W10: Best Players in the NBA

Criteria: Wins/Losses, Statistics, On-Court Performance, “Clutch-Factor”, Hardware, Heart, Leadership

It pains me to leave off: Kevin Love – Minnesota Timberwolves,                                   Amare Stoudemire – New York Knicks, Pau Gasol – Los Angeles Lakers, Deron Williams – New Jersey Nets

10) LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trail Blazers

Current Stats: 22.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 0.8 blocks

LaMarcus Aldridge is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA. He never gets the respect he deserves. You may not hear a lot about him because he plays in Portland, but I’m telling you right now that Aldridge is a legit star in this league.

Despite losing Brandon Roy to retirement and Greg Oden to injury, the Portland Trail Blazers remain a contender in the Western Conference because LaMarcus Aldridge makes them so. He is the clear-cut leader of this basketball team and the face of the Blazers franchise. It is an absolute crime against basketball that LaMarcus has yet to make an all-star team. He has a tremendous low post game, can hit the 10 to 15 foot jumper when necessary and is a solid defensive presence down low.

I have no regrets putting Aldridge ahead of other notable power forwards like Griffin, Stoudemire and Love. Just because the viewing audience doesn’t get a chance to see LaMarcus play on television as much because of the time difference, doesn’t mean high praise shouldn’t be given to him. Stay up late one night and watch the Portland Trail Blazers in action and you will be in awe of how good a player Aldridge really is.

9) Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks

Current Stats: 26.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists

I used to consider Carmelo Anthony to much of a one-dimensional player to put him on my personal “top 10 players in the league” list. He has made a career out of being one of the purest scorers in the game, but has never really showed me that he is anything more than an outstanding scoring forward.

Until now.

Carmelo Anthony’s game has started to grow on me. He has become a much better passer over the last year and is averaging the most assists of his career. He rebounds the ball well and has improved tremendously on the defensive end. He is one of the few players in the league who can create his own shot and do it well.

He will have to accomplish more in the postseason to move up this list though. He has only made it out of the first round of the playoffs on one occasion.

Despite his lack of success in the summer months, Carmelo Anthony should still be considered one of the best of the best in the NBA. He certainly is in my books.

8) Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers 

Current Stats: 18.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 8.4 assists

Getting traded from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers was probably the best thing that could have happened to CP3. Not only does he make the Clippers exceedingly better, but now fans will hopefully get the chance to see Paul show his talents in a deep and meaningful playoff run.

Chris Paul is so good that he actually makes the once pathetic Clippers a contender in the Western Conference. He can get the ball to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan down low and finish with 12 assists, or he can take over a game with his speed and quickness and score 20-25.

Not only does Chris Paul make your team better, but he makes the other 4 guys on the court with him better as well. You put young, raw talent like Griffin and Jordan around Paul and he will make them look like a million bucks.

That’s what CP3 does. Just ask Trevor Ariza and David West.

7) Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks 

Current Stats: 17.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists

The last time I checked, Dirk Nowitzki is the reigning NBA Finals MVP and defending NBA Champion.

Nowitzki has been under the radar to start the 2012 season because the Dallas Mavericks haven’t exactly been blowing anyone out of the water at 8-6. To be fair, the team did undergo a huge overhaul to the roster and has put a much different supporting cast around the seven-foot German. His numbers have been down across the board, but history tells me that this cold spurt isn’t going to last.

Unlike most fans of the game of Basketball, my memory doesn’t wear thin. I still remember the dominating playoffs that Nowitzki just had in which he led a veteran Mavericks team and took them past the Blazers, defending champion Lakers, up and coming Thunder and the kings of Miami to win the NBA Championship. He is still a huge threat on the offensive end of the floor and is without a doubt the greatest shooting big-man in the history of the league. Don’t discount Nowitzki and the Mavericks from repeating this season.

It’s not like you picked them to win last year anyways.

6) Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls

Current Stats: 20.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.7 assists

The city of Chicago has officially been “Kissed by a Rose”.

I apologize for the cheap Seal reference.

Derrick Rose is the reigning league MVP and has surpassed Chris Paul as the best point guard in the NBA.

Rose is no fluke. He became the youngest player in history to win the MVP award after averaging 25 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds and taking the Bulls to the best record in the Eastern Conference last season.

What I appreciate most about Derrick Rose is how humble he is. He tries to avoid the spotlight as much as possible and tries to let his play do the talking for him. He is a once in a lifetime point guard who has many more MVP awards awaiting him.

With Derrick Rose as the on-court general in Chicago, the Windy City is starting to think championships for the first time since “his Airness” departed back in 1998.

5) Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder

Current Stats: 26.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists

This selection hurt the most. If this list was based on favoritism, I would have put K.D as my number one pick.

I am a huge Kevin Durant fan. I love how he has taken the Oklahoma City Thunder to new heights and instilled championship aspirations into the franchise.

I believe that when it’s all said and done, Kevin Durant could end up being the greatest scorer in NBA history. He’s that good on the offensive end.

His defense is still rather lacking. At his frame and with his wingspan, he should be averaging a lot more steals and blocks. He still has no MVP awards and championship rings, but that will change soon enough.

Did I also mention that he’s insanely clutch as well? Despite his young age, Durant finds a way to keep cool and collected under pressure. Just take a look at this.

4) Lebron James – Miami Heat

Current Stats: 29.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.6 assists

Woah! Lebron James at #4? Really?

Based on pure talent alone, Lebron James is the best player in the world, period.

BUT, he is entering his 9th NBA season and has yet to win an NBA Championship. In a league where championships define ones career, this is a huge. When the bright lights are on King James in important scenarios, he tends to fizzle out. As the popular joke goes, ask James for change for $1 and he will only give you 75 cents…..because James doesn’t have a fourth quarter.

I realize that Lebron James is a statistical machine. He has come the closest to averaging a triple-double over the entire course of a season since the great Oscar Robertson. But sometimes stats can never truly judge the overall talent of a basketball player. If that were the case, Andrea Bargnani (currently 8th in the league at scoring) would be considered an elite player in the NBA.

It’s time for Lebron to perform brilliantly in high pressure situations. It’s time for Lebron James to win a ring. Until then, I cannot call him the best player in basketball. Sorry Lebron fans.

3) Dwight Howard – Orlando Magic

Current Stats: 19.8 points, 14.9 rebounds, 2.4 blocks

No one can debate the fact that Dwight Howard is the best center in basketball. It’s not even close.

He reminds me of a young Shaquille O’Neal in his prime. He can single-handedly take over any game he is in with his size and strength alone.

The scary thing is that I don’t think we have seen the best Dwight Howard has to offer yet. Just imagine if Howard were to play with a star point guard like a Chris Paul or Deron Williams who can get him the ball and take the offensive pressure off of his shoulders.

It’s a good thing Howard has such broad shoulders too. He’s been carrying the Orlando Magic on them since he arrived in the league. No wonder he wants out so bad.

I don’t know much longer the Magic can sustain this pace, but it just goes to show how much of a difference maker Howard can be for an otherwise below-average NBA team.

2) Dwayne Wade – Miami Heat

Current Stats: 19.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists

I don’t care what anyone says. Dwayne Wade is and always has been a better basketball player then Lebron James.

There I said it.

If it weren’t for the presence of James in Miami, Wade would be getting a lot more notoriety for his play. It’s a shame because I firmly believe that despite what others may think, the Miami Heat are Dwayne Wades team.

He plays with such amazing heart and passion on the basketball court that it makes me wonder why that hasn’t been instilled in Lebron as well.

He also has a little piece of jewelry on his finger called an NBA championship ring too.

Even his own teammates have come forward and said that they would rather have the ball in Wades hands during the final moments of a close game. He is a proven winner, a clutch performer and the best player in the sport.

Well, if it weren’t for this guy….

1) Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers

Current Stats: 30.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists

Kobe Bryant is like a fine wine. He just gets better with age.

Despite being 33 years of age, Kobe is still the best player in the NBA.

He is also the most intelligent as well. He knows exactly what needs to be done in order for his team to be successful. There are games where he will take 20-30 shots, score 40+ points and be an unstoppable force on the offensive end. There are other games where Kobe will take less than 10 shots, reek havoc on defense and get the ball to “Twin Towers” Gasol and Bynum in order to win.

He knows what it takes to be a champion in this league. He has a hand full of proof in case you need convincing.

For years I have doubted how good a player Kobe Bryant really was. Maybe it was an inner anger dwelling inside of me for all of the championship glory Bryant had achieved in his career.

I will doubt no longer though. I am finally convinced that Kobe Bryant is the best player in basketball. No injury or coaching change can slow the man down. He has the hardware, the acclaim, the resume, the natural ability and the heart of a champion.

No one is better.

I would just like to remind all of my readers that these lists are based off of MY opinion and the research that I do. I understand that not everyone will agree with my selections all of the time and I am perfectly fine with that. If you feel that my list is lunacy and you could come up with a better one, then feel free to leave a comment below and let me know who you believe to be the 10 best players in the NBA today

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One Response to W10: Best Players in the NBA

  1. Jacely Beans says:

    This is cool. There’s only one thing common on all these players, they’re all good 😛

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