Tough, nay, near-impossible choices abounded for this section. I'm very confident in my #6 pick being slotted correctly, but you could go many different ways for the others.
10. Josh Childress, 6'8" SF/SG, 210 lbs. (NBA: 2004-2008, 2010-2013; Euroleague: 2008-2010, NBL Australia/New Zealand: 2014- ). Stats: 9.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.5 bpg, 77.9% ft% , 52.2% fg%, 32.9% 3-pt%, 15.6 PER, 0.118 WS/48, 26.7 mpg. Accolade: All-Rookie Second Team - Despite his awesome hair, the 6'8" wing gets points deducted because he was more or less useless after four seasons. He had a good initial run for the Atlanta Hawks, serving as an important long-armed bench piece. His unique physical makeup made him helpful in Larry Drew's fast, lengthy, switch-heavy scheme, as they took the eventual-champion Celtics to 7 games in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. Immediately after this, Childress signed with a Greek team, Olympiakos Pireaus, when they outbid Atlanta for his services. Two years later, he returned to the NBA a broken player, and somehow tricked Phoenix into giving him a contract so bad that they had to amnesty it in 2012. Basically, like Landry Fields, Childress had a few good years before completely falling off. As the 6th pick in the 2004 draft, Childress now stands as something of an NBA disappointment.
Judging off players' ceilings alone, Childress for sure would have a shot at the top 5. He was big, he was fast, he could guard multiple positions. To wit, athletic wing defenders are highly in-demand this off-season. Young Childress would have been a great bench utility man in today's NBA, had he not cratered his career in service of the almighty dollar. He only started in 70 of a possible 391 regular season games -- his destiny would always be as a multifaceted Swiss Army knife piece on a good team. As it stands now, with only four good years under his belt as a rotation contributor on bad-to-mediocre squads, Childress never had a prayer at sniffing the Stanford alumni top 5.
Despite this, look at those numbers! Relative to most other Stanford-to-the-NBA/ABA players, Childress had a pretty good run. He technically played for 8 seasons, although he was cut from the Pelicans after playing in just four games during the 2013-2014 season. He shot really well from the field, especially as a wing, converted from the charity at a decent clip, was at least a passable 3-point shooter (the league average this year was 35%) played a good amount of minutes per game relative to many of the others on this list, and had nice advanced stats to boot. Was he a beneficiary of the stricter hand check enforcement policy, instituted at the front of his rookie season? Absolutely. But, you know, still.
9. Mike Bratz, 6'2" PG, 185 lbs. (1977-1986). Stats: 7.0 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.2 rpg, 0.9 spg, 83% ft %, 40.7% fg% (efficiency wasn't as important in his day), 30.5% 3-pt %, 0.05 WS/48, 12 PER, 18.1 mpg - Bratz barely started during his playing career. He bounced around from some decent Phoenix and San Antonio teams (they made the playoffs during his first three seasons, and he got legitimate playoff burn in his second and third seasons for those teams -- the 1980 edition made the Western Conference Finals) to some middling Bulls and Warrior combos. Bratz was an inefficient shooter, but in his day efficiency wasn't at nearly so much of a premium as it is today; volume was king. In terms of advanced stats, Bratz's PER peaked on the 1981-82, playoff-bound Spurs, at 14.2. Beginning at age 27 logged erratic playing time in limited games (on a bottom-feeding 1982-83 Bulls team, for example, he played 9.3 minutes over a scant 15 games).
One big factor in his up-and-down NBA career: he had a serious coke problem, like many players of the era. In his final season at age 31, he was cut from the Sacramento Kings before the season started. Still, as a back-up point man logging real time on real teams as the NBA entered perhaps its most competitive decade, the 1980s, and as someone who managed to stay in the league for eight seasons, the First-Team All-Pac-8 Cardinal deserves a spot in the top 10. The one-time Sacramento King is currently that dysfunctional organization's Assistant General Manager. I know I said we weren't counting non-NBA playing career stuff here, but if we were... well, Bratz would be in line for a demotion. Sorry.
Also, fun fact: Bratz was the last Bulls player to wear a #23 jersey before a certain greatest basketball player of all time.
8. Paul Neumann, 6'1" PG, 175 lbs. (ABL: 1961, NBA: 1961-1967). Stats: 11.1 ppg, 3.2 apg, 2.9 rpg, 79.9 ft%, 44.2% fg%, 6 w/s, 13.8 PER, 24.4 mpg - Neumann was a bench contributor for the Syracuse Nationals, who became the Philadelphia 76ers in 1964. He is honestly most notable, from an NBA history perspective, as being one of the trade pieces used to send Wilt Chamberlain from the then-San Francisco Warriors to Philly. Neumann's new team, the Warriors, wound up squaring off against his old team, now Wilt's behemoth Sixers, in the 1967 NBA Finals. He averaged a career-best 14.4 points in that early Dubs group, quite impressive when you consider some of his teammates.
The Newport Beach native played limited minutes on that also-ran team, which was spearheaded by hair-averse Hall of Famers Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond. Just to be clear, this is NOT the star of "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid" and all that salad dressing. Their names aren't spelled the same way, you know. How would Neumann function in today's NBA? Well, he is listed as being a speedster, and his shooting bodes well for his odds in contemporary pro hoops, although at 6'1" and 175 soaking wet, defense could become an issue. And who's to say a '60s speedster has anything on Russell Westbrook? Another detriment to his being ranked higher is his arriving in a faster-paced league with a finite amount of teams or African American athletes, thus artificially deflating the quality of the NBA's talent pool and inflating the stats of guys like Paul Neumann. His brief run in the league (a scant six seasons) also doesn't help his case.
7. Jason Collins, 7' PF/C, 255 lbs. (2001-2014). Stats: 3.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 0.5 spg, 0.9 apg, 64.7% ft%, 41.1% fg%, 7.0 PER, 0.064 WS/48, 20.4 mpg - The better, longer-lasting Collins brother, Jason was a competent starter in his prime, and even became a fun 6-fouls enforcer later on (I'd still take him as a fifth big man today, especially on a team like the Cavs or Bulls in place of Kendrick Perkins or Nazr Mohammed). Collins was an 18.3 mpg bench piece on a Finals runner-up New Jersey Nets squad during his rookie year in 2002, and then an eventual piecemeal starter (66 out of 81 games) playing 23.5 minutes per game for New Jersey the next season, when the Nets returned to the Finals and.. lost again.
In the latter part of his career, he played the enforcer role to perfection on solid Hawks, Celtics and Nets squads (including those two NBA Finalist teams). His numbers were never gaudy, but he started in a majority of his career games (477/735) and lasted for 13 seasons. One interesting note: his advanced stats (PER and average win shares) are actually worse than Jarron's, and both brothers' PER's are well below league-average levels. Here is a moment, then, when advanced stats don't tell the whole story, because Jason Collins was an important contributor to several good teams, and he is irrefutably the better NBA Collins brother. His pioneering position as the first active gay athlete in any of the four major US team sports was pretty damn cool, and probably makes him the most famous of all Stanford NBA players today. It didn't really affect his NBA play one way or the other, though, and it similarly doesn't influence these rankings.
Collins gets a lot of credit on this list for his longevity relative to his fellow Palo Alto hooper brethren. He is, to date, the longest-tenured Stanford alum to play in the NBA. Might a Lopez brother pass him in the 2021-2022 season? Sure. But they haven't yet. He can also boast playing during probably the 3rd most-competitive decade in the NBA, from a talent density perspective (after the '80s and '90s). That being said, his limited production and skill set (plus his disheartening advanced stats) preclude him from getting any higher than this current seeding.
Why is he listed ahead of Adam Keefe, you ask, when the traditional and analytic stats tilt the scales in favor of Keefe? Because (a) Collins lasted for four more seasons, (b) Collins played significantly more minutes over the course of his career than Keefe, averaging 20.4 mpg, and (c) because Collins could kick Keefe's ass if both were playing in today's NBA. Let me explain: up until 2004, the restrictions of today's hand-check rule had not yet been incorporated into the league. Again -- hacking was a tremendous part of Keefe's game. Were that to have been revoked with the refs calling every foul, he'd just have been another 6'9" banger, too plodding to do much outside of fouling people. Jason Collins would have had his number for sure. Why is he listed above the higher-scoring Neumann and Terry? Longevity, for one thing, and time logged in a much more competitive NBA era, for another.
6. Rich Kelley, 7' PF/C, 235 lbs. (1975-1986). Stats: 7.6 ppg, 7 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.9 bpg, 0.9 spg, 48.8% fg %,78.3% ft %, 15 PER, 0.115 WS/48, 21.8 mpg. The stringy, Doobie Brothers-mustachioed Kelley was the 7th pick in the 1975 draft by the then-New Orleans Jazz. While he essentially functions as window dressing in a slew of Pistol Pete YouTube highlight clips (before you start -- yes, Bob Costas is clearly a vampire, I totally agree, let's just move on), Kelley certainly brings some of his own attributes to the table as well. Like Keefe, he was first and foremost a defensive hustler, not terribly graceful or aerial, but effective. Unlike Keefe, his skill set wasn't limited to manning the post. He had difficulty handling some of the bigger centers of his day -- Bill Walton, Kareem and Bill Walton especially bullied him down low, gobbling up offensive boards and extra possessions at his expense.
Kelley's passing was on-point, too; he has a decent amount of cool outlet hockey passes on fast breaks and some nice dribble passes in these highlights. Maravich and Gail Goodrich loved to get out and run, and Kelley's game was a great fit for their uptempo, pass-happy system. The eye test in this case is in line with the numbers: over the course of his career, he averaged 2.6 assists a game -- he averaged 3.5+ dimes in three separate seasons. Those are phenomenal passing numbers for a big man in general, and a center in particular. Granted, Kelley arrived in the league one year before the ABA-NBA merger, and cocaine (see #9) was running rampant among players in both leagues. There was a bit of a lull in the talent pool, which is something one couldn't say during Adam Keefe's era. That being said, Kelley's stats, his presence as a starter on some good Jazz and Suns teams, his relative longevity (11 years from the '70s to the '80s is nothing to sneeze at, especially in a more physical, less medically informed NBA) and his more rounded skill set push him beyond Keefe. He would also be a good fit in today's NBA, kind of a poor man's less athletic Joakim Noah -- he saw the court really well for a big man, he was a high-energy defender, and he could knock down his free throws (until this year, Noah could, too).