Where would you ranked Monta and Curry if you were putting together a list of the best NBA players 25 or younger in the NBA? Gordon or Curry? Does Monta's tweener status hurt him?
My Top Ten
1. Dwight Howard: Franchise big men are few and far between so I think you have to put Superman Jr. at the top of the list.
2. Chris Paul : Even though quality young point guards are abundant in this new generation, I'd still go with CP3 as my #2 pick. He's a true 1A star who can be the best player AND the motor that drives his team; I'm not sure the same can be said for most other players on this list (or in this entire league even.)
3. Blake Griffin: Am I going overboard by putting Blake over Kevin Durant? Possibly but one thing is for certain, Blake Griffin's going to get a team more highlights and put more asses in the seat and in this economy, I think that has to count for something. As for on the court, I like Blake's attitude a bit more than Durant and like that he's one of the few young power forward in the league that seems to be willing to mix it up down low a bit rather than just hoist jumpers. And as many others have said, his energy is so contagious that its even brought Baron Davis back from the dead.
4. Kevin Durant: My 1A comment in the Chris Paul write-up was indeed aimed at Durant. While Kevin Durant is a scoring machine, I still believe that the engine that runs the Thunder is Russell Westbrook. Durant reminds me a bit of Paul Pierce; a guy who is definitely the best player on the team but isn't necessarily the lead dog. I can understand putting Durant as high as two and probably wouldn't ever put him before four but if I was building a team, I'd opt for Dewey, CP3, and Blake first.
5. Derrick Rose: Celtics fans might hate me for this but, yes, Derrick Rose is the best young point guard in the NBA. I love Rondo but his absolute lack of a shot troubles me. Yes, Rose's inconsistent defense is also bothersome but I have more faith in Rose improving that weakness than Rondo ever being able to knock down the jumper as well as Rose, who in spite of having limited but expanding range has a pretty nice mid-range J.
6. Rajon Rondo: If anyone wants to say that this is a homer pick, well, yeah, it might be. But for all of the complaints that Rondo has the luxury of playing with three (and now four) Hall of Famers, the flipside of that is if he might be allowed to do more and have more impact himself on a team like OK City.
7. Russell Westbrook: Russell seems a bit like Rondo-lite but, y'know, there are worse things to be. I think he's a players that will continue to get better and will always be in the conversation with the best PG's in the league but for some reason, I just see him as always being a shade below the elite.
8. Al Horford: Because of the depth of the young PG field, I could see moving Horford up a bit but there's just something that just seems to be missing with Al. If Durant is a 1B star, Horford is like Kevin Garnett a 2A type - someone who might not be the best player on the team but is the leader and motivator.
9. Stephon Curry: As much as I like the Monta/Curry tandem, I don't think Curry will ever be as good as he could be since he'll be playing off ball more often alongside Monta. On another team, I think he might be garnering All-Star buzz but he's stuck in a role on Golden State. It's a role he still fill quite nicely but it's hard to be as consistent as he could be as a true PG on another squad.
10. Eric Gordon: To me, Gordon is where you get to the guys who are clear second stars. That's not to say that he isn't a very good player and a potential All-Star talent but I don't think a team with him is going to be anything more than a 2nd round playoff squad. He reminds me a bit of Joe Johnson; Johnson and Horford can make a little noise in the playoffs but they'll never be able to beat the elite squads. If Blake Griffin doesn't pan out to the lofty expectations I'm already holding him to, the Clippers could very well be Atlanta West.
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