The best ten players in the NBA, in the opinion of the Professor, using sophisticated formulae of Stats, Talent, Eye Test, Intangibles and On Court Dominance. So, without further adieu, here are the TEN best players in the NBA. The most important factor for determining player rankings from a numbers standpoint will be Player Efficiency Rating: PER takes into account positive accomplishments, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, and negative ones, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. The formula adds positive stats and subtracts negative ones through a statistical point value system. The rating for each player is then adjusted to a per-minute basis so that, for example, substitutes can be compared with starters in playing time debates. It is also adjusted for the team’s pace.(John Hollinger)
1.) LeBron James: 25.9 PPG, 54% shooting pct., 40% 3 point shooting, 8.3 REB’s and 6.9 AST’s Per Game, and 29.5 PER.
Is there any question that this man is the best basketball player in the world? James is the most dominant player that I have seen since Shaquille O’Neal in his prime, his talent seems limitless, not only is he the most athletic player in NBA history but he gives max imum effort on offense and defense EVERY single night. To be honest I’m not even sure if he’s human, he has to be a cyborg or some sort of transformer right?
2.) Kevin Durant: 28.5 PPG, 52% shooting pct., 41% 3 point shooting, 7.8 REB’s and 4.3 AST’s Per Game, and 28.5 PER.
Two things come to mind when I think about Kevin Durant; Growth and exclusivity. His growth this year as an all-around player in the absence of James Harden has been remarkable, you can really see him creating for his teammates and making strides to become an elite defender. Exclusive, he is the only current player in the 50-40-90 club, shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the three point line and 90 percent from the free throw line. His combination of size, speed, skill and shooting is terrifying and he’s only 24 years old. We’ve never seen a player quite like Kevin Durant before.
3.) Chris Paul: 16.8 PPG, 48% shooting Pct., 35% 3 point shooting, 2.9 REB’s and 9.7 AST’s Per Game, and 26.5 PER.
When you think Chris Paul, you think of a leader of men and a man who is a nasty competitor. CP3 has the “dog” in him that rubs off on an entire organization, he has made the Clippers a legitimate and changed the entire culture of the team. Chris Paul makes everyone on his squad a much better player. Not only does Paul run the show for the Clippers but he is also a bulldog on defense and leads the NBA in steals with 2.6 Per Game.
4.) Carmelo Anthony: 29.3 PPG, 46% shooting pct., 43% 3 point shooting, 6.2 REB’s and 2.4 AST’s Per Game and 26.0 PER.
Carmelo Anthony has been cooking all year for the resurgent Knicks, it seems like he has been putting on a show every night on Broadway this season. Carmelo is truly a joy to watch, his offensive arsenal is full to the brim and he has been un-guardable this season. I feel like Carmelo will continue to have his best season yet and earn his playoff chops this season with a deep run into May.
5.) Kobe Bryant: 30 PPG, 47% shooting pct., 35% 3 point shooting, 5.1 REB’s and 4.8 AST’s Per Game, and 24.7 PER.
The Ageless Wonder? We are all still waiting for the “black Mamba” to break down and wither away into the background, but he is having one of his finest seasons to date. Bryant’s defense has slipped considerably with age, but his post-up and mid-range offensive war chest seems to have expanded at the tender age of 34. His array of moves can be likened to a basketball version of a Swiss Army Knife as he chases history in his 17th season.
6.) Derek Rose: Statistics N/A
“In my absence, cats get absent minded”- Sean Carter. The NBA’s best Point Guard has been sidelined with a torn ACL since last April, but let’s not forget that Derek Rose is a BEAST. His speed, power, and ability to finish in traffic is unreal and it’s what made him the MVP in 2011. The game that sticks out in my mind was when the Bulls squared off against the LA Clippers right after the lockout, and he dropped 29 points and 16 assists on Chris Paul. The best part was when he was subbed out with 55 seconds left he gave Chris Paul a sneering glance to let him know who the best Point Guard alive was.
7.) Dwight Howard: 17.3 PPG, 57% shooting pct., 12.4 REB’s, 1.8 AST’s and 2.6 BLK’s Per Game and 19.9 PER.
Dwight Howard is having a very DOWN season and is still the best center in the NBA by far. He’s still the best defensive player in the NBA, even though he’s not getting much help from his teammates in that regard. When Dwight is fully healthy he is the 2nd or 3rd best player in the NBA, hopefully he will return to form by the end of this season.
8.) Russell Westbrook: 21.8 PPG, 42% shooting pct., 36% 3 point shooting, 5.2 REB’s and 8.5 AST’s Per Game, and 23.1 PER.
Russell Westbrook is a CREATURE. He is the most athletic guard in the NBA, which causes him to play erratic at times, even though he is starting to mature as Point Guard. His overwhelming athleticism puts so much pressure on opposing teams that it may seem like there is an extra player on the floor for the OKC Thunder. His evolution into a hounding pit bull like defender is the main reason for his ascension into the top 10 players in the NBA, as well as the fact that he has never missed a game in his basketball career, which is a very underrated accomplishment.
9.) James Harden: 26.5 PPG, 46% shooting %, 35% 3 point shooting, 4.3 REB’s and 5.3 AST’s per game and 23.3 PER.
Who knew? Who knew that James Harden was THIS good? The 2nd best shooting guard in the entire league? James Harden has been a revelation for the Houston Rockets and has finally been able to show the world his full skill set. He is the definition of a “basketball player”, his herky jerky style is enjoyable to watch, and his ability to set up his teammates has come as no surprise. The most underappreciated part of James Harden’s game is the fact that he shoots 10 free-throws every game, which is a huge reason he is scoring over 26 points a game.
10.) Tim Duncan: 17.2 PPG, 50% shooting, 9.7 REB’s, 2.6 AST’s and 2.6 BLK’s Per Game and 24.2 PER.
Are you surprised? Tim Duncan must have hopped in the rejuvenation machine because he has been playing out of his mind this season at the age of 36. Not only is he anchoring the spurs defense in his 16th year, but he is still a dominant post player for his team. His ability to still score at a high level is an important “pressure release” for a team that relies heavily on perimeter scoring. With Duncan playing at such a high level, the Spurs are poised to make another run at an NBA championship.
Just missed the cut:
Kyrie Irving, Dwayne Wade, Lamarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin.