The following is a ranking of the top 25 players in the NBA coming into the 2010-2011 season.
There will be disagreements, and I completely understand the urge to go against these rankings.
These rankings are not determined by any type of favoritism or bias even if you lead yourself to believe this is so.
These rankings are also certainly NOT a popularity contest as I prefer to ignore what the media or what the general public's perception of a player may be.
These rankings are based on strict basketball skill, talent, and intangibles.
So off we go, the top 25 players in the NBA.
The New York Knicks have suffered through a lot in the past few years. But one bright spot was David Lee. He was a consistent double double threat for the Knicks and although he wasn't a game changer, he did his job and even more.
I find it hard to argue that Lee puts up all star numbers and coming into free agency, he had arguably his best season yet. He has the bulk to play center but he is really more of a PF. Lee has a nice jump shot, solid inside game, and rebounds like a monster. Lee was one of the league leaders in double-doubles last season and actually was the reason why NY did not have a worse record than the one they finished with.
Now the Golden State Warriors have Mr. Lee and although they run a more fast paced offense than most other teams in the league, I think Lee won't have much trouble fitting in. The Mike D. system did not pan out as well with the Knicks as it did with the Suns but Lee should not be entering the Golden State season completely lost. I see him adding much needed muscle and rebounding to his new team.
20.3 PPG - 11.6 RPG - 3.6 APG - 1.1 SPG
It's hard to believe Manu has come off the bench so much in his career. That said, he is an incredible sixth man and starter, if that were the case. Manu has had his injury concerns over the past couple of years but one thing is for sure: he is an absolute terror when healthy.
He takes it to the rack with the best of them and he never shies away from contact. He also has a pretty good shot and plays hard nosed defense just like his coach likes it. Manu's numbers were still pretty good last year and surely would be higher if he played a few more minutes per game.
Still Manu is always on the floor in crunch time, he has the clutch gene, he can pass the ball well or take the last shot of the game. Either way, anyone would love Manu on their team because he does things the right way and he never gives up on a play.
16.9 PPG - 3.8 RPG - 4.9 APG - 1.4 SPG
Westbrook showed last year that he is going to be one of the better PG's in the game very soon, that is for those who don't already think he is. He was Durant's ideal partner and he ran a great show in OKC.
Westbrook has blazing speed and loves to drive it to the hoop. He is the type of player that takes advantage of fast break opportunities and has very good athleticism. He can be considered somewhat of a steal in the 2008 draft not going in the top 3.
His jump shot is improving and his ability to pass the ball is also getting better. He is looking more and more consistent with his play and showed he is not afraid of the big games when he played the Lakers in round 1 of the playoffs while averaging 20 point and 6 assists. Other teams are on notice.
16.1 PPG - 8.0 APG - 4.9 RPG - 1.3 SPG
Carlos Boozer has been a relatively consistent double double player for his career. He knows how to put the ball in the hoop, has a good post up game, and a heck of a mid range shot. He is also a very good rebounder for his size which makes him even more valuable.
Boozer might not have Deron anymore, but Rose is still a heck of a PG. Boozer excelled in the pick and roll game and he was very good at the pick and pop game as well. Even though he isn't expected to pass for his position, he also does have solid passing skills.
He brings a lot of energy to the team and the hope is that now he can put the injuries behind him so he can help the Bulls become a force in the east. Both the Bulls and Boozer hope these next 5 years come with deep playoff runs and maybe a championship.
19.5 PPG - 11.2 RPG - 3.2 APG - 1.1 SPG
The Griz resigned Gay to a new deal at the max. While some questioned the contract, there is no doubt Gay is a very good player. He is also Memphis' best player and at age 23, he has plenty of room for growth.
Gay showed last year that he can score big time. He has improved in that aspect of the game every year and many should expect him to keep doing so. He is a decent rebounder, but if the Grizzlies want to be more succesful, Rudy should invest his time on becoming more of a play maker.
He has good athleticism and size which is important for small forwards in today's game. He has an ever improving jump shot and although he is a bit streaky, he is a danger when he is hot.
19.6 PPG - 5.9 RPG - 1.9 APG - 1.5 APG
The Sacramento Kings are not much of a team right now, but Tyreke Evans is a big time player. He lit up the league as a rookie and took home Rookie of the Year honors in the process.
He was the Kings best player and his skills were on display soon after he started the season. Evans brings very good size for a point guard although some may see him as more of a shooting guard. He has very good length which may allow him to become a bothersome defender to opposing guards if he puts onus on that part of the game.
He can certainly score, and is actually a pretty good rebounder and a pretty good passer. He has many areas on which he could and should improve on, but many expect him to do so. Tyreke may just be the King's savior.
20.1 PPG - 5.3 RPG - 5.8 APG - 1.51 SPG
The Atlanta Hawks obviously overpaid for their star player but his shooting skills are elite. Joe Johnson is an all-star and although he did not show up in the playoffs, people put too much thought into that series.
JJ is still nasty at times. He is a lights out shooter and when he is feeling it, the opposition better look out. The good thing is he can create his own shot and he can also take it to the hoop and hit from close range at a solid rate. For a shooting guard, Johnson is actually pretty big and his defense is pretty good when he wants it to be.
Yes, he does not merit the approximately 122 million dollars he will earn and it would seem he is not enough as a number 1 option. But he has lifted the Hawks to a respectability. He is the leader and he has been in the playoffs and played well there before. Johnson will need to do a bit more with his game to lift the Hawks deeper into the playoffs, like being able to take over and set up teammates more often. The skills are there but the mentality? Well...
21.3 PPG - 4.6 RPG - 4.9 APG - 1.08 SPG
Paul Pierce may be 33 years old but he is still as good as he has ever been. Do not be fooled by the numbers. His dip in production has been a product of playing with 3 other players who put the ball in the hoop every game.
Pierce has been one of the most consistent players in the league and his skills have always relied on being in the right position. Pierce is deadly if he is played one on one. He is not fast but he is quick to pull up and knock it down from mid range right in the defender's face. He has a solid 3 point shot and has the strength to take contact and still finish at the basket.
Pierce is also known as "The Truth" and he lives up to his name with his big plays and clutch shot making. Pierce won't do it all the time, but he has the ability to take over for stretches giving Boston a chance to win every night. 4 years may be a bit too long for a new deal but for the next 2 years, Boston should be feared.
18.3 PPG - 4.4 RPG - 3.1 APG - 1.18 SPG
Tim Duncan can be argued as the greatest power forward of all time. He plays a lot of center and is about 7 feet tall but he is better known as a power forward. Either way, Duncan is one of the greats of this era. He is a consistent double double threat who's rebounding skills remain sharp.
He is getting up there in age but never the less, he is the most fundamentally sound player in the game. He can still hit his jump shots, even those nice bank shots. He still has a heck of a post game, and is still a very good defender one on one and blocking shots.
Some may think he is boring, but who cares? Duncan is a winner, and he has always been a great teammate and high character guy. He makes other players around him better because he does so many things so very well. Duncan and the Spurs may be a surprise team this year, and one should be sure Duncan will be the biggest reason why.
17.9 PPG - 10.1 RPG - 3.2 APG - 1.5 BPG
Back in 2008, people worried if Rondo was going to be able to play point guard alongside the newly formed Boston three party. Why did we even bother? Rondo is one of the best point guard's in the game and he is only 24 years old. His ability to pass the ball and handle the ball are elite in the NBA.
Boston was smart to lock him up to an extension last year because Rondo is the new best player on the Celtics. Obviously Boston has several good players, and each player does things to win. Yet Rondo is the player who makes everything run so smoothly. He is lightning quick with awesome driving ability. He hustles and he rebounds the ball well especially for his size.
He plays good defense, racks up steals, and has an ever improving jump shot making him the ultimate threat. He can push the tempo or he can run a half court offense, doesn't matter. He is unafraid of the big stage and his improving skills will keep Boston afloat while the other 3 star's skills diminish.
13.7 PPG - 4.4 RPG - 9.8 APG - 2.33 SPG
It is fair to wonder whether the man they call "Stat" will be same without a player like Nash setting him up. It is certainly a possibility his numbers may dip a bit but he is still a stud in the paint. I judge Amar'e through his playing days in Phoenix, and while there, he had moments of utter dominance.
His injury history is a concern leading to the story that Amar'e was unable to get his contract insured. The Knicks realized that signing him to a 100 million dollar deal was risky but he was the best they could do this summer. Still not a bad catch for arguably the best pick and roll big man in the league. He is a good rebounder when he wants to be, and can block a shot pretty consistently.
Amar'e has a quick step, awesome athleticism, and great finishing ability. He is an impressively energetic player who can take over a game at times. He is proven, even though he has yet to reach the finals. Amar'e lacks on the defensive side of the ball but if he put his head into it, he could be higher on this list. Playing with Mike D. may keep his offense going but if he could get focused on playing D, not only will he be a better player, the Knicks will be a better team.
23.1 PPG - 8.9 RPG - 1.0 APG - 1.01 BPG
The Trail Blazers are a young team, but the young team excuse for not going deeper into the postseason is becoming stale. Brandon Roy was injured for much of last year including in the playoffs and it is understandable why they didn't advance. Now Roy is expected to be healthy, and when healthy he is a stud.
He has a great skill set and on a team like Portland, he could use that skill set to boost the team to a real threat in the West. He can shoot lights out, and has a bit of that crasher mentality when taking it to the rim. The guy can flat out score.
Roy also plays pretty good defense and his passing skills have improved with time in the league. His health comes first, but when he's 100% again, which is expected, he will show us once again why he is an elite talent. Watch out for Roy this year, I sense a vengeance like mentality from this man.
21.5 PPG - 4.4 RPG - 4.7 APG - 0.94 SPG
Derrick Rose came into the league as the No.1 overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in 2008. The hometown kid had a lot of hype and he did not disappoint. His rookie year was great. His second year was even better.
Rose improved practically every aspect of his game in his second year in the league. He showed that he is a point guard any team would love to have. Rose has the opportunity to become elite this coming season and may become the best point guard in the league one day as well. Everyone knows how hard it is to play the 1, but Rose makes it look easy at times.
His calm personality may fool observers from not having the necessary leadership skills to be No.1 on the team, but he is a gamer. He has improved his jump shot and is a beast taking it to the rack. He also improved his man to man defense, but he could be a great defender if he wants to be. His passing skills are good, but they need to get better. His end to end speed makes him extremely dangerous for half court squads who don't like to run at all.
Rose has the opportunity to be elite, he just may get there this year.
20.8 PPG - 3.8 RPG - 6.0 APG - 0.73 SPG
Chris Bosh is coming off his most productive season coming into this new NBA season. Bosh proved he is one of the best big men in the game last year. He had a career high in points and shot over 50% from the field.
Bosh left Toronto this summer to go play with 2 other stars and form a new "superteam" in Miami. Bosh provides the low post presence needed for any championship contender. He can shoot the ball from range but truly excels from mid range. He has a solid post game and his inside moves are quick and smooth. He has pretty good passing skills as well so he has the ability to take advantage of a double team.
Bosh also runs the floor as good as any big man in the game today. He hustles and can rebound very well consistently. Bosh can improve his defense and the idea is that he will since he will not be called on to carry such a scoring burden anymore. Blocking shots is not a problem for him though, so he can change a game at times. He is an elite big man and could be even better this season playing alongside stars and being only 26 years of age himself.
24 PPG - 10.8 RPG - 2.4 APG - 1.0 BPG
With Dirk around, there may not be a better scoring big man in the league right now. He has had a fantastic career thus far and his numbers show his consistency. Honestly though, the numbers don't always tell the story. Dirk is truly a great player who has the ability to beat a team on his own. He is a pretty good rebounder and his numbers don't lie there.
He plays far from the rim and is willing to defend a player outside of the paint, so that is really the reason why he does not average double digit rebounds. He is not a good defender but his offense makes up for it. Dirk has been to the finals and his teams have been competitive with him leading the way.
When it comes to shooting the ball though, he is truly amazing to watch. He can sink it from any spot and over any player right in his grill. He is that good a shooter. Do not leave this man open, because he has shown the league that you will pay the price. Dirk will go down as one of the best big men ever, and might go down as the greatest international player ever as well.
25 PPG - 7.7 RPG - 2.7 APG - 0.98 BPG
Another player who has the chance to go down as the best international player ever. Nash is 36 years old but to be truthful, he doesn't seem to have slowed down yet. He might this year, or losing Amar'e might hurt his production a bit. It is doubtful though.
Nash plays the best run and gun game in the NBA. His passing skills are probably the best in the league right now. He just has a knack for setting up teammates and putting them in the right spots at the right time. He can put the ball anywhere and he will make sure it results in an opportunity to score.
Nash is also an incredible shooter and a solid finisher. He hits clutch shots all the time and his up tempo play allows the run and gun game to work so well. He might not win a championship, but he deserved one. Still, expect Nash to put up numbers and be one of the highlight reel players of the year once again.
16.5 PPG - 3.3 RPG - 11.0 APG - 0.52 SPG
Pau Gasol was a pretty good player while he was in Memphis. Turns out he is an outstanding player when put on a good team. Gasol arrived in LA and he simply put them over the top. Since his arrival, the Lakers have had 3 straight appearances in the Finals and have won the last 2. Gasol is a double double machine and has shown to be an ideal partner.
When it comes to power forwards, Gasol is the best in the game right now. He has so many skills to show off his superiority especially against smaller players. He is a great rebounder and his length can give fits to other big men. The notion that Gasol is soft is pure bologna. He went up against a physical Boston front court and played right with them every night.
Gasol can hit the mid range shot very well and has a very good post up game. He is a solid shot blocker, good passer, and definitely brings energy to the team. He has a great offensive skill set and now can say he comes up big when needed most with his MVP like finals performance this summer.
18.3 PPG - 11.3 RPG - 3.4 APG - 1.74 BPG
Deron Williams is in the conversation for current best point guard in the game. He has a complete set of skills that allows him to be a true number 1 option for his team and many other teams at that.
Deron brings a huge skill set to the table. He can pass the ball, he can shoot the ball, he can draw contact, he is strong, and he likes to lead. He is also not a half bad defender for a point guard. He is very good at the pick and roll game showing us through the years that he can make a good pass or hit a shot if need be.
His strength is probably his biggest strength coincidentally. Deron knows how to use that strength as well. He can push a lot of the smaller guards around and he can hit big shots when called upon. He is still a young player but with the right team around him, he is championship material.
18.7 PPG - 4.0 RPG - 10.5 APG - 1.26 SPG
Kevin Durant is simply an awesome player. He is currently the clear cut leader of team USA and deservedly so. Durant just knows how to put the ball in the hoop. He is a true star and has the potential to be in the conversation for best in the game soon.
Durant was a legitimate MVP candidate last year while leading the league in scoring. He is playoff savvy (Though FG% was low) as we saw him in the first round against the Lakers just a few months ago. He has an amazing shot and sometimes seems like he just won't miss. He has good rebounding skills, and his numbers are astonishing to say the least.
He has incredible length, which allows him to become a very good defender if he so chooses. Better yet, the guy is humble and he let's his game do the talking. He has many things he can improve upon, but at the tender age of 22 coming into this season, one would bet he had a check list handed to him. Do not sleep on KD, because he should be a haunting figure in this league for years to come.
30.1 PPG - 7.6 RPG - 2.8 APG - 1.02 BPG - 1.36 SPG
Paul was injured last season but during his time on the court, he was very productive. To put it simply, Chris Paul is a game changer. He is an elite talent and can easily be argued for best point guard in the game. He can be argued for a top 5 player in the NBA as well.
Paul has blazing speed and has a great ability to set up teammates. He makes other players better and before this last season, was improving as a player in many aspects. Paul is now a pretty good shooter and is still very young. His injuries were not helping last year but he should be over them coming into this season.
Paul can drive it to the hoop pretty well actually which gives him a lot of time on the charity stripe. He also has very good anticipation skills when stealing the ball and taking it right to the other end of the court for those easy lay ups. He can be the best point guard in the league this year once again if he makes the hornets improve, and many feel that is probable. I'll be sure not to doubt him. (Update: I put Paul from 8 to 6 and he might crack the top 5 soon, he has established himself as the best PG in the game again)
18.7 PPG - 4.2 RPG - 10.7 APG - 2.13 SPG
Melo has one of the best offensive games in the NBA. He can score from all spots on the floor and brings all the tools a player needs to score at will. From the 2003 draft class, Melo may be the best pure scorer of them all, and that is saying a lot. Just great technique.
Melo can shoot the ball extremely well. He hits shots at a high percentage too. He has pretty good strength and he can also abuse players with his post up game. He has range and can also take it to the hoop if he needs to. He is the type of player that will face you up as well and make a swish like no one is in front of him.
He can do the fade away, the turnaround, and the clutch shots. He might not have awesome speed, but he has no trouble getting by his man most of the time. He is improving as a passer and he is also becoming a better defender. Soon enough, we might see Melo dueling it out with the best teams in the west for a serious chance to make the finals.
28.2 PPG - 6.6 RPG - 3.2 APG - 1.28 SPG
The new version of “Superman” has been a force in the middle for the last 5 years now. He is the most dominating and intimidating inside presence in the league today. When it comes to defense, Dwight Howard is king.
His offensive game can still use improvement. He needs to be more consistent on offense and must learn not to force shots when he is unable to get the position he wants. Still, he is solid offensively, but a beast on defense. Howard is the best rebounder and shot blocker in the game hands down.
He will overpower practically anyone for a rebound and has the athleticism to swat away any shot in his vicinity. He is also a good man to man defender and always brings energy to his team. He has the potential to be great in the post. He can take a team to the finals, but if he becomes great on offense, the Magic might win the finals.
18.3 PPG - 13.2 RPG - 1.8 APG - 2.78 BPG
Alright, alright calm down people. Don’t take this as Kobe Bryant is not a tremendous player or that he is not in the conversation for the best in the game. Bryant is unbelievable, but he is not the best player in the league no matter how much people want him to be.
That said, Kobe is one of greatest to ever do it. He may go down as the second best shooting guard of all time. Kobe is venomous when he is in the zone. There are times where there is nothing a defender can do to stop him. He can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor. The thing is he sometimes overdoes plays and takes way too many bad shots.
He has an amazing offensive game, because once he gets his shot on, he can drive it to the hoop and use his niftiness to get passed practically any defender. Kobe is awesome off the dribble, and when he wants to be, he is a great defender. Kobe is 5 time champion and is one of the best clutch players in the game. He is one ring away from tying Air Jordan, it might just happen.
27.0 PPG - 5.4 RPG - 5.0 APG - 1.55 SPG
Dwyane Wade is so amazing that the NBA commercial “Where Amazing Happens” might be based off of him. Wade is spectacular at pretty much anything he does. He has been improving his game ever since he got into the league. He does so much yet shoots at such a high percentage.
He took the Heat to the playoffs as a rookie and led the franchise to their one and only championship in 2006. He was injured for much of the next 2 years but came back with an MVP like season in 2008. From that moment on, I felt Wade was the best shooting guard in the league.
He has a much better jump shot now, the best attacking ability in the league, awesome athleticism, great passer, humble personality, great defensive instincts, and is as clutch as they come. Wade can dominate a game and take over as good as anyone as well. Now that he finally has stars next to him, Wade may be looking at multiple rings.
26.6 PPG - 4.8 RPG - 6.5 APG - 1.06 BPG - 1.84 SPG
No surprise here considering who the last two were. I’ve never been a LeBron James fan but I can openly say he is the league’s best player. People are blinded by hatred towards James but I won’t fall into that garbage. Don’t put too much onus on the ring count, because if he starts winning rings, there is nothing anyone can say anymore.
Strong minded people know what James’ capabilities are whether they like him or not. He is the most physically gifted player to probably ever play the game. He has it all, is only 25, and is probably going to get a lot better. We have seen what LeBron can do with mediocre talent, now he will have stars to run the floor with while using his great speed.
LeBron has always had a bigger impact on the court than any other player (Breathe Kobe fans, breathe). Look at the statistics if you must, but I watch his game and have so several times. He is a freak of nature. He can play infinite minutes, dunk on anyone, shoots better every year, can rebound, play all 5 positions, set up teammates with the best of them, block shots, get steals, play man to man defense, and has had back to back 60+ win seasons with two league MVPs.(Exhale)
29.7 PPG - 7.3 RPG - 8.6 APG - 1.01 BPG - 1.64 SPG