As a high school teacher and coach in a suburb of Houston, Texas, I have debates everyday with my students and athletes.
Most of these debates are subject related, however I also like to have some fun debates to break up the routine. This week some of my students got into a heated argument over who was the best player in the NBA, so I set out to settle it for them.
I did a poll of all the students in my class who said they watched or had some knowledge of the NBA. Based on the voting by 124 students ages 14-19, these are the top 10 players current NBA players.
Ray Allen was a bit of a surprise on this list as you may already be thinking. What was even more surprising is that Ray Allen's name came up in my student poll more times than Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined.
I guess among high school students his three-point abilities boost him above the rest of his superstar teammates.
Griffin was brought up over and over again by every class that I polled and almost every time the decision was "not yet."
Even though he is still a young player, a few students argued that his game-changing abilities and rim-shaking dunks make him the best player in the NBA. I'm interested to see where he will be if I do a similar poll a few years from now as Griffin's popularity continues to rise.
Dwight Howard is a dominant force in the NBA and also one of the top personalities.
His huge rebounding totals, highlight dunks and lately his trade rumors have kept Howard in the spotlight this year and the spotlight is where you need to be to catch the attention of a high school viewer.
Those that voted for him as the top player in the league argued that when Howard is on, no one in the league can stop him.
One of the most explosive players in the league, Wade is on a team full of superstars but is the only one that has a ring to back up his abilities. Wade also got some love from the high school girls who noted his good looks as reason for his being the best player.
The most surprising name on this list has to be Tim Duncan. Not because he isn't a great player, its obvious that he has had one of the best careers of any power forward in history, but because his best years are past him.
Maybe it is the proximity of Rosenberg, Texas to San Antonio that gives high school students here more Spurs games on TV and therefore more exposure. The Duncan voters however were very convincing in their arguments citing his four rings and two MVP awards.
The defending-champion Mavericks are sure to be a favorite of bandwagon fans, which I suspect some of my student voters are. However, a few of them argued for Dirk's supremacy at the top of the league right now and back it up with solid evidence of his playing and especially winning abilities in the league.
This year's All-Star game MVP also has Texas ties with his one year of college in Austin.
As a Longhorn he gained state popularity and national praise. As one of the NBA elite he very quickly established himself as arguably the best scorer in the league and young players and viewers love points.
It also helps that the Thunder have had the top record in the NBA for most of the season.
As the photo shows, not even the star power of Linsanity and Amare Stoudemire can slow down Derrick Rose.
A favorite of the high school basketball players in my classes, Rose is discussed as the best playmaker and finisher in the league. Winning the last MVP award also means that until this season is over, Rose is still the NBA's MVP.
Much hated! Much loved!
Which ever way you view LeBron it is impossible to say that he isn't one of the top players in the league. The debate between LeBron and Kobe can go on for hours with neither side backing down and both having legitimate arguments to back up their case.
The students who chose LeBron in my poll made sure to point out not only is scoring ability, but also his high rebound and assist numbers as well as his winning nature.
Defeating Lebron by 6 percent of the overall vote is Kobe Bryant.
It was and still is a heated debate among my students even as I write this article, but Bryant is lead at the end of the poll. One of my students, to help illustrate his argument for Kobe, came up to my board and drew a picture of a hand with five gold rings on it.
Championships go a long way when discussing a player and their legacy. Kobe has more than just the rings to prove he is among the best NBA history. The national appeal of the Los Angeles Lakers also means that Kobe is visible to high school students throughout the country on a weekly basis, thus making him this year's poll winner for top NBA player.