The ultimate goal of any NBA franchise is to win championships. Most of the players on those teams are set on that goal and do whatever it takes to win.
We have seen several NBA superstars win championships. Some win multiple NBA titles, like LeBron James and Stephen Curry. However, some stars never win a championship.
There are lots of players in the NBA right now that have never won a championship despite being elite superstars and Hall-of-Fame locks. There is still time for these players to win their first championship, but their time is running out. Doing so could silence some of the criticism those players receive about not being able to win. Here are five players that need to win an NBA championship before they retire.
Russell Westbrook has received a mixture of love and hate in his career. He has been praised for his energy and effort, leading to his ability to post the most triple-doubles in NBA history. He has been criticized for his turnovers and shooting inefficiency. He has also been accused of stat-padding and putting numbers ahead of winning. Still, Westbrook is one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history. He will almost certainly be inducted into the Hall-of-Fame one day.
That being said, Westbrook is missing some important hardware in his trophy case. Westbrook has played with an impressive number of future Hall-of-Famers in his career. The players on that list include LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. Despite playing with all of those NBA greats, Russell Westbrook has never won an NBA championship.
Westbrook has made one NBA Finals appearance when his young Thunder team lost to the Miami Heat. If he could win a championship, it would defeat the argument that he values numbers over team success.
Similarly to Russell Westbrook’s situation, James Harden has also played with a large collection of future Hall-of-Famers over the course of his career. His former teammates include Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Joel Embiid, Chris Paul, and Kyrie Irving. However, The Beard is missing a championship trophy.
James Harden is a sensational athlete. He is a former MVP and he is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. People often criticize the way he gets his points: drawing fouls and taking several free-throw attempts per game. On the other side of the coin, you could argue that he was so good at finding ways to manipulate the game that the NBA needed to change rules because of him.
Recently, people have been speculating that James Harden is declining as an NBA talent. He has the chance to prove those people wrong if he can help Joel Embiid and the 76ers win an NBA championship.
Paul George has been one of the most elite superstars of the past ten years. As a member of the Indiana Pacers, he went up against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. He put up a good fight, but ultimately lost to the Heat both years the teams faced each other in the Eastern Conference Finals.
George suffered a devastating injury during the summer of 2014, but he returned as an even better player. As a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, George finished top three in MVP voting in 2019, averaging 28 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. However, he had little success in the playoffs.
Paul George is now a member of the Clippers with a real chance to win a championship for the next few seasons. George was previously criticized for not showing up in the playoffs after leaving the Pacers, but he has since silenced the hate by leading the Clippers to their first Western Conference Finals berth in franchise history. With a healthy Kawhi Leonard, Paul George should be able to help the Clippers make a deep playoff run next year.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the best scorers of all time. Melo had a stellar career playing for the Nuggets and the Knicks. Unfortunately, he does not have any championships to show for it.
Carmelo Anthony’s days as a star player are over. However, he expanded his range from the mid range to the three-point line. He has become a pretty reliable shooter from long range. Melo could be a valuable role player for a championship team, even if his defense is less than reliable.
Winning a championship as a role player wouldn’t mean as much as it would have meant if Carmelo won as one of the best players on his team, but it would still be nice to see him win a title before he retires. He can earn that by doing all the work necessary to support the stars on his team.
It seems like the entire NBA fanbase is rooting for Chris Paul to win an NBA championship. Even though Paul isn’t always the most friendly opponent on the court, he has earned respect across the league. He is one of the greatest point guards of all time and he is an excellent leader both on and off the basketball court.
Chris Paul has had many opportunities in his career to win an NBA championship, but he has always come up short. He was a part of a very talented Clippers team, but they were unable to get past the second round. When he teamed up with James Harden in Houston, he suffered an injury and the team ultimately lost in a Game 7 against the Warriors. With Phoenix, Chris Paul finally reached the Finals. The team had a 2-0 lead before losing four straight against the Bucks.
Chris Paul has dedicated so much to the game of basketball. He deserves a championship as much as anyone in the league. He has a chance to win one with the Suns and solidify his Hall-of-Fame legacy. If Kevin Durant ends up in Phoenix, his chances of winning a championship greatly increase.
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