Today's Top 10 Left-Handed NBA Players

Moke Hamilton@@MokeHamiltonCorrespondent IIDecember 11, 2012

Today's Top 10 Left-Handed NBA Players

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    From David Robinson to Derek Fisher, there's been no shortage of dominant lefties in the NBA. Here's a listing of today's top 10 left-handed NBA players.

    For most of these guys, the best is probably yet to come. But obviously, respect is something that needs to be earned, so the top spots go to those who have a pretty healthy body of work.

    Lefties have traditionally been difficult matchups on NBA courts. Here are the southpaws we like best.

10. Greg Monroe

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    Over the past few years, Greg Monroe has pretty much been the only bright spot for the Detroit Pistons.

    At just 22 years old, Monroe is one of the few young post-up centers in the NBA and has shown steady signs of development over his first 2.5 years in the league.

    The major knock on Monroe at this point is his high turnover rate. He turns the ball over more than three times per game. That happens, though, because he handles the ball a lot and is entrusted to make plays for his teammates, and as a young big in the NBA, those reps will only help to better his development.

    Monroe's 3.4 assists per game is second amongst centers in the league. 

    Monroe is a young and agile center who can create opportunities for his teammates. His best days are ahead, but he's already worth mentioning amongst the game's top southpaws.

9. Goran Dragic

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    Now in his fifth NBA season, Goran Dragic was drafted in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs back in 2008. Ironically, he made a name for himself back in the 2010 playoffs when, as a member of the Phoenix Suns, he scored 26 points against the Spurs in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.

    Dragic helped Steve Nash and the Sun sweep the Spurs that year, and his name has since been called amongst the better young point guards in the game.

    The Suns lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals after beating the Spurs, but Dragic made a name for himself.

    After trading Dragic to the Houston Rockets for Aaron Brooks in 2010, the Suns welcomed Dragic back this past offseason, signing him to a four-year deal worth $34 million. 

    Thus far, Dragic is fulfilling his promise, averaging a career-best 15.1 points and 6.4 assists per game through Dec. 10.

8. Brandon Jennings

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    Even before playing a single NBA game, Brandon Jennings made a name for himself by electing to play professionally in Europe instead of playing a year of college basketball after graduating high school.

    Over the course of his career, Jennings shoots about 39 percent from the field, and that's pretty horrible. But aside from that, Jennings is a solid all-around contributor for the Milwaukee Bucks. Jennings helped the team to a 46-36 record in 2009, his rookie season.

    That year, he helped the Bucks make the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and brought the Atlanta Hawks to seven games before losing in the first round.

    Now in his fourth year with the club, Jennings will be a restricted free agent this summer and hopes to cash in. Entering play on Dec. 11, his Bucks are 10-9, and Jennings is averaging a solid 17.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and a career-high 6.3 assists per game. He's also shooting about 38 percent from three-point territory, as well.

7. David Lee

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    David Lee was drafted by the New York Knicks with the 30th pick in the 2005 NBA draft and almost immediately made a name for himself as one of the game's best rebounders. Lee was eventually dealt to the Golden State Warriors in July 2010 after the Knicks came to terms on a free-agent deal with Amar'e Stoudemire.

    Statistically, Lee enjoyed his best season in 2009-10 as a member of the Knicks, when he averaged 20.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Lee made his only All-Star appearance that season but couldn't help the Knicks turn into a winning team.

    Since being traded to the Warriors, though, Lee has become one of the NBA's more consistent power forwards and, entering play on Dec. 11, is averaging a healthy 18.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

    More importantly, though, Lee's contributions have helped make the Warriors winners. Entering play on Dec. 11, the team has gone 14-7, and he's a major reason why.

6. Josh Smith

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    Although somewhat limited offensively, Josh Smith is one of the NBA's best all-around southpaws. His mid-range jumper is still a bit inconsistent and his career field-goal percentage of 46 percent is a bit low for a 6'9" power forward whose best attribute is his athleticism. 

    Although he's never won a Defensive Player of the Year award, Smith is the youngest player to record 500 and 1,000 career blocked shots and is a true difference-maker on the defensive end.

    Offensively, Smith has ferocious athleticism and can handle the ball very well for a man his size. Though his jumper isn't consistent, he's one of the game's most explosive finishers.

    When Smith became a restricted free agent back in July 2008, he signed an offer sheet with the Memphis Grizzlies, but the Atlanta Hawks matched. Now, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2013, Smith, at just 27 years of age, will have no shortage of suitors.

5. Chris Bosh

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    When Chris Bosh decided to bolt from Toronto and join the Miami Heat in July 2010, he did so knowing that his numbers would take a hit and that his chances of becoming a Hall of Famer would be hurt significantly.

    Even still, it's easy to forget that Bosh is a seven-time NBA All-Star and one of the best two-way power forwards in the NBA. Though his opportunities to do so are limited with the Heat, he remains one of the game's more complete players.

    Despite limited opportunities, Bosh scored 18 points per game and grabbed 7.9 rebounds per game en route to helping the Heat capture the 2011-12 NBA championship, he's changed his game completely to fit with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but is still a very productive player. That versatility—as well as his championship ring—says a lot about his talent.

4. Mike Conley

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    Now in his sixth NBA season, Mike Conley is a player who has made positive strides in his game each and every season. Entering play on Dec. 11, his Memphis Grizzlies have the third-best record in the NBA at 14-4. 

    After signing a five-year contract worth about $45 million, Conley has lived up to the contract. As of Dec. 11, his 2.6 steals per game rank him second in the league behind Chris Paul, and his 44.6 percent conversion rate from behind the arc make him the 15th-best three-point shooter in the league.

    Most importantly for Conley, though, is that he was instrumental in helping the Grizzlies win its first ever playoff series when it upset the San Antonio Spurs back in 2011. Now, with an improved roster and supporting cast, Conley and the Grizzlies are hoping to make a deep playoff run.

3. Manu Ginobili

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    Not much needs to be said about Manu Ginobili, most basketball fans know his resume well. A case can easily be made for Ginobili being the best international basketball player in history, having won multiple MVPs and championships in overseas leagues before beginning his NBA career in 2002 as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.

    Ginobili has been one of the NBA's better sixth men over the course of the past decade and is a three-time NBA champion and Sixth Man of the Year award winner.

    At 35 years old, the sun is probably setting on Ginobili's career, but he is easily one of the most recognizable and most decorated lefties in the game.

    His career averages of 15.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game don't seem overwhelming, but Ginobili has only played 28 minutes per game over the course of his career. 

    And in his 136 career NBA playoff games, Ginobili averages 16.2 points and 4.5 rebounds to go along with 3.8 assists.

2. Zach Randolph

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    Very few players have reinvented themselves over the course of their NBA careers, but that's exactly what Zach Randolph did. Earlier in his career as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers and New York Knicks, Randolph had the reputation of being a bit of a ball hog and not exerting any effort on the defensive end.

    Today, it's the opposite. Randolph is one of the league's most dominant post players but now helps the Grizzlies on both ends of the floor. Entering play on Dec. 11, the Grizzlies lead the league in points allowed at 91.2. Randolph and Marc Gasol are two of the main reasons why.

    Through Dec. 11, Randolph is averaging 17.6 points and 12.9 rebounds per game and seems to have fully recovered from a torn MCL that he suffered back in late 2011. Like his teammate Mike Conley, Randolph is a very important cog for the Grizzlies, and without him, the team wouldn't be nearly as successful.

1. James Harden

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    It took only three seasons in the NBA for James Harden to prove his worth to anyone who watches the game. Even playing behind Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, Harden was a reliable playmaker and third scorer for the Oklahoma City Thunder, evidence by his winning the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award in 2012.

    This year, as the first option as a member of the Houston Rockets, Harden has solidified his place amongst the best lefties in the NBA. Entering play on Dec. 11, the Rockets are just 9-11, but Harden has responded to his newfound responsibility rather well.

    Currently, his 24.7 points per game ranks him fifth in the league. He's also averaging 5.6 assists per game, which is first in the league amongst shooting guards.

    Though the Rockets haven't won like his Thunder did, Harden is probably the top lefty in the NBA.