Who was the best NBA player in history, six feet tall or less?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about some of the tallest NBA players ever. So it got me thinking; who was the most impactful six foot tall or shorter player in NBA history? Here are the first five guys that came to mind:
Muggsy Bogues, 5-3
To think a 5-3 inch player could even play in the NBA is remarkable. Not only play in the NBA, but on top of that be a starter and one of the most effective guards in the NBA for several years. Who got the most out of his height or lack thereof? A thirteen year pro, Bogues finished in the top four or better in assists in five season and ranks 17th in NBA history in total assists. One of the quickest NBA players ever, he also finished in the top ten in steals three separate seasons.
Damon Stoudamire, 5-9
Stoudamire was the quickest basketball player I have ever seen in person in my life. And to see a guy under six feet tall take over a game is remarkable. The thing that offset Stoudamire’s quickness so well was his ability to shoot and consistently hit from the outside, keeping opponents off balance. For being such a pure scorer, he distributed the rock exceptionally well, averaging 6.5 asp or more in seven of his first 11 seasons.
Spud Webb, 5-7
After all these years of watching the highlights, it still cracks me p to see Spud Webb’s tiny body assaulting the rim the way he did in those old dunk contests. Because at 5-7, it was just impressive to see him dunk, let alone throw it down with authority that rivaled the power of Dominique Wilkins. But he wasn’t just a marketing ploy. Spud was a consistent scorer as well, averaging 11.6 ppg for five straight seasons, culminating with a career high 16.0 ppg in 91-92, and leading the league in free throw percentage (.934%) in 94-95. For his career he averaged 9.9 ppg and a surprising 5.3 apg.
Calvin Murphy, 5-9
Murphy left his mark as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, setting NBA records for consecutive free throws made and highest percentage ever at various points in his career. Even without the aid of the three pointer for the majority of his career, Murphy averaged 20.0+ ppg in all but two of his 13 NBA seasons, and in seven of those seasons averaged five or more assists per game. His career free throw average of .892% is seventh in NBA history.
Michael Adams, 5-10
Michael Adams’ career, like his playing style, was a blur. He was the perfect point guard for the Denver Nuggets teams of the late 80’s and early 90’s leading the NBA in three point attempts four straight years, leading the league in made attempts in two of those years. He averaged a career high 26.5 ppg in 90-91 (along with 10.5 apg) and scored at least 12.1 ppg in seven of his 11 seasons. He was an exciting player to watch who could and would hoist it from anywhere.