[Awards]: NBA Twitter’s 2021 NBA Podcast of the Year

Before the the new NBA season kicks off we wanted to come together and crown the winner of the 2021 NBA Podcast of the Year. Thanks to the overwhelming participation of over 2000 voters from 42 countries via NBA Twitter, The No Dunks pod has run away with this year’s award!

Note: Write in votes came in for The Hoops Collective and The Athletic NBA Show with Sam Amick.

It was a tight race for the first two weeks with The Game Theory pod in first for quite a while, later surpassed by The Lowe Post, only to be overtaken by a tsunami of fan support for No Dunks in the last few days. Each show brings a different style to the table, and the vast selection and quantity of pods these days is staggering. So it goes without saying that you’ve got to be real good to rise to the top and stay there, which the No Dunks crew has done for years between tv and pods (and all forms of social media). Their chemistry as a group is second to none, along with their knowledge and passion for the NBA. Bottom line: they make following the NBA each and every day more fun. Also worth noting is the their creation of the (much needed) What You Need to Know daily pod that goes over news and games from the day before in a very tidy 10-12 minutes, right on the same feed as their regular podcast.

All in all, a very worthy winner, so congratulations! And a big congrats, as well, to all of the nominees for an impressive 2021 season. We will keep this tradition going each year to show our support for all the hard work that these podcast teams put in each season to entertain and inform us. In the meantime, keep listening and supporting all of these great shows!

[Awards]: The NBA’s 75 Greatest Players as Chosen by a 70-Year Fan

HD NBA Top 75

The 2021-2022 season marks the 75th anniversary of the NBA, and to commemorate the occasion, a panel of media, current and former players, coaches, GM’s, and team execs will select a 75th Anniversary Team which will be made up of (…drumroll…) the 75 greatest players in league history. Unless Ben Simmons or Dame Lillard trade requests heat back up, this topic will most likely overwhelm October with an endless flow of articles, podcasts, and video debating the accuracy of and methodology behind the NBA’s list. Here at Hoops Distillery, we have our own prestigious panel in place to bring you our Top 75 list–a panel of one.

Normally such an illustrious award would not be decided by a panel of just one, but in this case, there was no one better to judge than my Uncle Mike. He has been a diehard NBA fan since 1952 who had the good luck of growing up outside of Boston as Bill Russell and a supporting cast of other future Hall of Famers led the Celtics to 11 championships in 13 years from 1956 to 1969. When the Celtics dynasty faded, he continued to follow the league closely through every decade until the present day.

Selecting the league’s greatest 75 players is hard enough as it is, but becomes almost impossible to do well without the perspective that comes from someone like Mike who has seen practically every single player who could be a candidate for this list in action. Without this invaluable perspective, the majority of us would have too many blind spots that make it all too easy to lean on the players we admired growing up, the ones whose legendary games or stats we’ve heard about, or those who are still in the media spotlight from time to time. Take it from someone who can actually compare and contrast the offensive dominance of Elgin Baylor versus Kevin Durant, or the innovative handle of Bob Cousy versus Kyrie Irving–and can do so without any help from YouTube or Basketball Reference.

Mike said the following about the challenging process of trying to create such a list:

It’s fun to think about “the Top 75” list , but no such list could be “perfect”, because there is NO “perfect” list. It’s just a matter of opinion.

In fact, if I had to do it again without looking at the list I sent you, my (new) list would probably be a bit different. Also, it’s impossible to compare players from different eras. For example, I included George Milan and Neil Johnston. They were great great players in the 1950s. But if they were playing now instead of the 1950s, I’m pretty sure they would probably not be on the list.

No list of 75 players can include ALL the deserving great players. Any way, it’s a good topic for conversation, and it’s fun to remember.”

I couldn’t agree more! So without further ado….here are the NBA’s Top 75 players. Oh, but first….a couple of quick notes:

To make this list a bit more digestible and visually interesting, I took Mike’s list and sorted it by era and by position, so we can take a closer look at the picks in a couple of different ways.

The 20-year, overlapping eras I chose may seem a bit odd, but there are so many players whose careers ran into multiple decades (especially the one’s with the most longevity like Karl Malone, LeBron, and Kareem), that this method seemed like one of the few possible ways to logically organize everyone. In the end, the groupings that were created are interesting, almost as if each made up their own unique cohort within the class.

Also, the players listings in both charts are in no particular order, except for me gratuitously putting the players I consider to be the best ever at each position at the top of their respective lists for no real reason other than feeling uncomfortable leaving them floating in the middle.

Feel free leave feedback and comments below or DM me on Twitter @HoopsDistillery. Who’s missing in your opinion? Do you hope to one day be able to look in the mirror and call yourself an NBA fan of 70+ years?

Recommended reading:

Jack McCallum at Sports Illustrated: “75 Years of NBA Coulda-Beens

Marc Stein’s (Substack) – ‘The NBA’s Top 75

Ben Rohrback at Yahoo’s ‘The Bill Russell Scale: A quest for the perfect list of the NBA’s 75 Greatest Players

[Awards]: The Hoops Distillery Slightly Prestigious 2020 Podcast of the Year Award Winner

After much debate, our esteemed panel of NBA die-hards have selected The Hollinger & Duncan NBA Show as Hoops Distillery Podcast of the YearTM award for 2020, a prestigious award that is much sought after by podcasters worldwide. Throughout what proved to be a surreal and unforgettable year in this world we call Earth, as well as the 2020 NBA season, with COVID-19 delaying play from March to July, the bubble, ever-changing rumors, news updates, rumors, NBA calendar changes, and a bizarre November draft and free agency, John Hollinger and Nate Duncan did a stellar job of corralling everything we needed to know and think through into a digestible and highly entertaining format. But what really sets this show apart from others is their in-depth analysis which is always at a very high level rarely heard elsewhere. Their content is geared towards the intellectual hoops fan without going overboard on salary cap or advanced metrics too much. Whereas many pods go a couple layers deep analyzing key news, team building, or trade rumors, they are able to go many layers deep looking at topics from the perspective of a fan, NBA insider, front office executive, owner, player or agent. That versatility combined with their basketball IQ and knowledge of all 30 teams is astounding and they truly have a pulse on everything that’s happening, which makes it so much easier for the many different levels of fan from all over the world to avoid doing the work it takes to attempt to stay in tune with the ever-changing NBA world. 2020 was an incredibly challenging year to cover, but also an amazing one with oodles of content once the bubble plan was in place. Bravo to these guys for going above and beyond to get the job done and help us all be informed and entertained throughout!

Superlatives for 2020:

Best chemistry between pod hosts: The Lowe Post and/or The Full 48 with the combo of Zach Lowe and Howard Beck

Most entertaining pod from a fan’s perspective: The Mismatch with Kevin O’Connor and Chris Vernon

Pod that you’re most likely to go back and re-listen to: Book of Basketball podcast with Bill Simmons

Podcast host with the most well-thought-out takes: Ben Golliver on SI’s Open Floor NBA Show

Pod most likely to make you feel guilty if you missed it: The Woj Pod with Woj

Best in-depth NBA draft coverage: Chad Ford’s NBA Big Board podcast

Best Produced: No Dunks podcast

Most ‘laugh-out-loud’ funny pod: Knuckleheads podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles