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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26.    Yao Ming-23.02

Houston Rockets legend and NBA icon Yao Ming played just nine years in the NBA before injuries forced him into retirement. That is a shame because he was one of the most talented big men in the NBA at the time. Ironically, there was a time when Yao was one of the most durable players around.

He missed just two games in the first three seasons of his career before he started to miss large chunks of seasons. At 7'5 and 311 pounds, he was a behemoth, but his size contributed to his career's early demise. Although he was one of the biggest players in NBA history, he was more of a finesse player who could back his defender down and then hit a turnaround jumper over them.

Fortunately, PER doesn't hold his short career against him; actually, it helps him since he didn't have long enough of a career for him to decline as a player. On the other hand, had Yao not dealt with all of the injuries, he probably would have had a higher peak, which already saw him average 25.5 points per game in 2008–09. As is, however, Yao is a top 60 player according to PER.