Who are the 5 best NBA players born in the Dayton area?

Middletown Middie great Jerry Lucas speaks to the crowd before the game, Friday, February 15, 2013, at the newly named Jerry Lucas Court, in Middletown. CONTRIBUTED/ROB LEIFHEIT
Middletown Middie great Jerry Lucas speaks to the crowd before the game, Friday, February 15, 2013, at the newly named Jerry Lucas Court, in Middletown. CONTRIBUTED/ROB LEIFHEIT

A select group of 39 men from the area have played in the NBA with Franklin's Luke Kennard expected to join this fall.

But who is the best to lace ‘em up for pay so far?

We count down from five to one:

5. Jim Paxson

After starring at Alter, Paxson followed in the footsteps of his father, Jim Sr., as a standout at Dayton. He averaged 18 points per game for the Flyers before being taken by the Blazers with the 12th pick in the 1979 draft.

Paxon was a two-time all-star during an 11-season career that included stints with Portland and the Boston Celtics.

He averaged 14.3 points and shot 49.8 percent from the floor.

4. Wayne Embry

The pride of Tecumseh High School, Embry was one of the best players in Miami University history.

He wasn’t chosen until the third round of the 1958 draft, but the 6-foot-8 center spent 11 seasons in the NBA.

He averaged 12.5 points and 9.1 assists during a career that included eight seasons with the Cincinnati Royals, for whom he played made five all-star teams. He won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 1968 and went on to become the first African-American general manager in league history.

He was twice named the league’s executive of the year as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers front office.

3. Johnny Green

A power forward from Dunbar who went to Michigan State, Green was the No. 5 pick in the 1959 draft by the New York Knicks.

He averaged 11.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in 14 seasons. A career 49-percent shooter, he led the league in shooting percentage in 1970 and again in ’71.

Green made three all-star appearances with the Knicks and another at age 37 playing for the Cincinnati Royals.

2. Ron Harper

A Kiser High School grad, Harper starred at Miami University before being drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1986. “The Ohio Flyer” averaged 19.3 points per game in four seasons with the Cavs and 19.3 points per game in five seasons as a Los Angeles Clipper.

He went to Chicago in 1994 and became a key member of the second Bulls three-peat with Michael Jordan, playing the role of lockdown defender for one of the greatest teams in league history.

Harper won two more NBA championships with the Lakers before retiring.

1. Jerry Lucas

The greatest Middie of them all led Ohio State to a national championship and three Final Fours before being a territorial draft pick of the Cincinnati Royals in 1962.

He joined the New York Knicks in 1971 and won a championship with them a season later.

Lucas averaged 17.0 points and 15.6 rebounds per game in 10 seasons.

He made the All-Star team seven times, won rookie of the year and was part of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team.

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