The 75 greatest players in NBA history, ranked by Player Efficiency Rating (PER)

The 75 greatest NBA players of all-time, ranked by PER

Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant
Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant / Harry How/GettyImages
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31.    Dirk Nowitzki-22.44

Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki was one of the premier players in the NBA during the 2000s and 2010s and the first foreign-born player in league history to score 30,000 points. His impact on the game goes beyond that, however. Dirk's game served as the archetype for the modern NBA.

When Dirk was initially drafted in 1998, there were only a handful of stretching power forwards but his development into a superstar led to an increase in big men looking to expand their range and teams valued those players. Eventually, that led to centers doing the same thing and now teams often play with at least four or five shooters on the floor at all times.

With him being among the first high-volume stretch fours, Dirk proved to be incredibly difficult to stop, especially with his patented turnaround high-arching fadeaway jumper. He boasts a stellar career true shooting percentage of 57.7, making him one of the most efficient top-tier scorers in league history.

That certainly helped him in terms of PER, with him posting an incredible 28.1 PER in 2005–06—one of 12 straight seasons with a PER higher than 20. That is a rare feat and explains why he appears so high.