15 NBA Players with the Highest Basketball I.Q.
NBA fans love to say that there are just some things that cannot be measured using statistics. Basketball I.Q. is one of the attributes that does not show up on the stat sheet.
While it may not directly add points to the board, it does affect the game and helps teams win. The best players usually have a high basketball I.Q., and if they don't, their game eventually falls apart with time.
What is basketball I.Q.? There are many different ways to look at it, but this is my take. Basketball I.Q. is a combination of instincts and the ability to adapt to any situation.
Another way to describe is to know what your strengths are and knowing the perfect way to use them in order to maximize your production. All this will become a lot clearer as I name players.
On a side note, these players are not ranked in any way because when players are ranked, the players who are ranked lower are often confused for "bad players." I want all of these players to get the credit they deserve, so let's get going.
The best point guard in the NBA today just has to be on this article. Paul is great on both ends of the court and uses his smarts to take advantage of his opponents.
Paul is a great athlete, but not one that will be dunking over anybody at any point. Instead, he chooses to use a deadly step-back jumper and an amazing crossover to get his way.
He is great at every aspect of the game thanks to his great court vision and ability to predict what his opponents do next.
Pierce was never a spectacular athlete and always had to rely on his awareness and finesse to get the job done. His lack of jump clearly didn't hold him back, and he has went on to have an incredibly consistent career.
He has been the heart and soul of the Celtic franchise for quiet some time and will go down as one of the best players the team has ever seen.
Great example of a player who was willing to put in hours in the film room to help make up for his athletic deficiencies.
One of the most obvious choices here. Duncan entered the league playing the exact same way he is now, and he is one of the most patient players out there on the court.
He never forces anything and waits for something to develop, such as a hole in the defense. He takes advantage of mismatches, and if a team sleeps on him, he will put up points.
A legendary player and arguably the best power forward of all time.
Kidd is a 20-year veteran of the game and is one of the best point guards in NBA history. Kidd has great court vision and shows excellent anticipation on defense.
He has slowed down over the last few years, but considering he is 39 years old it is perfectly understandable. Definitely a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Miller has been one of the most underrated players in the NBA for pretty much his entire career, but has also been one of the most consistent players in the league.
He has developed great court vision and as he aged became a leader in the locker room as well.
Garnett is one of the most passionate players in the league, and his work ethic and locker room presence is well documented and legendary.
He leads by example and as he aged he adapted his game in order to stay successful. He'll enter the Hall the first year he is eligible.
It's always scary when a great athlete has a great basketball awareness. Dwyane Wade has been one of the top players in the league for many years now, and he is both an amazing athlete and a student of the game.
He uses his brains to get by the defense and uses his athletic gifts to finish at the rim or seemingly float through the air, only to throw a last second pass to a wide open shooter.
Great court vision, passing, and scoring ability make him a threat the defense always has to be aware of.
Ginobili's career has been somewhat derailed by injuries, but he has managed to stay consistent by relying more on his brains than his body.
Manu is a terrific passer as well as shooter and can give you a countless amount of highlights with his circus shots at the basket. His game screams fundamentals, and if not for injuries he could have had a much greater career.
Dirk has done something only an elite few players in history have managed to do—he has developed and unstoppable move.
Kareem had the sky hook, Jordan had the fadeaway, which Kobe later duplicated, and Dirk has his stepback jumper off one leg. He can hit that shot from anywhere, and he knows it.
However, he is also a willing passer and a team can never afford to double team him because he will find the open man when needed.
Dirk will continue being a force in this league as long as he is able to pull that shot off.
One of the all around players in the NBA. The only weakness in his game is his lack of a jump shot, and if he adds one to his arsenal he immediately becomes one of the best players in the game.
Rondo is young (26) but relies on his anticipation, court vision and footwork to put up numbers. His game will age nicely with time, and as long as he is on the team, the Celtics will be relevant.
There were stretches this season where he outright carried Boston, and considering his limited offensive game, that is quite an accomplishment.
The best player in the NBA is a given to find himself on any "best in the NBA" article.
LeBron is the best athlete the NBA has ever seen and is also one of the smartest players in the Association. His court vision and passing are that of a point guard, while he can also guard any player in the league.
The only knock on James is his lack of low post game, which has shown some improvement over the last few years. I trust LeBron will develop that aspect of his game with time and maximize his potential.
Too many critics point out his lack of rings, but when that first one comes, perhaps everyone will step back and realize that they are missing out on a once in a lifetime player.
Tony Parker has always been one of the top point guards in the league, but this year some have gone as far as to put him in the MVP conversation.
Parker shows great vision on the court as well as great footwork and is always one step ahead of the defense. He had led the Spurs to the best record in the West and has them looking to do damage this postseason.
Love was the fifth pick in the 2008 draft and many viewed him as a little too heavy and too slow to be a force in this league.
Unfortunately, there was no way to measure heart, dedication and basketball knowledge, or else all the critics would have been silent.
Love is the best power forward in the game and no, he did not get there using his vertical and quickness. His rebounding instincts are similar to those of Dennis Rodman and his jumper has become a huge threat.
Every year Love is improving some part of his game, and I am guessing defense will come next. And once he develops his defense, we are looking at a top-three player in the league.
Very obvious here. Kobe started his career as an athlete who dunked on everyone is sight, but as he aged he realized his knees could no longer allow that to happen.
Since his drive would not allow him to be anything but elite, he decided to add a deadly fade away to his list of moves and develop his footwork.
As a result, we have one of the most technically sound players in the entire game, and that is why he has managed to be one of the top 10 players for such a long time.
Again, these players are not in order, I just chose to end with my favorite one.
Nash is 38 years old, but he has not lost any production with age. His secret is that he never relied on his athleticism to get him anywhere and only focused on finesse.
As he aged, his finesse only improved and the only difference that we could see was that he was just a little slower on the fast break. Nash can still split the defense and regularly runs under the basket, mocking the defense.
I hope Nash does not retire anytime soon so that I could watch him play for years to come.
Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment!