Initially, I was planning on just using the 50 Greatest list and just go forward, adding one player every year, using all the stats and career accomplishments up to that given year, but you know what? I decided if I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna go balls out and start from the NBA's earliest years.
So here's how this works. The list will have 64 players on it. One for ever completed season in the NBA. A 65th will be added at the end of this season. And so forth and so on. The only difficulty here was that for the first few years of the league, not enough stats or accomplishments were yet accumulated to get a clear picture of a player's career. So, I started after the NBA's tenth season which ended in 1956. However, I didn't want to pick just ten players from the first ten years, because there still would have been a few older players that nobody really knows to make the list. So I picked 3 inductees for '56, 3 for '57, 3 for '58, 3 for '59, 2 for '60, and 1 a year for every following year.
Now, how do I pick the inductees? I'm going to go through and add up every one of the stats that are components of the "Greatness Equation" at the end of each season, whichever player (retired or active) is at the top of the list who is not already inducted will be that year's inductee. A player's eligibility never expires and he can be inducted at any point in his career provided he has a high enough score, because we're operating under the assumption that "if Player X never plays another game, he still has accomplished enough in his career to make the list, so why make him wait?" Players can also never be removed from the list. This seems like a no brainer and completely logical, but it essentially has this effect: If the 20th ranked player gets leapfrogged by 2 players in the 21st year, then players 1-20 and 22 will be on the list, and number 21 will just have to wait until the next year to get inducted.
These rules will have two pretty big impacts on the list. First, this will be a fairly exclusive list since there's only one player picked each year. There will be plenty of players who seem like they should be on the list but get squeezed out due to not having enough "roster spots" essentially. The second major aspect of these rules is that we'll have a more "historically reflective" list than a strict "64 Greatest Players Ever" list.
A "64 Greatest Players Ever" list would be easy enough to do and I could put it up right now if anyone wants to see it, but I think a list showing greatness through the ages is far more interesting and complex. For example, one of the 15 Greatest Players Ever in 1961 might not necessarily be one of the 65 Greatest Players Ever at the end of 2011. But that's not what this list is trying to determine. This list just says that "In 1961, Player X was the Greatest Player not yet inducted onto this list."
Make sense? Feel free to post any questions/clarifications/suggestions in the comments area, and I'll try to clear things up a little better. And I'll see if I can't get the first batch of inductees posted tonight.