NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and Players with the Best Footwork From Each Team

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and Players with the Best Footwork From Each Team

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers watches play while biting his jersey against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center on March 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges a
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Good footwork is an essential part of every great basketball player's game.

    Hands do the dribbling, passing and shooting, but you could argue that feet are just as important in this sport.

    Sliding on defense, knowing how to pivot on either foot, using feet in fakes and jab steps, stepping back or jump stopping forward, and of course running and jumping are integral skills.

    Here are the players with the best footwork from each NBA team...

30. Sacramento Kings, Marcus Thornton

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 21: Marcus Thornton #23 of the Sacramento Kings moves against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 21, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Kings 132-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    He's only been with the Kings for 18 games, but Marcus Thornton may be the best player Sacramento's seen all year.

    As a King, he's averaging around 22 points, five rebounds and three assists a game.  Plus, he's shooting over 40 percent from three-point range.

    In combination with his quickness, solid footwork has helped Thornton be extremely effective.

29. Toronto Raptors, Jose Calderon

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 22:  Jose Calderon #8 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles the ball during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 22, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
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    Jose Calderon is one of the most underrated point guards in the NBA.  

    He's just barely under 10 points and nine assists a game, and that's on a team with almost no scoring options after Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan.

    If he were on a team with better players to pass to, he could easily average double figures in assists.

    His solid footwork helps him get into the lane, stop on a dime and find the open man.

28. Cleveland Cavaliers, Baron Davis

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    CLEVELAND - MARCH 29: Baron Davis #85 of the Cleveland Cavaliers keeps the ball inbounds during the game against the Miami Heat on March 29, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by down
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Tough to decide who to go with for this one.  Great footwork is only partly natural.  A lot of it has to be acquired through work and experience.

    Davis certainly has the experience part.  He's been in the league for 12 years now, and he uses a lot of veteran tricks that require good feet.

27. Detroit Pistons, Richard Hamilton

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24:  Richard Hamilton #32 of the Detroit Pistons looks across the court in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24,
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Like a lot of the other guys on this list, Hamilton's experience has certainly helped him hone his footwork.

    He uses this skill whether he has the ball or not.  He may have been in coach John Kuester's dog house for much of the year, but when he's on the court, he's a master of using off-ball screens.

26. Washington Wizards, Nick Young

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    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Nick Young #1 of the Washington Wizards drives around Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks at the Verizon Center on February 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Playing for the Wizards, Nick Young's numbers are pretty hollow (even I could drop 10 points a game on that roster).

    But he does have a lot of talent and potential.  He is great at getting to the spots he wants and creating shots with his footwork.

    Plus, as a young player, that fundamental skill is going to get a lot better for him.

25. Philadelphia 76ers, Elton Brand

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    MIAMI, FL - MARCH 25:  Coach Doug Collins and Guard Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia Sixers chat against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on March 25, 2011 in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Sixers 111-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ac
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Elton Brand employs a lot of "old school" techniques when he has the ball, and those kind of techniques require great footwork.

    At this point in his career, he has to be get things done with fundamentals over athleticism.

24. Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Randolph

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    MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 20:  Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat battles for position with Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on November 20, 2010 in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies won 97-95.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowled
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Zach Randolph has to be one of the most underrated players in the league right now.  Averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds a game, he's the biggest reason the Grizzlies are in the playoff picture right now.

    His footwork helps him score in the post, and grab scores of rebounds on both ends of the floor.

23. Denver Nuggets, Arron Afflalo

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 28:  (L-R) Wilson Chandler #21, Raymond Felton #20 (hidden), J.R. Smith #5, Arron Afflalo #6 and Chris Andersen #11 of the Denver Nuggets huddle up against the Atlanta Hawks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 28, 2011
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    This was a tough one to pick.  There are several players on Denver's deep roster who share similar skill sets.

    But taking everything into consideration (including defense), I though Afflalo had the best overall footwork.

22. Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Love

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 15:  Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves high fives teammate Martell Webster #5 during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 128
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    There's no doubt about this one.  Kevin Love averages 15.4 rebounds a game.  That insane number is due mostly to desire, but his great footwork is essential.

    He knows right where to be on each miss, and how to get there.  He knows how to control that space once he gets there too.

    Plus, he can score too.  He's averaging over 20 points a game and he has a few solid post moves.

21. Utah Jazz, Al Jefferson

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 23:  Forward Al Jefferson #25 of the Utah Jazz at American Airlines Center on February 23, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consen
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Al Jefferson is an adept low post scorer with a decent amount of moves in his repertoire.

    He also shows his great footwork in the rebounding department.

20. Orlando Magic, Jameer Nelson

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 13:  Jameer Nelson #14 of the Orlando Magic handles the ball during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Magic defeated the Suns 111-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Jameer Nelson is listed at 6'0" tall, but I have a hard time believing that (we all know plenty of basketball player's heights are exaggerated).  

    When you're that small, you need to have a little bag of tricks to help you get open.  

    Nelson's quickness and footwork help him to get into the lane and weave through defenders as well as about any point guard in the NBA.

19. Los Angeles Clippers, Eric Gordon

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Eric Gordon #10 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives dribbles around Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs during the game at the Staples Center on December 1, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User express
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    If Blake Griffin can add great footwork to his insane natural gifts, he'll be one of the most dominant players in the league.  Right now, he's pretty raw.

    His teammate Eric Gordon has done a lot to polish his game this year.  His scoring average has surged to 23.2 points a game (up from 16.9 last year).  And his assists have jumped from 3 to 4.4 a game.

    Improvements in footwork have had a lot to do with his jump in production.

18. Charlotte Bobcats, Stephen Jackson

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    ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 12:  Stephen Jackson #1 of the Charlotte Bobcats drives past Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading an
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    In many ways, Stephen Jackson fits the expression "crafty old vet".

    He has a slow release on his shot, and is losing athleticism with each passing year, but he still finds ways to create space and get shots on the rim.

    Solid footwork helps him create those openings.

17. Milwaukee Bucks, Andrew Bogut

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 28: Andrew Bogut #6 of the Milwaukee Bucks waits for a member of the Chicago Bulls to shoot a free-throw at the United Center on December 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 90-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressl
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Andrew Bogut is about as fundamentally sound as big men in the NBA get.  He can score off a variety of post moves, pass, rebound and defend.

    His great footwork helps him to be in the right position for all those things.  It's particularly impressive when you consider he's a seven footer.

    Footwork is harder to master when you're that big.

16. Indiana Pacers, Danny Granger

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    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 16:  Danny Granger #33 is pulled away from the referee by teamamte Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the Indiana Pacers on March 16, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Granger was called for a techical foul. The Celtics defeated the
    Elsa/Getty Images

    I wanted to go with my sentimental favorite player Tyler Hansbrough, but this one has be Danny Granger's.

    He can set himself up for a jumpshot from all over the court.  He can score in the post, from mid-range and from outside.  His feet help him create the space he needs on his shots.

15. Miami Heat, Chris Bosh

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    MIAMI, FL - MARCH 10: Chris Bosh #1  of the Miami Heat inbounds the ball during a game against  the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Arena on March 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    LeBron James gets away with travelling more than anyone in the league (with the possible exception of Denver's Nene).  So, he doesn't belong on here.

    That leaves two options: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  Wade accomplishes a lot of what he does with his great athleticism, while Bosh is all about footwork and fundamentals.

    He has plenty of moves in the low post and can create space for perimeter jump shots as well.

14. Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry

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    OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 25:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors congratulates his teammates during their game against the Toronto Raptors at Oracle Arena on March 25, 2011 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    In just his second year in the league, Stephen Curry has become one of the most exciting point guards in the NBA.

    He can score in so many different ways, and he's already left plenty of defenders looking foolish with his great footwork.

    He's easily the best second-year player in the NBA and could be an All-Star in a few years.

13. Atlanta Hawks, Joe Johnson

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 21:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks against the Miami Heat at Philips Arena on October 21, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Joe Johnson has the kind of game that will help him be creative well into his 30s (considering his massive new contract, Hawks fans are certainly hoping that's true).

    He has a very methodical, calculated style.  He's fairly similar to Paul Pierce in that way.

    He uses his footwork to create space for shots and get past defenders.

12. Houston Rockets, Kevin Martin

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Kevin Martin #12 of the Houston Rockets dribbles past Acie Law #2 of the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on December 20, 2010 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Kevin Martin is one of the most natural and gifted scorers in the NBA.  He's averaged over 20 points a game in each of the last five seasons (but never more than 16 shots a game).

    His footwork helps him create space for jump shots, get past defenders and draw fouls (his real secret weapon).

11. Portland Trailblazers, LaMarcus Aldridge

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    PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 14:  LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers in action during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 14, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 115-111. NOTE TO USER:
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    LaMarcus Aldridge is the complete package on offense.  He can score with ease out to 19 feet, and he has a bevy of old-school post moves inside.

    His footwork is fantastic for a 6'11" player, and he displays it with or without the ball in his hands.  

    One of the best examples of this skill is how he rolls off defenders to get open for alley-oops (he leads the league in oop conversions). 

10. Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki

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    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks waits to shoot a free throw against the Washington Wizards  at the Verizon Center on February 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Dirk's footwork defies explanation.

    He's seven feet tall, and at times looks fairly clunky on the court, but his feet always carry him to the exact spot on the floor that he wants.

    With his back to the basket, he's as difficult to stop as anyone in the league.

9. New York Knicks, Amare Stoudemire

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    CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 25:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks stands at the free throw line during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 25, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
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    This one is a bit of a toss up between Amare and Carmelo Anthony.  I went with Amare because he's bigger than Melo and great footwork is tougher to come by for 6'10" players.

    He's shown nimble feet around the basket for years, but a few years ago he started to figure things out as far as 19-20 feet from the rim.

8. Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 25: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls walks to the bench during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center on March 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Grizzlies 99-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly a
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    Derrick Rose has to be one of the most difficult defensive assignments in the league.

    He's extremely fast and athletic, but his great footwork helps him stay under control (a lot of players with similar athleticism can't).

    He'll likely win the NBA MVP this year, and his feet did a lot to carry him to this point.

7. New Jersey Nets, Deron Williams

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04:  #8 Deron Williams of the Netslooks on from the bench during the NBA match between New Jersey Nets and the Toronto Raptors at the O2 Arena on March 4, 2011 in London, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
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    It takes more than a great handle to be able to weave through defenders and get to the rim the way Deron Williams does.  His feet are a big part of his ability to navigate tough situations.

    Plus, he's got one of the nastiest step back jumpers in the game.  He often sets up his shots with a nasty crossover that requires great footwork as well.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant

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    MIAMI, FL - MARCH 16:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on March 16, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading an
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Kevin Durant's game is years (maybe even a decade) ahead of where most 22 year olds are.

    His footwork is way too good for his age (with great attitude and work ethic, he has earned it though).

    Nobody in the league is a more natural scorer than Durant, and his footwork has a lot to do with that.

5. New Orleans Hornets, Chris Paul

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets moves the ball in the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers at New Orleans Arena on January 3, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Statistically, he's having his worst season since 2007, but Chris Paul's footwork is still fantastic.

    One of his greatest skills is his uncanny ability to change speeds in an instant.  He lulls defenders to sleep and then blows by them with his very quick feet.

    His great footwork have also helped him lead the league in steals for three out of his six years in the NBA.

4. Phoenix Suns, Steve Nash

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    PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 17:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the Dallas Mavericks at US Airways Center on February 17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Mavericks defeated the Suns 112-106.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Even at the ripe old age of 37, Steve Nash's nimble feet continue to help him baffle defenders.

    No one breaks down a defense, gets to the lane and weaves through opponents as well as Nash does.

    Plus, his great footwork also contributes to what is perhaps the best pull-up jumper in the NBA.

3. San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan

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    MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Center Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on March 14, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph
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    Tim Duncan's having the worst year of his career (at least according to numbers), but his recent absence is evidence of how important he is.  The Spurs have really struggled without him.

    He may be the most fundamentally sound player in the NBA today, and great footwork is certainly related to that.

2. Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce

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    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 04:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics after the Celtics get the ball in the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors on March 4, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Celtics defeated the Warriors 107-103. NO
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    Paul Pierce is among the very best in the league when it comes to footwork.

    He gets right to the spot he wants on the floor and then knows how to pivot either way, get his defender off the ground, and raise up for his shot at the perfect moment.

1. Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers watches play while biting his jersey against the  Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center on March 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Kobe Bryant is one of the most committed athletes in the world.  He does everything in his power to win and be the best he can.

    He's applied that commitment to the development of the fundamentals of the game, which is why his footwork is so good.

    He's a master of jab steps, step backs, jump stops, catch-and-shoot and has great feet on defense.