With the NBA All-Stars being named over the past two weeks, there has been much discussion about who was snubbed and who should have made it. With all of this talk going on, I decided to rank the top 5 players at each position in the Association. All of the players on this list have a very unique way of impacting the game of basketball.
The Point Guard is the player who makes everything run for their team. Their ability to perform puts their team in a position to win or lose the game. If these players do not play well chances are their teams will not either.
1. Russell Westbrook (30 ppg, 10 rpg, 10 apg)
Russell Westbrook is the only player in the league in the past 50 years to average a triple double this far into the season & there is a good shot he will get it. The contributions he makes to OKC are more than any player to any team in the league.
2. Kyrie Irving (23 ppg, 3 rpg, 5.6 apg)
Kyrie is probably the best scorer out of all the best point guards in the game but doesn't need to put up those numbers. His handle is incredible and he has proven to be a clutch performer. He gets the edge over Curry only because the Cavs beat the Warriors with a healthy Kyrie.
3. Steph Curry (24 ppg, 4 rpg, 6 apg)
This is the lowest Curry could go on this list. Last year's MVP is having a great season, but it is not on the same level as his previous two. The addition of Durant has helped Golden State overall but has taken away from Curry's MVP caliber performances.
4. John Wall ( 17 ppg 5 rpg, 10 apg)
When you look at the definition of a pure point guard, nobody has done it better this year than Wall. He averages more assists than 2 of the players ranked ahead of him and most likely contributes more points than both when you factor in assists. He is a 20 and 10 guy from the Point Guard position is the reason the Wizards are ranked in the top half of the eastern conference.
5. Damien Lillard (29 ppg 4 rpg, 6 apg)
Other than Westbrook, Lillard is the one player who plays with the biggest chip on his shoulder. A fantastic scorer, and aggressive player. Not many players get after it the way Lillard does.
Similar to the point guard the shooting guard helps run the offense but they take on more of a role scoring. They need to shoot the ball from anywhere in the offense. They also need to be strong on the defensive end as much as the offensive end.
1. James Harden (28 ppg, 8 rpg, 11apg)
Harden is having the best season of his career under Mike D'Antoni. While he plays the point in that offense, his primary position is shooting guard. He scores the ball with ease, does a great job a distributing and has picked up the effort in other areas of his game this year.
2. Jimmy Butler ( 24 ppg, 7 rpg, 5 apg)
Butler had a great year last year and only grew off of that. With the loss of D-Rose, Butler took control of the offense and has looked great at times not only as a scorer but as a playmaker. Along with his continued improvement on offense, Butler has always been one of the best defensive shooting guards in the league.
3. Klay Thompson ( 21 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg)
The addition of Durant has taken away from Thompson more than any of the stars from Golden State. While Klay has the ability to go off on any given night, that seems to be his sole purpose along with his defensive abilities. He is not the playmaker that Harden or even Butler is for their respective squads which ranks him below both.
4. CJ McCollum (23 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg)
CJ has proven himself has one of the best scoring 2 guards in the game over the past 2 years. The loss of Lamarcus has given him a chance to shine and he has made the most of it. Take either him or Lillard out of Portland and they are a completely different team.
5. Demar Derozan (28 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 apg)
Derozan has really proven himself over the past 3 years as a great scorer in the league. Despite his great numbers he only shoots 25% from the 3 point line. His lack of an outside shot makes him too one-dimensional when it comes to crunch time, which puts him at 5.
The Small Forward is truly everything for their team. They need to be a great defender, have the ability to get to the rim and shoot from the outside. Being a playmaker, solid defender, and tough rebounder is also important for any small forward.
1. LeBron James ( 25 ppg, 7 rpg, 8 apg)
As if this was a question. The best 3 man in the game for the past decade and he will remain that way until he retires.
2. Kawhi Leonard ( 25 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg)
Kawhi has really proven to be one of the best 2-way players in the game ever since the Spurs beat the Heat in the finals. He is the best on-ball defender at the 3 spot and is an elite scorer in the Popovich system which speaks volumes to him as a player. His finals MVP puts him above Durant.
3. Kevin Durant ( 26 ppg, 8 rpg, 4 apg)
The toughest matchup for anybody in the league to guard. The former MVP is a versatile player and terrific scorer, but its hard to imagine and sad to see that he could not make it work with Westbrook.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (23 ppg, 8 rpg, 6 apg)
The "Greek Freak" as he is called, is having the most impressive season out of anybody in the league, leading his team in all statistical categories ( 2 spg, 2bpg). His all-around ability and knack for making plays in the open court makes him a very dangerous player.
5. Paul George ( 22 ppg, 6 apg, 3 apg)
It's not that Paul George has gotten worse (The broken leg didn't help) but his team is just not that good. George is still a deadly shooter, great defender and can still penetrate and finish at the rim. The Pacers need to be great for him to be higher on the list,
The evolution of small ball has changed the definition of what a power forward is, but these players need to have a good low post game, and the ability to hit from the 15-foot range and further. Rebounding and tough defense are a must for these players as well.
1. Anthony Davis ( 28 ppg, 12 rpg, 2.4 bpg)
Another no-brainer for the top spot. Power Forward is the weakest position in the NBA right now and the way Davis dominates it makes him the clear choice.
2. Draymond Green ( 10 ppg, 8 rpg, 7 apg)
While Green may be a product of the great talent that surrounds him, nobody in the league does a better job at playing their role than Draymond. He is the everything man for Golden State and it doesn't matter who you put around him, he will always play his hardest.
3. Kevin Love ( 20 ppg, 10 rpg)
One of the few 20 & 10 guys in the NBA. For a post player that used to be a very big deal, and with the addition of the stretch 4, it has become even more rare. Love has an inside & outside game and has always been an aggressive rebounder making good use of his body.
4. Lamarcus Aldridge ( 17 ppg, 6 rpg, 1 bpg)
The best low post scorer of all the power forwards. Still capable of putting up the big time numbers with the best of them, but does not need to in San Antonio.
5. Kristaps Porzingis (19ppg, 7 rpg, 2 bpg, 39% 3pt)
If we make this list next year, there is a good chance the "Porzingod" will be in the top 3. He has the inside & outside game similar to Love and is also a better defender. Playing alongside D-Rose and Melo has hurt his chance to become a superstar, but it will happen very soon.
The evolution of the true center is beginning to come back, and it is all thanks to the guys on this list. These players are fantastic low post players, help anchor their defenses, and similar to the power forward, some of these players have the ability to hit the outside shot.
1. Demarcus Cousins (28 ppg, 10 rpg, 1.4 bpg)
Boggie has been the best Center in the game for the past few seasons. While his team is not good and attitude can get him in trouble, his talent is tremendous. He has a complete offensive game and plays his heart out every time.
2. Karl Anthonty Towns ( 20 ppg, 12 rpg, 1.4 bpg)
This time next year KAT will be in the top spot. At just 20 years old Towns already has the best offensive game out of all centers in the league. He can pass dribble and shoot, and as his team improves, the shine on Towns will as well.
3. Andre Drummond ( 14 ppg, 13 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
Drummond is an absolute beast on the offensive glass. As his low post game continues to develop the more of a problem he will be. His presence down low is a huge for Detroit and their future.
4. Marc Gasol (19 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg, 1 bpg)
Without Gasol, Memphis found themselves in a lot of trouble last year. Gasol is a fantastic passer and one of the best skilled big men in the game. While he may not go off on you, he is very consistent.
5. Deandre Jordan ( 12 ppg, 13 rpg, 2 bpg)
Next to Draymond, Jordan is the best at knowing their role and sticking to it. He is the defensive stopper for the Clippers and only shoots the ball when he dunks it. His lack of an offensive game is what puts him at the 5 spot.