These are overall player rankings that have been active in the league up to the 2010 season.
1) Kobe Bryant
SG/LAL - 6'6"/205 lbs
(Lower Merion HS[PA], 13 exp.)
When I first ranked these players, I thought about putting Kobe Bryant at number two. Not behind LeBron James, but behind 'The Black Mamba' because that's who comes out in the fourth quarter.
Jokes aside, what is in this guy's game that people don't already know. He can shoot the jump shot, he can play lock down defense, he can beat any defense on him and plays with a 'killer' mindset.
He has already set the table for future stars in the league and he is still improving in his 13th year in the league.
2) Lebron James
SF/CLE - 6'8"/250 lbs
(St. Vincent's—St. Mary's [OH], 6 exp.)
LeBron is one of the most intense players in the league and can not be stopped. He is the best player going at the rim with the ball and finishes stronger than anyone.
People say his jump shot is his weakness, which is not true. His shot has improved dramatically compared to his early years and might be the best passing forward in the game.
His free throws in the clutch is what ultimately hurts LeBron; but in my eyes, he is the prototypical athlete that every team (regardless of what sport) dreams of.
Call me crazy, but LeBron might be too good to win an NBA Championship... think about it...
3) Dwyane Wade
SG/MIA - 6'4"/220 lbs
(Marquette, 6 exp.)
He has already won an NBA championship and looks better than he has ever looked before. Obviously he needs a better cast around him, but his leadership and pure ability makes everyone around him better.
He might be one of the best dunking shooting guards in the league and can get to the rim almost at ease.
His ability to rack up dimes, steals as well as points makes him one of the most lethal players today.
4) Carmelo Anthony
SF/DEN - 6'8"/230 lbs
(Syracuse, 6 exp.)
Melo might have the most under-looked offensive game in the NBA. He can shoot the jump shot better than people realize and his big body is used toward his advantage.
He can rebound over many defenders in the league just by simply positioning his body under the rim to make the best play on the ball.
He is easily one of the most hungry players in the league and his confidence couldn't be higher.
5) Dwight Howard
C/ORL - 6'11"/265 lbs
(SW Atlanta Christian Academy [GA], 5 exp.)
An athletic freak with ability through the arena. He can dunk, block, board, you name it. Basically the only thing Howard is lacking is a consistent offensive post game.
Not saying Howard doesn't put up the numbers each time he steps out onto the court, but his offensive post moves come and go.
He can jump straight up and dunk, rebound, score on almost any defender, but his finesse and technique in the offensive post is weak to say the least.
6) Kevin Durant
SF/OKC - 6'9"/230 lbs
(Texas, 2 exp.)
Many can make a case for Durant being MVP, and you wouldn't be wrong. Personally, I feel LeBron James deserves MVP this season, but Durant won the scoring title while leading his Thunder to the playoffs after two seasons.
Portland is probably feeling the effects of drafting Greg Oden right about now. Durant leads Oden in almost every category, including playing time.
But enough comparison between the two, that's in the past. Durant is one of the best offensive players in the league, and his size compared to others is a huge advantage on the court.
7) Dirk Nowitzki
PF/DAL -7'0"/245 lbs
(Wurzburg, Germany, 11 exp.)
Say what you will about Dirk, but the man can ball. Sure he doesn't play strong defense, but his presence on the court alone is enough to make any game a close one.
His jump shot goes without question, but his offensive post moves are under-looked to say the least. He is one of the few players you want shooting the last shot in this league, which is weird considering he is technically a 'big man'.
8) Steve Nash
PG/PHX - 6'3"/178 lbs
(Santa Clara, 13 exp.)
Nash is arguably the best point guard in the NBA. He is quick, elusive, a dominant scoring option, has a nice three-point shot and dimes the ball extremely well.
His defense comes and goes, but goes for the most part. Despite a very shady defense, Nash can disrupt many opponents based off his skill offensively, his quickness and attitude on the court.
9) Deron Williams
PG/UTA - 6'3"/207 lbs
(Illinois, 4 exp.)
Deron is the best point guard in terms of making plays by penetrating. His size and skill is used toward his advantage with a coach who knows how to use his abilities in the best way possible.
Having Boozer on his team only makes him better, but he would still be a top point guard even without him. His jump shot is smooth along with his overall demeanor. He reads the court well and makes some of the best decisions in the game.
10) Chris Paul
PG/NO - 6'0"/175 lbs
(Wake Forest, 4 exp.)
Despite Paul not playing, he produced the same when he was in, like an all-star. Many people haven't seen many New Orleans games this season, but Paul's presence is still one of the most valued.
Just because Collison played well when Paul was hurt does not mean Paul's skill or overall value went down.
He is still one of the fastest point guards with the fastest hands. He can still score, make defenders mis-read a play and make his other teammates better.
11) Amar'e Stoudemire
C/PHX - 6'10"/249 lbs
(Cypress Creek HS [FL], 7 exp.)
Amar'e could probably stand at the free throw line, elevate his arms to shoulder level, and still touch the rim. He's got 'Go-Go Gadget' arms and can dun on almost anybody.
His intensity is often under-looked, but his skill is not. His jump shooting has seemed to vanish over the years, but his presence in the paint as a true big man has improved greatly.
An injury free Amar'e only means bad things for anyone facing him. It's hard not to pick Amar'e in many one-on-one match ups with other power forwards based on his athleticism, skill, attitude and maturity.
12) Tim Duncan
PF/SA - 6'11"/260 lbs
(Wake Forest, 12 exp.)
The Big Fundamental is Tim Duncan. He is possibly one of the greatest power forwards of all time and had one of the highest efficiency ratings in the league.
His presence on the court is what make the Spurs contenders every night they play ball. He quietly produces every night and (like the Spurs) he is sneaky by scoring and boarding without many fans or players even realizing.
His defense is one of his best qualities which is also his most under-looked.
13) Brandon Roy
SG/POR - 6'6"/211 lbs
(Washington, 3 exp.)
When Brandon Roy is feeling it, he is one of the most unstoppable players in the game. His jump shot can not be contended; and if you're napping, he will boom on you louder than John Madden at a pep rally.
His defense is also a strong part of his game and his quickness is often under-looked. His scoring is efficient to say the least and he has MVP potential in his game.
Consistency will need to pick up but for now it's safe to say Roy is headed in the right direction.
14) Chris Bosh
PF/TOR - 6'10"/230 lbs
(Georgia Tech, 6 exp.)
Other than Bosh recording a double-double pretty much every time he steps onto the court, no one really recgonizes Bosh's true power and skill.
He has some of the best heart in the game and will give it 100 percent every time he is on the court. His skill to board and shoot the open jump shot opens his arsenal drastically, but his full effort and drive makes him an MVP type of player.
I hear people say Bosh is over-rated, but there is nothing over-rated about double-doubles, Olympic gold, great leadership skills, a big man presence and various weapons on offense.
15) Derrick Rose
PG/CHI - 6'3"/190 lbs
(Memphis, 1 exp.)
Rose can pretty much score any time he drives to the paint. He doesn't seem to play like a true point guard, but his ability to take games over goes unquestioned.
His jump shot isn't too shabby, but his size over many other NBA point guards gives him a distinct advantage.
His toughness is great along with his developed maturity. I don't believe he's reached his full maturity stage yet, but you can already see it building over the past two seasons.
16) Jason Kidd
PG/DAL - 6'4"/214 lbs
(California, 15 exp.)
Kidd might be the last true, pure point guard in the NBA. What can't he do? He can score, assist, board, steal and lead. He is playing like he is 20 years old again and makes some of the best on-the-court desicions in the game.
He is another player who makes everyone around him better and can only help teams when he is on the court. He also rarely turns the ball over and is one of the most reliable players in the game today.
17) Pau Gasol
PF/LAL - 7'0"/250 lbs
(Barcelona, Spain, 8 exp.)
If Gasol was on a team like the Los Angeles Laker for his entire career (like Tim Duncan was with San Antonio his entire career), Gasol would probably be a lot higher on this list as well as his career stats.
He is always a play maker down low and understands offenses extremely well. Proving me wrong this year, he is a tough player in the paint. He whines and yells a lot, but don't let that fool you. He can ball with some of the best under the rim.
His awareness is the best in the game and he is always looking to cut through the lane for easy buckets. His size and speed combined make him dangerous, but his basketball IQ makes him lethal.
18) Joe Johnson
SG/ATL - 6'7"/240 lbs
(Arkansas, 8 exp.)
Joe Johnson is the most under--rated star in the NBA. His passion on the court seems to drift off from time to time (maybe that because he is playing somewhere he really doesn't want to be).
His jump shot is one of the purest in the game (other than Ray Allen) and his ability to get to the rim and make plays is very under-looked. He can penetrate and shoot with some of the best shooting guards in the league and can help close games in crunch time.
19) Rajon Rondo
PG/BOS - 6-1"/171 lbs
(Kentucky, 3 exp.)
He is the quickest point guard in the league with some of the best passing moves I have ever seen. When you can fake out a camera man, who usually has one half of an entire court in one picture, you know you have freakish athlete.
His maturity has improved greatly in just one year, and his offense has improved as well. He can shoot the jump shot if you leave him open, but his confidence in his jump shots seem to hold him back.
He is a player that will improve any team he is on and his overall development from three years ago to now is one of the best jumps I've seen in the NBA (the other might be Danny Granger).
20) Andrew Bynum
C/LAL - 7'0"/285 lbs
(St. Joseph's HS [NJ], 4 exp.)
When Bynum is in, he is arguably one of the best centers in the game. Baby Bynum is long gone as he now shows attitude and toughness when he plays.
Bynum almost plays with a chip on his shoulder. He plays like he has something to prove, which ultimately, he does. His offensive game and rebounding at the center position is some of the best in the league.
His defense could improve but his presence on the court enhances the Laker offense even more.
21) Carlos Boozer
C/UTA - 6'9"/266 lbs
(Duke, 7 exp.)
This man is mean, plain and simple. He kind of looks like a beefy and much more athletic Wario (in the face). His size is very deceiving. He is only 6'9, but plays 7'0.
He can dunk, board and assist very nicely. He has some of the best footwork at the big man position, and playing with Williams and Sloan has elevated his game past what many though capable.
He has a nack for making many impact plays and is one of those players you can count on to show up big in a clutch moment. He is another player with great awareness, skill and attitude.
22) Kevin Garnett
PF/BOS - 6'11"/253 lbs
(Farragut Academy HS [CHI], 14 exp.)
KG has taken a step back since his first championship ring two years ago. It might be injuries, it might be age, but the Big Ticket is not the same on either side of the ball.
He is still a fearless leader who will yell at or throw an elbow at anything within a 4-foot radius. His intensity is some of the best in the league along with his attitude.
His defense has gone down to say the least, along with his scoring ability. He has to work much harder for points and seems to play at a slow pace tempo.
His presence is still very effective, but his overall efficiency might be at an all time low right now in his career.
23) Ron Artest
SF/LAL - 6'7"/260 lbs
(St. John's, 10 exp.)
Artest is the best defender in the game, which might also be his best asset. His three-point shot is very nice to say the least, but it seems like he lacked confidence it it this season.
He will play hard no matter what and is one of the toughest players to face in a one-on-one match up. He can penetrate nicely, and reads picks extremely well.
His defense elevates him to a high standard already, but his scoring ability, toughness and maturity since Indiana makes him an elite player today.
24) Paul Pierce
SF/BOS - 6'7"/235 lbs
(Kansas, 11 exp.)
Pierce still might have the smoothest three-point shot in the game. His offensive ability has gone down since his first championship, but he can still shoot the ball nicely and create open looks by playing physical ball.
There isn't much of a difference from Paul Pierce '07-'08 and Paul Pierce today, other than he hasn't tried to score like he did two years ago. His ability and skill are still there, but his actual attempts at scoring doesn't seem like a top priority for him (which could be good or bad, only the playoffs will tell).
25) Tyreke Evans
PG/SAC - 6'6"/220 lbs
Evans has the best body for his position in the NBA. He is big enough and fast enough to beat almost any NBA point guard lining up across from him.
He can penetrate the lane and get himself nice looks close to the rim. His jump shot is very under-looked to say the least. His assisting skills are also under-looked and his size combined with his talent and position make him a star on the rise.
Evans has almost every advantage you would want for your player. That, plus his pure skill and scoring ability gives him the opportunity in the future to take over a franchise.