Top 10 NBA Players, going into All-Star Weekend 2014
So far the NBA season has been uneven. And by uneven I mean the Eastern Conference stinks, and the Western Conference is great. You can actually make an argument that, every team in the East, except for the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, could make the playoffs. On the other hand, the Western Conference only has 9 teams that have a chance to make the playoffs, even though the top 10 teams have a positive point differential (In the East only 4 team s have a positive point differential).
The surprise so far this year is undoubtedly the Phoenix Suns. Not only were they picked in the preseason to be one of the worst teams in the league, but that have already eclipse their projected win total for the season. The Suns are doing all of this while missing their best player in Eric Bledsoe, and having a first time head coach in Jeff Hornacek. Prior to this season, Jeff Hornacek was best known for his days with the Utah Jazz, and getting beat down by Jerry Stackhouse.
There has also been great performances by individuals this year. But rather than bore you with numbers. I decided to put together a list of the top 10 players up until this point1.
Kevin Durant, 31 Points, 5 Assist, 8 Rebounds, 31 Per
He has just taken his game to another level this year. His defense is greatly improved and he’s more efficient than ever. With Russell Westbrook being out, everyone knows where the ball is going, but he still can’t be stopped. He has put the Oklahoma City Thunder on his back, and they are sporting the best record in the league. Plus he leads the league in best new nick name, “Slim Reaper.”
LeBron James, 27 Points, 7 Assist, 7 rebounds, 29 Per
LeBron is the Miami Heat the same way LeBron was the Cavaliers when he was in Cleveland. It seems like he’s coasting, yet he’s still killing dudes. He is still 3rd in the league in scoring and leads the Miami Heat in assist and rebounds. It’s hard to blame him for the way he’s playing when we all know only one time of year matters for him…June.
Blake Griffin, 24 Points, 10 rebounds, 24 Per
I never expected to have Blake on any list other that best in game dunkers of all time. However, he’s has greatly improved his game. He has improved his ball handling, and post-game. He is now a legitimate crunch time option for the Clippers, and a superstar in the NBA.
Dwight Howard, 19 Points, 13 rebounds, 2 Blocks 22 Per
Dwight does what Dwight does. He is still the best rim protector in the league. He has also improved his offense around the the basket.
Paul George, 22 Points, 3 Assist, 6 rebounds, 20 Per
After taking a huge step forward the first 2 months of the season. He has taken a step back. I don’t think it should be overlooked that Danny Granger came back during that time, which could explain his dip in his offensive performance. However his defense hasn’t dipped. He is the second best perimeter defender in the league, and has led the Pacers to the best record in the Eastern Conference. He is now a top 5 player in the league.
Kevin Love, 26 Points, 13 rebounds, 28 Per
It’s tough to find a reason why Kevin Love shouldn’t be on the list. The only knock against him is that his team stinks. However, you just can’t deny his numbers. He is the only player that’s top 5 in points and rebounds. So he has to be on this list.
Stephen Curry, 25 Points, 9 Assist, 4 rebounds, 24 Per
“Hand Down, Man Down” Steph Curry is the best shooter in the NBA. This season he has started to pass the ball more, which has added a new dimension to his game. Dude still doesn’t play defense which is why he’s not higher on this list.
Anthony Davis, 21 Points, 10 rebounds, 3 Blocks 26 Per
This may be seen as a surprise on this list, but not if you’ve been paying attention. Anthony Davis is showing flashes of a superstar this year. He has been great defensively and his offensive has pick up as well. He has steadily improved since his rookie year, and looks poised to be an elite player in a couple years.
Chris Paul*, 19 Points, 11 Assist, 5 rebounds, 27 Per
*He has been great despite an injury stricken season.
Under normal circumstances he would be third on this list.
James Harden, 24 Points, 5 Assist, 5 rebounds, 21 Per
Going into this season the story in Houston – among dopes that wanted a reason to hate Dwight Howard – was how Dwight Howard would be a wingman for Harden. However, that story line has now flipped. Harden is clearly the wingman, and Dwight has established himself as the leader on the floor. With that being said Harden is still a great scorer, and has made up for Houston’s deficiency at point guard.
Notable exceptions from this list are Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook. Because of their injury issues they didn’t make the cut. Normally they would have been on the list.
Another exception is Chris Bosh. I really wanted to put him on this list, because of what he has done for the Miami Heat. However, he just doesn’t stack up next to the upper echelon of the NBA.
I put "the top 10 players up until this point" in bold, to preempt all the people who think that's it's a travesty that Michael Jordan didn't make the list.
Editor-in-Chief of Comedic Prose
Follow Kortney Williams on Twitter @kortneyshane