Top 10 Active Ring-less NBA Players

 (Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

The ultimate goal in all levels of sports is to win a championship, something that no one can take away from you. Not everyone can be a champion and some are lucky enough to win multiple titles. In honor of the NBA Finals currently going on, I decided to make a list of top players who have not been able to hoist up the Larry O’Brien trophy. This list however has two different twists to it. The first is that you’ll only see active players on this list instead of the list that we all have seen before of Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, and Karl Malone to name a few. The other twist is that players you’ll see are veteran guys with at least 8 or more years of experience, so young guys like Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and James Harden won’t be on here. Another factor was that certain players on here had opportunities to win it all or had the “potential” but eventually fell over. You’ll see what I mean when you read the players listed below.


10. Joe Johnson, 14 seasons

  • 7 time All-Star (2007-2012, 2014)
  • All-NBA Third Team (2010)
  • All-NBA Rookie Second Team (2002)
  • 2006 FIBA Bronze Medalist
  • 17.3 career scoring average

Growing up, Joe Johnson was always one of my favorite players to watch. He is a natural scorer and was always fun to watch, especially his days on the Atlanta Hawks. The problem with JJ was that he never made it past the second round of the playoffs in his career, from his young days on Phoenix to now his time in Brooklyn. When he was traded to Brooklyn in 2012, the Nets were considered a powerhouse with not only Johnson but trading for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as well (we all know how that turned out). 


9. Deron Williams, 10 seasons

  • 3 time All-Star (2010-2012)
  • 2 time All-NBA Second Team (2008 & 2010)
  • All-NBA Rookie Second Team (2006)
  • 2 Time Olympic Gold Medalist (2008 & 2012)
  • 17.0 career scoring average

At one point, Deron Williams was in the conversation for top point guard in the league. His play on the Jazz really turned heads but constant clashes with the coaches and not wanting to stay in Utah ultimately led him to the now Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade. The Nets then signed Williams to a 5-year, $98 million contract extension in 2012 and figured he would be leading the team to championships, and sadly that is not the case. Like stated above with Joe Johnson, the Nets tried to build a powerhouse contender in one offseason and it has not panned out that way. It looks like their opportunity has closed and will be for quite some time. 


8. Amar’e Stoudemire, 13 seasons 

  • 6 time All-Star (2005, 2007-2011)
  • All-NBA First Team (2007)
  • 4 time All-NBA Second Team (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011)
  • Rookie of the Year and All-NBA Rookie First Team (2003)
  • 2004 FIBA Bronze medalist
  • Career averages of 19.8 points & 8.3 rebounds

The combination of Stoudemire and Steve Nash was always fun to watch in the late 2000’s. They won 60-plus games in two separate seasons. That team never made it to the NBA Finals but always competed hard with the likes of the Lakers and Spurs (anyone remember game 4 of the 2007 conference semifinals?). When he signed with the Knicks in 2010, many people, including me, figured that he could bring the team to new heights. He had a successful first year, but after many knee injuries and surgeries, he now was in a reserve role in Dallas, and that will likely be the plan if any team signs him for the future.


7. Vince Carter, 17 seasons

  • 8 time All-Star (2000-2007)
  • All-NBA Second Team (2001)
  • All-NBA Third Team (2000)
  • Rookie of the Year & All-NBA Rookie First Team (1999)
  • 2000 Olympic Gold medalist
  • 19.4 career scoring average

The high-flyer, half man half amazing, Vinsanity. No matter what you call him, he was always fun to watch. While he did make a name for himself in Toronto and then New Jersey in the regular season, he never made it far in the playoffs until 2010 with the Magic, as that team made it to the Conference Finals. Carter is just one of those classic players that did great things in the league during the regular season but never had the team success in the playoffs, and at his age of 38, we could see him retire in the near future without hoisting the trophy.


6. Zach Randolph, 14 seasons

  • 2 time All-Star (2010 & 2013)
  • All-NBA Third Team (2011)
  • Most Improved Player Award (2004)
  • Career average of 17.1 points and 9.5 rebounds

After a couple of seasons becoming kind of on the unknown side, Randolph finally made a name for himself when he was acquired by the Memphis Grizzlies, becoming a solid 20-point, 10-rebound guy night in and night out. Since being traded to the Grizzlies in 2009, Randolph has brought this struggling team to new heights and even a Western Conference Finals appearance. He has been in this league for quite sometime and is getting at that age (33) where the Grizzlies should start thinking about the future. He is under contract for one more season so it should interesting to see what the team does during the season.


5. LaMarcus Aldridge, 9 seasons

  • 4 time All-Star (2012-2015)
  • All-NBA Second Team (2015)
  • 2 time All-NBA Third Team (2011, 2014)
  • All-NBA Rookie First Team (2007)

LaMarcus Aldridge was considered an underrated player in his early years, but now he has made a name for himself. While it doesn’t help that he plays for a small market like Portland, recently he has brought great success to the franchise. Right now it is unknown what his future holds in free agency, but playing for a “win-now” team is something he’ll definitely lean more towards with the Trail Blazers roster very uncertain at this point.


4. Dwight Howard, 11 seasons

  • 8 time All-Star (2007-2014)
  • 3 time Defensive Player of the Year (2009-2011)
  • 5 time All-NBA First Team (2008-2012)
  • All-NBA Second Team (2014)
  • 2 time All-NBA Third Team (2007 & 2013)
  • 4 time All-Defensive First Team (2009-2012)
  • All-Defensive Second Team (2008)
  • All-NBA Rookie First team (2005)
  • Led the league in rebounds for 5 seasons (2008-10, 2012 & 2013)
  • Led the league in blocks for 2 seasons (2009 & 2010)
  • 2008 Olympic Gold medalist
  • 2006 FIBA Bronze medalist
  • Career averages of 18.1 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks
  • Orlando Magic all-time leading scorer

He was a force in the league from the start, becoming one of the most feared rim protectors. With Howard, the Orlando Magic were always in contention to winning the title, but unfortunately he was unable to do that. After the whole “Dwightmare” in 2012 of him staying in Orlando or leaving, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers, and most fans thought that the team could win the title. It spiraled down faster than anyone could imagine and Howard  left the team after one season. Now in Houston, Dwight’s opportunity to get that ring is slowly closing. He is 29 years old and has time, but the Rockets have to act fast because he is again a free agent next offseason, and after seeing what he did with Orlando and Los Angeles, I would not be surprised if he puts Houston in the same situation.

3. Carmelo Anthony, 12 seasons

  • 8 time All-Star (2007, 2008, 2010-2015)
  • 2 time All-NBA Second Team (2010 & 2013)
  • 4 time All-NBA Third Team (2006, 2007, 2009 & 2012)
  • All-NBA Rookie First Team (2004)
  • Led the league in scoring for one season (2013)
  • 2 time Olympic Gold medalist (2008 & 2012)
  • 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist
  • 2006 FIBA Bronze medalist
  • 25.7 career scoring average

One of the only first five picks in the 2003 NBA Draft without a ring. Without a doubt I know it is bothering Carmelo on the inside. He has never been able to make much noise in the playoffs, only making the Conference Finals once with the Nuggets. A lot of people go out on a limb and say Carmelo Anthony is an overrated superstar. While I can see the argument because of his playoff success, I have to disagree because he is an all-around great player and this will be a crucial offseason for the Knicks as they try to reload with talent to help Anthony bring a title back to the Big Apple. 


2. Kevin Durant, 8 seasons

  • 2014 league MVP
  • 6 time All-Star (2010-2015)
  • 5 time All-NBA First Team (2010-2014)
  • Rookie of the Year and All-NBA Rookie First Team (2008)
  • Led the league in scoring for 4 seasons (2010-2012 & 2014)
  • 2012 Olympic Gold medalist
  • 2010 FIBA gold medalist
  • 27.3 career scoring average

Durant just makes this list playing at exactly 8 seasons. Regardless, from the start of his career he has established himself as a superstar in this league. The former four time scoring champion has made one finals appearance in his young career but lost to the Miami Heat. I really do believe that Durant will eventually win a championship but only time will tell when that is going to happen, or not at all for that matter. He is still long with a lot of great basketball left, lets just hope this past season of constant injuries is a one time deal.

1. Chris Paul, 10 seasons

  • 8 time All-Star (2008-2015)
  • 4 time All-NBA First Team (2008, 2012-2014)
  • 2 time All-NBA Second Team (2009 & 2015)
  • All-NBA Third Team (2011)
  • 5 time All-Defensive First Team (2009, 2012-2015)
  • 2 time All-Defensive Second Team (2008 & 2011)
  • Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie First Team (2006)
  • Led the league in assists for 4 seasons (2008, 2009, 2014 & 2015)
  • Led the league in steals for 6 seasons (2008, 2009, 2011-2014)
  • 2 time Olympic Gold medalist (2008 & 2012)
  • 2006 FIBA Bronze medalist
  • Career averages of 18.7 points, 9.9 assists and 2.3 steals

From what you see above, Chris Paul has been a dominant and top player throughout his whole career. The one problem with Paul is his time in the playoffs. While he does post fantastic numbers, the problem is that he has never made it to the Conference Finals. In fact, he has played in 65 playoff games, but never made it out of the semifinals. He had a chance this past playoff run, but lost a 3-1 series lead to the Houston Rockets. Do I think that Paul’s championship opportunity is closing? Not really. With the Clippers? I think so. If next year is the same scenario with the Clippers and Paul does great in the regular season but fails to go far in the postseason, I would not be surprised if the team tries to move on from Paul. 

Honorable Mention: Carlos Boozer (13 seasons), Al Horford (8 seasons), Andre Iguodala (11 seasons), Al Jefferson (11 seasons), Paul Millsap (9 seasons), Joakim Noah (8 seasons), Josh Smith (11 seasons).

What do you think? Is the time up for those players listed above? Let us know @BBallSociety_ and @FonzyDeFalco 


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