NBA Players with the Sickest Handles
Watching players break down their defenders off the dribble is one of the most exciting things in all of basketball. But some players are better at it than others.
So that begs the question: who are the best ball-handlers on each team in the NBA? Are they all point guards?
The answer to the latter question is no, but you'll have to read on to discover the selections to the former. Fear not though, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and other names you expect are definitely coming up. There will be a few surprises though.
Adam Fromal is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer. Follow him on Twitter @Fromal09.
Atlanta Hawks: Jamal Crawford
The Atlanta Hawks have quite a few good ball-handlers in Jeff Teague, Kirk Hinrich and Joe Johnson, but none of them can hold a candle to Jamal Crawford.
Crawford, the master of the shake and bake, has such great ball-handling skills that he seems to be able to pull off street moves in the middle of a regular game.
Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo
If you've ever seen Rajon Rondo play, you know that his ball-handling skills are absolutely phenomenal.
All you need to see for proof is his patented fake-the-behind-the-back-pass-cradle-the-ball-in-your-hand-and-then-pull-it-back-around-for-an-easy-layup. Yes, that's the technical term for it.
Charlotte Bobcats: Kemba Walker
No offense to D.J. Augustin, but Kemba Walker is already the best ball-handler for the Charlotte Bobcats.
During his collegiate career with the Connecticut Huskies, Walker broke too many sets of ankles to count, most notably those of Pittsburgh's Gary McGhee.
Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose
The reigning MVP of the NBA couldn't have won such an incredible award without a great set of handles. After all, Rose's game isn't based on jump shooting.
Instead, the Bulls' point guard likes to drive the ball past his defender on the way to the rim for two points. He did so time after time during the 2010-2011 campaign.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving
This one was pretty close between Baron Davis and Kyrie Irving, but the No. 1 pick won out in the end.
Even though he only had 11 games at Duke to prove his skills were legitimate, Irving displayed incredible ball-handling ability whenever he chose to drive to the basket.
Dallas Mavericks: Jason Kidd
Even though he's as old as the dirt that rests underneath the courts he plays on, Jason Kidd still displays incredible ball-handling skills on a nightly basis.
Jason Terry and J.J. Barea are both way above average in this aspect, but even they still can't touch Kidd.
Denver Nuggets: Ty Lawson
The up-and-coming Ty Lawson is one of the fastest point guards in the league, but he has more than just speed to bring to the table.
The North Carolina product is also a great dribbler of the basketball and can break down even the most competent defenders.
Detroit Pistons: Brandon Knight
Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton are all great ball-handlers, but none of them have the same skill level as incoming rookie point guard Brandon Knight.
After an impressive first season, Knight is ready to take his dribbling skills to the next level. It's one of the few things that can easily carry over from college to the pros.
Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis
With two of the best ball-handlers in the league, Golden State deserves not just one, but two entires on this slideshow.
Monta Ellis is one of the flashier players in the NBA, but he is a little bit too turnover prone to take the title away from young Stephen Curry. Curry is an incredible dribbler who doesn't often make mistakes, even though he doesn't make quite as many incredible plays as Ellis.
Houston Rockets: Kevin Martin
One of the most underrated scorers in the NBA, Kevin Martin tends to get his points both with a great jump shot and with incredible ball-handling skills that allow him to drive to the basket at ease.
Martin isn't quite as good as Tracy McGrady or Steve Francis were for the Rockets at handling the ball, but he's not too far behind.
Indiana Pacers: Darren Collison
Danny Granger may get all of the credit when it comes to the Indiana Pacers, but this team wouldn't be nearly as good without the dribbling skills of point guard Darren Collison.
The 6'0" UCLA product may be small, but he's quick and quite talented when it comes to handling the basketball.
Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon
This is one of the few categories that can't feature Blake Griffin as the representative for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Another young player who has already come into his own, Eric Gordon has the best ball-handling skills on the team, narrowly edging out another Eric, this one with the last name Bledsoe.
Los Angeles Lakers: Darius Morris
Kobe Bryant may be an incredible ball-handler, but even he can't do things with the basketball that the incoming rookie from Michigan can do.
That's incredibly high praise for Darius Morris, but you'll soon see that he deserves it as soon as he gets a chance to step onto the court.
Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley
Earning more and more playing time during each of his four seasons in the Association so far, Mike Conley is finally blossoming into the point guard that we all thought he could be while he was still at Ohio State.
Part of the reason for that is Conley's incredible ability to break down defenders and get into the lane. That can't be done without great handles.
Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade
No offense meant here to Mario Chalmers and Mike Bibby, but they do play on a team that boasts two of the best ball-handlers that don't play point guard.
LeBron James is a great talent with the ball, but he usually gets by on his speed and athleticism more so than his ball-handling skills. Dwyane Wade though is sickeningly good at dribbling and has used that skill to become one of the best slashers in NBA history.
Milwaukee Bucks: Brandon Jennings
Despite a sophomore slump, Brandon Jennings still remains one of the better young ball-handlers in the league.
If he regains the form he had in the beginning of his rookie season, he could truly make people Fear the Deer.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio may have never played a second of basketball in the United States, but that doesn't mean that his guard skills should be at all diminished.
The young floor general has had his fair share of flashy passes and fancy dribbling moves overseas. He's an incredible talent with the ball and should make an immediate impact with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
New Jersey Nets: Deron Williams
Deron Williams is not only the absolute best ball-handler on the New Jersey Nets, but he's also one of the greatest that the league currently has to offer.
Williams can break any defender's ankles with his killer crossover and incredible ability to drive. He's one of the premier talents at his position.
New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul
Does this one really even need any explanation?
The best point guard in the league (yes, better even than Derrick Rose when he is completely healthy), CP3 has handles that can match up with anyone in the league. As a cerebral player, he is incredibly efficient, even if he isn't as flashy as other players.
New York Knicks: Chauncey Billups
Chauncey Billups may already be 34 years old, but that doesn't mean that his dribbling skills have been diminished.
Billups still possesses the same nasty crossover and step-back move that he had when he was younger. If any player can slash into the lane at 34 years of age, Billups is his name.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant may be the best scorer on this young Thunder squad, but he's not the best dribbler by any stretch. Even though the Durantula scores in the lane quite a bit, he normally gains access there more because of the respect his jumper demands than because of his driving skills.
Russell Westbrook on the other hand is one of the best ball-handlers in the league. He has a great crossover and a quick first step, allowing him to maneuver past one defender after another.
Orlando Magic: Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas may not be quite the player that he was back in Washington, but he is still a wizard with the ball when given the opportunity.
Always one of the best ball-handlers in the league, Arenas has maintained that skill even if lately he's been better at shooting off the court than on it.
Philadelphia 76ers: Jrue Holiday
This one was almost a toss-up between Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala in my opinion, but in the end I had to go with the young point guard over the soon to be traded veteran.
Holiday may be young, but he's still shown off his handles during his brief time in the league. Right now, his dribbling skills have to be considered his calling card.
Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash
Steve Nash has been the best ball-handler on his team ever since he entered the NBA. In fact, he's perennially been near the top of the league in this area for quite some time now.
Even though he's 37, nothing has changed.
Let's move on.
Portland Trail Blazers: Raymond Felton
Traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Portland Trail Blazers already this offseason, Raymond Felton immediately assumes this title for his new team.
The former Nugget, Knick and Bobcat is still just 27 years of age and still has every bit of the dribbling skills that won him the Bob Cousy Award back at North Carolina, given annually to the nation's best collegiate point guard.
Sacramento Kings: Tyreke Evans
This was another tough decision as it came down to the Kings' trio of impressive guards. When it was all said and done though, Tyreke Evans beat out both Marcus Thornton and Jimmer Fredette.
Evans, while not necessarily a true point guard, is still a fantastic ball-handler capable of beating most defenders off the dribble.
San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker
Even though he's getting up there in the age category, Tony Parker still has fantastic handles. How else do you think the French point guard manages to weave his way into the lane and drive to the hole for two points?
Manu Ginobili comes close, but Parker has retained his dribbling skills better than Ginobili has at this point in the longtime duo's careers.
Toronto Raptors: Jose Calderon
Jose Calderon is undoubtedly the best ball-handler on this squad, but that's more out of attrition as he's by far the top point guard for the Raptors and DeMar DeRozan is more of an athlete than a skilled basketball player at this point in his career.
That said, Reggie Evan's ball-handling skills cannot be discounted. Chris Kaman agrees.
Utah Jazz: Devin Harris
Although his inconsistency and the fact that he's basically made of glass is quite frustrating, Devin Harris is still a supreme talent at the point guard position.
Sent to Utah from New Jersey, Harris most assuredly didn't leave behind his stellar ball-handling skills.
Washington Wizards: John Wall
John Wall had an absolutely fantastic rookie season, even though it was largely overshadowed by the one put together by Blake Griffin, the eventual Rookie of the Year.
Not only did the Kentucky product manage to establish himself as one of the fastest players in the league, but he also showed that his dribbling skills are going to make him a star in this league for quite a long time.