I wanted to do a little power ranking of the top 15 former Stanford basketball players' NBA/ABA careers, especially since Anthony Brown and Chasson Randle are gearing up for the 2015 NBA Draft tonight, which kicks off at 3 p.m. PST. It generally appears that Brown is more probable to get drafted in the second round, while Randle seems likelier to have to scrap his way through in Summer League. In all likelihood, at least one reigning NIT champ will be on an NBA roster come fall, and join the ranks of the 27 other Stanford players who advanced to the NBA.
Several elements were taken into account: Hall of Fame and All-Star credentials, All-NBA and Defensive Team selections, All-Rookie teams, career stats, longevity/durability, role players on good teams, and era. I have many, many notes on the era qualifier. The 1980's and pre-expansion 1990's (up till the 1994-1995 season) were probably the most competitive in the NBA's history. The 1940's-1960's NBA had an unofficial cap on black players per team until the middle of the '60s, and there were only 14 teams by 1969. There are 30 teams today. The 1970's featured quality players split between the NBA and ABA, diluting the talent in both leagues. The 1950's had NO 24-SECOND SHOT CLOCK before the 1954-55 season; those players didn't need speed to survive (or efficient shooting). The NBA has an INSANE amount of talent right now, although it's important to note that offensive numbers post-hand check rules (implemented in 2004) have been inflated. Post-career achievements will not be considered in these rankings. I will note other pro leagues played, but will not include those statistics in my appraisal of them, aside from the pre-NBA pro leagues.
ALSO. Did you know that Stanford produced TWO separate sets of NBA-player twins? Well, fine, you probably did, because we're all nerds here. But still.
15. Mark Madsen, 6'9" C/PF, 240 lbs. (2000-2009). Stats: 2.2 points per game (ppg), 2.6 rebounds per game (rpg), 0.2 blocks per game (bpg), 0.3 steals per game (spg), 52.7% free throw percent (ft%), 45.7% field goal percent (fg%), 8.1 Player Efficiency Rating (PER -- determined via Basketball-Reference.com, set up so that the league-average PER is 15; anything below that is thus sub-standard), 0.074 win shares per 48 minutes (also via Basketball-Reference.com, only calculable after 1973 season -- from here on this will be written as WS/48), 11.8 minutes per game (mpg). Accolades: 2x Champion.
"Mad Dog" Madsen's big contribution to the 2001 and 2002 Lakers championships, outside of being a helpful practice body (Shaq once said Madsen used to beat him up in practice), was of the oratorical, culinary and terpsichorean varieties (HE GRINDS HIS OWN WHEAT). Say what you will about his actual basketball-playing abilities, but you can't deny that the dude tries really hard, shoes or no shoes. He only played spot minutes during those two Finals runs -- he averaged 3.7 minutes per game in 13 of 17 playoff games in 2001, and he averaged 1.4 minutes during just 7 of 19 playoff games in 2002.
Madsen did, however, contribute to two big playoff runs he could call his own. He averaged 14.1 minutes per game on the 2003 Lakers squad that was felled by the Spurs in the Conference Semifinals (he even started at power forward for two games). In 2004, Madsen averaged 13.1 minutes as a bench big for the Western Conference Finals-bound 2004 Minnesota Timberwolves, nabbing 3.4 rebounds (which would translate to 9.7 rebounds per 36 minutes) and 2.8 points (7.6 per 36 minutes). It was during their Conference Semifinals match-up against the Sacramento Kings, though, that Madsen had the biggest impact. Most significant was a huge run in the 4th quarter of Game 3, where Madsen's hustling galvanized an epic comeback. During the quarter, Madsen had three defensive rebounds in just under 3.5 minutes... and fouled three dudes in just over five minutes. His biggest moment arrived with 4:14 left on the shot clock, and the Wolves finding themselves in a 14-point hole, at serious risk of being down 2-1 in the series with a game left to play in Sleep Train Arena. Latrell Sprewell fed Madsen for an emphatic slam dunk over two unsuspecting Sacramento players, permanently changing the game's momentum. It keyed a 20-6 Timberwolves run to tie it in regulation. They would go on to win in overtime, and eventually would take the series and advance to the Conference Finals for the only time (so far) in franchise history.
Outside of his per-36 rebounding average (7.8!), his NBA stats are uninspiring. He was also generally a part-time player, performing mop-up duty or replacing injured reserves. He only played 60+ games three times (averaging 12.5 mpg between them), and only two of those were playoff teams, the '01 Lakers and '04 T-wolves. His longevity (9 seasons!) and defensive contributions to championship winners and contenders between 2000-2004 earn him this spot.
14. Jarron Collins, 6'11" C, 255 lbs. (2001-2011). Stats: 3.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.2 bpg, 0.3 spg, 69.9% ft%, 45.5% fg%, 0.088 WS/48, 9.4 PER, 15.8 mpg - During the meat of his career, Collins was primarily a bench big for some solid Sloan-era Jazz squads (five of eight were playoff teams), coming in at the tail end of the Stockton-Malone era and then for the start of Williams-Boozer (yes, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer used to be pretty good). He was a deep-bench enforcer for an overachieving Nash-Stoudemire Western Conference Finalist Phoenix Suns team in 2010, and then rode out a few 10-day contracts with the Clippers and the Blazers in the 2010-11 season, although he was cut by Portland before the playoffs got underway. He started in a scant 216 of 542 career games, and was basically a nominally worse version of his twin brother Jason, who started in 477 of a whopping 735 career games and made two Finals. In his favor, Jarron was a bit stockier, shot 5% better from the charity stripe, and boasts superior advanced stats.
13. Landry Fields, 6'7" SG/SF, 210 lbs. (NBA: 2010- ). Stats: 6.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 assists per game, 0.8 steals per game, 0.2 blocks per game, 66.6% ft%, 47.3% fg %, 33.2% 3-pt%, 12.1 PER, .084 WS/48, 23.6 mpg. Accolades: 2011 All-Rookie First Team, 2012 NBA Shooting Stars Champ - Landry Fields is a weird one. Here's a player who was a surprising asset to a playoff Knicks squad, relatively unheralded coming into the league (he was drafted 39th in 2010). He started on the Knicks right away, averaging 9.7 points and 6.4 boards in an uptempo Mike D'Antoni offense as a rookie, then 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds under Mike Woodson the next season. He was a pretty good corner three-point shooter. Those two teams won... a single playoff game between them. In 2012 Fields signed with the Raptors, who became a high-level-in-the-Eastern-Conference playoff team over the last two seasons, and got relatively buried on the bench. This past season, he posted a much less inspiring stat line than he did as a Knick: 1.8 points and 1 rebound per game for the regular season. He played 26 minutes total in the playoffs, scoring no points but grabbing 5 rebounds. To be fair, lingering nerve injury issues may have hurt his rotation status, and when given more time he had some good moments.
The guy can't shoot anymore, but he can penetrate and used to be okay on defense. He lacks the athleticism of Terrence Ross or James Johnson, both of whom are also wing players who are now ahead of him in the Toronto rotation. Ross can shoot better than Fields, and Johnson is more defensively versatile, in that the dude can guard anyone from 2's to 4's -- plus he's a better finisher. And the Raptors aren't even that good! There's a decent chance that, playing close to 50% more of their games against superior Western Conference talent, Toronto wouldn't have made the playoffs as a Western Conference team this season.
Fields would probably have been a better player during a less 3-pointer-happy NBA era, but as is, he's still proven himself to be a legit rotational piece for.. some okay Eastern Conference teams. Sometimes. He is a free agent this summer, coming off a contract he may never see again: a three-year, $20 million deal with the Raps, signed at a time when they were not the Masai Ujiri pseudo-contenders they are today. In a recent SB Nation ranking of every single free agent this summer, Fields came in at 175th, behind such league luminaries as. Lou Amundson and the half-dead Hedo Turkoglu. Honestly, it's hard to see him getting more than a veteran's minimum contract this season, and he's just 26. He could be out of the league in a year or two if he can't turn things around. But who knows? Maybe he can? In assessing his career as a whole, he warrants inclusion here -- especially if he can somehow stay in the league for another 2-3 years. Fields is the first Johnny Dawkins Stanford-to-the-NBA success story on this list. But not the last.
12. Claude Terry, 6'4" SG/SF*, 195 lbs. (ABA: 1972-1976, NBA: 1976-1978). Stats: 5.5 ppg, 1.3 apg, 1.4 rpg, 0.4 spg,78.5% ft%, 46.8% fg%, 35.4% 3-pt%*, 0.077 WS/48, 11.9 PER, 12.3 mpg. 1976 All-Star* - Terry fills the "role player on a good team" spot here, having been known more for his hair (Sports Illustrated designated him a "blonde Sonny Bono") than his on-court contributions. He gets points deducted for his lack of longevity in the pros; he served four years in the ABA with the Denver Nuggets (who were the Rockets until 1974), then half a season with the Buffalo Braves (later the Clippers) before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks, where he would retire in 1978 at all of 28 years old. He was drafted 42nd in the NBA (the third round at the time), and 15th in the ABA. Typically, a two, Terry's biggest success came in the ABA, as a role player on two 60-win, back-to-back Finals runner-up Denver Nuggets squads (David Thompson and Dan Issel were the stars).
He averaged 14.1 and 17.1 minutes on those two teams during the regular season (11.3 and 13.3 in the playoffs respectively), shooting a very good 53% and 46.4% from the field, and going 76.1% and 89.9% (!) from the charity stripe during that time. There isn't much video of his playing days available online, but he was apparently great at moving without the ball, in the Rip Hamilton/Kyle Korver/Jesus Shuttlesworth mold.
-Terry was an All-Star in 1976 only because the ABA had the league's first-place team, Denver, play against a team comprised of ABA All-Stars; so that credential is misleading. He actually had a pretty solid showing in the game itself, though, nabbing 14 points, 3 assists and 3 boards in 25 minutes.
-The 3-point shot existed in the ABA, but wasn't incorporated into the ABA until after Terry's retirement.
-The Modesto native is listed on Basketball Reference as being 6'4", but according to the scout who drafted him, he was 6'5".
11. Adam Keefe, 6'9" F/C, 230 lbs. (NBA: 1992-2001, Spanish ACB League: 2001-2003) - Career Stats: 5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.7 assists, 0.5 spg, 0.3 bpg, 71.4% ft%, 50.2 fg%, 12.9 PER, 0.032 WS/48, 16.7 mpg. Keefe was a role player on the classic Stockton-Malone-Sloan Utah Jazz throughout the 1990's, and even started for the 62-win '98 Finals team that lost in 6 games to the Bulls, during one of the NBA's more competitive eras. Between Keefe, Jeff Hornacekand the immortal John Stockton, the Jazz were starting three (THREE) white players that season! Which is insane, but I'm sure the Utah fans were happy about it. On road trips, these three would frequently meet with Sloan and assistant coach Phil Johnson at their hotel bar, to talk strategy and team-building. That's a nice intangible you can't really define with a metric. Let's put it on his dossier anyway.
He was Utah's de facto center in 1998, despite standing all of 6'9" and weighing all of 230 lbs. In expanded regular-season minutes (25.6, which was 4.8 minutes clear of his next-best season mpg average), Keefe averaged 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.7 steals, while shooting 81% from the free-throw line. These all matched or surpassed his career highs, and his field goal percentage of 54% was second only to his 1994-95 average of 57.7% (although he played 16.8 minutes a game then). That 54%, by the way, was 6th best in the NBA that season -- the 57.7% didn't qualify because Keefe didn't shoot the 300 field goal-minimum to qualify for a ranking.
Keefe's moxie couldn't compensate for his lack of quickness in the playoffs, and he saw his minutes reduced to 10.8 per. During the Finals, he was kind of a co-power forward, guarding the 6'11", 235-pound forward Toni Kukocinstead of 7'2", 265-pound Bulls center Luc Longley. Karl Malone jumped center against Longley in the Finals, mainly because he had far superior hops, plus 20 pounds on Keefe. Keefe started in 10 of the Jazz's 16 playoff games, including every contest prior to the Finals. After getting demoted in favor of two guys named Greg (Foster, then Ostertag), he earned back the starting-center gig to close out the last three Finals games. The position was still handled piecemeal, but damn it, Keefe got the start. Antoine Carr took a lot of his minutes during the last two games, as a result of Keefe's limited offense. His defense in Game 5 was somewhat questionable, too, as Toni Kukoc torched him to the tune of 13 of the Bulls' first 14 points in the game. Those first two field goals came as a result of Kukoc bodying up the shorter, slower Keefe down low. Keefe recovered a bit in Game 6 with some nice help defense, yielding an early steal.
Keefe was not much of a shooter away from the rim -- in the lone season where this was measured for him, he shot 61% from within three feet and did not clear 30% from any other distance. This is a guy who played all three front court spots for Utah, too, even though, again, he couldn't shoot. He was a solid post defender in the '90s sense of that phrase, in that he oftentimes anticipated penetration before it happened and would bum-rush cutters -- a move that would certainly count as some kind of flagrant today. Incidentally, Keefe AND the #6 player on this list both cracked a list of aggregated stat averages for the Jazz's all-time top 51 players.