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Chris Bosh, PF, Miami Heat
I shudder to think where the Heat would be without LeBron James (especially after that performance against the Charlotte Bobcats), but I also cringe at the thought of where they would be without Bosh as well. He is one of the most versatile bigs in the game and his impact on both ends of the floor continues to be overlooked at certain points. But while I'm fully prepared to back him as a top-15 talent, an appearance within the top 10 would be a bit of a stretch.
Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles
I'm personally not convinced that Griffin is ready to be considered a top-10 talent just yet. That said, amidst a bout with a burst bursa sac, he has shown he is well on his way. Sure, he's still the benefactor of precisely placed Chris Paul passes, but he's also shown an improved back-to-the-basket game. I'm not entirely turned off by his jump shot or off-the-dribble sets anymore, either. But, while his stock is on the rise, he's just not quite there yet.
Dwight Howard, C, Los Angeles Lakers
Sorry, Dwight. To be honest, I considered tossing him in with the injured players because his back has clearly dampered his performance, but he's played the entire season, so it just didn't feel right. I still believe that he's one of the best players in the NBA, and when unconditionally healthy, he'd certainly make this list. That said, his lack of aggression on offense, coupled with his inability to reverse the defensive narrative with the Los Angeles Lakers, has left him just outside the top 10.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie, you're a stud. You've injected hope into a seemingly hopeless franchise and you continue to astound me with your ever present sense of on-court responsibility. I'm also keen on your perpetual, two-way explosiveness as well. As such, I fully believe that you'll be here one day. Just not today.
Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio's point guard continues to turn heads with his consistency. He's one of the most crafty passers in the game and is a huge part of the reason why the Spurs continue to toil with perfection. That said, on such a selective list, your numbers and understated defense just weren't enough to carry you right on through.