NBA Human Highlight Reels: The Top 10 Must See Players
As each NBA season progresses, it quickly becomes obvious which players are the "must see" players in the league. These players are usually the ones that can pack an arena wherever they go. They either excel in a number of skills, or take one particular skill to the extreme. On any given night, you see them all over Sportscenter highlights. These are the players that cause your friends to run up to you and say "Did you see what (insert player name here) did last night?"
Ladies and gentlemen, these are your top 10 "must see" players in the NBA today.
#10: Kevin Love
Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves may not jump to the front of your mind when you think about "must see" players. But this guy can flat out rebound. After breaking his hand last season and missing the first 18 games, he returned and finished the year with an average of 11.0 rebounds per game.
This year he is on fire, averaging 21.3 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. He also became the 19th player to ever grab 30 rebounds and score 30 points in a single game earlier in the year. Besides perfecting the art of rebounding, Love has also excelled in throwing a crisp outlet pass, a skill that, because it doesn't come up in the stat books, often goes unnoticed. He can also do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjDNZEtFVuQ.
Now if only he could escape Minnesota...
#9: Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis is another player who has taken one particular skill to its extreme. That skill is scoring. This guard is a born scorer. He can get it done from behind the arc, he can get it done driving the ball, and he can get it done from the free throw line.
Right now, Ellis is 6th in the league in scoring with 25.1 points per game. He also is pretty good at getting teammates involved, averaging 5.4 assists per game. The guy can also play a little defense, as he is 3rd in the league in steals per game with 2.2. The real draw for this guy is that on any given night, he can explode for 50 points. With scoring being a premiere stat in the league, this guy is clearly one of the "must see" players in basketball today.
#8: Kobe Bryant
Cue Lakers fans screaming about Kobe being too low on this list. Kobe is still performing at a high level, scoring 25.5 points per game and dishing out 4.9 assists. He also grabs 5.3 rebounds per game, rounding out his stat sheet.
But to be honest, the Lakers as a team have been showing signs of slipping, and the blame for that may have to fall on Kobe. I feel that Kobe will have the Lakers in top form by the time the playoffs role around, and the Lakers will steamroll to the finals again.
The only other team that could stop them would be the Thunder in my opinion. No matter what people say about Kobe, he is still one of the top players in the league today. His fadeaway is unstoppable. I have yet to see a way to stop it short of triple teaming him. And he can drain it from three point range as well, making it even deadlier.
He is also one of the few players in sports today that can be referred to by only one name. When people can say only your first name and everyone knows who they're referring to, then you know you're a superstar. (Or a soccer player. Seriously, do any of them have last names? Or first names?)
#7: Amar'e Stoudemire
Amar'e, or "Stat" as he's called, has taken New York City and the league by storm. He's made every Knick fan forget about their dreams of landing Lebron James, and has made the Knicks a competitive, exciting, playoff contender.
As the go to guy for New York he's averaging 26.2 points per game and 8.6 rebounds. He's also added some excitement to the defensive end, averaging 2.2 blocks per game. After many thought injuries had slowed his career down, Amar'e has responded by exploding this year, ripping off a streak of 30+ point games. His mid range jump shoot is deadly, and he is one of the best clutch performers in the game, routinely leading the Knicks to victory with his 4th quarter scoring.
If Carmelo Anthony joins Amar'e in New York, the Knicks will immediately be catapulted from playoff team to title contender.
#6: Kevin Durant
This guy can straight out score. After exploding last year to capture the points title, I don't see why he can't hold on to that title for many years to come. With Russell Westbrook lightening his workload a little bit, Durant should be free to score at will. And that's exactly what he does.
He's deadly accurate from three point range, and able to take the ball to the hole with ease. His length makes him a phenomenal defender, and his height allows him to rebound the ball without much difficulty.
In my opinion, this guy should be raking in MVP titles for the next few years, along with a possible NBA championship ring. The only reason he's not higher on this list is because he isn't particularly flashy, which I argue is a plus. He steps out on the court, drops 30, then goes home. No scandals, no badmouthing his coach, nothing but a professional player.
#5: Rajon Rondo
Last year Rajon Rondo proved to everyone that despite the presence of the Big Three (Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce), the Boston Celtics were his team. He is a wizard with the basketball, and is one of the fastest players in the game. Rondo is arguably the best defensive point guard in basketball as well, averaging 2.3 steals a game this season.
Those steals lead to fast breaks, where Rondo is at his best, leaving defenders baffled and the fans in awe.His move when he drives into the lane, puts the ball up, then pulls it back down, fools people even when they know its coming. His running floater layup is also unstoppable. It's clear Rondo has his sights on the assists title this year too, averaging 9.8 assists a game thus far.
If Rondo could shore up his jumpshot and free throw shooting, he would be an even more elite player than he already is. Despite those two weaknesses in his game, Rajon Rondo is still a must see player in the NBA today.
#4: Dwight Howard
This should surprise no one. Just look at the picture. The guy is a freak of nature. A player that tall shouldn't be allowed to jump that high. It should be made illegal.
In all seriousness, Dwight Howard is someone that just has to be seen in person to truly appreciate his combination of size, strength, and leaping ability. He cleans up the boards, averaging 13.2 a game. He also routinely sends opponents shots into the first row, or 20th row to be more precise, averaging 2.9 blocks a game. If he develops a more refined post game we could see him become one of the greatest centers of all time, even greater than he is slated to become already.
His free throw shooting is a lost cause, but that doesn't take away from the fact that on any given night, Dwight Howard grabs 30 rebounds, blocks 10 shots, or destroys a backboard with a dunk. In simpler terms, this guy is a monster.
Okay so I cheated a little bit and combined 3 players into one. Lets call them "LeWash." That sounds like a French laundromat.
To be fair, we could throw Bosh out of this mix, but I decided to be nice to the guy considering he's already the afterthought of the Heat's Big Three. As much as you may hate them, and come on, everyone outside Miami does, these guys are "must see" basketball. They can run the fast break like no other team in history, with two of the most athletically gifted players in the league orchestrating it all.
Lebron and Wade were "must see" players in there own right last year, so logic dictates their combined force would only add to their attraction. These guys also give the league a much needed villain in the form of Lebron James. So these guys can also be classified as "must see" if you've had a bad day and just want to boo someone loudly and indiscriminately.
#2: Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose is the league's next rising star.
This player is destined for greatness, mixing his blinding speed with incredible leaping ability to be the most exciting point guard in basketball today. Everyone knew Derrick Rose was good coming out of college, but I'm not sure how many people expected him to be this good.
He plays defense, with 1.1 steals per game, dishes the ball, with 8.3 assists per game, and scores with ease, with 23.9 points per game. Look for that last number to only get higher in the coming years. Rose is simply a sight to see. He unleashes monster slams like no other point guard in the history of the league.
The following clip is still one of my all time favorite in game dunks because Rose dunks the ball with such force: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9ZFLowD3qU&feature=related. If you watch closely, you'll see Rose dunks the ball while still on the way up, and then nearly hits his head on the backboard. Incredible.
#1: Blake Griffin
That picture should say it all. If it doesn't this video will: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ElYBEMVdrM&NR=1&feature=fvwp.
After last year was derailed before it could get started by a broken kneecap, Blake Griffin decided to not waste any time in showing us what we all missed. He's taken the league as a whole by storm. He's made the dunk contest a "must see" event just by his inclusion in it. It goes without saying that he will revive it from last year's horrible excuse for a dunk contest.
Do me a favor. Go back and watch that video again, just for fun. Think about it, he's been playing for a little over three and a half months, and Sportscenter already has a Top 10 dunks dedicated just to him. Look at some of the nicknames people have been trying out for him: Dunkbot 3000, G-Force, and, my personal favorite, the Rim Reaper. They are even calling his team the Los Angeles Blakers. Whatever you prefer to call him, it's clear that he's not only an incredible high flier; he's also a great low post scorer and rebounder.
Blake Griffin is the most electrifying player in the league, and he should be for years to come.