NBA Power Rankings: Dwyane Wade and the Top 20 Slashers in the NBA
When you hear the word slasher, most tend to think of scary movies and serial killers. However, in the NBA, it takes on a whole new meaning.
All the players on this list are some of the most efficient scorers in the league, and for obvious reasons. They penetrate defenses and take high percentage shots near the basket.
They're also some of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA for that very same reason.
Dunks and layups have always been a signature of the NBA, and there are none better at pulling those moves off than the best slashers in the league.
20. Corey Maggette
Corey is a pure scorer. He won't play much defense, nor will he be making many plays for teammates.
However, if your team is looking for buckets, he's your man.
Maggette is an excellent slasher. He's aggressive getting to the hoop and utilizes his solid ball-handling to get him there.
With a strong build and impressive vertical, he's capable of attacking even the strongest of defenses.
One of Corey's main strengths lies in his ability to get to the line. Much of this is due in large part to his ability to effectively penetrate.
19. Jamal Crawford
When watching Jamal play, it seems like he's better suited for the And 1 scene.
Crawford, at one point, was arguably the second best player behind Iverson, whose style seamlessly translated to streetball.
Jamal uses his fancy dribbling and speed to get by defenders, and he's capable of finishing with a number of moves. He can get very creative with his finishes and leaves opponents guessing as to what he's about to do.
Crawford may not be the strongest player with his rail-thin frame, but he can play through a surprising amount of contact.
As an offensive-minded guard, his main strengths will always lie in his ability to slash through defenses.
18. Gerald Wallace
Gerald Wallace earned the nickname "Crash" from his style of play.
With a shaky outside shot, Wallace tends to attack defenses head-on, throwing his body into harm's way on a nightly basis.
It makes no difference if you're bodying him up, or if there's a double team waiting for him down low. Wallace will still come at you full speed no matter the circumstance.
Wallace is one of the most athletic players at his position and shows it with his impressive hops.
He attacks the rim with the same tenacity and ferocity he approaches defense.
17. Devin Harris
Devin Harris is one of the quickest players in the league. It seems as if he can get from the perimeter and into the paint in only three steps.
Many may have forgotten that he is a strong slasher after the abysmal season the Nets recorded. People simply had no interest in watching the train wreck occurring at the Izod Center.
Harris is sure to turn things around this year as the Nets, while still a bad team, should be able to nearly double their win record this upcoming season.
A lot of the Nets' success will depend on Devin and his strong slashing abilities.
Devin is a prolific scorer capable of burning his man on defense at whim. Once he gets to that second level, he can turn to numerous moves to finish at the hoop.
Harris has deceptive leaping abilities and can finish with the best of them in the paint. Even though he has a rather diminutive frame, he can force contact and finish strong.
16. Deron Williams
Deron Williams is a lethal player with the speed to get by defenders and the strength to score over them.
While most of his points come in pick-and-roll situations and jump shots, Deron is capable of taking it to the hole and dunking over bigger opponents.
Williams isn't particularly fast for his position, but he manages to penetrate at will. His strong shooting touch forces defenses to play him tight. Once he gets his shoulder past a defender, he can then overpower most guards and find ways to score near the hoop.
Deron uses a mixture of hesitation moves and cross-overs to work his way into the paint.
With an impressive vertical, he can throw down dunks with authority.
15. Andre Iguodala
When Andre is not taking step back jumpers and pulling up for ill-advised threes, he has the potential to be one of the best slashers when he puts his mind to it.
Iguodala is without a doubt one of the most athletic swingmen in the league. He leaps over defenders with regularity when he drives the lane and can play through contact.
Andre is a vicious dunker and uses unique moves to score in the paint.
With a long wingspan, he can finish over taller defenders and use his strong body control to put up shots at all sorts of angles.
14. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo is one of the greatest offensive talents the league has seen in years.
Anthony's mid-range jumper is probably the deadliest move in his arsenal, but he's able to drive the lane with the best players in the game today.
'Melo isn't the fastest forward, but is much quicker than he looks. Couple his deceptive speed with his impressive strength, and he is able to overpower even the biggest of defenders.
Watching him play, you can see him set up opposing players as he breaks down the defense and eventually overwhelms defenders on his way to the rim.
With a strong upper frame, 'Melo can play through a lot of contact—a useful skill to have with the regularity in which he bullies players in the paint. Anthony always looks to finish strong when he slashes to the hoop and dunk when given the opportunity.
Due to the physical nature in which he attacks the hoop, Anthony gets to the charity stripe at a frantic rate.
13. Manu Ginobili
A few years back and Ginobili would arguably be one of the top five slashers in the NBA.
When he's not flopping left and right on defense, Manu combines his deft ball-handling with crafty moves to get by defenders and slice his way to the rim.
He has consistently been one of the most creative finishers in the paint for a good part of the past decade.
Manu's slashing abilities played a large role during the Spurs' championship years, and even in a diluted state, he is still extremely effective today.
12. Kobe Bryant
While Kobe is still deadly and effective when slashing to the hoop, with so many moves at his disposal, it seems he does it less and less every year.
This is not to say that he's not a capable slasher.
Kobe tends to rely on the ridiculous amount of moves at his disposal. With a silky smooth jumper and a post game Dwight Howard could envy, Kobe can score from any inch of the court.
Due to the multitude of moves he utilizes, he can freeze defenders and leave them in his dust as he attacks the rim.
Kobe plays like the wily veteran that he is, but is able to take it to the hole almost as strong as when he first came into the league.
With the ability to hit shots from every single angle imaginable, Bryant will continue to be one of the best slashers in the league until the day he retires.
11. Kevin Durant
While Durant looks rather awkward as a skinny and lanky forward, he is a silky smooth player.
Kevin possesses excellent ball-handling with an overwhelming cross-over. He combines the two with his length to stride into the lane with surprising quickness.
With strong footwork, Kevin even has a dizzying spin move that he can use to maneuver into better positions to score in the paint.
There's a reason that Durant gets to the line so often. He had a ridiculous rate on free throw attempts last year, shooting, on average, 10.2 free throws a game.
That is due in large part to his ability to draw contact as he penetrates into the paint.
10. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo is arguably the fastest player in the NBA. Using his breakneck speed, he breezes by his opponents.
With large hands, Rondo has amazing handles and fantastic ball control and security
It's especially hard to defend him with all the ball fakes at his disposal. Even though defenders know he's going to go straight to the hoop, he freezes them in place with fancy behind-the-back fakes and a plethora of moves that leaves players scratching their heads.
If and when Rondo develops a reliable jump shot, it will force defenses to play him honest instead of sagging off of him. This would make him that much more dangerous as a slasher because he can take defenders off the dribble with his quick first step and get into the second level.
Rondo's ability to lull defenders may be unmatched across the current NBA landscape.
9. Russell Westbrook
Even though Kevin Durant gets all the accolades and attention, Westbrook may be the glue that holds the Thunder together.
As the primary playmaker in Oklahoma, Russell creates for his teammates using his strong driving abilities capable of collapsing even the most stringent defenses.
Russell is easily one of the most athletic players in the NBA. He has an incredible vertical that he puts on full display every night he plays. Able to jump three feet high, Russell can explode toward the basket with his amazing leaping ability.
Westbrook has the speed to match up with Rondo and actually shares many traits with his fellow point guard. With a developing perimeter shot, Westbrook, like Rondo, must rely on his speed to get into the lane when defenders sag off of him.
However, that doesn't stop him from using his physical gifts to get by defenders and into the paint.
8. Tyreke Evans
After notching just one season under his belt, Tyreke has embarrassed more defenders over that span than other veterans have done over the course of their careers.
Even though Tyreke played a bit out of position at point guard last season, he's really more of a shooting guard. His play making abilities make him a dangerous player on offense.
Using his strong body and size advantage over smaller guards, Tyreke can overpower defenders as he slashes his way through the paint. His strength gives him the ability to take contact and still get off high percentage shots.
For some reason, Evans consistently found himself in one-on-one situations during his rookie campaign. Teams would pay dearly as he would somehow always manage to get past his man and find a route to the rack.
His slashing abilities helped him win Rooke of the Year, and those same skills will make him one of the most dangerous players in the NBA for years to come.
It won't be long before Evans surpasses many of the players ahead of him on this list.
7. Brandon Roy
Brandon is not so different from Tim Duncan in that he plays the game with strong fundamentals. He may not be flashy, but he always manages to get the job done.
While Roy is average in the speed department, he's a crafty player who uses his high basketball I.Q. to make plays.
Even though Roy is probably better known for his deadly jumper, he can do it all on offense. Lacking the quick first-step of some of the elite slashers in the NBA, Roy uses deliberate moves to fake or lull opponents as he changes gears and passes them by.
With great vision capable of spotting the smallest lanes to exploit, defenses cannot afford to sleep on him or he will make them pay.
When defenses collapse on him, Brandon patiently finds routes to maneuver around as he attacks the basket. Once near the rim, Roy is proficient with both hands and is creative enough to score with a mixture of moves.
6. Chris Paul
Chris and Deron are easily the two best point guards in the league, and it's no mere coincidence that they're also two of the best slashers in the game today.
Paul is nearly impossible to contain without some sort of help on defense.
He is easily one of the best ball-handlers in the league and he utilizes it to effortlessly snake his way through traffic.
With a dribble drive that is debatably only surpassed by Steve Nash, Paul can chew through defenses at will.
As a dual threat to score and distribute, he often leaves defenders in the rearview mirror as he uses his speedy first step to get to the rack.
Chris is capable of dunking, but uses an assortment of acrobatic moves around the rim to score. He's very resourceful and can attack from many angles.
5. Monta Ellis
Playing on a terrible Golden State Warriors team, many tend to overlook Monta Ellis.
Regardless, he has quickly turned into one of the elite scorers in the league. He may not be the most efficient player, but he gets the job done.
Ellis is a creative scorer able to finish around the rim in a variety of ways.
Using a quick first step coupled with a devastating cross-over, Ellis gets to the rack with relative ease.
Even though his vertical isn't all that impressive, he's a good in-game dunker and can finish strong at the rim.
4. Tony Parker
People seem to have forgotten how good Tony Parker is at getting to the hoop.
It was just a few years ago that Parker led the league in points scored in the paint.
Keep in mind that Parker is a point guard. That type of production is usually reserved for power forwards and centers who spend most of their time in the low block.
While he may have lost a step, Tony is still one of the fastest in the league and can run stride for stride with the fastest at his position.
Parker has perfected the floater, and it helps him score over anyone that gets in his way.
Once Tony reaches the cylinder, he can attack the basket from all sorts of angles, as he has excellent control of his body and his shot. He is easily one of the most creative finishers in the lane.
3. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose has quickly made a name for himself as one of the best point guards in the league.
He possesses a rare combination of speed and power that is arguably only matched by the two remaining players on this list.
With a ridiculous 40" vertical, Rose is capable of exploding toward the basket at any given moment. Using a variety of moves, it's hard to predict what he'll do on any given play.
Even if a defender is sagging off of him, he's fast enough to get by them due to a lightning fast first step and blinding speed. If he gets cut off by help defense, Rose is adept at changing directions at the drop of a dime and has incredible body control.
Rose is an aggressive player that knows how to take advantage of his athletic gifts. With a strong upper frame, Derrick can finish through contact against much bigger opponents.
He is the prototypical slashing point guard.
2. LeBron James
LeBron is reminiscent of a locomotive. When he drives to the hoop, he barrels through opponents as he rises above them to finish at the rim.
There's a reason that opposing players tend to avoid challenging James once he reaches the restricted area—they don't want to end up on a poster on some kid's bedroom wall.
While he's capable of breaking his fair share of ankles, his game is all about power.
Using his massive frame and freakish upper body strength, LeBron brushes off contact and manages to somehow get up shots that would normally be blocked by a lesser player.
Most defenses tend to collapse immediately when LeBron is driving down the lane, but with his amazing court-vision and strong passing, it gives him just enough room to work his magic.
Physically, he may by the finest specimen in the NBA today. He is incredibly fast for a player of his size and uses his high basketball IQ to break down defenses as he constantly attacks right into the heart of defenses.
1. Dwyane Wade
An undersized shooting guard, Wade comes in at 6'4". Even so, he challenges defenders with bad intentions every time he drives the lane.
This is the headache that teams will have to face when the Heat are on the hardwood—the two best slashers in the league, playing together.
With blazing track-speed, Wade is able to gracefully cut through defenders as he makes his way to the basket.
Dwyane has an uncanny ability to penetrate into the paint and contort his body as he puts up near-impossible shots, shots that somehow manage to fall through the net. His body control is truly unrivaled in the NBA.
His game often gets compared to Michael Jordan, and for good reason. There are a lot of similarities in their slashing styles and how they finish in the paint.
Wade attacks the basket with such reckless abandon, that you can hear a collective sigh of relief around Miami after he gets up from one of his wild forays to the hoop. While he's posterized his fair share of players—Anderson Varejao can tell you all about it—he takes a lot of hard contact.
Not only is he one of the most creative finishers in the league, but he has the power to demoralize defenders.