Eddie Johnson's Top 25 NBA players
The 2010-11 NBA season is about to begin and it wouldn’t be the same if I did not lead off with my updated Top 25 entering the season. The obvious players are around, but I have three new entrants and a list of five players I expect to make a run at the list by All-Star break. The lists are based on last year’s performances, so expect some changes soon. I think this will be the best regular season we have witnessed in quite a while. The Miami Heat made sure of it by adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
25. Carlos Boozer (new)
I have been trying hard to squeeze Boozer on this list and he repays me by tripping over his gym bag and breaking a finger. Anyway, he is one of my favorite players because I never see him take a night off. His jump shot from mid-range is uncanny and he is a very good rebounder. He will miss the structure of the Utah Jazz offense, but should still put up great numbers in Chicago.
24. Tyreke Evans (new)
I walked past Evans at halftime of a Kings-Suns exhibition game and I was amazed at how big and strong he is. Now I know why point guards got out of his way last year. He is a scoring machine and gets it done with force. Evans arguably should have been the No. 1 pick last year, but I will hold off until Blake Griffin makes his debut in a few weeks. I can guarantee you one thing… The Kings are ecstatic that they have a star for years to come.
23. Gilbert Arenas (new)
The only reason he was not on the list last year was because of injury and suspension. I spent some time with him in Chicago this summer and watched him play. He’s back. Gilbert is a smooth scoring machine and playing next to the ultra explosive John Wall will allow him to destroy defenses. I would not be surprised if Gilbert made the All-Star Game this season. That’s how good he is.
22. Derrick Rose (24)
I caught a lot of flak from my hometown Bulls fans when I included Rose on my top disappointments list midway last year. Despite the disapproval, he deserved to be there, especially after what he showed the final 40 games. He elevated his game to All-Star levels and that is where I expected him to be. He had a tremendous summer with USA Basketball and I think that will culminate into All-NBA consideration at the conclusion of this season. Rose is the best athletic point guard in the league and when he learns to knock down that 15 to 20 foot shot consistently, he will become a terribly hard to defend against the pick-and-roll.
21. Gerald Wallace (19)
Wallace is here for one reason: Heart. Name me a player that outworks him and produces at the same time? He is the best pound-for-pound rebounder in the league and has learned to score as well. Defensively he has always been stellar, but the leadership aspect surprised me last year and that is why he will stay in my top 25 despite all the critics who will say there’s no way he belongs here.
20. Kevin Garnett (23)
The Big Ticket has some bodyguards galore to protect those ailing knees with thousands of miles on them. I believe the addition of Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal to go along with Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins will allow Garnett to roam and become that praying mantis he has been throughout his career. He is one the best leaders in sports and also a Top 5 trash talker. Healthy, Garnett is still a force to be reckoned with. He has to be encouraged by all the help the Celtics have acquired for this championship run.
19. Paul Pierce (22)
I love watching The Truth, but as I have said over the last few years I think he needs to be in better shape. Yes, he plays big minutes. Yes, he scores well. And yes, the Celtics got to the Finals and almost won. I will still say if Pierce lost a few pounds and committed to the weight room, he would easily be a Top 15 player. Things come so easy for Pierce offensively, but his defense is vastly underrated. That’s the truth!
18. Jason Kidd (17)
The old man is still among the fastest and best defenders in the league. Oh, his passing and leadership skills still hover near the top as well. The thing I love about Kidd is that he is a warrior and he improves his game every year. The Mavericks are dangerous because of Kidd’s refusal to stop battling for 48 minutes. He will play till he is 40 years old or better because he leads and wins.
17. Brandon Roy (15)
Can the Blazers field a healthy team for at least 70 games? The attention has definitely been on Greg Oden, but Portland fans should be more worried about Brandon Roy. I am starting to believe he will become an 8 to 10 year player, which does not bode well for a guy like him, who can do multiple things on the floor. When healthy he is definitely a Top 15 player, but multiple surgeries are not a good sign so early in a career.
16. Joe Johnson (16)
Johnson is as consistent as it gets. He does not get his due credit for what the Hawks have done recently. He is very difficult to guard and is an above average defender. He has a tremendous body and rarely misses games, which allow him to stay at 16 ahead of Brandon Roy. Johnson will miss the excellent coaching he received from Mike Woodson and although he signed a lucrative contract, I wonder if he will continue to grow as a scorer and leader in this new system.
15. Rajon Rondo (18)
He proved to me last year that the Celtics have become his team. I am impressed. Look at what he had to win over to become the focal point of the Celtics last year. How many players would have cowered away from trying to grab control from three players that will most likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame? But hold on, it gets worse. Now you have arguably the most dominant center to ever play the game, Shaquille O’Neal, added to the team. Rondo has a devastating array of talents that boggle your mind when you see him perform. He has quickly become one of my favorite players to watch and he rarely disappoints.
14. Tim Duncan (13)
The only reason Duncan has slowly retreated on my list is mileage. He still is one of the top three leaders in basketball. If I had the opportunity to have my son spend a weekend with a player, Duncan would top the list along with Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. Duncan just knows how to win and will do anything to get the result. I hear that he is in tremendous shape and, if true, watch out for the Spurs.
13. Chris Bosh (14)
I got my degree in History. All throughout history, there were tremendous leaders. But there were great followers as well. Some people view a follower as a weak person, but he is only weak when following the wrong person. James and Dwyane Wade were the right people to follow in this instance for Bosh. I put Bosh in the same boat as Pau Gasol, a player with tremendous abilities, but not the player you want steering the ship. Bosh will continue to be an All-Star, while adding a few rings to the resume as well.
12. Pau Gasol (12)
Gasol has shown to me a lot since the Celtics beat him up two years ago. He is fast becoming the best all-around power forward in the game. The reason I am cautious with Gasol is because he is not in a position of top-dog on his team. I wonder how well he will lead and play if Kobe Bryant is not healthy to start the season. Every player above him has been called on to be the guy. The last time Gasol had that pressure, he failed miserably in Memphis. I personally think he has reached the point of taking control, but I need to see it before I move him up further on my list.
11. Chris Paul (11)
Paul has admitted to watching Steve Nash tapes to enhance his game and I see a lot of similarities. Paul is a tremendous floor leader and scorer. The one negative that has dogged him recently is durability. That alone keeps him listed as the third best guard on my list. The Hornets traded Darren Collison to the Indiana Pacers to show Paul that he is the franchise, but that could haunt them in the short future if Paul demands a trade. If the Hornets are struggling at the All-Star break, the trade rumors will undoubtedly resurface.
10. Steve Nash (10)
People keep retiring Nash and he keeps shutting them up. When will critics realize that he is the only guard since Magic Johnson that enhances teammates’ games to above average levels? Look at Quentin Richardson, Steven Hunter, Shawn Marion, Tim Thomas and, presently, Jared Dudley and Channing Frye. This guy is the best pure leader in the NBA. His numbers last year were better than his MVP seasons. The best shooter in the history of the NBA. He has gone four straight years shooting 50 (FG%)/40 (3P%)/90 (FT %). I love Ray Allen, but if I hear another commentator say he is the league’s best shooter, I will puke.
9. Deron Williams (9)
The best all-around point guard in the NBA. I wonder what his numbers would look like if he was not in the Jazz offensive system. Anyway, the Jazz system is excellent and Williams still has All-NBA numbers regardless. That is why he has ascended to the top among point guards.
8. Dirk Nowitzki (7)
Nowitzki is just Mr. Consistent when it comes to producing for the Dallas Mavericks. I honestly thought he seriously flirted with changing teams this offseason, but it would have been a mistake. He has a solid nucleus in Dallas and I think they have a chance to make a lot of noise this year. The one area I would like to see Dirk improve is his post-ups on the blocks. Although posting players at the free-throw line is potent for him points-wise, it does not get opponents in foul trouble and he is usually the one shooting because teams will not double team. Dirk is the best European player in NBA history and a pleasure to watch.
7. Carmelo Anthony (8)
I wonder how it feels to have $65 million on the table and turn that money down. That’s exactly what Anthony is doing and that leads me to believe he will not be a Denver Nugget for long. The Nuggets are playing with fire if they go into the All-Star break with Anthony and he has not signed the extension. I understand why they don’t want to let him go, but it’s obvious he does not want to be there any longer. He is envious about the goings-on in Miami and wants a change as well. Although he is a tremendous player, the Nuggets will lose leverage in trades the longer they delay the obvious. Whoever acquires Anthony will be getting a first-class scorer and underrated defender.
6. Amare Stoudemire (6)
I must admit that I am heart-broken, but I understand. I loved Amare in a Phoenix Suns uniform, but business is business and New York made an offer he could not refuse. Some people believe Amare will struggle without Steve Nash and I disagree. He can score the basketball on anyone and people will see the other skills he did not have to use in Phoenix. I thought he was the best player after the All-Star break last year. That’s why he stays at No. 6 despite changing teams.
5. Dwight Howard (5)
I love Howard – he will knock your head off and smile about it. Guess what? I want more! I still think he is too nice and friendly to his opponents. He has the best body in basketball and although he knows he can hurt any opponent physically, I don’t see fear in their eyes when they play against him. Players are scared to death of Shaquille O’Neal and if Howard wants to become the next legitimate Superman he has to dominate more on both ends of the court and win championships.
4. Dwayne Wade (3)
Wade is the best penetrator and third best finisher in basketball behind LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire. I really respect his unselfishness in encouraging James and Chris Bosh to join him in Miami. Wade will probably score the easiest 25 points a night in NBA history. Why? Because he will not be double teamed and will have wide lanes to the basket because of the weapons around him. Health has always been a concern when it comes to Wade because of the way he throws his body around. He will not have to be as aggressive this year and it will make him even more dangerous.
3. Kevin Durant (4)
He has rushed to the top of the ladder in a hurry and I don’t think anyone will argue this point. Durant comes from the Kobe Bryant School of Dedication to his Craft. He seems to be a wonderful teammate and leader. The show he put on this summer for Team was an all-time classic. He basically willed himself to become the go-to guy on an All-Star team. If you have played the game at a high level, you’d know how difficult that accomplishment is. Durant can score on anyone at any time and what I admire most is that it’s always in the flow of the game. I would pay to watch him play anywhere.
2. LeBron James (1)
“The Decision” has made James a villain in every city except Miami, but let me warn the boo-birds that will attend games to heckle him… It will hurt your team’s chances of winning the game, so don’t do it. I believe because of the negativity surrounding his decision to join the Miami Heat, James will have the most productive season of his career and lead the Heat to the Finals. With all due respect to Wade, the Heat will become LeBron James’ team. He is the best athlete in sports and in my estimation will be mentioned as arguably the best basketball player ever before it’s all said and done.
1. Kobe Bryant (2)
What he did in the playoffs and especially against the Suns in the Western Conference finals gave him the edge in the apples and oranges race for No. 1 against James. I have said this numerous times and it still has not changed – Bryant is the best offensive machine in NBA history. There is a reason why he has overcome the negative publicity that dogged him on and off in his career. He is the most committed athlete to his craft in sports and fans respect it to the utmost.
JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 25
Chauncey Billups (20), Yao Ming (returning from injury), Josh Smith (25) Tony Parker (21) and Manu Ginobili.
SOON TO BE IN THE TOP 25
John Wall, Brook Lopez, Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut and Blake Griffin.
That's a pretty good list, except Arenas has no business being in the top 25. Also I think Danny Granger should be somewhere on that list.
Really tough to argue against your logic. So, being a Bulls fan, do you include Noah in a deal to acquire Anthony? The buzz is that the two headed GM of Pax/Gar do not have the nads to pull the trigger on that one, but it would shake things up a bit.
What has Danny Granger done really? I never understand it with him.
I don't know if Granger is top 25 nessecarily, but he should be atleast looking in on it. He always goes really high in mock drafts, but I agree he's a bit overrated. Potential is there though
I saw this list yesterday and was gonna post it. I really like this list. Johnson ahead of Brandon Roy i thought was a smart move.
The outside looking in is missing a few players like Granger, Al Jefferson, Iguadola, Russell Westrbook, and Rudy Gay for example.
I noticed the players on here are all winners for the most part, but he really overlooked a few olympians on here. And I don't wanna hear it was our JV team because they won and were really impressive this summer.
Kidd is one of the fastest defenders in the league? Where did EJ get that from?
He are my Top 25, also in brackets are the numbers McDunkin put down for his top 25:
25. Andrew Bogut(not on list) 13. Chris Bosh (13)
24. Carlos Boozer (25) 12. Pau Gasol (12)
23. Gerald Wallace (21) 11. Chris Paul (11)
22. Tyreke Evans (24) 10. Amare Stoudmire (6)
21. Derrick Rose (22) 9. Deron Williams (9)
20. Kevin Garnett (20) 8. Steve Nash (10)
19. Paul Pierce (19) 7. Dirk Nowitzki (8)
6. Carmello Anthony (7)
18. Joe Johnson (16) 5. Dwight Howard (5)
17. Rajon Rondo (15) 4. Dwayne Wade (4)
16. Jason Kidd (18) 3. Kevin Durant (3)
15. Brandon Roy (17) 2. LeBron James (2)
14. Tim Duncan (14) 1. Kobe Bryant (1)
The only person I took off McDunkins list is Gilbert Arenas because he hasn't proved himself in the regular season since he was suspended. Also I nearly completely agreed with his top 14 with all the same players in there and I only changed 5 player.
Amare Stoudmire I dropped 4 places not because he's a bad player but because I believe the other 4 players are better. Dirk Nowitzki is better because has the outside shooting touch that Amare doesn't. Carmello Anthony is quite difficult to compare the Amare but I think Carmello is better because his offensive skills are 1st class and he is an under-rated defender but he's led his team into the playoffs, unlike Amare who was right-hand man to Steve Nash which is why Nash is higher than Amare too. Finally he's dropped behind Deron Williams because Deron is a natural leader and a threat inside larger than his size.
I also placed Deron Williams behind Steve Nash because despite Steve is ageing I still believe he is a better shooting a better passer and a better leader with better basketball IQ.
I did a close to completed switch with numbers 25-15 so I'll only explain a few of my descions.
I Believe that Jason Kidd, like Steve Nash, is a veteran on top of his game and on top of Rajon Rondo. I found out how hard it must have been for McDunkin to make this list when I had to drop Joe Johnson 2 places to make room for Brandon Roy who I don't think will only be an 8-10 season player and Pierce and Garnett also stay in their same positions but Gerald wallace drops back 2 places to make room for two great young point guards capable of becoming super-stars.
Andrew Bogut was in McDunkin's soon to be Top 25 list but I believe he is top 25 matterial right now so I put in the Top 25 instead of Gilbert Arenas.
Amare at 6??? are you kidding me, i wouldnt have him in my top 25, dude was only grabbing 8 boards a game on a phoenix team that shot a million times a game, plays no D and has benefitted tremendously from being on the receiving end of Steve Nash alleys for the last half decade, JJ is way too high after that playoff flop too. EJ was prolly high when he did this list
It really just shows how lacking the league is in dominant centers. Dwight Howard is the only true center on the list.
After you put Lebron,Kobe,Wade and Durant in the top 4.You can say Howard is number 5..then you might go CP3 or Carmelo for 6 or 7...after that its everyone's own personal choice..
I love Kidd he's the best point guard to come into the nba since Zeke came into the league..,but he's no longer a top 25 player in the league..
wht is it gonna take for ppl to realize lebron should be 1?
Yadskii, you are never going to win that argument. I completely agree with you, and I too think that Lebron is by far and away the League's best player. But there is no arguing with Kobe fans, and Lebron haters.
Garnett, Arenas, Kidd and Amare are too high.
Im your Father, I hate Kobe but Did you not watch the way cleveland went out in last years conf finals???? how can u say hes better than kobe after that, and yes i know know kobe went 6-22 or whatever in the finals clinching game but he showed heart for &$#%#&@! sakes and oh yeah they won
Not even close to Kobe? See here is what is so unbelievably flawed about that argument... Kobe's team was way better. The fact that Kobe was 6-22 and still one proves that point. If Lebron doesn't play out of his mind, the Cavs don't win. If Lebron had had Gasol he probably would have won. Simple as that. Lebron put up 29 7 and 7 while not showing heart. He is also the guy who had one of the best playoff series of all time against Orlando in 08-09.
Also, I don't buy the whole Lebron isn't a winner, doesn't have killer instinct and isn't clutch thing. Lebron is absolutely among the 5 most clutch players in the NBA. He had one bad game. Get over it.
Amare not top 25? He's a dominant big man in a league that don't have any. I would take Amare any day over Bosh because Amare has actually had great games in the playoffs against other great big men. Bosh couldn't get his team to the playoffs consistently and even when they got their Bosh was a never the threat to take his team deep into the playoffs.
And nobody agrees that Al Jefferson, Iggy, Granger, Westbrook, and Rudy Gay has a chance to crack the top 25?
I think Blake Griffin will be in there by the end of the year also.
You could make an argument that Al Jefferson should be on the list over Boozer. Jefferson has better regular season numbers. But Boozer is a proven playoff producer. Personally I would leave Boozer on the list for now but I wouldn't count out Big Al he's about as underrated as they get. No he isn't KG who will automatically take your team to the playoffs type of player, but neither is Boozer.
I am not a big Danny Granger fan at all but give the guy some credit he averaged 26 points per game 2 years ago and 24 last year. And no that is not all the product of being on a bad team because only so many players in this league can average over 24 points per game.
Westbrook is going to climb onto the list like it or not this year that guy is turning into a force.
Rudy Gay has the talent but he will never crack the top 25 most likely. But he sure would be top 35.
Iguadola same thing.
And how fast everybody has forgot what Gil can do.
I'm sorry, but Derrick Rose is a better player right now than Jason Kidd. This isn't a career list, obviously cumulatively Kidd's career is better, but if you are trying to win a championship this year and you could choose between Rose or Kidd, the obvious choice is Rose. No disrespect to Kidd, he's one of the greatest PG's ever. He is just past his prime. Rose is better than Kidd right now.
its funny becasue after reading johnsons stuff for a while, he is usually very anti anything lakers, so surprised he put kobe number 1 and not like 5th. But a few of my complaints are amare is way too high. Jason kidd is no longer a top 25 player in this league. Anyone honestly dont think dallas would be a tougher team if they tradded kidd for derrick rose?
Hey Eddie you shoulda replace Gilbert Arenas with Josh Smith! That would have sounded more reasonable... Arenas doesn't deserve to be in that top 25 for the last 3 seasons...
I don't think Kevin Durant is better than Dwayne Wade... And Amare Stoudemire is too high. He isn't better than Pau Gasol in my opinion.
And Jason Kidd, though still a good player, is no longer in the top 25.
I think that Trevor Ariza should be on the up and coming list. I believe that Chris Paul will take his game to the next level. I also think that Danny Granger should be put on the list. A very solid player except for his injuries the past two seasons. But look at Carlos Boozer he has a long history of injuries.
this list sucks imo
How is Amare ahead D Howard, Pau Gasol, Nowitzki, and Bosh that makes no sense
my top 25:
No way Joe should be over B-Roy. Jason Kidd shouldn't be in this list.
I really like Amare but do to his defense defiencies and lack of rebounding numbers. He is not better then Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul or Dirk.
@Im Your Father yea ur right I'm done argue'n about it they obviously dnt know basketball
If I were the Bulls I wouldn't trade Noah. You don't get many energy, hustle players like him. He holds the team together and even though Melo is a scoring machine, that team belongs to Rose and you should build around him. Keeping Noah is the best move they did. You can always get scoring from other players on that team.
Having Granger as your first option on your team isn't going to get you far. I see him as a 2nd option. He is just one of those players that are a really good scorer but don't have any leadership or the mental physique to take their team to the championship.
Rose should be top 15 imo
I agree that Granger isn't a championship team first option, but that statement about him not having any leadership or a strong "mental physique" is baloney.
I like Danny Grangers game, he might not be the perfect first option, but if he's your second option your team is probably really good.
Chris Paul should be higher.....
Amare Stoudemire was the first option on championship caliber teams, just like Dirk. Pau and Bosh were never the first option on a championship caliber team. And Dwight Howard I dunno whats up with his lack of dominance on the offensive side.
But you can say Nash all you want but at the end of the day Amare had the ball in his hands right before it went in the basket. The only other Big Man to share the first option on a championship team is Dirk. Who also played with Nash and Kidd but nobody is saying they are the reason he is so good.
But we'll see what Amare does this year. If the Knicks are a playoff team and Amare is averaging over 27 points a game I think that will justify his place on this list. And from a pure one on one standpoint Amare will destroy Bosh lets be serious. Bosh is soft.
You call Bosh soft...Amare is 6'10, amazingly athletic, and rebounds like guard. If that isn't soft what is? Also, while Bosh doesn't play great defense he plays a hell of a lot better defense than Amare.
How is Amare soft? He is one of the strongest and best finishers in the game. He punishes people down low with nasty dunks, and takes contact like a man. Him not rebounding well makes him soft?
And the fact that he plays zero defense.
Maybe soft is the wrong word, but it irritates me that he shows such aggression and tenacity on the offensive end, and then doesn't put the effort into rebounding or defense. Amare has the potential to be elite in both those categories and yet he's far from it.
Chris Bosh is longer and has better rebounding instincts....but you are right to point out the rebounding numbers...
But let's not be mistaken ask anybody in the NBA who is the person they fear the most guarding one on one and most of them will say Amare....Kobe will score in you...LeBron will blow by you...but Amare will punish you under the rim then put you on a poster...He attacks the basket with a fearlessness and aggression that is extremely rare.
And I heard that on NBA TV that Amare may be the most feared one on one player in the league because of his tenacity with the ball in hands...
I found this is Eddie Johnsons top 25 going into last season...a good compare and contrast read.
Here are my Top 25 players in the league and my reasons for ranking them.
25. Shawn Marion
The most versatile forward in the game. Shawn gives a team a little of everything and a lot of solid defense. Underappreciated for what he brings, he will command a ton of attention at the trade deadline if the Heat can’t reach a contract agreement with him.
24. Manu Ginobli
The guy is a winner and a competitor. Definitely the best foreign player in the league when it comes to effectiveness in clutch situations. Led the Spurs in scoring and carried them in crunch time. The most disliked player in the league on the road due to his playing style… But every team would love to have him.
23. Tracy McGrady
The key for Tracy is to stay healthy. I wonder how committed he is in the weight room. Body has not changed much during his career, which is a negative. Definitely one the best scorers in the league, but on-the-ball defense will be huge for Houston this year. He needs to back off on deferring to the three-point shot. I always felt he is a mid-range shooter and that’s what the Rockets need him to be.
22. Chauncey Billups
He has great leadership abilities, but I think he has to step it up even more. He seemed to get along with ex coach Flip Saunders, but allowed his teammates to step out of line too often last year. I think at times he’s a little too unselfish because he is the best scorer on the team with his ability to get a jump shot or drive to the basket at will. I expect more this year to validate being 21 on my list.
21. Caron Butler
Gilbert Arenas will have to take a back seat to Butler when he gets healthy. He has become the heart and soul of the Wizards. He has an ability to create shots when none seem available and his jumpshot has improved every season. A true warrior who has battled injuries the last few years.
20. Elton Brand
When healthy, he’s one the best power forwards in the game. The Sixers now have one of the best post players and screeners in the game. Brand has a lot to prove this year and eyes will be on him all season long, but he will prevail with consistent offense and sneaky shot blocking ability.
19. Baron Davis
I will not believe Davis leaving Golden State was on his own accord. The Warriors are going to suffer without Davis and the Clippers will be rewarded. He has the most underrated on-the-ball hands in the league defensively. And we all know of his ability to change the opponent’s defense when he has the ball on the perimeter or the post.
18. Shaquille O’Neal
Quite honestly, in my opinion he is still the most dominating presence in the game today. He changes the game when he is on the floor and that makes him still one of the best players in basketball. People tend to talk about his commitment to staying in shape, but look at it this way… How many big men like Shaq have lasted this long? Zero. Give him credit for maintaining what he has with that massive body. Stanley Roberts, Benoit Benjamin, Oliver Miller… No, not great players like Shaq, but they could not stay in shape because of the bodies they had. He will produce some big numbers at times this year with the Suns slowed offense.
17. Carmelo Anthony
A combination of finesse and power. A tremendous offensive rebounder and finisher around the basket. Anthony would be higher if he developed better leadership abilities and trusted his teammates more often on the court. He will definitely wind up in the top twenty in scoring when his career is done, but championships will elude him if he does not continue to improve his overall package.
16. Tony Parker
Please find me someone who can stop him from getting to the basket? You will not find that person. Speed and underrated strength allows Parker to get in the paint and complete shots. Parker is a true winner and is the most dangerous penetrator in league history. His jump shot in the two-man game with Duncan has made him a true force.
15. Paul Pierce
His nickname is The Truth. Well, true it is. He has an uncanny ability to score on anyone off the dribble or in the post. He loves contact and is definitely one of the best go-to clutch players in the league. His leadership qualities really came to light during the championship run. That has elevated Pierce among the greats in Celtic history.
14. Allen Iverson
The toughest player pound for pound in the history of the league. A medical marvel that never runs out of energy. I often wondered if Iverson would last five years in the league, but I understand now why he has endured. He was one of the best quarterbacks in the country when he decided to focus on basketball and now we understand the ignorance to pain when it comes to him. He is downright relentless and a joy to watch.
13. Steve Nash
Every time I see Steve Nash I ask God why couldn’t I have been born 10 years later. Nash is the most unselfish player in the league. He honestly dislikes taking a bunch of shots. His enjoyment comes in the form of an Amare Stoudemire or Shaq dunk or a Raja Bell three-pointer than actually scoring 20 points a night. That’s why he won back to back MVPs and that is why he is still one of the best players in the league. Nash will be counted on to use that stroke more this year because he will play off the ball more than usual. That’s a great move because he is the best shooter in the league.
12. Dirk Nowitzki
He is the best shooting big man in the league, but needs to improve individual leadership on a team in need of it. He also has to stop deferring to the three-pointer and become more assertive around the basket, which he can do with ease. (I apologize to Dirk and all Maverick fans for the oversight. He clearly belongs on the Top 25).
11. Deron Williams
Williams will do something unheard of in Utah if he continues to improve every year. Yes, I will say it… Make people stop thinking about John Stockton. The Jazz are right back at the level Stockton left when it comes to a point guard that leads and produces victories on a consistent basis. Williams is definitely the strongest point guard in the league and equally as smart when it comes to making decisions in a Jerry Sloan offensive system.
10. Dwyane Wade
Would be higher if he could just stay healthy. I mentioned a few years ago that he would not last long in the league if he continued to hit the floor 50 times a game. Wade was fantastic this summer in the Olympics and showed me that he could possibly lead the league in steals. He has really gotten himself into great shape so I expect him to get back on track to becoming the great player we all expected him to be when he led Miami to a title.
9. Chris Bosh
Reminds me of Bill Cartwright, but athletic. I would be terrified to guard him because his body seems to be going in twenty different directions when he attacks, but it works and gets him to the free-throw line consistently. Now with Jermaine O’Neal beside him, he should take off even more. He really needs to develop a go-to move inside and stop trying to incorporate a thousand moves, which I think gets him in trouble at times.
8. Dwight Howard
Can be as good as he wants to. He has the body to maneuver anywhere he wants to on the court and that is huge at this level. His rebounding ability and presence on the court alone warrant Howard this spot. Must improve free-throw shooting if he plans on moving up any further.
7. Amare Stoudemire
The most feared power forward in the game because of the embarrassment factor. He is what I call “dirt strong” and it’s deceiving because of his slender build. His shooting stroke is picture perfect and consistent. Terry Porter’s new offensive system will allow Amare to get more post-up opportunities, thus improving his trips to the charity stripe, where he hovered around 80 percent all year. He should average 25-plus points again this year and improve defensively.
6. Yao Ming
Injuries cost Yao last year, but before he left for the season he was playing like the best center in the league statistically and one must wonder if Houston would have broken the Lakers’ 33-game winning streak if he did not go down at the beginning of it. He is difficult to guard when in top shape. I expect him to have a great year leading the Rockets deep in the playoffs. Ron Artest will keep him from picking up cheap fouls with his great one-on-one defense.
5. Kevin Garnett
Kevin is the here because he finally got a chance to combine his talents and leadership with All-Stars Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. He is the most persistent player I have ever seen. I have never seen Garnett take a night off emotionally. If you have watched Garnett over his career, he is in constant dialogue with himself for 48 minutes and 82 games. That, my friends, is special in itself and now he is a champion.
4. Tim Duncan
This guy is pure professionalism. I would love my son to live with him for a summer. His demeanor and unselfishness with his teammates is pure gold. He could average huge numbers every year, but understands winning championships is more important. No way does Ginobili lead the team in scoring without Duncan allowing him to. Give credit to David Robinson for instilling that in Duncan.
3. Chris Paul
He is here because I personally think he is the best leader right now in the NBA. He has admitted studying Steve Nash and it is obvious when you watch his interaction with his teammates. Paul is a clone of Isiah Thomas and he showed it last year. The best pick-and-roll guard in the league.
2. Kobe Bryant
The closest in talent to Michael Jordan and in a lot of ways better than MJ. Dislike him if you want, but he is the perfect example of preparation when it comes to basketball. He is the smartest player in the league and makes the game look easy.
1. LeBron James
The best physical tools in the history of the game. He has the smarts of Magic Johnson, the brute strength and athleticism of George McGinnis and the speed of Ricky Green rolled into one massive body. I have said this since he has been in the league… If he continues to improve his jump shot, he will become the best ever.
I don't like your list overall, but where's KD?
That is not my list...
It is Eddie Johnson's list going into last season...
KD would of been top ten on my list going into last year....
It seems that Eddie Johnson is not very good at making these lists. He put Elton Brand on there. LOL..
"But let's not be mistaken ask anybody in the NBA who is the person they fear the most guarding one on one and most of them will say Amare....Kobe will score in you...LeBron will blow by you...but Amare will punish you under the rim then put you on a poster...He attacks the basket with a fearlessness and aggression that is extremely rare."
Oh I agree with this completely. That is what is so annoying for me. He is very physical and aggressive on offense, he is ridiculously quick and strong and will throw down on you in a second...But he puts almost no effort into rebounding or defense. If he did, he could be great at them.
oh lol just making sure
Yeah you're right about the fact Amare should be an easy double double guy. But you know not every player is perfect and every player has a flaw in their game not named Kobe.
Amare isn't a bad defender when he needs to he will body a big men up about as well as any player in the NBA. He's played great defense in the playoffs before against other elite big man, Dirk, KG, Pau. He just doesn't bring that defensive intensity every night. But I would still rather throw Amare on an opposing Big that might be going off then Bosh. Because Amare is more physical and plays great body on body defense when he wants too.
Also As we were talking about height measurements before Chris Bosh is another player that could be listed at 7 foot if he wanted too. And I thought Bosh would be one of the best shot blockers in the league and that don't look like it will ever happen.