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The 2011 NBA Season's 11 Most Exciting Players to Watch

WolfbeardContributor IJune 21, 2016

The 2011 NBA Season's 11 Most Exciting Players to Watch

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Who are the most exciting players in the game right now? Who puts butts in the seats with their explosive drives or on point dimes?

    Earlier this week we covered the most exciting players in NBA history.

    Here we will be counting down the eleven most exciting players to watch this upcoming season, with a careful eye to the fan-friendliness of their games.These eleven have games that can be appreciated by even the most casual of fans. After all, any fool can appreciate a big slam or a behind the back pass.

    I'm no exception.

    So, without further ado...

11. Derrick Rose

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Derrick Rose

    He is an explosive athlete who hungrily attacks the rim.

    A good blend of strength and speed, his aggressive defense looks better than ever this summer.The "Smaller LeBron" analogy isn't completely off base, even if it is a bit of a kitschy comparison.

    Improved decision making with the ball will lead to him delivering more flashy assists. He is poised to have a big year; look for him to be the fuse that lights this promising Bulls team.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His drive and dishes forays into the lane.

10. Rajon Rondo

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Rajon Rondo

    Rondo was all but cut from Team USA, but don't let that shape your expectations for the upcoming season of this promising young guard. Rondo showed during the playoffs a force he can be (even if you're not sure from night to night which Rondo version you're getting). He'll be motivated and as electric as ever in 2011.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His crazy, Pistol Pete ball fakes in the lane

9. Steve Nash

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Steve Nash

    The G.C.O.A.T (Greatest Canadian Of All Time) has been going at it for awhile now. He is still one of the better guards in the league, and his passing ability is still a joy to behold.

    In college I had to take a theater class to meet some basic requirements. There was a gay theater major in the class who openly hated sports and refused to watch them. One day towards the end of the semester he came in wearing a Steve Nash jersey. I was of course intrigued; when I asked him, he told me that he watched a Suns game and instantly became hooked on the NBA.

    What caught his imagination?

    Was it Nash's flowing locks or his crazy passes? I guess we'll never know.

    What we do know is that Nash has a fan friendly game that can bring in the most casual of fans.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His court awareness. It leads to assists from unexpected angles.

8. Russell Westbrook

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Russell Westbrook

    There's something about little guys attacking a rim guarded by much taller defenders that never gets old. ("Little" is, of course, a relative term here).

    Westbrook, like Rose, attacks the rim with reckless abandon.

    Unlike Rose, he had a mohawk this summer at The World Championships.

    He also won the latest "Next Generation PG Battle" as he proved he was more valuable in crunch time than either Rose or Rondo over and over again. FIBA play is an entirely different beast than the spread out iso game of the NBA, but that type of play is even more right up his alley.

    Look for Westbrook to produce his own 2010-2011 highlight reel.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His explosive finishes at the tin.

7. Dwight Howard

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Dwight Howard

    Has there ever been a seven footer who finishes so ferociously but still can't dominate a game on offense?

    Um, no.

    But despite his offensive failings, when Orlando's latest Superman impostor takes flight, it's really fun to watch. He absolutely destroys the rim; had he played in Darryl Dawkins' era there would have been broken glass everywhere.

    Have you ever played basketball against a big guy who was really good at blocking shots? You think you've got a clear path to the lane and then, BAM, your shot attempt is hitting some little kid's face who was sitting in the stands. It's demoralizing.You're looking around the next time you go into the paint. You're rushing your shot on the wing. You're completely out of your game.

    That's what Dwight Howard does on a nightly basis. You can see him doing it to guys.

    And it's fun to watch.

    Unless your kid is in the stands with you.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His unreal athleticism.

6. Carmelo Anthony

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Carmelo Anthony

    Melo is a one trick pony. You can pretend he plays defense. You can tell yourself he rebounds like he should. You can tell your friends he is a good leader and a great example for his teammates.

    But you'd be wrong.

    Melo brings one thing to the table, but he's really, really good at that one thing. He's an elite scorer in the NBA, and that's important. Team's need scoring, and fans always love to watch a great scorer. Even if the guy is earth bound, like a Larry Bird, people like to see him filling it up. Very few people can do it at that kind of level.

    Melo is most definitely not earth bound, and he's very good at filling it up.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His scoring ability, especially in the paint.

5. Kevin Durant

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Kevin Durant

    It might be easy to write off Durant as a one note singer like Melo, but this summer taught us otherwise. Not only did he shoulder the scoring lode for Team USA, but on a vertically challenged team, he was one of our best shot blockers and most relentless passing lane thieves.

    He will show off his improved defense this upcoming season, but it will still be his scoring that excites fans.

    How do you stop someone with a seven foot plus wingspan from shooting a jumpshot over you when they can just as easily put it on the ground and finish over even the tallest help side defenders?

    The answer is: you can't. As a fan, that's what is so fun to watch.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His McGyver like ability to create scoring opportunities in any situation.

4. Chris Paul

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    Chris Paul

    All we heard last year was how Deron Williams had usurped the title of best PG in the NBA from Chris Paul.

    And he had. But that was because Paul spent almost half the year in street clothes.

    Look for a healthy CP3 to regain his position as top dog and light up the league with his electric passing and slashes to the hoop.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His passing.

3. Kobe Bryant

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Kobe Bryant

    Nagging injuries robbed number 24 of some explosiveness last season, but if we learned anything from those playoffs it's this:

    Even a slightly hobbled Kobe is fun to watch.

    His fadeaways and reverse pivots-into-off-balance-leaners are demonstrations of how to get off incredibly difficult shots that would be ill-advised in lesser players' hands. I don't know how many times while watching a Lakers game that I see Kobe gathering himself to shoot and I think, "That's a stupid shot."

    Then it's a swish.

    (There weren't as many sweet shots in game seven of the finals. There were plenty of shots that went careening off the backboard so hard that they endengerad A. anyone in the paint, and B. Phil Jackson.)

    Despite his bad offensive performance in game seven, there is still no other player in the leauge you would rather watch when the game is on the line. There hasn't been a better closer since Jordan retired.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His absolute assassin mindset. He takes over when it matters ... (usually).

2. Dwyane Wade

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Dwayne Wade

    When he's healthy, Wade is one of the best athletes in the game. He attacks the rim more aggressively than anyone besides Iverson, and he is a great finisher. This year he will have the aid of a couple super friends (well, one super and one pretty good friend), and he'll be even more of a highlight machine.

    Since LeBron will discourage teams from double teaming him, Wade will see more single coverage, one on one situations, than he's ever been blessed with.

    Are there any teams (besides perhaps the Lakers) that will be able to regularly stop him from getting to the rim?

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    His explosive finishes.

1. LeBron James

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    LeBron James

    Somehow, after the fallout from the DeBacle, LeBron has become underrated.

    People seem to forget that his public relations faux pas had nothing to do with his on-court ability. He is still your reigning two time MVP. He is still the best finisher in the league. He is still a triple double threat every night (even more so now).

    And he will still dunk on anything that comes within his peripheral vision.

    If the Miami Heat are on TV, is there even a chance that you don't at least consider flipping it over to watch the game? Even if they're playing the Clippers?

    LeBron may not be the competitive beast that we all thought he was, but he is still a beast.

    Most Exciting Aspect of His Game

    I couldn't decide between his left handed free throw shooting ability or his dunking.

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