My Fave Five

Hugh JassCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2008

The 2007-08 NBA season is over. 

The NBA Playoffs are finished and the Boston Celtics are the NBA champions. 

Derek Rose is the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and the 12-man United States men’s national basketball team has been announced.  

With some unexpected twists and turns, rosters have been changed.  

With that said, here are my five favorite players in the NBA and why I like them:

5. Dwight Howard (ORL)

Perhaps the biggest reason I put Howard in my fave five is because of his amazing performance in the Slam Dunk Contest during the NBA’s All-Star weekend.  After putting on his superman cape, Dwight Howard soared past Gerald Green to win the 2008 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.

The current slam-dunk champion averaged 18.9 PPG and 15.8 RPG throughout the 2008 NBA Playoffs.

For Dwight Howard, the future holds a substantially successful career.  

4. Kevin Garnett (BOS)

Kevin Garnett belongs in my fave five because of his triumphant performance in the Boston Celtics victorious 2007-08 season. 

Throughout his career, Garnett has been a very consistent player.  He has career averages of 20.4 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.6 BPG, and 1.4 SPG while shooting 49.4 percent from the field.

Garnett has always been a favorite of mine.  He is a class act and a winner.  Unlike many of the players in the NBA, Kevin Garnett lets his game speak for himself.  He is a true champion and even more importantly a team player.      

3. Mario Chalmers (MIA)

Remember the game where Chalmers hit the game tying 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left on the clock in the NCAA tournament championship against Memphis?  What a historic moment that was.

I like Mario Chalmers because he hustles and plays defense.  The 6-1 point guard averaged 12.8 PPG, 4.3 APG, and 2.5 SPG, while shooting 3-pointers at 46.8 percent in his junior year for the Kansas Jayhawks. 

He even led the Jayhawks to the NCAA championship title.  Soon after, in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat picked up Chalmers.  I would expect to see big things out of him next season.      

2. Deron Williams (UTA) 

In 2005, as a junior starting point guard, Williams led the Fighting Illini to the NCAA championship game where they lost to the University of North Carolina. That season we saw the Illini go undefeated until the final game of the season, where they lost to Ohio State by one point.

Illinois' road to the Final Four was marked by a staggering comeback win over the Arizona Wildcats, where the Illini, led by Williams, came back from 15 points down in the final minutes to win the game. Deron made the game tying 3-point shot with just 38.5 seconds left in regulation. He then hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime, and the Illini never looked back.

Williams declared for the NBA Draft after the 2005 season, forgoing his final year of collegiate eligibility.  In the 2005 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick.  Since then, Williams has led the Jazz to two playoff appearances, including one to the Western Conference Finals in 2006-07.  

1. Dwyane Wade (MIA)

Selected fifth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, Wade quickly emerged as a solid player on a relatively young Miami Heat team and averaged 16.2 points on 46.5 percent shooting to go along with averages of 4.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists each game in his rookie season.

In his first trip to the NBA Finals, in which Miami faced the Dallas Mavericks, Wade had some especially memorable moments.  His performance in Games Three, Four, and Five, in which he scored 42, 36, and 43 points, respectively, helped bring the Heat back from an 0–2 deficit to lead the series at three games to two. 

Wade's Game Three performance was especially memorable as he finished with 42 points (tying his career playoff high) and 13 rebounds (career high).  Fifteen of his 42 points came in the fourth quarter, a quarter in which the Heat erased a 13-point deficit over the final 6:34. 

With a 22–7 run which included a go-ahead jumper by NBA veteran Gary Payton, the win was sealed.  The Heat went on to win Game Six, taking the series 4–2, and Wade was presented with the Finals MVP trophy. 

He became the fifth youngest player in NBA history to capture NBA Finals MVP honors and recorded the third highest scoring average by a player in his first NBA Finals with 34.7 points per game.  Wade’s PER (player efficiency rating) in the 2006 NBA finals was ranked by ESPN's John Hollinger as the greatest performance in NBA Finals history.

Not only is Wade a superstar, but he has also shown his greatness through his quality sportsmanship.  Wade was named the 2006  Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.