FanPost

The Top Players in the NBA

Fans have been debating who is the 'best player' in the league since the 2nd retirement of Michael Jordan. There has never been a clear cut 'best' among all basketball fans. You can see why, as Shaq, Duncan, and Garnett all dominated during the same period of time. You could make an assortment of arguments for all 3, and thats where the pleasure of being a fan comes into place. Lets make this clear: Since the 2006 season (the last years of dominance for all 3), Lebron James has been the best player in this league. He has had a number of individual achievements, to go along with team success, on a team that wouldn't sniff the playoffs without him.

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via www.diretodoforno.com.br

 

 

Now that we have cleared that out of the way, lets take a look at the next top 9 players in the NBA.

(To clarify, when i mean best, i mean effective in helping his team win.)

2. Dwight Howard

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via farm4.static.flickr.com

 

 

The next best player in the NBA is Dwight Howard. He plays the premium position in the NBA, and is the top defender in our league. While not pretty to some, his offensive game is one of the most effective in the league at a 63% TS%. To go along with his per 36, 19 points, 14 boards, and 3 blocks, his resume speaks for itself. This is the guy to build your team around if you do not have Bron Bron. Gets the other team in foul trouble constantly, and leaves his team's shooters open for 3, when he is not scoring.

3. Pau Gasol

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via blacksportsonline.com

 

 

This was the toughest choice on my board, to put him over Wade and CP3, but i think he contributes to wins ever-so slightly more. Achievements:

  • Led mediocre team to 50 win season in 2003-04
  • Led bad team to 45 win season in 2004-05
  • Led mediocre team to 49 win season in 2005-06

This may not seem like anything special, but the next season- with Gasol injured, and out 25 games, the team went 22-60. The Lakers on the other hand were a 7 seed for the next two years with the Kobe show-with no Gasol. In 2007-08, without Gasol after the trade deadline, the team sank into utter incompetence with another 22-60 record, while Gasol's new team had a 15 game improvement with him, only there for half a season.

In Gasol's first full season with the Lakers, they won 65 games, and won a title. Coincidence? I don't think so. Who held Dwight Howard in check in the NBA finals? Pau Gasol.

He's also been a consistent 59+ TS%, with a per 36 around 19 points and 10 rebounds. This guy is legitimately, a superstar, no doubt in my mind.

4. Dwyane Wade

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via isportsweb.com

 

 

When i think of Michael Jordan, Wade immediately comes to mind. Wade comes to mind as one of the only guards who can dominate a game offensively and defensively on the same night. Wade throughout his career, has averaged 1.8 steals and 1 block. That is amazing in itself. The +/- stats also show Wade's teams have always been much better offensively and defensively while he is on the court. Pretty impressive player.

On offense, you could call his achievements over the past 2 years to be extraordinary. When you look up and down the list of players on the Heat, none of them are particularly efficient, or high volume scorers. He has carried this team on his back {successfully} better than any off-guard in recent history. Look at his statistical achievements over the last two years in per 36.

2008-09:

  • 28.2 points on 574% TS%
  • 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals
  • 1.3 blocks (for a 6'4 guard, amazing)

2009-10:

  • 26.4 points on 56% TS%
  • 6.5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 1.8 steals
  • 1.3 blocks

Leading a team that would sniff around 20 wins without him at full strength (see 2007-08 Heat), to two consecutive playoff appearances in the new-and improved East, is nothing short of MVP status, unless you have LeBron in the league. Also, scoring 46 points against the Celtics in a playoff elimination game, was arguably the most dominant playoff performance since Lebron's 48 against the Pistons in 2007.

5. Chris Paul

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Chris Paul has been largely forgotten this year, as injuries curtailed him to 48 games. Don't jump on the D-Williams bandwagon just yet, as our good friend Olympicmike pointed out. Chris Paul has shown over his career, that he is the best offensive point guard outside of Steve Nash, while playing elite defense. Paul, has shown he can score with the best of them, with a career per 36 18.6 points on 57% TS%. That's outstanding, considering his first two years in the league, he wasn't efficient scoring the ball. Also, i'd like to point out, he fell victim to the usual PPG wins awards, when he should have won the 2007-08 MVP, over Kobe Bryant.

6. Kevin Durant

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via ntcf.files.wordpress.com

 

 

Some may think this is too low for the leagues scoring champ, but he has to prove to us, he can affect a game with something other than his scoring. One of the few players in the league who has a great mix of elite efficiency and volume, Durant finished the season averaging 27.5 points per 36 on 61% TS%. Great year scoring the ball. Good rebounder for the 3, but we should expect a 6-10 athletic monster with a 7'5 ++ wingspan to get more than 7 rebounds per 36. Durant has not shown he can pass the ball effectively, with 2.6 assists to 3 turnovers per36.

So far in Durant's career, he has shown he can score, and rebound well. He needs to improve his defensive consistency (we saw his potential when he was guarding Kobe in the playoffs), get his assists up, and develop a post game ala Kobe, so when he is not being fouled by the other team, that he can get good looks at the basket.

7. Deron Williams

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via letsblogsports.files.wordpress.com

 

 

Admit it. You've jumped on the ESPN-led D-Will > CP3. It's not something really terrible like Kobe > LeBron, because D-Will is still one of the best players in our league today. He's not the scorer, passer, rebounder, or defender CP3 is, but he is the next best overall point guard. For his career, he has per 36 averages of 17 points on 56% TS%, and 9.2 assists. Surprisingly bad rebounding numbers, but they have Boozer and Millsap for a reason.

In all his years starting for the Jazz, they have won at least 50 games. While he does have quality teammates this is something that shouldn't go unnoticed.

8. Tim Duncan

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via nbcsportsmedia.msnbc.com

 

Tim Duncan arguably has been the most valuable player in the NBA since the San Antonio Spurs drafted him in 1997. His team has won 4 championships with him as its best player ( Sorry Kobe fans, Kobe was only the best player on a championship team, arguably once). Duncan has been a defensive anchor for Popovich's team, and has allowed Parker, Ginobilli, and now George Hill flourish with his presence in the post. He still has not lost much. Per 36 this year, Duncan averaged 20.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.7 blocks, all on 56% TS%. Over his career, his per 36 averages have been 21 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.3 blocks, on 555% TS%. If he is not already considered the greatest power forward of all time, he will definitely hold that throne if he can get back to the finals this year. Duncan has always been a team player and allowed his teammates to flourish. His unselfishness has been rewarded.

9. Chris Bosh

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via www.rumorpress.net

 

Chris Bosh has been constantly supported with a terrible supporting cast. Not only, is he forced at times to be the only average defender on the floor (see this year w/ Turk, Bargnani, Calderon, and Derozan), but has been surrounded with various misfits. Chris Bosh is a great scoring power forward, who can rebound and defend well. However, when you put him (or any other non Dwight Howard) next to Andrea Bargnani, they are going to given unbearable tasks to rebound and defend essentially both low post positions.

CB4 has been a consistent, efficient scorer since his sophmore year. Over his career, Bosh has averaged per 36, 20 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1 block on 57% TS%. He had his best year yet with per 36 averages of 24 points, 11 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1 block on 59% TS%. Wow. He held that team together.

10. Rajon Rondo

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via 3.bp.blogspot.com

Rondo has proven to be the best point defender in the NBA over the past 3 years. Rondo has also shown he is an effective scorer, and elite playmaker. He is the only thing holding the Celtics together right now, and is their best player-on a consistent basis. Rondo, while flawed offensively, has refined his game to the point, where he can still be effective, and not a negative. Rondo has taken huge strides passing the ball over the last two years. His per 36 passing went from 6.1 in their championship year, to 9 and 9.6 over the last two years. His rebounding has always been superb for a 6 foot player, with a career average per 36 of 5.1 rebounds.

Rondo has taken his game to another level, and his ability to help his team win, now ranks him among the elite.

Main Snub from List: Kobe Bryant

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via upnextinsports.com

 

It's hard to leave such an accomplished player off this list, but his current play is nothing I would consider to be elite in terms of winning games. I believe the Laker's dominant frontcourt is the most obvious reason they are an elite team. Kobe is defined as an amazing scorer, however, he has never scored the ball with great efficiency, besides his 2006-07 dominant campaign. He also does not understand when to pass the ball to a better option. Kobe has exceptional passing ability when he is willing to defer, but he is continually in tunnel-vision, and does not recognize what a high quality shot is.

Kobe has won 4 rings, and while he has contributed to those rings, he has shot under 40% in 4 of his 6 finals appearances. Can we really consider him to be an all time great, if he has never dominated a particular finals? Has he ever been the best player on a finals winning team? I don't believe so. He played with Shaq (the best player outside of Duncan at the time) for 3 of his rings, and i have already established Gasol is the best player on the Lakers.

Bryants TS% this year: 54%.... the league average. Scoring is Kobe's supposed mastered art, yet he can't be better at it than the league average player....and if so, why can he not recognize this, and not shoot 21 shots a game? He doesn't have the mindset of a top 10 player. He has shown he cares about his reputation and personal accolades more than helping his team win basketball games.

So lets put it down in pen. GovernorStephCurry's top 10 player list:

1. LeBron James

2. Dwight Howard

3. Pau Gasol

4. Dwyane Wade

5. Chris Paul

6. Kevin Durant

7. Deron Williams

8. Tim Duncan

9. Chris Bosh

10. Rajon Rondo

Thanks for the Read.

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!

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