To preface these rankings, you can compare and contract the statistics here at this link.
1. Derrick Rose – Cannot wait for the former MVP to return to the court and get back in the groove of things.
2. Chris Paul – As crazy as it sounds Doc Rivers helped the all-star grow in year one together, will be a joy watching him next year.
3. Stephen Curry – This guy “shot” his way up in a hurry, will be interesting to see his transition from Mark Jackson to Steve Kerr.
4. Russell Westbrook – What a stud that gets a bit overshadowed by his MVP teammate, the all-star has plenty of room to continue improve.
5. Kyrie Irving – Hits game-winners and does a lot of everything as his team is fully reliant on him.
* Deepest position in the game today, interchangeable list with other names like Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Damian Lilliard, Ty Lawson, John Wall, even Kyle Lowry
1. Kobe Bryant – The Black Mamba really is Vino, he was putting on a show before being sidelined for the season.
2. James Harden – Found a new home and hasn’t looked back, he’s a scoring machine that goes for a lot of steals. Still raw too.
3. Dwyane Wade – Despite how the Finals made you and myself feel about him, he still posted elite numbers during the season (even if retirement is closer than HE thinks it is).
4. Monta Ellis – Been at it for years and usually under the radar, he plays bigger than his size suggests and has been so reliable.
5. DeMar DeRozen – He stepped up after the team traded Rudy Gay, he could be more efficient but in his first year as the man he reached the playoffs.
* Weakest position across the league, players like Lance Stephenson and Goran Dragic on the rise
1. LeBron James – The best in the game on both sides of the ball, I hope fans appreciate what he does rather than bash him for his 2-3 finals’ record.
2. Kevin Durant – The best scorer in the league, practically since he came in. Expanded his game in all aspects, hence the MVP award.
3. Carmelo Anthony – Not everybody can be MVP and carry a team to the Finals, nor does that mean you’ll win it. Melo gets buckets from anywhere, what jersey will he wear though? My favorite is Chicago, followed by Houston.
4. Paul George – Rising star is the correct term to use, just didn’t understand how quick analysts were to put him on a pedestal. Allow him to expand year to year like he’s been doing.
5. Kawhi Leonard – Finals’ MVP did it all and has transitioned into a bigger role as the playoffs progressed. Next year will be a pleasure for new fans to watch this guy. Representing my hometown of San Diego!
* Top-heavy position with the most star-power as well. George & Leonard skyrocket their way up, while Josh Smith can flourish under Stan Van Gundy.
1. Blake Griffin – This guy was good already, yet again, Doc Rivers’ impact is turning him into a monster. Improved passing and jump shot in year one with Rivers, where he was an MVP candidate.
2. Kevin Love – Minnesota has a habit of drafting a great big man (Garnett, Jefferson, Love). How many bigs are there that pose a threat to drop 20/20 (points/rebounds) and hit treys.
3. LaMarcus Aldridge – Smooth player that got a boost with the addition of Damian Lilliard. He’s getting the ball in good spots and even imposing his length defensively more.
4. Dirk Nowitzki – His defense has gotten better with time, the future Hall of Famer still scores the ball at will.
5. Tim Duncan – The big fundamental is still consistent on both ends and as a leader. Truly a champion, he can step away whenever he chooses.
* Excellent blend with veterans & young stars that continue to take over games, with Serge Ibaka quickly improving
1. Dwight Howard – Has been the best center in the game, he just effects the game defensively like no other by protecting the rim and wiping the glass. His offense is better than analysts like to admit too.
2. Al Jefferson – Fantastic signing for the Hornets, a second tier MVP candidate for leading them to the playoffs. Another guy that can take over a game.
3. DeMarcus Cousins – What a skilled big man this is, with the ability to handle the rock and dominate a game in the block. He’ll be flexing for awhile.
4. Joakim Noah – Defensive Player of the Year is an outstanding passer and rebounder. Talk about energy and leading by example, if he focused the offseason on offense he might not be contained.
5. Anthony Davis – Whether he’s a 4 or 5, the kid can do everything. The leadership, energy, “it” factor, he will be elite throughout his career.
* Versatile group of bigs that make it tricky to rank, especially when you add Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan & Andre Drummond to the mix