The Best of the Best; Ranking the 13 Best Players in the NBA in Order

Kwame Fisher-Jones@@joneskwameContributor IIIMarch 28, 2011

The Best of the Best; Ranking the 13 Best Players in the NBA in Order

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    They are the greatest athletes in the world, but even they have a hierarchy. No matter how good you think you are, there is always someone better. So without further ado, here is the list of the 13 best players in the NBA ranked in order of who is better than whom.

    Production played a role in the ranking, but on-the-floor talent and where a player is right now in his development was the overwhelming factor. Can he dominate from game one to game 82 was the question. I know number 13 is going to start a you-know-what storm.

    So let it commence.

13) Blake Griffin—Los Angeles Clippers

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    After missing his true rookie season, Blake Griffin made the wait so worth it. He is a combination of Larry Johnson, pre-back injury, and Shawn Kemp, pre-Tyrone Biggums.

    Before you scream and yell about what Griffin is not, think about this: He is the first rookie to play in an NBA All-Star Game since Ming Yao, and he did not have a whole country voting for him. He was voted in by his peers. Not to mention, he took the attention off of an owner heckling his player during a game.

12) AL Horford—Atlanta Hawks

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    Al Horford is another entry who is sure to get me called names. But the Hawks have won since he stepped on the court. His defense and rebounding are the reason why they are thinking about trading Josh Smith.

    Horford has been voted to the All-Star Game by his peers two years in a row, and the Buck Williams clone should have a permanent spot for the next 11 years.

11) Kevin Durant—Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Durant is a pure scorer who is trying to evolve his game. He has gotten better at each facet of the game since he stepped in the league.

    KD can take over a game with his scoring pension, and if he can rebound and defend on that same level, the Thunder will be a legit title contender—not just one on paper.

10) Kevin Garnett—Boston Celtics

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    Garnett is the straw that stirs the drink in Boston tea. He makes the Celtics a legitimate title contender every year he plays.

    The most impressive aspect of Garnett’s game is his defensive mindset. KG is great at team defense, and is exceptional at man-to-man. His opponent always fails to match his intensity. He is no slouch on the offensive end, either, and still manages—after all these seasons—to control a game.

9) Carmelo Anthony—New York Knicks

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    Anthony is the most dominant scorer in the NBA today. He moves well without the ball—a lost art in today’s game. He can score with his back to the basket or facing the basket. He can beat you with power, speed or quickness. There is no part of the game offensively he cannot punish his opponent in. Consistent defensive effort is what Melo is lacking, but once he obtains that, there will be no stopping him.

8) Russell Westbrook—Oklahoma City Thunder

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    I do not care who you are. No one thought Russell Westbrook would be this good this fast.

    Westbrook is an unstoppable force in transition, and in the half court always seems to get to the rim. His three point shooting has gotten better, and Westbrook has pasted Durant on the defensive end of the floor. Today, he and Derrick Rose would be tough to pass up if you needed a point guard.

    Is Westbrook better then Paul Williams, Nash and Rondo right now this moment?

    Yes, he is.

7) Derrick Rose—Chicago Bulls

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    Explosive, powerful and lighting in a bottle all describe Derrick Rose. His dunks and drive to the cup a reminiscent of Zeke and A.I. What separates him from those two is that Rose finishes above the rim.

    This summer, Rose added a jump shot to his repertoire, and it has gotten better each game. However, it is the explosive plays that separate Rose from the pack.

6) Dirk Nowitzki—Dallas Mavericks

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    Nowitzki’s playoff failures have overshadowed just how great of a player he is. From game one to game 82, his Mavericks are always one of the best in the league. Nowitzki is the reason why.

    Whether it is Don Nelson, Avery Johnson or Rick Carlisle, Nowitzki still manages to rain jumper after jumper. If you think Dirk is too high, think about this: Since Dirk joined the Mavericks, they have had two losing season in 13 years. Prior to Dirks' arrival, the Mavs had six winning seasons in 18 years.

5) Pau Gasol—Los Angeles Lakers

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    There was a time when Tim Duncan was the most fundamentally sound player in the NBA. Now that award goes to Pau Gasol.

    The Spaniard has developed a mean streak since arriving in LA. Before that, he was a good international player who never seemed to posses the testicular fortitude to win a playoff game, yet alone a championship.

    All that has changed. Playing in LA has made Gasol a little hood, and has given him the swagger necessary to be a champion.

4) Dwight Howard—Orlando Magic

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    The man who never likes to wear sleeves is the most physical player in the game today.

    Howard controls the paint on both sides of the court with an elbow and a smile. The Magic are a CYO team without him, and it appears they will be without him in the near future.

3) LeBron James—Miami Heat

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    Some will argue about Lebron James being number three, but James still lacks that killer instinct that separates the champions from the runner-ups. James is still phenomenal, though, and has mastered the entire NBA game.

    His brief moments of failure interrupt his constant time of success, but that is all people want to remember.

    James is in select company now, but there will be a time when he sits atop the throne alone.

2) Dwyane Wade—Miami Heat

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    Wade is second greatest player in the game, and there should be no debate. He is the reason James and Chris Bosh went to Miami. He is the reason Shaq wears four rings instead of three.

    Wade is ferocious on defense, and is fearless on offense. He is the only player in the NBA whose past includes a championship and is still considered a disappointment.

    The world has forgotten just how unbelievably good the Heat guard is, and then they see the highlights. The blocks, the steals, the dunks and the lay-ups—the question is, how do you want it when it comes to D-Wade?

1) Kobe Bryant

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    The truth needs no explanation. So here are the facts:

    Five NBA titles

    Seven trips to the NBA finals

    Ten seasons with 55 or more wins.

    'Nuff said.