5 Most Dynamic Stars in the NBA Today

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2012

5 Most Dynamic Stars in the NBA Today

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    Beyond typical metrics like skill level, upside or versatility, there's something to be said for players who are flat out dynamic.

    What does that mean exactly?

    When we describe a speaker as being dynamic, we usually mean they have that special ability to engage their audience. Other times, we say something is dynamic when it changes or evolves rather than remaining static.

    In an NBA context, then, dynamic players are the ones who can use their wide range of skills to do exactly what's needed at any given moment.

    They aren't just versatile–they use their versatility to the benefit of their teams and to the enjoyment of those watching.

    Here's a look at five players who best illustrate what it means to be a dynamic NBA star.

Rajon Rondo—PG, Boston Celtics

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    We all know by now that Rajon Rondo led the league with 11.7 assists per game last season, but that really only begins to scratch the surface of what he means to the Boston Celtics. 

    He also rebounds better than any point guard in the league, averaging 4.9 last season and as many as 5.3 in 2008-09. The ability to contribute more than points alone to his team's cause has made the 6'1" floor general one of the league's most dangerous triple-double threats.

    That's quite an achievement given Rondo doesn't have the kind of size LeBron James brings to the table.

    And, though not known as a prolific scorer, Rondo proved he can do that too in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. His 44-point effort wasn't enough to lead his Celtics to victory, but you have to believe it inspired his team to make a series out of it.

    For all his talent, Rondo's intelligence may be what most sets him apart. He waits for plays to develop and reads defensive schemes like he's a quarterback running an offense to perfection. 

    He doesn't shoot like Chris Paul or explode to the basket like Russell Westbrook, but Rondo has established himself as the league's most dynamic point guard and one of its very best all-around players.

    He's a tenacious defender who doesn't take possessions off, and that's translated into the kind of leadership ability that instantaneously defined Derrick Rose. Rondo has come into his own as a veteran who no longer needs to take his marching orders from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Derrick Rose—PG, Chicago Bulls

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    If Rajon Rondo plays the game like a quarterback, Derrick Rose plays it like a running back.

    When he puts his head down and presses on toward the basket, there's no stopping him. His combination of speed and crafty footwork make him one of the most electrifying slashers in the game, and his ability to finish with so much authority makes him a treat to watch.

    But of course, Rose is about far more than dunks and acrobatic layups.

    He's averaged nearly eight assists per game in each of his last two seasons, and that's made him a vital component to a set of scorers who aren't especially adept at creating their own shots.

    Rose has never been put in the same category as distributors like Chris Paul, Steve Nash or Rajon Rondo, but he isn't a shoot-first point guard in the mold of Russell Westbrook. Rose can break an offense down in a number of ways, and it just so happens you'd like him taking a fair amount of shots.

    While Rose is probably the best inside-scoring point guard in the league (along with Tony Parker), his much-improved mid-range game and perimeter shot have contributed to his growth significantly.

    Unfortunately, he has to take a lot of those shots to bail his offense out, but otherwise he's gotten to the place where he can stop and pop with the best of them.

    When you add his solid perimeter defense to all he does on the defensive end, it's no surprise he was the 2011 MVP. DRose does it all, and the NBA will be a much better place when he's back in action.

Josh Smith—PF, Atlanta Hawks

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    Never mind that he's never been selected to an All-Star team—Josh Smith is easily one of the most dynamic (and underrated) players in the league.

    Sure, you can fault him for his decision-making at times, sigh at his insistence on shooting perimeter jumpers and bemoan his occasionally negative attitude. But, those are the same kinds of charges you could make against a lot of stars in this league.

    In Smith's instance, the numbers speak for themselves.

    Last season, he averaged 18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steals. And, he still managed to shoot 46 percent from the field, though a lot of his makes come from the painted area. When it comes to shooting, the 26-year-old still has some work to do.

    When it comes to just about everything else, though, he's active, talented and exciting to watch. He's not only a high-flyer capable of blocking shots and dunking over bigger defenders; he's also a versatile defender who can roam the perimeter, body up in the post or help from the weak side.

    Smith may fly under the radar, but don't be fooled. The Atlanta Hawks wouldn't have had a chance to make it to the Conference Semifinals for three-straight years were it not for Smith's contributions.

Tyreke Evans—G, Sacramento Kings

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    Since coming into the league in 2009, Tyreke Evans has already been asked to play three different positions, along with a few different roles.

    That probably wasn't ideal so soon into the 22-year-old's career, but he's continued to play at a high level and (along with DeMarcus Cousins and perhaps Thomas Robinson) offers Sacramento Kings fans some hope that this franchise is once again headed in the right direction.

    Evans established his range of skills as a deserving Rookie of the Year who averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds, but his production has actually dipped in each of the two years since.

    Some of that can be blamed on nagging injuries, and some of it can be blamed on the instability that pervaded his formative NBA years. From a coaching change to the position changes, Evans really hasn't been afforded the opportunity to build upon the things he does best.

    That's too bad, because he does a lot of things quite well.

    His ability to slash and finish will understandably draw some comparisons to Derrick Rose, but Evans has the size to match up with point guards and shooting guards alike on the defensive end. 

    His outside shot is still a work in progress, but there shouldn't be anything stopping him from adding a consistent outside shot to his already-impressive repertoire of skills.

    Of course, you could make the argument Evans is still too raw to include in the company of guys like Rajon Rondo and Josh Smith, but you can still give a guy credit for being dynamic even if he's not yet lived up to all his potential.

LeBron James—SF, Miami Heat

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    You really have to include LeBron James on any kind of list highlighting the league's best, because he's one of the best on so many different levels.

    That is precisely what makes him so dynamic.

    James leads the Miami Heat in every imaginable respect. He takes on the lion's share of the scoring burden, runs the offense, creates plays, rebounds at a high rate, defends with skill and energy. His versatility is unmatched, and that says absolutely nothing about how much fun he is to watch.

    LeBron has always finished at the basket with the best of them, and his passes have an unmistakable Magic Johnson quality to them.

    Most importantly, the three-time MVP isn't just capable of doing a little bit of everything; he's capable of doing everything exceptionally well and doing it when it's needed the most. 

    In short, he's redefined what it means to be dynamic in the first place.