Now that the 2007-2008 NBA season is over, I thought it would be appropriate to make a list of the top five players of the season. I hope you have some constructive feedback on this one!
5) Deron Williams (UTA)
It's an absolute travesty that Williams wasn't an All-Star selection, but at least there was enough sanity within the media to give him a second-team All-NBA selection. After averaging 18.8 ppg and 10.5 apg, one would have thought that Deron was a lock for some MVP votes, but playing in Utah, he simply didn't get enough coverage. When he went head-to-head against New Orleans Hornets' phenom Chris Paul, he outplayed him every time. Williams is a crafty player with great skills around the basket, and has a nice jumper to compliment his post-up game.
4) Kevin Garnett (BOS)
This man had accomplished everything except winning a championship before he made the change to play in the Celtic green. KG was god-sent for the Celtics, as he led them to the best record in the NBA, as well as their 17th NBA title. He scored 18.8 ppg, and corralled 9.2 rpg. His ability to take bigger, slower players off the dribble really showed this season, especially in the playoffs, right Big Z? After cementing himself as one of the finest big men in the West, he showed who the boss was in the overall weaker Eastern Conference. Although Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and KG are all getting older, watch out for these Celtics next year come June.
3) Chris Paul (NOH)
I was pretty skeptical of Paul all season, thinking that Williams was better than him. Boy, did he change my mind in the playoffs. Sure Williams had a great postseason, but Paul was perhaps the best player in the entire playoffs stats-wise. During the regular season, Paul scored 21.1 ppg while dishing out 11.6 dimes per contest. I know it is hard to believe, but he actually made Tyson Chandler look good. Coupled with the scoring machines David West and Peja Stojakovic, Paul was able to dice his way through defenses at-will. He received some serious consideration for the MVP, but Kobe Bryant was simply too much. Look for this young star to continue to blossom in the future.
2) LeBron James (CLE)
It's pretty easy to see why people call him "The King". I, however, am not a fan of such a nickname. While I think "The Prince" is a mere underestimation of James' talent, he still needs to come up big in the playoffs to be considered a "King" in my estimation. That said, he led the NBA in scoring at 30 ppg, and showed his all-around game with 7.9 rpg and 7.2 apg. It's rare that you see those types of numbers out of a player with not much support on his team. Without a doubt in my mind, I believe that James has the real chance of becoming a top five player ever in this league, but he needs to help the upper management of the Cavs find players who will help him win titles.
1) Kobe Bryant (LAL)
This is a pretty clear-cut choice. Bryant was the MVP of the NBA this season, because he led the Los Angeles Lakers to the best record in the best conference in basketball, while putting up some gaudy numbers. Thankfully, Bryant likes to shy away from comparisons to Michael Jordan, because they simply should not be there. However, he is one of the best to ever lace them up, period. He dropped 28.3 ppg and threw 5.2 apg, showing that he had more confidence in his team this year. With the addition of Pau Gasol, Mitch Kupchak really helped Bryant excel in just one year's time. He has been the best player in the league for a number of years, and as much as I dislike him, he deserved the MVP trophy this year. Although his squad played miserably in the NBA Finals, many will remember how well the Lakers played against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
Dwight Howard (ORL): 20.7 ppg, 14.2 rpg. This kid has such an upside, and he is already the best center in the East, bar none. His amazing season was rewarded with a First-Team All-NBA selection.
Tim Duncan (SAS): 19.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg. Duncan is a pro's pro. Everyone wishes they could have the career he has had, and he'll certainly go down as one of the best forwards the NBA has seen.
Steve Nash (PHX): 16.9 ppg, 11.1 apg. Some people considered this a down year for Nash, but his stats sure show that he was exceptional once again. The two-time MVP award winner may not have gotten enough recognition because his team didn't dig deep into the playoffs.
Let me know your thoughts! This is Ben Weixlmann signing out.