The NBA's 25 Best: From King James To A.I.

Joseph EdmondsonCorrespondent IJune 9, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 11:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers tries to get a shot off around Glen Davis #11 of the Boston Celtics during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 11, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Boston won the game 120-88 to take a 3-2 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Who's your favorite player?

That is the easiest question to answer. Regardless of where you are, what you're doing, how long you've paid attention to the league, or how much you know about basketball, it's really easy to say who your favorite player is.

Who is the best player?

That question's a little harder to answer. You'll have your top guys, the ones the media pays attention to and you're told are the best by analysts, commentators, and players who play with them or against them, but there is still a long list of notable players left to sort out.

The debate will never be finished, but I'm working on it. So much so that I've hardly had any sleep. It's becoming an obsession and so far it's not paying dividends. After declaring Steve Nash the best point guard in the league just days ago, I now see him falling below Deron Williams. Such things happen when you constantly try new ways to analyze statistics.

The Top Five

1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant
3. Dwight Howard
4. Dwyane Wade
5. David Lee

What?! No Kobe? Am I serious? No, I'm not serious, just my numbers. I couldn't believe it either. I knew Durant was good, and we can't forget about D-Wade, but I was a little surprised to see Howard and Lee so high.

Making it Ten

6. Kobe Bryant
7. Tim Duncan
8. Dirk Nowitzki
9. Chris Bosh
10. Josh Smith

No Carmelo or Stoudemire? No Rondo? Where is Derrick Rose? Not in the top ten, that's where. It is a relief to see Kobe at number six, though. You'd quit reading if he was any lower, I know it.

Rounding it Out

11. Pau Gasol
12. Amar'e Stoudemire
13. Carmelo Anthony
14. Carlos Boozer
15. Zach Randolph
16. Al Horford
17. Brook Lopez
18. Deron Williams
19. Gerald Wallace
20. Steve Nash
21. Joe Johnson
22. Brandon Roy
23. Rajon Rondo
24. Manu Ginobili
25. Andre Iguodala

Who'd I miss?

There they are, the best 25 players in the NBA, in order, with LeBron James on top. Does it make sense? I promise you it's without bias. I don't even know who Gerald Wallace is but he's smug above Nash, my personal favorite. 

If you care to know how I got this order, just ask.