Ranking the NBA's Best Superstar Ball Handlers

Ciaran Gowan@@CiaranGowanContributor IIIJanuary 18, 2013

Ranking the NBA's Best Superstar Ball Handlers

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    Nasty crossovers, slick dribble moves and deceptive ball fakes are just some of the things we love about basketball, and thankfully there are plenty of players in the NBA capable of giving us our fix.

    With the league as it is today, there is a wealth of players who you could consider great ball-handlers, but who exactly cracks the top 10?

    Keeping tabs on skill level, effectiveness and even just the basics of keeping turnovers down, let's go through and rank the handles of the league's top superstars.

Honorable Mentions

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    LeBron James

    LeBron is the only non-guard to even come close to making this list, and it's almost unfair that someone so physically imposing has such great handles. It's just part of the reason he's established himself as the best player in the NBA.


    Steve Nash

    In his younger years, Nash would have made this list no problem, but now he's been overtaken by some younger and more athletic guards. Still, Nash's ball-handling is as good as any baller out there over the age of 35.


    Ty Lawson

    Like Russell Westbrook and John Wall, Lawson is aided by his lightning speed, which gives him a head start over opponents when it comes to ball-handling. He's got a fair amount of skill as well, but not quite enough to crack the list.


    Tyreke Evans

    He's been disappointing since his fantastic rookie campaign, but Evans still has the quality to make any defender look completely incompetent when he's on. It felt bad leaving a player who can do things like this out of the top 10, but there are a lot of great ball-handlers in today's NBA.


    Mike Conley

    On one of the league's most underrated teams, Conley is one of the most underrated ball-handlers (and point guards in general, really). He keeps his turnovers down to a minimum and at times seems to have a near-magnetic control of the basketball.

10. Stephen Curry

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    When he can stay on the court, Stephen Curry really is one of the best players to watch in the NBA.

    Some mistake him as just a shooter, but his play with the Warriors this season has reminded us that he is much more than that.

    His ball-handling in particular is a skill that tends to be forgotten, though he makes the most of his quickness by always finding a way to create space for either himself or his teammates.

    For now, we just have to hope that his body doesn't continue to let him down, because Curry has simply been a joy to watch this season.

9. Russell Westbrook

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    With his ridiculous speed, athleticism and general offensive firepower, Russell Westbrook has all the tools to strike fear in any perimeter defender.

    He has his flaws, which are well-documented, but at his best, Westbrook can wreak havoc in the NBA when you combine his quickness with his elite handles.

    Westbrook doesn't have as good a go-to move as some others on this list, but he is good enough skill-wise to make the best out of his exceptional athleticism.

8. Derrick Rose

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    As great as the season has been to date, the NBA just isn't the same without Derrick Rose out there.

    Rose is a player that can consistently put up 25 a night, and along with his freakish athleticism, it's his control of the basketball that lets him do it.

    His crossover is simply unstoppable, and it makes him probably the toughest one-on-one matchup for any guard in the league.

    Hopefully it won't be too long before Rose is out there breaking ankles and leaving defenders in his dust again.

7. Deron Williams

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    Though he may have dropped out of the best point guard conversation with his play this season, Deron Williams still has one of the best crossovers in the NBA.

    It seems that D-Will doesn't get the credit he deserves for it though, and that's certainly not going to change soon with the way he has been playing in other areas.

    Even Williams himself has said he doesn't deserve to be an All-Star this year, but if it makes him feel any better, his handles make him a strong candidate to at least compete in the Skills Contest instead.

6. Brandon Jennings

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    Brandon Jennings is one of the volume-shooting, score-first point guards that have become so popular over the last few years, and his recent play has given him an outside chance of making an All-Star appearance.

    Whilst Jennings' efficiency and passing could use an improvement, his handles are fine as they are, as the Oak Hill Academy product is one of the flashiest players in the NBA.

    Jennings is just nasty at times when it comes to taking guys on one-on-one, and this ankle-breaker on Stephen Curry tells you all you need to know about his game.

5. Ricky Rubio

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    Ricky Rubio proved to be worth the wait when he finally came over to the NBA last season, setting the league alight with his vision and imagination with the basketball.

    It's clear that Rubio just sees the game differently than most people, and this is shown with the type of passes and ball fakes he utilizes from game to game.

    As his knee continues to heal, we can expect to see much more of this from Rubio for years to come.

4. Kyrie Irving

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    Uncle Drew is the NBA's fastest-developing superstar, and if we aren't already, it won't be long before we're mentioning him among the likes of Derrick Rose and Chris Paul as one of the very best point guards in the league.

    It's not just his shooting touch, unshakable confidence or perfect build for a modern point guard, but it's also his ball-handling that makes Kyrie Irving so good.

    As shown in his popular Pepsi commercials, Irving is "a real baller" with as much talent as anyone when it comes to his handles.

    It isn't just a gimmick, though. You only have to watch Irving a couple of times to know he's just as good when it comes to real NBA basketball as he is as his alter ego.

3. Jamal Crawford

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    Even at the age of 32, Jamal Crawford still has hands down the best crossover in the NBA.

    Crawford has been embarrassing defenders as usual this season and some early casualties include Nando de Colo, Rudy Gay and Ray Allen.

    Amongst other things— including some fantastic scoring numbers—Crawford's ability to provide energy off the bench with his shake-and-bake moves have made him a candidate to once again win the Sixth Man of the Year award.

    Ranking high on a list like this is typical for Crawford, who has been terrorising anyone who tries to guard him on the perimeter since his early days with the Bulls and Knicks.

2. Chris Paul

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    Ball-handling may not be the only skill necessary to be successful in the NBA, but the fact that the Clippers have two players in the top three is telling with the way they've dominated in the first half of the season.

    CP3 has confirmed his position as the best point guard in the league this season, leading the way for the Clippers with an MVP-caliber start to the campaign.

    As ever, Paul has been doing everything you could want from an elite point guard, and his ball-handling is at the core of what he does.

1. Rajon Rondo

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    With his humongous hands and creativity, Rajon Rondo is as clear an option as there is for the No. 1 ball-handler in the NBA.

    To be considered one of the best point guards in the league despite not having a jump shot, you have to make up for it in other areas, and Rondo has certainly done that with has ball-handling.

    He may not have the killer crossover that other players on this list possess, but still, the variety of things he can do with a basketball is unmatched.

    Rondo regularly uses a number of moves, including his version of Hakeem Olajuwon's famous ball fake, that always gets opposing big men off their feet.

    There was no more telling moment than in the 2011 playoffs, when Rondo took on the Miami Heat despite a dislocated elbow, and essentially played half a game with just one arm.