Best NBA player from Arkansas?

Doesn’t necessarily have to be a Hog, but certainly could be.

In my mind there are only two real candidates: Scottie Pippen and Sidney Moncrief. Both in the Naismith Hall of Fame (Pip’s in there twice as a member of the '92 Dream Team, which he led in assists). Pip has six rings, Sidney none, and only got to the conference finals twice (Larry Bird and Dr. J kept getting in the way). But Pip obviously had a lot better team around him, starting with that bald guy with all the shoe money.

Both defensive demons. Sidney won the first two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards. Pip was never DPOY but was on the All-NBA defensive first team eight times and led the league in steals once. Pip averaged 16.1 points a game in the regular season, 17.5 in the playoffs. Sid averaged 15.6 regular, 16.0 in the playoffs.

IMO either one is defensible, but it’s something to debate other than cancelled games and jeopardized seasons. Joe Johnson made a lot of money and scored a lot of points, but to me he’s not quite on the Pip/Sid level. One list I saw had Mike Conley Jr. (born in Fayetteville) as #4 on the all-time NBA Arkie list, which is reasonable, and Derek Fisher at #5. Fat Lever, born in Pine Bluff but moved away early, is in the top 10 of that list. So is the Brand. Business Decision didn’t quite make the top 10. (Joe was #2 on this list, which I definitely dispute.)

“Big Country” Bryant Reeves, born in Fort Smith (Sparks Hospital I’d bet) is also on that list. As are four of the Jones brothers from Desha Central.

By the way there have apparently been 52 NBA players all-time born in the state.

Discussion? Adjustments?


Depends upon the measuring stick. Counting rings Pip wins in a landslide.


Looked up JJ’s career stats. He also averaged 16.0 points in the regular season but only 15.2 in the playoffs, He never played in the conference finals.

I am going with Pippen, Johnson and Moncrief, Alvin Robertson in that order.

Joe will be in Hall of Fame. He was never on the right team to win titles. But seven time all-star, one of the 46 players to score 20,000 points.Probably the most disrespected Arkansas Razorback ever.

I admit I am biased towards Joe. To me, he and Ron Brewer are the most skilled players to ever play for the Hogs.

For me, it’s Sidney. If his knees had held up it wouldn’t be close. If he’d been 100% healthy for 10-12 years in the NBA. He would be in consideration as best defensive guard ever.

Alvin Robertson is from Barberton, Ohio. Not eligible for this list. Have to be born in Arkansas.

Yes, I see that now. Obviously I thought the qualification criterion was anyone who is for Arkansas or played for the Razorbacks.

No way to go wrong with those two. It has always been Sid for me, I guess because he is the greatest Razorback, but there is no way to overlook Scotty. He was such a great Pro. One has to wonder how he would have done on other teams, but I think he made shoe guy so much better.

Number of titles Jordan won without Pippen: Zero. The GOAT couldn’t get it done without the kid from Ashley County.

Probably the all-time Batman and Robin duo in NBA history. The great Bulls teams had good role players, including Joe Kleine and Darrell Walker, but no third player that resembled Russell-Cousy-Havlicek or Bird-McHale-Parish in Boston, or Kareem-Magic-Worthy in Los Angeles, or Doc-Moses-Cheeks in Philly, all Hall of Famers. Steve Kerr will probably make the HOF as a coach some day but not as a guard. Or LeBron-Wade-Bosh in Miami.

Which makes what LeBron did in Cleveland, carrying that team to a title on his back, all the more remarkable. One site thinks Kevin Love will eventually be in the HOF but I don’t see it. I think JJ has a better chance of the HOF than Love does.

Dead heat between Pippen and Moncrief at their best. Both reached a peak and versatility that far outpaced Johnson. Pippen had slightly more efficient numbers and was the ultimate Swiss Army knife. He could play four NBA positions at elite levels at both ends. However, I’ll give a partially sentimental edge to Moncrief because at his best he was the prime option on one of the five best teams in the NBA. Unfortunately that was only good enough for third in the East. If Vitale had drafted Moncrief instead of Kelser, he might have played along side Isiah Thomas, which would have been one of the greatest backcourt duos of all time. What would he have looked like next to Thomas? I bet he would have a ring or two.

Two W. Memphis guys come to mind for opposite reasons. Cage had a very good career (not anywhere near the Arkansas players already mentioned), and Keith Lee, maybe the biggest NBA bust from Arkansas.

Derek Fisher isn’t the best player from our state, but with 5 rings, he deserves mention.

Fish was #5 on that list I mentioned.

To me, my FAVORITE without any runner up, is Sid. But “best in NBA” got to be Pippen. Next up? Joe Johnson sure got huge contracts and played forever and a day, so him I guess. Then Sidney. I would go with Fisher next.

How can Corliss get absolutely no love? He wasn’t an NBA All-star, but he had a nice career (6th Man of the Year) and is the only Razorback to ever win the NCAA Championship and the NBA Finals. Can’t believe not one of you has mentioned the Big Nasty.

Pippen deserves all of his accolades. However, I totally believe that if Moncrief had been given the opportunity to play with Jordan, he would have just as many rings. I actually think Sidney was the better player.

I have to mention 6th man of the year winner…the Big Nasty. His NBA career was better than he is given credit for IMO. Corliss’ problem was that he was too small to guard your 4, and not quick enough to guard your 3. But on offense, as Hubie Brown once said when he was playing your Detroit…“you can run your offense through this guy in the low post. He can get it done.”

Indeed he could.

Those back injuries to Big Nasty curtailed him a lot. One Tough dude though.

Sidney, game, set and match. Please. Pippen? No.

I’m with you hawgjawbend. Best does not mean # of rings. IMO

In the NBA what was Moncrief better at than Pippen? Because I have a long list of things Pippen was better at than Moncrief.