Quantcast
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 3:02 pm  |  83 responses

Videos: Best Undersized Guards

Iverson, Hardaway, Murphy and more…

One of the most widely accepted beliefs among fans is that the NBA game is played above the rim; if you don’t have a freakishly athletic frame or have trouble grabbing the rim, you’re probably better suited for the NCAA or overseas. To be honest, this is the truth. Undersized guys are underdogs. The odds are pinned against them, and more times than not, these guys fail at the NBA level.

But then there are the select few who don’t make excuses; the guys who look in the mirror and pay zero attention to their height and wingspan; the guys who simply don’t care. Above are videos of the 10 best undersized guards in the history of our game. To counteract their lack of size, these shorties had to perfect other aspects of their games, whether it be a killer crossover, fade-away jumpshot, quick hands, or exceptional court awareness. There’s no definitive ranking here, but all of the names below can be found in SLAM’s 500 Greatest NBA Players Of All Time.

The main hurdle in compiling the best undersized players was, well, determining who and what is considered “undersized”. For this list, we set the bar at six feet (6-0) or shorter, and used Basketball Reference as the measuring stick. That means if you’re 6-1 or 6-2 according to BR, you were left off the list. Several guys fell into this category, including Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald, Bob Cousy, Nick Van Exel, and Kevin Johnson.

There were numerous height-challenged players who attained remarkable goals and achieved special accomplishments throughout their careers, so molding together a list of 10 was no easy task. As the famous addage goes, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog”, and there’s no better way to represent that than these video clips.Eldon Khorshidi

Honorable Mention: Muggsy Bogues, Anthony ‘Spud’ Webb, Earl Boykins, Brevin Knight, Speedy Claxton, Mark Price

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Tom

    no mention of Mark Price????…….dude averaged 25ppg for a few seasons and was definitely 6ft or less….same with Zeke

  • Mo

    Hot Stepper! You don’t forget about him being undersized because of the market he plays in or because of rumors about his future. You forget about him being undersized because of how BIG he affects the game.

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    @Tom Zeke is listed at 6-1…. list was created solely by me, so there’s some forgotten names. Price on the honorable mention list now.

  • http://www.twitter.com/BigFutureLG BigFutureLG

    AI is def tha best small man…in my opinion

  • add

    AI best undersized player ever, to bad yall cant put tiny on here dude could call, much respect

  • add

    AI definitely the best undersized player ever, too bad yall cant put tiny on the list, dude could ball

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Mark Price’s best scoring season was 19.6PPG. for the record.

  • robb

    Zeke’s official height was 6’1. We know he’s 6’0 but I think the Slam guys went with the official measurements here.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    NBK
    I was about to write that. Mark Price wishes he averaged 25 points per game.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Zeke was deffinitely under 6 which would make him the undisputed best little man ever the hardware to go with the sick game.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ robb – I think the slam guys went with what ever measurements would allow them to put Allen Iverson at #1 on the list…

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    @Wayno there’s no definitive ranking here, just a compilation of the 10 best. The “who’s the best” debate can start in the comments section.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    No Eldon went by their official measurements.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRROpiNAvPw EJ

    Mark Price should be on the list, not honorable mention.

  • Myung

    Co-sign EJ. Mark Price should definitely be on anybody’s top 10 of “under 6 feet players” in League history. As a Hawks fan, I’m glad you’re showing Mookie some love, but there’s no way he should rank ahead of Price on this list. Same goes for Dana Barros and Michael Adams. I know it’s a subjective list, but don’t Price’s career numbers speak for themselves? Also, I can’t stand Nate, but if Speedy Claxton (who I REALLY can’t stand, as an angry Hawks fan… the Speedy signing was one of the biggest robberies in professional sports history… look at the contract and look at the numbers he put up for the Hawks and especially the # of games played) is on the honorable mention list, then Nate Robinson has to be on there as well. And JJ Barea just played an instrumental role in the Mavs title run. I know he’s only been in the League a short (no pun intended) while, but he also merits an honorable mention nod if the bar is Speedy Claxton and Brevin Knight.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    They had Isiah higher than Iverson on the all-time list. Why would that change now?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And Tim still has the best crossover of all time.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Mark Price should have made it over Terrell Brandon. He was way better than Brandon.

  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    Eldon already admitted he forgot about Mark Price. Let the Mark Price thing go. Dude was probably 3-4 on that list.
    Commentator ranking list #1:
    AI, Hardaway, Murphy, Blaylock, Brandon, Anderson, Stoudamire, Michael Adams (barely remember this dude), Dana Baros (who???).
    I can’t properly place Paul. He’s somewhere on top. His career isn’t done.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    jukai you don’t remember Dana Barros? He was Gary Payton’s backup when they went to the WCF against Phoenix in 93. He was really only “very good” for that one season in 94-95, other then that season his high in PPG & APG together was 13 & 5 the season before.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    boy was this was scattered….I mean…c’mon who’s idea was it to consider anything over 6’0″ regular size?? Everyone who follows basketball knows any height between 5’10″ and 6’2″ is arbritrary. Should just rename the list to best guards under 6 feet, and still there is no way possible Kenny Anderson or Terrell Brandon would beat out Mark Price for a spot on the list…or Dana Barros…Dana Barros??

  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    NBK: LOL, sorry, I checked out his stats, he’s got that one-hit-wonder syndrome, but I just don’t remember him. I was a Phoenix fan back then but I just wasn’t very old enough to remember a backup to a superstar. I think I placed him fine.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Your placement is fine by me, I was just asking cuz my family hated him for whatever reason (maybe he hit some big shots against Phoenix?) – I was pretty young too, but I remember that I was conditioned not to like that guy as a player.

  • Russ M

    Calvin Murphy is suppossed to be an automatic for this list. The Hall of Famer is better then at least 4 or 5 of the 10 listed. This isn’t even debatable.

  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    ^^^
    It’s not, which is why he’s on the list…

  • Myung

    Lots of Hawks ties… former Hawks: Mookie, Kenny Anderson, Terrell Brandon (we had his rights and waived him), Brevin Knight, Spud, and Speedy Claxton. Mark Price was recently our shooting coach. And Chris Paul was the point guard we drafted with the 2nd pick in the 2005 Draft. Oh wait. Billy Knight took Marvin Williams instead. Sigh.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    Pound for pound AI is the greatest ever.

  • Gaz

    you can add BETCATS penis to the list of undersized 1s.

  • Arch

    Am I the only 1 who think Bubba Chuck’s Crossover was the best SINCE timmy’s..n his handle was second to none??

  • haha

    tom….the most price averaged was 20. i dont know where you got 25 from.

  • Russ M

    Jukai:
    If your old enough to be aware of just how good Calvin Murphy was, you’re probably at the age where you could benefit from a trip to the eye doctor. I’ll be making an appointment today.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    @Pardeep, agreed, inch-for-inch, pound-for-pound, greatest player to ever play the game

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Muggsy Bogues had a better career than both Dana Barros, T. Brandon and arguably M. Adams and Mookie. Just saying that judging by career Tyrone Bougues should be there.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    yes, my youtube doesn’t work..

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Shout out to Michael Adams…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    LZ
    Make that argument to me. I can see Barros, but the other ones are questionable.

  • spit hot fiyah

    people are sleeping on terrell brandon, illest mid range game i have ever seen. Had some really good years at cle, mil, and min, really underrated

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Shout out to Jim Les.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Shout out to Ernie DiGregorio.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Shout out to Keith “Mr.” Jennings…
    Shout out to Greg Grant.

  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    Yeah, I thought about Bogues cause he was really a great passer and a shockingly decent slasher, but certainly not a dependable scorer and obviously not anything of a defender. But once again, Dan Baros?
    I co-sign Spit Hot Fiyah, people are clowning Brandon on here, dude was pretty great before injury.
    Ernie DiGregorio played six years and averaged 9 points and 5 assists. Sterling player.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Spit Hot Fiyah and Jukai
    As good as Brandon was, he wasn’t better than Mark Price. Everything Brandon did, Mark Price did and for longer. I had Brandon in my top point guards of the 90s blog, but I had him well below Mark Price.

  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    Allenp: Yes. True. But I think Brandon was better than Anderson, Stoudamire, and Adams (and whoever the hell Baros is). If he’s in the middle of the group, why is everyone trashin’ him?
    Mark Price was great and I probably woulda put him in the 4th spot after Calvin.

  • Russ M

    His stats aren’t overly impressive, but John Bagley had a nice career for someone who was only 6ft AND fat.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think Kenny Anderson gets a lot of street love. It’s arguable who had the better career between he and Brandon given all Brandon’s injuries and the fact that he put up his best stats on a crap team.
    Damon Stoudamire was horse at one time, as was Michael Adams. I think the only clear mistake is Barros.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Uhm did you get this list or the idea for it off of Basketball Powers (.com)? Cuz these are very similar, even include Dana Barros, except its top 10… Also they too didn’t include Mark Price.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ Pardeep – Isiah Thomas is pound for pound better than AI…Isiah is what AI should have/could have been had he played team ball. Isiah > AI all day every day.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Where does Mark Price rank all time, iyo?

  • http://sdjfklf.com Jukai

    Teddy: While I’m aware you’re probably asking that as a joke, if I may…
    He’s kinda too far away from all-time for anyone to make an educated guess… I could look in slam’s top 500 but far too lazy for that. Ya gotta look at point guards.
    He ain’t in the holy 11 (Magic, Oscar, Thomas, Stockton, Kidd, Frazier, Payton, Cousy, Nash, Archilbald, KJ) so ya gotta look at the tier 2 points… he doesn’t have the resume to be better than Billups and DJ… he’s probably worse than guys like Cheeks and Hardaway… you’re looking at roughly a top 16-20 point guard, battling the spot with Mark Jackson, Calvin Murphy, Fat Lever, Lenny Wilkens and the ilk.
    And I didn’t throw in Paul, Williams and Rose who will probably all be better than Mark Price when it is all said and done.

  • Armando

    Agree with with your top ten, but KJ isn’t in that tier.. Paul, Rose and/or Williams will be probably. KJ’s stats are gaudy indeed (although he didn’t have any sort of range), and I’m not saying he wasn’t a great guard, but I wouldn’t put him at the same level as the other ten… I’m not old enough to remember Wilkens but I think there can be made an argument for him being at least at a Tim Hardaway level. Mark Price is definitely a top 10 sub 6-0 player (going by official measurements), Barros shouln’t be close to consideration.

  • Armando

    Chris Paul is better now than what KJ was.

  • http://sdjfklf.com Jukai

    Armando: Well, Chris Paul circa 2008 was better than what KJ was, not so sure with his injuries Chris Paul is gonna ever get back to that level. Given that, KJ had three/four years of immense success at an incredibly high 20-10 level, while Chris Paul really only had two… not to mention KJ got to the NBA finals (although when he did, he had a choke job that would make Dirk, Malone and Lebron all blush) as the second best player on his team, in a STACKED western conference.
    It’s kinda hard not to put him in the same tier as the first 10. Great slasher, great passer, great defender, besides his lack of range, he really didn’t have any weaknesses back in his heyday (which of course was rather short). If it makes it easier to accept, I’d say the other ten all had better careers and were better players.
    I’ve read a bunch about Wilkens since I’ve only really seen footage of him in all-star games… From what I remember from Simmon’s, Russell’s, and Frazier’s book, he was a pure slasher who couldn’t shoot, defend, and was a bit of an overrated passer. His numbers were alright but they don’t entirely stand out, and his best years came when he was having absolutely no playoff success. But it’s all conjecture really, I honestly don’t know much about him.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    @Wayno: There is no way Isiah was better, Iverson in his prime would destroy Isiah he was a much better athlete a much more skilled player, he accomplished more individually but forget the accomplishments, AI could take a game over any night, Thomas could not do that he was never unstoppable at one point for a while Allen Iverson was unstoppable.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Jukai: Ha, what made you assume I was joking? It was actually a serious question, so I appreciate the response. Though, I guess it’s hard to tell whether someone’s being sarcastic or not over the internet.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ Pardeep – no rings, no D, selfish player – end of story.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Shout out to Mike Iuzzolino.
    Shout out to Nick Galis.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Isiah was better than Iverson because he adapted better.
    But, it’s a toss up as a pure player. But the NBA isn’t about who is the better “pure” player, it’s about who is the better player on the floor with four other guys. And Isiah was better.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I couldn’t agree more with that statement Allen.

  • http://sdjfklf.com Jukai

    In my mind, it comes down to two things: “better” and “greater”
    Better is pure skill, with playing with other players secondary, and throwing out team accomplishments. In this scenario, Allen Iverson could certainly be viewed as better than Thomas. Iverson could carry a team better than Thomas could.
    Greater takes in “better” but also looks at accomplishments, and adaptability, and other things to that nature. Thomas was a clearly greater player. Thomas was far better suited to win championships with his style of play.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t think Iverson could carry a team better than Isiah. As much as I love Iverson, his run to the Finals with the Sixers, while amazing, was a byproduct of a pretty weak East.
    And, his failures in Denver and Detroit, make me question whether he truly could carry a team like Isiah did with those Detroit squads.
    Zeke was making the playoffs with lesser talent, then he was a consistent championship contender when he got some horses. That was a testimony to his skill level as a player. An all-around player.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    AI was a better scorer than Thomas, other than that, what did he do better?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I think you could say that AI was pound for pound the best scorer ever without much debate.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Despite my history of rants and negativity towards AI, I really do respect his skills on the court and his place in NBA history. What drives me crazy is how SLAM tends to try to shove his greatness down all of it’s reader’s throats all the time which causes me to overreact and be a d!ck about it…

  • http://sjfklaf.com Jukai

    Allen, never thought I’d do this… but I think you’re downplayin’ Iverson a bit.
    In Denver, Allen Iverson did not have to carry the team. He had to adjust, I actually thought Allen Iverson had to let Melo carry the team but Karl was so obsessed with Iverson at the time, he made AI the leader and it threw off chemistry. In Detroit, it was just a really upsetting, messed up situation and there were so many things wrong there, I don’t blame Iverson for the team being awful, but Allen Iverson did look absolutely clueless on what to do…
    But those aren’t “carrying team” scenarios. Those are “adjusting to a good team” scenario, which we all know AI didn’t like doing. I don’t think Thomas could do what Iverson could do with a bad team. Iverson was one of the absolute BEST at dealing with crap, cause he could score and dish off.

  • Yann Blavec

    isiah had better teammates than Allen, that’s for sure.

  • Allenp

    Isiah had crap teams early in his career. Go check the roster on that squad that faced Bernard King in the playoffs.

  • http://sjfklaf.com Jukai

    Allen, may I ask if your opinion of Allen Iverson’s finals run has changed recently? I remember debating you about it and you were talking about it as if it was one of the greatest accomplishments in recent NBA history.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Isiah made playoff runs almost by himself in a much stronger Eastern conference before the championship squads. Again, other than scoring, what did AI do better than Thomas?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    It is one of the great accomplishments of recent NBA history.
    But, that doesn’t make it one of the greatest of all-time.
    I’m more impressed with Isiah making those Pistons a feared playoffs opponent in a tougher league AND then making them champions and championship contenders despite a talent gap between his squads and the Lakers and Celtics. And for all the times he punked Jordan and the Bulls.
    Dude was a horse.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    That 2001 run was magical. But, despite it’s greatness, it doesn’t compare to the sustained excellence that Isiah fostered as the unquestioned leader, who had to adapt his game to make his team better.
    And, Wayno is right, Iverson was a better scorer, that’s it. But goodness, was he an amazing scorer. Nothing compares to watching Iverson in his prime, accept watching Jordan in 1993 or 1996.

  • http://sjfklaf.com Jukai

    Wayno: Why are you asking that? The gap between Isiah’s passing compared to Thomas’ passing is the same as the gap between Iverson’s scoring compared to Thomas’ scoring. Their rebound numbers are pretty much identical, neither was a great defender, Thomas played a more natural position to his height and weight so he had an easier time guarding one guards while Iverson killed the passing lanes a lot better…
    I mean, the difference wasn’t in anything tangible, it was the intangibles. Thomas’ leadership, his adaptability, his energy and how he managed to get everyone involved separated them as players.
    Allen: I don’t really agree with these “weak” Pistons teams you’re talking about. Early in Isiah’s career, he had a decent cast with Laimbeer, Tripuka, Microwave, Tyler… and it was a first round exit every year. Then they picked up HOFers Dumars and Dantley, grabbed John Salley and were suddenly a contender. This was a fantastic team. They were playing against aging dynasties. Iverson’s Finals team was compared with Thomas’ first round exit teams. That doesn’t kinda seem like a fair comparison to me.

  • http://sjfklaf.com Jukai

    And I definitely think Thomas is a lot better than Iverson… but that has a lot to do with their careers.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Laimbeer Tripuka, Microwave and the rest were bad. I have watched some of those games. Those guys were really bad.
    As has been noted on here several times, while Iverson’s teammates were challenged offensively, they were ELITE defensively. And even the East was weak. He still had to be a beast to carry them at his size, but Iverson had better talent for several years.
    I’m not saying the gap between AI and Isiah is large, just saying it’s there.

  • http://sjfklaf.com Jukai

    Of course there’s a gap… but let’s not go crazy.
    Laimbeer, Tripuka and Microwave were not bad at all. Laimbeer was dropping 16-12 a game, Tripuka was a two-time all-star… and while you can say both were ‘made’ by Thomas, Vinnie Johnson came off the bench and just get buckets, he was Jamal Crawford before Jamal Crawford.
    This was a decent team Isiah was working with. He took this decent team and made them great. But I don’t think Isiah could work with dirt the way Iverson does. Likewise, Iverson could not make diamonds from stones like Thomas could.
    Just my humble opinion.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    While Thomas wasn’t a great defender, he wasn’t that bad either especially considering he was small. AI gambled a ton on D and it worked out for him some of the time, other than that he was a liability defensively, I don’t think you could say that Isiah was a liability. Also I don’t think the gap in AI and Thomas’ scoring ability is that huge either. AI was a better scorer, but Thomas could have scored more, he just deferred. Skill wise, Thomas just had a better all around game than AI.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    First of all Thomas IMO was better over the course of his career then Iverson. But in iverson’s best season vs Thomas’ I’ll take Allen. He was not as bad a defender as you guys are trying to make him out to be. You don’t lead the league in steals, & minutes while playing on the best defense in the league unless your at least a decent defender. He was just no good against modern shooting guards, but just fine against point guards.

  • Hugo

    i like how good the quality of the dlock vid is

  • Yann Blavec

    Dear Slam, i’m currently reading issue 150. There are a few, too much, pictures of allen iverson where we don’t see his sneakers. (pages 46,47,and 49.)Please don’t make it again.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    There’s no way Wilt Chamberlain would make it to this list. Players back then were much taller.

  • Gregg

    Can’t you just put Mugsy Bogues on there for old time’s sake? I know he didn’t average alot…but c’mon, he managed to play in the NBA despite only being 2’7”.

  • http://slamonline.com thaiceman

    @gregg thats some real sh!t. btw this article has no credit due to the fact that Nate Archibald has no mention, and you said in the history of the game…. joke.

  • dnyce

    ROBERT PACK!!!
    STEVE FRANCIS

  • http://www.smykicks.com Jay

    Nick Van Exel, was a baller on the Lakers him and Eddie Jones. the Lakers all was find a way to get player that create highlight reels

Advertisement