Ranking the Top 10 Kicks of the 2012 NBA Playoffs

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2012

Ranking the Top 10 Kicks of the 2012 NBA Playoffs

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    Everyone in NBA circles (myself included) seems pre-occupied with the impending blame game hovering over the Los Angeles Lakers after their round two loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Did Kobe Bryant's horrendous play in the fourth quarter of Game 4 and the second half of Game 5 affect his legacy as a cold-blooded closer?  Did the Lakers torpedo Pau Gasol's trade value heading into the summer where they almost have to trade him?  Can Dwight Howard be the answer to all Lakers' "sky is falling" fears?

    Those are all important questions that will be answered over the next few weeks/months.

    For now, we have a far more pressing issue:  crowning the best kicks of the NBA Playoffs. With that said, let's get right into the countdown...

    (Note:  All photo credit goes to the folks at Slam Online.)

10. Dwyane Wade: Jordan Fly Wade II EV Playoff Home

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    Price:  $144.99 (Eastbay)

    Nothing especially stands out for these shoes as they seem like your average team shoe affair with some patented Jordan flair.

    However, for those of you who love the Fly Wade II design, this one of those rare occasions where a company labels a shoe playoff-specific without any alterations.  

9. Nike LeBron 9 Elite Road

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    Price:  $250.00 (Nike)

    Unfortunately (or fortunately if you like the look), the only version of the LeBron 9 Elites in the open market is the Black/Metallic Gold-Black design.  

    Fortunately, we'll be able to dream what it would be like having a $100 million shoe contract and getting custom shoes made for you for as long as the Miami Heat stay alive in the postseason. 

8. Kevin Garnett: ANTA KG 2

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    Price:  Not available unless you live in China or are Kevin Garnett.

    I'm not going to pretend I knew what ANTA was before the Chinese sportswear brand signed KG in May 2010.  And I'm also not going to pretend I know that much more about the company today, other than Garnett is having playoff renaissance in their product.

    Since the shoe doesn't have an American distribution deal, no one stateside besides Garnett can vouch for the shoe's comfort.  But no one can deny ANTA has an eye for sleek design, either.

7. Ty Lawson: Nike LeBron 9 Cool Grey

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    Price:  $134.97 (Nike)

    Lawson is just rocking the basic LeBron 9's you can buy at any retail store, but they're a design I like enough to own.

    I find them a bit heavy for my taste, but wearing them does give me a convenient excuse for my pathetic lack of hops on the court.

    So yay to you Ty Lawson for still being one of the quickest players in the NBA in those cinder blocks.  

6. Mike Conley: Adidas AdiZero Crazy Light 2 PE

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    Price:  $139.99 (Eastbay)

    You know that guy you and all of your friends play ball with who always has the coolest shoes that no one else in the group would actually have the courage to wear?

    Yeah, those are the Crazy Lights to me.  Love them, but would have a nervous breakdown if I ever tried to wear them in public.  DEM INSECURITIES.

5. Carmelo Anthony: Jordan Melo M8 Home White PE

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    Price:  $134.99 (Footlocker)

    For my money, the Air Melo line has been the best current athlete-endorsed basketball shoe since its inception.  No other shoe on the market has a better combination of design variety, comfort and playability.  

    I have honestly never met a hoop head or sneaker head who has been disappointed with his purchase of a Melo sneaker.

    Now, if you ask a general manager if they've ever been disappointed with his purchase of a Melo, you might hear a different story.

4. Kobe Bryant: Nike Zoom Kobe VII Purple/White PE

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    Price:  $143.97 (Nike)

    Most of the time, any member of the Air Melo line would easily take down the consistently disappointing Nike Zoom series.

    But since we're judging the individual gear worn in the playoffs and not comparing their brands, there's no doubt that Mr. 33 Shots' purple Kobe VII's have a far sleeker design than the standard M8's from the previous slide.

    Or that could be inherent bias to all things purple.  You decide.

3. Richard Hamilton: Jordan Fly 23

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    Price:  $119.99 (eBay)

    The Jordan Fly 23s are the epitome of why the Jordan brand has dominated the basketball shoe market for the past quarter century.

    The shoes are dirt cheap for a pair of Jordans and look amazing.  Just don't stray too far from Hamilton's classic Bulls color design or you'll end up with a pair of these.  And you don't want those unless you need a pair of kicks to match your Silver Surfer Halloween costume.

2. Carmelo Anthony: Jordan Melo M8 Anthracite/White-Team Orange

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    Price:  $134.99 (Footlocker)

    I'm not going to insult you and reword my aforementioned love of the Air Melo brand.  But if you don't take a look at those shoes and understand my unadulterated love of the Melos... well then I'm sorry you have poor taste.

1. Baron Davis: Li-Ning BD Doom "Knickstape"

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    Price:  $69.99 (eBay)

    (You can't actually buy those particular shoes, but you can buy a version of them on eBay from Baron's days as a Clipper.)

    Listen, I know these shoes are 100 percent either you love them or you think they're the ugliest thing since Clint Howard.  

    I don't blame you either way.

    However, as you can tell, I absolutely love them.  If Li-Ning ever offers a commercial version of these shoes, I would dip into my Air Yeezy fund and pay whatever price they asked.  They are not only my favorite shoes of the 2012 NBA playoffs, but I can't think of a shoe design I've ever enjoyed more.  

    Maybe I'm just overly impressed with the fortitude it took for Baron Davis to actually wear those shoes in a meaningful game, but just..wow.