8. Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers
I feel obligated to start off here by saying that “The Blake Show” is my favorite player in the NBA (outside of all my Bulls, of course). I get into arguments with my friends and fellow NBA and sports enthusiasts about just how good BG23 really is.
I think Griffin is a great player and one that brings huge value to an organization. Outside of his 21 points and 11 rebounds he’ll give you per game, he brings huge marketability to your team. He currently is one of the hottest media chips in the NBA. Not to mention, you’re getting a standup kid who handles his emotions well. He’ll put your team in the highlights nightly, and sell tons of jerseys.
But at least for right now, I recognize that there are better options on the court, which you have to deem the most important variable for this list.
7. Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers
Don’t agree here? Too high for his age? I understand all the objections you could throw at me about this, but I think I’ve got a pretty good thought process behind putting Kobe here.
For starters, Kobe Bryant is the biggest basketball name worldwide. With the globalization of basketball and the NBA, fans in China, for example, don’t follow LeBron, they follow Kobe.
Second, he has three or four years left during him in which he can lead a championship contender. If I were testing the free agent market and could choose to play with Kobe for maybe 2-4 years, there’s a good chance I’d take the opportunity. It’s hard to guarantee a better shot at a championship.
Finally, he’s still really good at basketball. Yeah, I know his body is slowly deteriorating, but he nearly won the scoring title this past season, so he can still score with the best of them. While his defense and endurance throughout a season will slowly drop, his ability to put the ball in the basket isn’t going anywhere too soon.
6. Kevin Love – Minnesota Timberwolves
Remember that argument I said I always get in about Blake Griffin? Well, the player on the other end of it is Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love.
Love is a statistics monster, as his numbers have gotten better in every year of his short career. This past season, Love averaged a monstrous 26 points and 13 rebounds per game. He’s the type of player that can bust out for 40 points and 20 boards on any given night. But the best part about his game isn’t quite reflected in those numbers. Love does it all; he can shoot, post up, defend, and even pass. He is a complete player in every sense of the term, and is very easy to build around because of that versatility.
As difficult as that was for me to say…sorry Blake
5. Dwight Howard – Orlando Magic
Look up “basketball center” in the dictionary, and as far as today’s day and age goes, you’ll see a picture of Dwight Howard. Throughout his NBA career since being drafted out of high school, Howard has averaged 18 & 13, but his numbers in recent years have been much better than that, closer to about 21 & 15.
While Andrew Bynum is making his name heard amongst the league’s best centers, Howard still takes the crown as the best there is. He has dominated for quite some time now, and I don’t see him fading any time soon. Any player testing free agency would be out of their mind to not want to play with Dwight. He makes others around him better, a lot better…simple as that.
4. Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers
I just gave you a center, so now it would only make sense for me to give you a point guard.
By far and away the best pure point guard in the league, Chris Paul is smooth as silk on the court. He strides and glides, and always looks for the best pass to make. While he can score, averaging 19 points per game in his career, making the pass is always what’s on his mind first and foremost.
To be frank, you are not taking a risk when starting a franchise around CP3. Nobody makes his teammates better more than he does.
3. Kevin Durant
If you want a scorer, you want Kevin Durant.
The youngster out of Texas has now won the NBA scoring title in three consecutive seasons. He can elevate and shoot over anybody, as we saw with his game winning shot from the free throw line against Dallas on Saturday.
There’s really not a lot more left that I can say besides that he scores a lot, and he will continue to score a lot for a long time. It’s helped that he is on such a good team, but it’s hard to imagine a Kevin Durant team that isn’t that good, no matter who the players are on it, which is exactly why it would be smart to start a team around him.
2. Derrick Rose
Depending on who you ask, the Bulls’ MVP point guard could be anywhere on this list from 1 to about 6 or 7. I have him this high because I think Rose is the best, most game-changing point guard in the league…by far.
He’s improved his jump shot, which has only helped out his magnificent ability to take the ball to the lane and score at will. There are better passing point guards on this list, but D. Rose can not only take over any given game, but he can lead a team.
He’s got all the pressure in the world on his shoulders playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls, trying to bring the team back to the glory days of Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. Rose is a stand-up kid who is as eager as anyone to win, and don’t forget, he plays the point.
1. LeBron James
Last but not least, we’ve got “The King.” Actually it’s only LeBron, I’d never call him a king. But to be fair, he is pretty good.
He’s great on offense, as his jump shot and post-up games have improved, and he can lock down anyone on defense. He really can do everything.
Well, besides one thing: close.
I don’t read into him not being able to close as much as the rest of the media does, but he does still need to be prove to me that he can take over not only a game in its later stages, but a whole series, too.
He can play up top, down low, or somewhere in between. He’s finally got a good supporting cast, and if you were starting a franchise and could surround any player with a solid supporting cast, LeBron James should be your guy.
Now it’s your turn to chime in:
Who isn’t the list who should be?
Who is ranked too high? Who is ranked too low?
The comment section awaits.