Rajon Rondo and the Most Uniquely Gifted Players in the NBA

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IJune 5, 2012

Rajon Rondo and the Most Uniquely Gifted Players in the NBA

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    When we talk about NBA superstars, the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are often mentioned as the best players in the NBA.

    That's fine, but what makes them and others good is a unique skill set that no other players in the NBA can match. That unique skill set separates them from almost every other player in the game today. They make the difficult game of basketball look far too easy at times.

    With that being said, here's a look at some of the most uniquely gifted players in the NBA, in no particular order.

Rajon Rondo

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    Rondo's a point guard that can flat out do it all on both ends of the floor.

    He's small in stature at 6'1", but plays so much bigger than that.

    He's long and lightning-quick, but sees the floor like no other. Rondo is a classic pass-first, ball-hawking point guard that we rarely see in the NBA these days.

    He has some drawbacks, which include his temper, lousy perimeter shooting (24 percent from behind the arc) and miserable free-throw shooting (60 percent).

    But despite all of that, he's quite possibly the NBA's best pure playmaker, leading the NBA in assists with 11.7. 

    Despite not being considered a scorer, Rondo is a very good finisher around the basket, as he's a career 48 percent shooter from the floor.

    Jason Kidd in his prime was a triple-double machine. Well, that honor belongs to Rondo now. He now has 22 career triple-doubles (including postseason) and is making a legitimate case as the NBA's best point guard.

James Harden

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    The southpaw Harden has plenty of skill and is one of the smoothest players in the NBA today.

    It's unique that a player of Harden's caliber settles for a bench role, but he doesn't just settle for it, he excels at it.

    Harden can score from anywhere on the floor and is lethal in pick-and-roll situations.

    In only his third season in the NBA, the former Arizona State product averaged 16.8 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the floor.

    There are plenty of players in the NBA that can score, but there are few guys that play off the ball that really understand how an offense is supposed to work. Harden is one of those rare few.

    In addition, he's an improved defender and rebounder as well.

LeBron James

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    Has there ever been a more unique NBA player than LBJ?

    Never in one package of a human being has there been a 6'9" guy that weighs over 250 pounds that can run the floor with the ease and speed that LeBron does.

    Forget the numbers and the MVP's for a second.

    He's a point guard in a forward's body.

    Just look at LeBron's unique abilities.

    I mentioned the way he runs the floor. In addition, he handles the ball well, passes the rock extraordinary well, has leaping ability that makes him a great rebounder, has outstanding form on his jumper (although it doesn't go in as often as it should) and tears the house down with power dunks.

    Size, strength, speed, agility, LeBron has it all.

    If there was ever a person created to be an NBA superstar, that person may be in the mold of King James.

Dirk Nowitzki

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    Until Nowitzki entered the NBA 14 years ago, have we ever seen a seven-footer with the unique skill set of his?

    Never before have wee seen a big man that can score in the post at will, but also take his game behind the arc with the smooth jumper that Dirk possesses.

    He's not a great leaper in the fashion that most NBA 4's are, but Nowitzki has a devastating mid-range game and an absolutely unblockable fadeaway.

    He moves well and is a crafty finisher inside, but it's what he can do extending his game outward that makes him unique.

    In addition to averaging 22.9 points throughout his career, Dirk is also a very good rebounder (8.3 RPG) and handles the ball like a guard. He shoots a high percentage from the floor and rarely turns the ball over.

    When we look back at his career, we will realize how truly one-of-a-kind that Dirk really is.

Kevin Love

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    Love is almost in the mold of Nowitzki for the fact that he can extend his game out to the perimeter, but he has the unique ability to not only do that, but dominate the glass as well.

    The former UCLA Bruin average 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds on the season, a year after averaging 20.2 and 15.2.

    He's a good passer and runs the floor very well, but what makes him special is his rebounding skills. No one in the NBA is a master of positioning and footwork the way Love is.

    Add to that the fact that Love shoots 37 percent from behind the arc, and you get a guy that makes an impact in many different areas. 

    His numbers are insane, and his skill set is near unmatched. 

    The scary part is that he's just getting better.

Kevin Durant

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    Naturally, when you are 6'10", you aren't supposed to be able to do the things that Durant does on a nightly basis.

    He can shoot the three as easily as he attacks the rim.

    Durant has the length of a power forward but the quickness, ball handling, passing skill and shooting ability of a guard.

    He's won three consecutive scoring titles, but unlike a Dwight Howard or LeBron that craves the attention, Durant is as humble as they come. Superstars aren't groomed that way.

    He's a tall, long-armed scoring prodigy with unblockable release and is deadly in transition and in the clutch.

    He's become the NBA's best closer, and that's unique in it's own right. Durant wants the ball with the game on the line, and more times than not, he's come through in those situations.