This is not a list to reel off the top players right now. This involves being strategic. Every player on this countdown is picked with the thought in mind of who an NBA team would want for the next ten years if given the chance to build around one of these studs. Here is the list. It's cut it off at 11 because there is a significant downfall after that.
Skill wise, he's not all there and he likely will never be. With that being said, what other player in the league can provide what he gives to his team? I'll take Howard and I'll find a speedy point guard, like a Mike Conley, much later. Superman makes Nelson look good, and how good is he? Too bad Van Gundy gets to ruin having this guy on his team with his sideline antics and odd game strategy.
I'm not the biggest fan of James. His inability to close in important games reflects poorly on him. With that said, his array of skills are not in any other player in the league. With LeBron on my team, I will somehow find a Kyle Korver type player to place in the corner at the end of games to help him out. And, if I am lucky enough, I'll pair "King" James with Dwyane Wade.
Point guards are abundant in the league today. That's why it was hard placing him above the guy who is below. However, Rose has athleticism that has never been seen at the position. I'm taking him on my team with the belief that if he is paired with a great player, he will be able to coexist. Maybe he wouldn't be able to handle another stud, but I'm betting he would be fine. His improved outside shooting makes him hard to contain, but he should still attack the rim as option one.
Blast me for having him too low. He did lead Team USA to a championship in summer 2010. He's still very young. I don't exactly care for how he has trouble attacking off the dribble in the half court. He could use his wingspan more on defense, and that may come with time. Hopefully Westbrook (Marbury) is not around long enough to stunt his growth as a player.
This is where the list takes a turn to older players. I think Wade will be able to hold up physically as he continues into his career. He's strong and that should help him fight age. He has a way about finding his mid-range spots easily and he has already shown "clutchness."
His knee surgery does scare me. But after seeing him play well in the first round of the 2011 playoffs, even though it was against LA and their poor defensive backcourt, he may be able to keep churning ahead as a great player in the league. By having Paul on your team, he makes every player significantly better.
This is where the list gets into personal preference. Aldridge showed a good ability to lead when Brandon Roy went down like a fly with overall body pain. He has improved his post up game and can still knock down a jumper if left open. His defense is improved and he has always been decent at rebounding.
The Knicks didn't look great in his short time with them last season. He's playing with a coach that doesn't stress defense and he's with a player who requires post space similar to what he needs. Not a great blend, but still a good player that comes through when it matters.
I can still see Kobe cashing in on another ring as the best player of the Lakers. He won't last ten more years, but his game is near the peak and his peak is better than anyone else on this list.
I bashed the guy earlier, but if he has the proper coaching he could progress into more than what he is now.
The talent in undeniable. Some may say Rondo should be here, but I'm not a fan of a guard who is unable to knock down 17 footers on a consistent basis.