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Power Ranking LeBron, Durant and the NBA's 8 Best Franchise Cornerstones

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Power Ranking LeBron, Durant and the NBA's 8 Best Franchise Cornerstones
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The only way to legitimately have a shot at winning the NBA championship nowadays is to possess a top franchise cornerstone. 

The NBA is filled with players who are either All-Stars or borderline All-Stars. Young or old, this is the most talented crop of players in the league since the 1980s. But there are only a few superstars in the NBA—guys who propel their teams from average to great. 

Some teams are lucky enough to have two franchise players (and, in some cases, three). But even on the teams where they have two or three elite guys, each only has one cornerstone player, one go-to guy, one player who's on front of their team's big board.

When you think Oklahoma City Thunder, you think Kevin Durant. For the Miami Heat, it used to be Dwyane Wade; now it's LeBron James. The Los Angeles Clippers? Chris Paul. You get the picture. 

Here's the requirements to making the list:

1. The player has to be relatively young and in his prime. Sorry, Kobe Bryant, but your best days are over.

2. The player has to be the best player on his own team. Russell Westbrook and Wade are both great players, but neither is the best on their respected teams. 

3. How well does this player perform in the spotlight? When playing with or against other elite players, does he rise to the top? 

4. Does this player make a difference in the win column, or does he only put up good stats on a bad team?

 

Follow Branden FitzPatrick on Twitter @divingmevlin

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