When we looked up 25 NBA superstars to determine the combined winning percentages of the opponents they defeated in the playoffs, two players who stood out were the legendary Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant, who finished within percentage points of each other at No. 1 and No. 2 on our list respectively.
It’s easy to see why, too, because looking back, both played in super-strong era of the Western Conference. Just as a quick example, the Golden State Warriors missed the playoffs in the West back in 2007-08. They won 48 games that season.
Overall, Bryant won far more series during his career, but Nowitzki won with worse company surrounding him.
Looking through other notable stars on our list, LeBron James finds himself down in the rankings at No. 14, as the playoff opponents he defeated boasted a 60 percent win rate, a product of him spending the vast majority of his career in the much weaker Eastern Conference. (The same can be said of Magic Johnson, who’s 20th on our list, due to the fact that the West was pretty weak overall in the ’80s.)
Regardless, James deserves credit for one feat: Nobody on our list beat a better team than he did in 2015-16 when he took down the 73-9 Warriors in the Finals.
Other noteworthy players on our research-based ranking include Michael Jordan (No. 4), Kevin Durant (No. 7) and Larry Bird (No. 23).
For the entire list, just click through the gallery posted at the top of the page.
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