Too often, we're captivated by thunderous dunks, amazing alley-oops and monster finishes by some of the league's best athletes. We don't pay enough attention to the detail of some of the finest players in the Association.
I'm taking about those skilled players, that actually utilize basketball moves to score and be effective instead of just relying on their ridiculous athleticism. So here are the top 10 most skilled players the league has to offer.
Here we go...
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Scola is a very underrated forward when it comes to discussing the top bigs in the game. If you were to simply compare Scola's skill set to that of other power forwards in the league, Scola would rank near the top. He's that good.
Scola utilizes a variety of moves down on the block to score over opposing bigs, including up-n-under, baby jump hooks, spin moves and a patented mid-range jumper that's as consistent as you can get. Scola doesn't out-jump any defender, instead he's very crafty and has a very fundamentally sound feel to his game. A bit old school if you will. Scola is one of the more underrated talents in this league.
Go-To Move: Patented Mid-Range Jumper
Manu Ginobili is another one of those under-appreciated talents that the league has to offer. In his prime, Ginobili was easily a top three shooting guard. Even now, Ginobili can still get it done. His crafty drives to basket are what make Ginobili so exciting to watch.
He utilizes a variety of fakes and euro two-steps to free himself from his defender in order to get the shot up. He's a very efficient three point shooter, as well as a ferocious slasher to the hole, even though he isn't as physically built as some of the league's best drives such as LeBron, Wade and Rose.
Go-To Move: Craft Layups
Joe Cool is still talented, no matter how much he's being paid. Obviously, he's nowhere near worth his contract but make no mistake about it, Johnson is still one of the more skilled talents in the league. He's got a very smooth feel to his game, where it feels as if nothing is rushed and everything is in flow.
Johnson specializes on isolation plays, as well as coming off screens to shoot the long ball. He's a very deadly shooter from just about anywhere on the floor and also has a surprisingly decent driving game. His bread and butter though are his 10-12 foot floaters, which Johnson loves to use when he's up against big men.
Go-To Move: Close Range Floater
Love is a unique talent. With virtually no athleticism, Love still dominates his defenders with his tireless work ethic. He is an absolute glass eater and easily the best rebounder in the NBA not named Dwight Howard. Love generates a lot of his points through these rebounds.
However, Love does have a surprisingly good offensive game. For one, he's got a special touch from downtown for a big man. He can shoot the three ball with ease and will do so without hesitation if left open. Love can also take him man to the hole occasionally. A very skilled player in his own right, Love makes up for his lack of athleticism through his unique skill set
Go-To Move: Put Back on Rebound/Three-Point Shot
Tim Duncan can still get it done. He's called "The Big Fundamental" for a reason. Nobody comes close to matching Duncan's post game, especially in his prime. Duncan has become a Hall of Famer with his playing style, so you know it's successful. But just what is so special about his game?
Well, for one, Timmy has one of the best hook shots in the game. He's able to shoot the hook on just over every big man in the league, and has probably done so accordingly. Next, Timmy uses an occasional spin move or an up-n-under to confuse his man and proceed to score. However, the area where Timmy can't be matched is his notorious mid-range bank shot. It has yet to be duplicated.
Go-To Move: Mid-Range Bank Shot
Easily one of the most underrated power forwards in the league, Aldridge's name is often overshadowed by more big names such as Blake Griffin and Pau Gasol. But make no mistake about it, Aldridge is just as good if not better than those power forwards.
Ever since Brandon Roy injury troubles, Aldridge has had to assume the leadership role as the number one option, and he has since thrived in it. He finished last season averaging better than 22 points per game, and scored in a variety of ways. Aldrige has a very smooth finesse game, where he's able to shoot the jump hook, as well as a turnaround jumper. He's got a very solid mid-ranger jump shot and has great hands so he can easily finish anywhere around the basket. One of the better post scorers we have in this league.
Go-To Move: Turnaround Hook Shot
One of the purest scorers in the game, period. Anthony may not be the best overall talent, but solely speaking in terms of offensive ability, there are very few that can match him.
He's got an absolutely deadly jump shot and can light it up from just about anywhere. His back to basket post game is one of the better ones in the league, as he simply bullies other small forwards down on the block. Anthony can score in just about every which way. He can shoot the mid range, three pointer, fadeaways, drives to the basket, you name it. Anthony is an absolute nightmare for opposing forwards who are assigned the task of guarding the lethal small forward.
Go-To Move: Turnaround Mid-Range Jumper
The two time MVP has been one of the NBA's most skilled talents for the past decade. He's been putting up 50/40/90 numbers for as long as I can remember. An amazing talent and one of the greatest point guards to ever step foot on an NBA court, Steve Nash is truly an amazing talent.
Easily one of the best, if not the best, passers in the NBA. Nash can dish the rock in every which way. Behind the back, around the defender, bounce, chest, overhead, and every other pass you can think of, Steve Nash has thrown it. He's also got a deadly three-point jumper and an automatic free throw shot.
Go-To Move: Running Three-Point Shot
You knew it was coming. After all, the Black Mamba is about as skilled as you can get, right? Well he's certainly got enough moves to show you. I don't think it needs to be reiterated how talented Kobe Bryant is on the basketball floor. He's basically the closest thing we've come to Michael Jordan.
He's certainly taken a move or two from Jordan's playbook as well. Bryant has one of the foot-work I've seen on a guard. He's an absolutely assassin with the mid-range shot, specializing in his patented turnaround fade-away. He's a great three point shooter as well. Bryant utilizes a variety of fakes on the floor, especially using multiple pump fakes to draw the defender to jump, in which Bryant initiates contact, drawing the foul and somehow hitting the shot.
He's hit just about every shot you can imagine—over the backboard, flip shot, no look shots, fade-away falling out of bounds, hooks, left handed jumpers and countless others.
Go-To Move: Turnaround Fade-Away
Here is the man who I think is by far the most skilled player in the NBA bar none, and he proved it in the NBA finals. There isn't a shot Dirk Nowitzki cannot hit. He's simply a matchup nightmare for those guarding the Finals MVP.
Dirk Nowitzki possesses in his arsenal, currently the most un-guardable shot in basketball today—the one legged fade-away. He can also hit turnaround, off balance, off either leg and falling away shots. As well, as hitting three pointers with ease and abusing defenders with his un-stoppable mid-range game. If you want to learn how to be skilled, you learn from the best, and at present, Dirk Nowitzki is the best without question.
Go-To Move: One Legged Fade-Away