Vote 1 - Hal Greer
Vote 2 - Carmelo Anthony
Vote 3 - Chris Bosh
The Rest: Moncrief > Cunningham > Hill > Tiny > DeBusschere > Ben Wallace > Terry Porter > Jerry Lucas > Gus Williams > Hornacek > Horace Grant > Dennis Johnson > Lillard > Hawkins > Jokic > Walton
- 15 year career (all with same franchise)
- 7x all NBA 2nd team
- Sixers all time leader in games played, minutes played, FGM, total points
Greer's overall body of work is impressive. He had marked consistency throughout his career, along with great durability and longevity for his time. He played in 79+ games in 10 of his 15 seasons, which spanned from 59-73. He scored on above average efficiency relative to his era, putting up the following #s from 61-70:
22 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.4 APG, 45.4% FG, 80.3% FT (6 FTAs per game), 51% TS (+2.09 rTS)
He performed similarly in the playoffs, playing a major role in the 67 sixers championship run, commonly considered one of the best teams of all time:
27.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.3 APG, 42.9% FG, 79.7% FT (7.9 FTAs per game), 48.7% TS (regular season league avg 49.3%)
And yes, grain of salt I know when it comes to many of the statements below. I think it at least puts things in historical context considering how long ago he played.
"I knew Hal when I got there [as the Sixers' business manager] in '68. I was with him for one year," said Pat Williams, who was raised in Wilmington and later became the Sixers' general manager for 12 seasons. "Tough little bulldog. He was tough as nails. And quiet. Didn't talk much ... but would just go out and perform. Maybe the best middle distance jump shooter of all-time. You could argue that. That 15-, 16-, 17-foot range. It was like a layup to him.”
It’s been echoed elsewhere that he had the best mid range jumper of his generation. Also effective on both ends of the floor, and could post you up on either baseline. Stayed within the confines of his game, which ultimately led to team success.
Some great videos on the 67 sixers from (I believe) our own Dipper 13:More insight on Greer per Dipper 13:
Tremendous athlete as well, great agility & quickness and could stop on a dime and pull up. It is not surprising to see Greer fall this low, seeing as he apparently was underrated by most even during his playing days. Not being a self promoter or big interview with the press will do that, plus he was overshadowed by Wilt during some of his best years. I'm sure if the Sixers had repeated in 1968, then Greer would have been voted in well before this point. Wilt even said he was on par with Robertson or West, for what it is worth.
Season of the 76ers: the story of Wilt Chamberlain and the 1967 NBA champions - Wayne Lynch
"I think I'm better than the fourth guard," Greer told reporters. "You gotta realize that Oscar is the greatest. Jerry West is right behind Oscar, but I think I should be up there. I think I'm on a par with West.
Dynasty's End: Bill Russell And the 1968-69 World Champion Boston Celtics - Thomas J. Whalen
"Hal needs a certain amount of recognition to show people that he's on par with Robertson and West," All-Star teammate Wilt Chamberlain said afterward.
Greer needed no convincing himself. He knew he was the equal of any elite guard in the league, and that included Sam Jones of the Celtics. "He's on a team where they work for him," Greer said. "Our team is balanced. We're a team all the way. We don't work for one guy. Sam doesn't really have to work for his shots. They work for him. He's strictly offense, I'm offense plus I move the ball, too. I move on the fast break." Always intense and demanding of himself as a player, Greer strove for nothing short of basketball perfection in every contest. "After a game," he once revealed, "I think about the mistakes I made on defense that night. Sometimes I stay up all night thinking about defense, like after I've been chasing Oscar all over the court. That's enough to keep any man awake."'
The Sun - Nov 16, 1965
It's generally acknowledged in basketball circles that there are three superstar backcourters, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Sam Jones . . . and then there's Philadelphia's Hal Greer. Greer is the most underrated player in the league. He's among the top five in my opinion. Teammate Al Bianchi adds, "He has to be one of the greatest backcourt shooters ever." He rates with Sharman, Robertson, and West when it comes to hitting the 15-20 foot jumper.
The league alerted everybody about West and Bailey Howell nearing 10,000 points. Forgot Greer of course. "My wife and I talk about it a lot", admits the eight year veteran who climbed over the 10,000 figure with 33 tallies at New York's expense Saturday night. Howell and West reached it Sunday. "I don't like it but what can you do about it. As long as we're winning that's the important thing. The ink is all right but winning is the thing. I think I'm better than the fourth guard in the league."
The Black Athlete: Emergence & Arrival - 1968
No one in basketball is more effective than Hal Greer at sprinting down the middle of the court on a fast break, stopping just beyond the keyhole and scoring on a jump shot. "Hal," said one NBA coach, "has the finest middle-distance shot in the game." From fifteen to eighteen feet, Greer is more deadly than the Big O." At 6 ft. 3 in. and 178 pounds, Greer frequently gives away 40 pounds and 6 inches to NBA adversaries assigned to shutting off the middle. The key to Greer's success, therefore, is maneuverability and speed. Particularly speed.
The Game Within the Game
Great Teams of Pro Basketball - 1971
First there was Hal Greer, one of the best guards in the game. He was fast. "I must be fast," Greer said, "always, always quick. The day I slow down I'm finished." And he was a constant scoring threat. Said his former coach, Dolph Schayes, "Hal has the finest middle-distance shot in the game. From 15 to 18 feet, Hal is more deadly than Oscar Robertson." At 6'2", 175 pounds, Greer was agile, strong and not prone to injury. An eight-year veteran of NBA play, he could be counted on to average 20 points a game and contribute steadily in assists.
- Walt Frazier
Hal Greer: Productive, Consistent and Durable
This article originally appeared in the January 2006 issue of Hoop.
Star Guard on a Team for the Ages
Hal Greer made the All-NBA Second Team seven straight years but never was selected to the All-NBA First Team. That’s what happens when you play during the same era as Oscar Robertson and Jerry West, but Greer--a 10-time All-Star who was honored as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players--accomplished something that neither Robertson nor West did: being the leading playoff scorer on a team that defeated Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics in the playoffs and went on to win an NBA championship.
Russell’s Celtics won eight straight titles and 11 in 13 seasons, but many observers still maintain that the greatest single season team in NBA history is the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers beat Boston 4-1 in the Eastern Division finals and then defeated the Rick Barry-Nate Thurmond San Francisco Warriors in the NBA Finals. Greer produced 27.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 5.3 apg in the playoffs, while his teammate Wilt Chamberlain posted these mind-boggling numbers: 21.7 ppg, 29.1 rpg and 9.0 apg. Hall of Famer and Top 50 selection Billy Cunningham, the sixth man on the 1967 championship team, says, “Hal Greer was such a smart player. In his mind he had a book about every player he played against and what he had to do to make sure that he got free to get shots. He was probably as fine a screener as a guard as anybody. The thing about it was he knew that if he set a good screen then he would be open because he would force a switch and he would end up being matched up with a bigger, slower player that he knew he could easily beat to get whatever shot he wanted.”
Remember the old shoe commercial with playground legend Lamar Mundane? The voiceover said that Mundane would shoot as soon as he crossed midcourt and the fans would yell, “Layup!” That would be a good way to describe Hal Greer’s top of the key jump shot; Sixers coach Alex Hannum said that Greer made that shot at a 70% clip and gave Greer the green light to launch from that range whenever he was open. Greer’s jump shot was so fluid and so deadly that he shot his free throws that way, connecting on better than 80% of his career attempts. Cunningham offers high praise for Greer’s jump shot: “It was as good as anybody’s who ever played the game. I think the beauty of Hal Greer’s game is that he knew where he was most effective and he never shot the ball from an area where he was not completely confident and comfortable. He never went outside of 18-20 feet maximum, but he was deadly and he had the ability to get to that spot.”
The Palm Beach Post - Apr 2, 1967
"Greer plays the complete game,' said Hannum, "He's an offensive threat every minute he's in there. He has the perfect disposition, is well liked by everybody. We wouldn't have near the record this team has without Hal. You hear about our powerful front line of Wilt, Luke Jackson, Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham, but Greer's outside shooting helps make this possible."
Greer admits that the toughest guard in the league against him is Boston's K.C. Jones, but denies the rap placed on him by some writers that he gets "K.C.-itus"
"The three best games of my career have been against Boston," he notes. "I scored 50 points against them my first year in the league, 45 against them here, and 38 this season in Boston."
While he is recognized generally as one of the top offensive players in the game, few people are aware that Greer can play defense with the best. Often, Hannum will send Greer after Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Rick Barry, or Sam Jones, at least until the 76ers' guard gets into foul difficulty.