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Top 10 Most Skilled Players in the NBA

Faizan QurashiAnalyst IIAugust 17, 2011

Top 10 Most Skilled Players in the NBA

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after making a three-pointer in the third quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    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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10. Luis Scola

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    HOUSTON - DECEMBER 29:  Luis Scola #4 of the Houston Rockets shoots over Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center on December 29, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Miami won 125-119. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and ag
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    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 

9. Manu Ginobili

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 27:  Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antionio Spurs shoots over Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio,
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    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

8. Joe Johnson

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 06:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over Joakim Noah #13 and Luol Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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 

7. Kevin Love

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 9: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots over Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 99-94.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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  

6. Tim Duncan

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots a jumper over Chris Kaman #35 and Marcus Camby #23 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the game at Staples Center on December 13, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER:
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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 

5. Lamarcus Aldrige

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    PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 23:  LaMarcus Aldrdige #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots against Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at the Rose Garden in Po
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    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

4. Carmelo Anthony

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks to pass against Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in N
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    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   

3. Steve Nash

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    PHOENIX - JANUARY 05: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns puts up a shot over Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees t
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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 

2. Kobe Bryant

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2011 in Los
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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 

1. Dirk Nowitzki

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks attempts a shot against Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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 

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