NBA All Star, nine-time All-NBA first team, five-time NBA All-Defensive first team, and a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist.

James is the Cavs all time leader in total points, steals, assists, made field goals, 3-point field goals, and minutes played.

24 Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki

via gamedayr.com

Dirk Nowitzki was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 1998 and never looked back. Before the Mavs drafted Nowitzki, they had only the made playoffs once in the past ten years. After his first two seasons in the NBA, Nowitzki has led the Mavs to the playoffs every single season except for the 2012-13 season, in which Nowitzki battled injuries and only played in 53 games.

Nowitzki led his team to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2006 against the Miami Heat but fell short thanks in part to Shaquille O'Neal and Dwayne Wade.

In 2011, Nowitzki got their revenge when they met the Mavs in the Finals, with Wade teaming up with Chris Bosh and LeBron James this time.  This time, Nowitzki came away as an NBA champion.

23 Denver Nuggets: Alex English

via foxsports.com

Alex English was a true steal in the 1976 draft, getting selected 23rd overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. In 1979, English went to the Nuggets and stayed there for the rest of his career, excluding his last season in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks. During his 11 seasons with the Nuggets, English was a 8-time All-Star and a three-time All-NBA second team selection.

English led the Nuggets to the playoff nine times, including the Western Conference Finals in 1985, but never could get them to the NBA Finals.  English is the Nuggets all time leader in games, minutes, filed goals, offensive rebounds, assists, and points.

22 Detroit Pistons: Isiah Thomas

via bleacherreport.com

The Detroit Pistons picked Isiah Thomas 2nd overall in 1981 and changed their franchise forever. Prior to Thomas, the Pistons had only made the Conference Finals once and never made it to the NBA Finals. Thomas and the Bad Boys changed their whole franchise around, dominating the Eastern Conference going to five straight Conference finals and three NBA Finals. Thomas and the Pistons would go on to win back-to-back championships.

Thomas is the Pistons all-time leader in minutes, field goals, free throws made, assist, steal,s and points.  During his career with the Pistons, Thomas was a 12-time All-Star and 1990 NBA Finals MVP. In 2000, Thomas was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame and also had his #11 jersey retired by the Pistons.

21 Golden State Warriors: Wilt Chamberlain

via ftw.usatoday.com

Sorry Steph Curry, but you're not the best Warriors player, right now.  When it's all said and done, I'm pretty sure Curry will be number one, no question, it juts so happens that a man by the name of Wilt Chamberlain played for the Warriors as well.

Chamberlain played for the Warriors the first six seasons of his career and came out the gates dominating everybody like they were high schoolers.  His rookie season, Chamberlain averaged 37.6 PPG and 27.0 RPG and led them to the Conference Finals, but fell short to the Celtics.  Chamberlain led them to the playoffs the next three out of five seasons, including a trip to the NBA Finals, but they lost to the Celtics once again.

Chamberlin is still the Warriors all time leader in field goals and points and has had his #13 jersey retired by the franchise.

20 Houston Rockets: Hakeem Olajuwon

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The Houston Rockets made the right decision by drafting Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon 1st overall in the 1984.  His rookie season, Olajuwon led the Rockets to the playoffs although they lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round.  The very next season, Olajuwon led his team all the way to the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.  Despite the brilliant play of Olajuwon, the Rockets lost in six games.

In 1994, Olajuwon and the Rockets made it to the NBA Finals and beat the New York Knicks in seven games to win their first NBA Championship.  The following season they swept the Orlando Magic to win back-to-back championships.  These two championships came during Michael Jordan's first retirement, after he and the Bulls won three straight championships.

Olajuwon is the Rockets franchise leader in field goals made, free throws made, rebounds, steals, blocks, and points.  Olajuwon was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2008 and had his jersey #34 retired by the Rockets.

19 Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller

via foxsports.com

In 1987, the Pacers stole a pick at 11th overall in Reggie Miller. Little did they know at the time, that they had drafted, not only a franchise player, but the best Pacers player ever. Unlike other franchise players, Miller started off slow and had to build his way up the roster.  During his rookie season, Miller only started one game with the Pacers before earning his spot on the starting five.

Miller played for the Pacers for 18 seasons, in which the Pacers made the playoffs 15 times. Since starting for the Pacers, they only missed the playoffs twice.  Out of those 15 playoff appearances, Miller led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals six times, but only made one trip to the NBA Finals, where he was met by the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.  The Pacers fought hard but lost in six games.

The sharp shooting Miller never won an NBA Championship but is the Pacers franchise leader in games, minutes, field goals made, 3-point field goals made, free throws made, assists, steals, and points.

18 Los Angeles Clippers: Randy Smith

via buffalonation.wordpress.com

Well back in the day, when the NBA Draft had as many picks as the NFL Draft, Randy Smith was selected 104th overall in the 7th round in 1971 by the Buffalo Braves, who turned into the San Diego Clippers, and who are now the Los Angeles Clippers. Now that that's out of the way, Smith was clearly a steal in the draft getting selected so late.

Smith led the newly franchised Clippers to three playoff appearances in his nine years with the Clippers, but could not manage to get past the second round. Smith's career was nothing to brag about,  but he was a 2-time All-Star and a all star game MVP in 1978. Smith is the Clippers franchise leader in games, minutes, field goals made, assist, steals, and points.

17 Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

This was the hardest franchise player to pick because the Los Angeles Lakers organization has had so many great players, but the greatest Laker to ever play has to go to Kobe Bean Bryant. No disrespect to Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Adbul-Jabar, Jerry West, and others, but Bryant just did it better than them.

In 1996, the Charlotte Hornets drafted Kobe Bryant 13th overall and then made one of the worst moves in NBA Draft history: they traded Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers, a move that makes them sick to their stomach every time they think about it.

Bryant started off slow with the Lakers, only starting seven games in his first two years in the league.  Bryant's third season, he started every single game he played in.  That season the Lakers made the playoffs, but lost in the second round to the San Antonio Spurs.  That lost motivated Bryant and the rest of the Lakers.  The very next season, the Lakers made it to the NBA Finals and defeated the Indiana Pacers in six games.  The very next season the Lakers dominated everybody in the playoffs, losing only one game in the entire playoffs to the Philadephia 76ers and winning back-to-back championships.  The Lakers did not stop there and won another NBA championship, completing their first three-peat in Lakers history since 1954.

Bryant is the Lakers franchise leader in games, minutes, field goals made, three-point field goals made free throws made, steals, and points, which is he ranked 3rd in NBA history.

16 Memphis Grizzlies: Pau Gasol

via complex.com

Many do not know that Pau Gasol was actually drafted by the Atlanta Hawks 3rd overall in the 2001 Draft, but the Memphis Grizzles had the rights to the Hawks pick.  Well, I'm guessing the Hawks are wishing now they did not have to give up Gasol.

Before Gasol joined the Grizzlies roster, they had never made the playoffs in franchise history. Well, during his seven seasons with the Grizzlies, Gasol took them to the playoffs three times, despite them getting swept in the first round each appearance.

Gasol is the Grizzlies franchise leader in field goals made, free throws made, points, and blocks.

15 Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade was selected 5th overall in the epic 2003 Draft class, featuring LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh.  Prior to Wade being drafted, the Heat had never made a trip to the NBA Finals. In 2006, Wade along side Shaquille O'Neal, led the Heat to their first NBA Finals, in which they defeated the Dallas Mavericks in six games for their first NBA Championship. Wade was also named the NBA Finals MVP.  In 2010, Draft class companions Bosh and James teamed up with Wade in Miami and led them to four straight NBA Finals and two NBA Championships.   

Wade's career is not over just yet, although he might be done sooner then later, but you can't tell by looking at his resume as he is only 33.  Wade is a 3-time champion, 11-time All-Star, 2-time All-NBA first team selection and a 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist. Wade is currently the Heat's franchise leader in games, minutes, field goals made, free throws made, assists, steals, and points.

14 Milwaukee Bucks: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

via jsonline.com

Most people know Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, alongside Hall of Famers James Worthy and Magic Johnson, but he also had a successful career in Milwaukee as well.

Jabbar actually started with the Bucks after being drafted 1st overall in the 1969 Draft. Jabbar came to the Bucks and made an immediate impact. The Bucks started their franchise a year before Jabbar came into the league and did not make the playoffs.  During Jababr's rookie season, the Bucks made the playoffs and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the New York Knicks in five games.  In Jabbar's second season, he would lead his team all the way to the NBA Finals and their first championship as they swept the Washington Bullets.

Jabbar is the Bucks franchise leader in field goals made, rebounds, and points in just six seasons.  Jabbar had his #33 jersey retired by the Bucks and was inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

13 Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Garnett started his career with Minnesota in 1995 and looks like he is going to finish his career there.  Selected 5th overall in 1995, Garnett brought an energy and skill set that the Timerberwolves have never had on their roster before.

Since becoming a franchise in 1989, the Timberwolves had never made it to the postseason, that is until they cashed in on "The Big Ticket" in Garnett.  His rookie season, Garnett only started in half of his games and the Timberwolves failed to make the playoffs. The next season, the Timberwolves did not make the same mistake and started Garnett every single game.  The Timberwolves made the playoffs but were swept by the Houston Rockets in the first round.  After that season, the Timberwolves made seven straight playoff appearances but only made it to the Western Conference Finals once, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Garnett is the Timberwolves all-time leader in games, minutes played, filed goals made, free throws, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and points.

12 New Orleans Pelicans: Chris Paul

via salutemag.com

Chris Paul started his career in New Orleans after being drafted 4th overall in 2005. During Paul's first two years, the Hornets (at the time) did not make the playoffs. Although Paul had impressive numbers, he had no help and had the weight of the team on his shoulders.

In his third season, CP3 came back better then the first two seasons and would make his mark as one of the top point guards in the league.  The Hornets made the playoffs for the first time with Paul and made it to the second round for the first time in franchise history. However, they came up short to the more experienced San Antonio Spurs in seven games.

With the Hornets, CP3 was a four-time All-Star , made an All-NBA first team, an All-Defensive first team, won Rookie of the Year on 2006 and won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 2008 Beijing games. Paul is the franchise leader in free throws made, assists, and steals.

11 New York Knicks: Willis Reed

via yarkbarker.com

Willis Reed was drafted 8th overall in the 1964 Draft by the New York Knicks. Prior to Reed, the Knicks had missed the playoff the last five seasons and had never won an NBA Championship.  The first two seasons of Reed's career, the Knicks failed to reach the postseason, making it seven straight seasons.

In his third season, Reed led the Knicks to the postseason, where they were knocked off by the Boston Celtics.  After that season, Reed led the Knicks to the playoffs for the rest of his career, which was seven more seasons.  The Knicks made it to three NBA Finals, all against the Los Angeles Lakers, and came away with two NBA Championships.

Reed had his #19 jersey retired by the Knicks and was inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

10 Oklahoma City Thunder: Gary Payton

via sonicrising.com

Gary "The Glove" Payton came onto the scene in 1990 after being drafted 2nd overall by the Seattle Supersonics.  During his 12.5 years with the Supersonics, Payton led them to the playoffs 10 times.  In 1996, Payton had his chance to win his first NBA Championship, leading the Supersonics to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1979.  The only problem was, they had to face Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the Chicago Bulls. Payton and the Supersonics came up short, losing in six games to the Bulls.

Payton is the Supersonics/Thunder franchise leader in points, assists and steals and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

9 Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard

via sbnation.com

In 2004, the Magic place their faith in a kid out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy High School to change their franchise around, drafting Dwight Howard 1st overall.

His rookie season, Howard averaged 12 PPG and 10 RPG which is pretty good but the Magic wanted more out of him.  They wanted him to step in and be an immediate leader and the franchise player. Howard took that challenge and did not disappoint.

In 2009, Howard led his team to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995.  Although that was a big accomplishment, the Magic lost to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.  The very next season, Howard led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year, but lost to the Boston Celtics in six games. Howard led the Magic to the playoffs the next two seasons, but they were knocked out in the first round both years.

After eight seasons with the Magic, Howard parted ways with the franchise and left as the Magic's franchise leader in minutes, free throws made, rebounds, blocks, and points.

8 Philadelphia 76ers: Julius Erving

via philly.com

Julius Erving was drafted 12 overall in 1972 by the Milwaukee Bucks, but played his whole 11-year NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers.

During Erving's first season, he carried his team all the way to the NBA Finals. Although they got to the Finals, they came up short in six games to the Portland Trailblazers.

Over the next 10 seasons, Erving carried the 76ers to six more Eastern Conference Finals appearances and three more NBA Finals.  Erving and the 76ers won their only NBA Championship during that span in 1983, after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers.

Erving is the 76ers all-time franchise leader in blocks and is top five in games, minutes, field goals made, free throws made, offensive rebound, steals, assists, and points.

7 Phoenix Suns: Alvan Adams

via nba.com

In 1975, the Phoenix Suns drafted Alvan Adams 4th overall and he did not disappoint. During his rookie season, Adams led the Suns to their first ever NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. Although it was a magical run for Adams and the Suns, they fell short to the Boston Celtics in six games.

During his 13 year NBA career, all with the Suns, Adams led the Suns to nine playoff appearances, three Western Conference Finals and one NBA Finals.  Adams was named Rookie of the Year and was selected to his only all star game in 1976.

Adams is the Suns franchise leader in games, minutes, rebounds, and steals. Adams had his #33 jersey number retired, although he gave permission to Grant Hill to wear it.

6 Portland Trail Blazers: Clyde Drexler

via yardbarker.com

Clyde Drexler glided his way into the NBA in 1984, being elected 14th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.  Drexler only started 3 games his rookie season and it took some time for him to develop into the player he was.

His fourth season in, he got his chance, starting and playing in all 82 games.  The TrailBblazers made the playoffs but lost to the Rockets in the first round.  During his 12 year career in Portland, the Trail Blazers never missed the playoffs under Drexler.  In addition to 12 straight playoff appearances, Drexler also led the Trail Blazers to three straight Wester Conference Finals and two NBA Finals although they never won an NBA Championship.

Drexler had his #22 jersey retired by the Trail Blazers and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004 as a player and later as apart of the "The Dream Team."

5 Sacramento Kings: Oscar Robertson

via bostonherald.com

Oscar Robertson came into the league in 1960 with the Cincinnati Royals, who are now known as the Sacramento Kings.  Robertson came onto the scene, proving he was ready, averaging 30.5 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 9.7 APG. Despite his stellar rookie season, the Royals failed  to make the playoffs.

During his next nine seasons in Cincinnati, Robertson led the Royals to six straight playoff appearances, including two Conference Finals, although they never made it to the NBA Finals.

Robertson had his #14 jersey retired  by the Kings and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.  Robertson is the Kings franchise leader in minutes, field goals made, free throws made, assists, and points.

4 San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

In 1997, the San Antonio Spurs whole franchise changed when they drafted Tim Duncan 1st overall.  Duncan, aka Mr. Fundamental, is arguably the best PF ever and he is still playing at age 39.

In his 19 year career, the Spurs have been to the playoffs 18 straight seasons and will be 19 after this season is over.  The Spurs have reached the Western Conference Finals nine times and the NBA Finals six times, winning five NBA Championships.

Duncan resume shows that he is one of the bets to ever do it.  Duncan at age 39 and still playing somewhat effectively, is a 5-time NBA Champion, 3-time NBA Finals MVP, 2-time NBA MVP, 15-time NBA all star, 10-time All-NBA first team selection and 8-time All-Defensive first team selections.

Duncan is currently the Spurs franchise leader in minutes, games, field goals made, rebounds, blocks, and points.

3 Toronto Raptors: Chris Bosh

via bleacherreport.com

Chris Bosh was a part of the epic Draft of 2003, alongside Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James, Bosh drafted 4th overall by the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors were a new franchise, organized in 1995, and were looking for some new direction and a player to lead them farther in the playoffs. Prior to Bosh, the Raptors only made the playoffs three times in their first eight seasons.  When Bosh arrived, that really didn't change much.

Bosh was a great individual player, but did not have much help around him  In his seven seasons with the Raptors, they only made the playoff twice and were eliminated in the first round both times.

Bosh is the Raptors franchise leader in minutes, field goals made, free throws made, rebounds, blocks, and points.

2 Utah Jazz: Karl Malone

via man-trends.com

The Utah Jazz found a diamond in the ruff in 1985, drafting Karl Malone 13th overall. Before Malone arrived, the Jazz only made the playoffs twice in their franchise history, but Malone changed all that around quickly.

Malone played 18 seasons with the Jazz and the team went to 18 straight playoff appearances.  Malone led them to five Conference Finals, which they had never done before, and two straight NBA Finals.  The Jazz were dominant but there was one team more dominant than them, the Chicago Bulls with a player by the name of Michael Jordan, who beat Malone and the Jazz twice in the NBA Finals, causing the great "Mailman" to never become an NBA champion.

Malone is the Jazz franchise leader in minutes, field goals made, free throws made, rebounds,  and points.  Malone had his #32 jersey retired in 2006 and was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in in 2010 individually and for his role on "The Dream Team."

1 Washington Wizards: Wes Unseld

via itsonmagazine.com

In 1968, the Baltimore Bullets selected Wes Unseld 2nd overall, hoping to bring their franchise some life after only making the playoffs twice before him.

Unseld did not disappoint, leading the Bullets to 12 straight playoff appearances, including four NBA Finals. In 1978, Unseld and the Bullets won their first and only NBA Championship, beating the Seattle Supersonics in seven games.

Unseld was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988 and 1996 and had his #41 jersey retired in 1981.

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