Today were looking at the top 10 players in the NBA that I personally feel will directly impact the future of the League and the game of basketball in general. Not including Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade or anyone in the class of 2003.
We will anyalyse not only the individual players but also their team-mates and future options future free-agents and other possibilities.
Anyway lets get to it.
John Wall is expected to become the leader of this young Wizards squad from the beginning much like Derrick Rose did in Chicago in his rookie season. Wall however may have a much weaker supporting cast. Wall, Thornton and last seasons break-out star Andrea Blatche will be the starting guys next season as well as another improving player in JaVale McGee.
The Wizards will add John Wall the same back-up that Derrick Rose had in Chicago when they add Kik Hindrich earlier this season, while also picking up European big man Kevin Seraphin.
Obviously the Wizards still need to add some foundation peices but thay are taking the right steps forward for this young squad, the Arenas situation will still need sorting as most feel an Arenas-Wall back court will not work however if it does or if they can pick up a great player for him. I feel or hope that the Wizards management desk can make the Wall-Arenas back-court work.
Brandon is already one of the leaders of this squad and this team now has a solid young core with the likes of Jennings and Andrew Bogut. Add this to experienced players like John Salmons, Corey Maggette and new additions Drew Gooden and Jon Brockman. In June they also managed to pick up Larry Sanders, Darrington Hobson and Tiny Gallon in the NBA Draft.
This season the Bucks will be one of few teams that has the players to challange the Heat in the Eastern Confrence and now after a solid play-off performance against the Hawks last year people are starting to fear the dear.
So we still have not seen last years number one overall pick play a proper NBA game, but if you all remember he was a man among boys in last years Summer League absolutly dominating the competition and he will go straight into the starting line-up in LA add that to Eric Gordon, Baron Davis, Chris Kaman & DeAndre Jordan with new rookies Aminu, Willie Warren, Eric Bledsoe and they have a solid, deep squad.
In a few years this LA team could replace the current team to beat in LA and will be competing for that Western Confrence Championship.
Okay so after a rookie season like that im allowed to start applying the pressure to Steph Curry. Its a shame the bay has lost one of its young building blocks in Anthony Randolph but he wasnt in Don Nelson's good books and he was getting un-fairly benched.
Instead the Warriors bring in another young, talented power forward/centre in Davd Lee from New York, who will provide a nice inside presence complimantary to Steph and his outside game.
Factor in Monta Ellis and his slashing ability and some voids are filled. Plus rookies Ekpe Udoh, who despite being currently injured provides the Warriors with another solid forward who is rediculously athletic and provides both and inside presence on offence and on D.
This core is another solid, young squad from the Western Cofrence who hope they too will be able to de-thrown the Lakers & reach the WCF's.
Yes I know that Rondo is one of the top point guard in the league, already has a ring and plays for the storied Boston Celtics franchise but what happens when Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen get too old or leave, What if they cant provide Rajon with an adequate supporting cast thats young enough to compete in the future and what if the managers and owners are un-willing to pay him a max contract.
However he is still here because of those above points, he is one of the top point guard in the league and he plays for the Celtics, he is a franchise player and as long as the celtics front-office can provide him with a solid squad then he may be able to add to his currentl ring collection and further prove himself as one of the games best point guards.
Last years rookie of the year was only the 4th player ever to average 20-5-5 alongside Oscar Robertson, MJ and Lebron James. He did well last year with a squad with the likes of Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi and Carl Landry who was bought in mid-season at the trade deadline.
Now though they have also added Samuel Delambert from Philidelphia, they picked up Demarcus Cousins in the draft and also managed to steal Hassan Whiteside in the second round and now have one of the most stacked front-courts in the league. Add this front court to Casspi, Greene and Tyreke and this team may emerge from the bottom sooner than expected.
I was going to put Russell alongside his Oklahoma City team mate Kevin Durant because they are already one of the best pairs in the league, however doing that would take away from Russells amazing season.
He is a young, quick, athletic point guard. With long arms and the ability to get into the passing lanes therefore getting the easy steal, he is quick enough to finish on the break and has the vision and passing ability to start the break.
His back-up Eric Maynor is another solid player and he allows Russell to get some well deserved rest. He can provide scoring, leadership and playmaking off the bench.
In the future if Russell works on his game, makes his 3-point shot more consistant and reduce the turnovers he may help Oklahoma City to a championship alongside Kevin Durant and Jeff Green because you cant have a solid contender without a solid point guard.
Brook is above Russell because Russell has Kevin Durant, Brook has ...... Devin Harris? an injury-prone point guard and the rest of the oft-injured Nets? Compared to the Thunder and their squad Brook has almost nothing, But Brook is the bright spot in the area that didnt manage to lure Lebron, D-Wade, Bosh, Boozer or Amare, he is the centre litterally, of this squad.
Last season he was challenged for scoring by YI Jianlian and luckily for him this year he will not have that problem, Yi will be in D.C and he will be replaced by Derrick Favors, a solid rookie teammate no doubt. Add him to Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Terrance Williams, rookie Damion James and recent acquisitions Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro and Travis Outlaw.
This rebuilding New Jersey squad is now solid. It still need some building blocks, but given time this team will one day make it back to the Eastern Confrence Playoff's.
This last section has been the hardest picking 1 and 2 mainly because I feel Chicago has now got a much stronger team with the addition of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Earl Watson and Ronnie Brewer. However as well as this the East generally has also become a hell of a lot harder, Boston, Orlando, Atlanta, Miwaukee, Miami and now possibly the Knicks are all strong squads, and I feel the Bulls will struggle to get out of the East come playoffs, possibly finishing 3rd in the East and losing to either the Heat or Magic in the ECF's.
However the Bulls are now serious contenders and Derrick Rose is the leader of this squad and all aroung best player but now add this to Boozer, a rebounding machine in Joakim Noah, lights out shooter Kyle Korver, a great defender in Ronnie Brewer and long-time player Luol Deng, last years rookies Taj Gibson and James Johnson. This provides them with the correct mix of talent, experience, youth and competativness.
If it wasnt for D-Wade, Lebron and Bosh all joining the Heat and maybe had al gone their seperate ways I would have said this team could reach the finals this year, but instead losing in the ECF's is a great place to be.
I hope that at some point these young Bulls can push aside the all-stars in Miami and get another championship to add to those of MJ ad Pippen and add to the history of the Chicago Bulls, the greatness of Derrick Rose and then eventually the more chips they get with Rose at the helm the more likely a Derrick Rose statue will stand next to the greatest to ever play the game.
Like said this pick was incredibly hard but I made it because I feel the Thunder are more likely to get to the Finals than the Bulls, They have exceeded all expectations and ever so nearly took down the Lakers in the Plaoyoff's.
Kevin Durant is the youngest player ever to win the scoring title and his ability alongside Russell Westbrook makes them feared league-wide.
I do feel that the Bulls have a stronger all around team but I also feel the East just got a hell of a lot harder where as the West get a little weaker.
The Bulls would have to beat Boston, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta and Milwaukee where as the Thuder will truely only need to beat LA.
The Thuder too are a few seasons away from the Finals, but at some point in the near future they will make it and thanks to Kevin Durant, Russell and Jeff Green the process has taken around 3 years in stead or 6 or 7 and instead of being a playoff team in 6 to 7 years they are a contender now.