OTG's Top 50 NBA Players: 10-1
THE TOP 10 IS HERE!
10. Kyrie Irving
Irving is one of the most dazzling players to ever step foot on a court. He’s made shots on the biggest of stages and is a walking highlight on a nightly basis. Within Boston’s system he made some nice strides defensively and if the team reaches the heights they’re predicted to he even has a sneaky chance at this season’s MVP.
9. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook knows how to play one way and that way is at 110%. Westbrook was the Most Valuable Player just two years ago in a season where he went on to have 42 triple-doubles and average a triple-double. Last season, he again averaged a triple-double on the season, although they have become more common it's historic to average triple-doubles in back to back years. Westbrook is a stat sheet filler there's no question, but it's due to him being one of the most fierce players around the league. If he became a more efficient scorer and developed a consistent three-point shot he’d be higher on this list.
8. Kawhi Leonard
If Kawhi Leonard can drag the Raptors to the Conference Finals he’ll find himself a few spots higher on this list. Questions still remain around his health but at full fitness he is the game’s best two-way player; a player you can build a championship team around. He’s in the perfect situation to get back to his best in Toronto with a new coach and the personnel to compliment his game perfectly.
7. Joel Embiid
From off the court jokes to the on court poster dunks, Embiid has got it all. Embiid in just a year and a half of NBA time under his belt has already proved to be an elite center in the league. Embiid can dominate in the post, score from mid-range, knock down the three-point shot and protect the rim. He’s a special player as long as the injury bug stays far away.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The 2K cover athlete has the league in the (gigantic) palm of his hands. With some of the guys at the top of this list in their 30s, Giannis is the next logical replacement as the league’s best. We haven’t seen a player like him step foot on the court. The combination of athleticism, passing and defense is something to behold. The only thing stopping him from reaching the most elite tier of superstars is team success. If the Greek Freak can lead the Bucks to a successful playoff run this season then his name will continue to go up on this list.
5. James Harden
James Harden is a superstar with an unorthodox style. A big portion of why James Harden is so successful is for the fact that he can break you down off the dribble and draw fouls. Alongside his ability to draw fouls, Harden can create space like the best of them and knock down a jump shot from just about anywhere on the floor. James Harden is also an elite playmaker, point guard 1A for the Rockets. Two seasons ago Harden averaged 11.4 assists per game. His defense may be suspect at times, but it’s made up for it by leaps and bounds because of his offense. Last season Harden averaged a career best 30.4 points per game on a shooting spilt of 44/36/85 while winning his first Most Valuable Player Award.
4. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis has the potential to go down as one of the best big men in the history of the game. He’s an enormously impactful player on both sides of the floor. He has little flaws in his game, if anything it’s how the Pelicans franchise has built teams around him. With the league trending back towards the big man, Davis’ name will be on this list for many years to come. Here’s hoping he can find some more team success to advocate his status as a future all-time great.
3. Stephen Curry
Wall Street Journal
The babyface assassin is now simply an assassin. Two-time Most Valuable Player and now a three-time NBA champion. Curry has been labeled the greatest shooter of all-time. Curry is an above 40% three-point shooter for his career and needs very little space or time in order to get his shot off. His impact for the Warriors is unchallenged, the threat Curry puts on a defense from simply being out there helps his teammates move around with ease. Not to mention, he’s an underrated defender who has quick hands which give him the chance to get steals.
2. Kevin Durant
Will Kevin Durant ever hold the status as the best player in the NBA? Some argue that he already is. He’s a two-time Finals MVP on one of the league’s best teams of all-time and with a newly developed defensive game, who’s to say KD can’t reach that coveted top spot? For now he’ll have to settle for number 2. It’ll be fun to watch his career play out over the next couple of seasons as he looks to not only reach that top spot but cement his place as one of the game’s best players to step foot on the hardwood.
1. LeBron James
In year 15, LeBron played in all 82 games and went onto the NBA Finals for the eighth straight season. Let’s also not forget he hit two game-winning shots during that playoff run and a couple more over the course of the season.You can debate when exactly LeBron James took the title as best player in the league, but for the last decade there’s been only one king. Until he begins to regress there’s no one better.