Was an all star for ever single year of his career (94 meh..)
Led his team to wins over Magic, Jordan and Bird in significant series
Has the stats.. four straight years of 20/4/10 including a 21/5/14/2 season.. AND the playoff success
almost always raised his game in the playoffs, had possibly the most gutsy finals performance of all time in 88' for game 6. Changed his game and sacrificed stats for W's in 89 & 90 when the Pistons adopted a slower more methodical offense which didn't allow for Isiah to just run free
For me, I have Thomas over Stockton, and is a lot closer to Oscar than people think
Top 4 PG's all time would have to include Magic, Stockton, Oscar and Isiah IMO but I hardly hear this guy talked about anymore..
maybe it has something to do with his beefs with Jordan, Bird and Magic.. but Isiah was a fierce competitor and one of the toughest dudes to ever play the game
This is why context is always important. He competed with Magic, Bird, KAJ, Jordan for MVPs, while Curry is gonna get one competing with James Harden.
He didn't compete at all. His highest MVP finish was 5th in 1984. His only other top 10 finishers were 8th and a pair of 9ths. In the years Detroit reached the Finals he was 12th, 17th and 13th in MVP voting. Nor was he all-NBA in any of those three seasons.
The above is a key reason why he is in the top 20-25 group and outside the next group. He simply did not have the same individual success as the next tier of players, particularly during the years of Detroit's best team success. How many players have been the best player on a championship team and finished 17th and 13th in MVP voting? I think that says something. Usually a player like that would almost automatically at least be a top 5 or so MVP candidate on the strength of his team's performance.
Isiah's relative lack of individual success and his poor longevity are what hurt him.
All this is relatively speaking. He was an excellent player. He is one of the top 20 or 25 players in history. Yet we are comparing him to the next tier--people like Charles Barkley and K. Malone--and he deserves to rank below them.