There isn't much debate about LeBron James and Kobe Bryant being the two best players the NBA has to offer nowadays (EDIT: Boy, was I wrong.).
There is debate, however, about which of them is actually on top. But why stop there?
The NBA in 2009 is a league seething with young talent ready to seize the spotlight. Here's my take on the NBA's top 25 players.
Despite the absolutely abysmal season the Wizards are having, Antawn Jamison is quietly putting up stellar numbers once again. The 6'9'' forward is averaging 21.5 points and 9.2 boards a night.
Last year, he was one of a handful of players to average 20+ points and 10+ rebounds per game as well. Excluding the one season he played with Dallas and had a lesser role, Jamison has averaged at least 19 points a game every season since 1999-2000, his second year in the league.
He continues to be one of the most underrated players in the NBA.
This 25-year-old point guard out of Wisconsin has come a long way since struggling through his first three-plus seasons in the league with the Mavericks.
Averaging 21.5 points per game, Harris leads all point guards in the league in scoring, which, when you combine with his 6.5 assists per game and stellar defense, makes him one of the top up-and-coming players in the NBA.
Harris is one of the quickest players in the league with the ball, making it easy for him to get to the rim and score. He's coming off his first All-Star selection, and looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
Johnson is a three-time All-Star and has asserted himself as the Hawks' best player, leading them to a playoff appearance and near-first round upset of the eventual champion Celtics in round one last season.
Johnson averages almost 22 points and six assists per game while becoming a great defender for Atlanta as a shooting guard.
He's 6'7'' and a robust 240 pounds, which makes him a tough cover for other two-guards in the league.
He's got his Hawks quietly sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference so far this season. It looks like he could continue to rise up this list.
Another 25-year-old coming off his first-ever All-Star selection, the Pacers' Danny Granger has quickly become one of the top scoring swingmen in the NBA.
In his fourth season, he's averaging 25.3 points a game to go along with five boards and three assists.
A huge bright spot in what has been somewhat of a disappointing season for Indiana, Granger has a fluid shooting stroke and, at 6'8'', is athletic enough to potentially average a double-double one day if he can continue to improve his rebounding.
Jefferson is clearly one of the most underrated players in the league. Just 24 years old, he was enjoying an amazing season in Minnesota before tearing his ACL a couple of weeks ago.
He was going for 23 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks per game.
He's a dominating low-post presence at 6'10'' and almost 270 pounds.In two games this season against Yao Ming, Jefferson put up 34 points, 13 rebounds and 36 points, 22 rebounds, respectively.
He was snubbed of an All-Star spot this season, but, assuming he can fully recover from his injury, there should be plenty to come for Jefferson.
While his numbers are down from his two (could've easily been three) consecutive MVP seasons for the Suns, Nash is still amongst the best point guards in the league.
Hopefully, the switch from Terry Porter to Alvin Gentry will be able to get Nash back to where he was. Still, he's averaging about 14 points and 10assists a game.
He's also one of the best shooters in the league, shooting a ridiculous 42 percent from three-point range and 94 percent from the line. His superior court vision and quickness still allows him to knife through a defense with relative ease and find the open man for an easy bucket.
Look for his numbers to rise again playing Gentry's more up-tempo style.
Had he not been traded to the Nuggets early in the season, it's unlikely that Billups would be where he is on this list. His performance had become taken for granted with the Pistons, and in Denver, he's shown that he's still one of the best point guards in the NBA.
At 32, he's averaging a near-career-best 18.2 points a night to go along with over six assists.
He's clearly been the Nuggets' MVP to this point in the season. Very quietly, they currently possess the second-best record in the Western Conference at 36-17.
Billups has Denver playing a more conservative brand of basketball, which has helped them immensely as shown by their record. His great defense cannot be understated either.
In just his second NBA season, Kevin Durant has already established himself as one of the premiere scorers in the league. He flaunts a very rare blend of being a player with great size (6-9), ability, and athleticism.
He was born to put the ball in the basket. So far this season, Durant is averaging about 26 points (48 percent shooting) and seven rebounds per game for the Thunder.
He's also upped his three-point shooting from a dismal 28 percent as a rookie up to 44 percent this season.
He's doing all this, and he just turned 20 years old in September. He has a legitimate case to be the NBA's Most Improved Player, and the sky is the limit. Look for him to continue to shoot up this list.
Billups' running mate with the Nuggets makes the list a couple spots in front of him at No. 15.
Melo was another snub from the All-Star game, and, believe it or not, he's a pretty underrated player at this point. While his scoring is down, his rebounding and defense are improving quickly.
With Billups running things, Anthony doesn't have to be relied on all the time to handle the ball and score.
His three-point percentage has skyrocketed as well, up from 26 percent two years ago to 40 percent this season. The Nuggets will be very dangerous come playoff time, barring injury.
It could be argued that Roy deserves to be higher on the list, but this is where he fell.
Roy is the unquestioned leader of the up-and-coming Trailblazers, and he's coming off his second All-Star selection in just three NBA seasons.
His scoring has improved by three points per game every season so far, up to 22.7 this year, to go along with five assists. At 6'6'', he's a prototypical size for an off-guard, and he possesses one of the most-deadly mid-range games in the league.
He's become a lock-down defender as well, and is athletic and talented enough to continue to improve his game drastically.
Next to the word "consistency" in the dictionary there should be a picture of Pau Gasol. He has never averaged below 17.6 points a game and 7.3 rebounds per game in any season in his career, and his addition to the Lakers made them instant strong championship contenders.
He's just 28, and looks to have many great years ahead of him still. He's a seven-footer with ridiculous shooting touch from outside as well as a very polished game in the low post. He's also improved his free-throw shooting drastically and is now around 80 percent from the line.
The Lakers' "sidekick" would be the featured player on just about any other team in the league.
The 26-year-old Stoudemire is one of the most talented big men in the game. He has become extremely versatile since winning Rookie of the Year honors in the 2002-03 season.
He's added a perimeter game and is now able to shoot a high percentage from the outside as well as from the free-throw line
Combine that with his amazing athleticism and his polished post game, and he's one of the most dynamic offensive players in the entire league.
At 6'9'', he could stand to improve his rebounding and defense, which are basically his most glaring shortcomings.
He's been subject of many trade rumors recently, but it's looking more like he'll remain with Phoenix.
The Spurs' 26-year-old motor has improved every season in the NBA and has become one of its elite point guards. Parker is averaging over 20 points for the first time in his career, to go along with almost seven assists per game.
He's gone from a 68 percent free throw shooter as a rookie to 80 percent now.
He's consistently in the top five in the league in points in the paint, a feat that is remarkable for a player his size at just 6'2". He's also improved his mid-range shot drastically and is highly efficient from that area as well.
One of the quickest players in the league with the ball, he gets into the paint with ease and can score from just about anywhere.
While Kevin Garnett is the heart of the Celtics, Paul Pierce is the soul. He's played every single game of his 11-year career in Boston, and he's averaged no less than 16.5 points per game in any season.
He's a physically imposing small forward at 6'7'' and about 240 pounds, and he's another player that can score facing the basket or with his back to it.
He's gone from a 71 percent free throw shooter as a rookie all the way up to 85 percent this season.
He's never shot lower than 40 percent from the floor in any season. He's been consistently a great player in the league, and at 31, he's got plenty of time left.
The second of four Olympic gold medalists from the heralded '03 draft class, Chris Bosh makes the list at No. 10.
He's averaged about 22 points per game for each of the past three seasons, and is there again this season.
The lanky 6-10 forward also grabs 9.5 rebounds per game, and with his unorthodox left-handed game, is very tough for defenders to figure out.
He's become a very reliable free throw shooter, and is athletic and quick enough to beat bigger and slower defenders down low. He's a player who is going to be making a lot of money in a year and a half.
Despite a relatively slow start due to injury this season, Williams has reasserted himself as the second-best point man in the NBA.
Averaging a career-high 19 points per game with over 10 assists, he has the uncanny ability to always find the open man, as well as score from anywhere on the floor himself.
At 6'3'' and 210 pounds, his combination of size, strength, and quickness makes him one of the most physically imposing point guards in the league.
Nowitzki is the best shooting seven-footer of all-time, and he's been putting up gaudy offensive numbers for the Mavericks since his second year in the league.
This season, he's been flying under the radar and is having yet another stellar season, averaging about 26 points and eight boards, on 47 percent shooting from the floor.
Nowitzki is a tough matchup for any opposing forward, because he can step out and shoot from long distance as well as post up down low with his array of moves on the low block.
Still about an average defender, he doesn't get enough credit for keeping the Mavericks afloat in the West.
Not only is Yao one of the best players in the NBA, he's one of the most famous athletes on the planet.
Averaging about 20 and 10 this season for the injury-riddled Rockets, Yao is the main reason the Rockets sit in fifth place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. He's a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, standing at 7-6 and 315 pounds.
His unique skill set and shooting touch is unprecedented for a player his size, making him very difficult to guard.
His presence is huge on the court, and just as big off of it.
Every season from 1999 until 2007, KG averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
He's the leader and heart of the defending champion Celtics, and, despite a dip in his numbers, is still one of the most dangerous and versatile players in the NBA.
He can step out and knock down 20-footers with regularity, and is probably still one of the top two low post scorers in the league.
He was the Defensive Player of the Year last season, and, at 32, he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down.
Dwyane Wade burst onto the scene almost straight out of Marquette, winning an NBA title in just his third NBA season with the Miami Heat.
He's had several bouts with injuries since, but this season, he's re-established himself as one of the premiere players in the game.
Wade is averaging a career-high 28 points per game for the surprising Heat, who, as of today, are fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
He also dishes out seven assists a night, a number abnormally high for an off-guard.
He's one of the best finishers in the league, and his ability to get to the basket and the free-throw line makes him one of the top scorers in the league.
The hands-down best power forward of all time sits at No. 5. He's averaged a double-double in all of his 12 seasons in the league, and he hasn't shown many signs of slowing down.
He's the best low post player in the league, and has been for the last six or seven years.
Like Garnett, Duncan is a shut-down defensive player. After a slow start, the Spurs are looking as strong as ever, and are likely to contend for their fifth NBA title.
The unquestioned leader of the team and face of the franchise, there's plenty left in Duncan's ageless engine.
Superman got off to an amazing start post-All Star break against Charlotte, racking up 45 points, 19 rebounds, and eight blocked shots.
A physical and statistical freak, Howard is already putting up 21 points per game without having much actual shooting touch. He leads the league with 14.5 boards and three blocks per game, and he's just 23 years old.
He's arguably the best athlete in the league, and, if he ever learns to shoot like Amare or KG, he could turn out to be the best center the NBA has ever seen.
CP3 is arguably the most valuable player in the league to his team, and a recent stretch the Hornets had to play without him showed why.
The best point guard in the league already at just age 23, and he just keeps getting better. He averages a double-double with over 20 points and 10 assists a game, and, most impressive of all, over five rebounds per game, despite being listed at just 6-0.
He's likely already the best player in the Hornets' short franchise history, and, as long as he's wearing their uniform, they'll be in contention year after year.
It's hard to believe that, given Kobe's lengthy body of work, he's just 30 years old. But he is. Kobe was finally able to lead the Lakers back to the finals for the first time without Shaq last season, only to come up a little bit short.
Kobe and the Lakers are back this season, looking as strong as ever. The debate about whether he or LeBron James is the best player in the league is ongoing, and you could probably put them as numbers 1 and 1-A.
Bryant is averaging 27 points, six rebounds, and five assists per game in his 13th NBA season, and, like Duncan and KG, is showing no signs of slowing down.
He could wind up being the second-best shooting guard of all-time, and it's also hard to believe that he's only won one MVP award.
It's scary to think that LeBron is absolutely dominating the NBA at just 24 years old. The King is putting up 29 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists per game, and this is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
He runs like a gazelle and his size is comparable to Karl Malone's, which is another scary thing. His athletic ability is unmatched by anyone in the league, and the gifts he has been given are remarkable. His combination of scoring ability, basketball IQ, and court vision is almost unfair to opponents.
Combine Kobe Bryant's and Steve Nash's abilities with the body of an NFL defensive end and the speed of a wide receiver, and you get LeBron James.
He is truly "The Chosen One."