I feel to this day that when u throw in his ABA career that Doc is STILL THE GOAT SF. If u are talking strictly NBA then i think its Bird and Bron as the top two, with Bron about to snatch #1 from Bird. Gotta realize ABA was absorbed by the NBA of course. And the NBA used many of the ABA concepts to globalize the game. But in terms of the GOAT basketball players of all time, I got Doc in my top 7-8 to ever do it. It's a shame the ABA careers actually penalize the overall rankings of the greats to a degree. If I had to pick one athlete PERIOD to be the ambassador for a league, it would be Dr.J. He had it all from his talent, demeanor, and exciting style of play.
No one really knows how good J's prime was except a select few who saw the games in person since his prime was not televised.
The ABA seemed like an AND-1 type league, maybe there was no defense played but maybe Dr. J really was that good also.
Dr. J's play in the NBA warrants the question that the overall game in the ABA was the latter and not the former.
The no defense thing was more perception than anything else. The ABA was more of a running/wide open league and shots were taken quicker in the shot clock than they were in the NBA at the time. But you still had excellent defenders both inside and on the wing in the ABA (especially in the second half of the league's existence) who impacted the game. The best example is a player like Artis Gilmore whose defensive impact didn't change at all once he switched from the ABA to the NBA.