Monday, December 29, 2008

NBA Player Rankings

Well, I was going to post my top half of the league commentary last Wednesday, but then T-Bone went and posted his "Power Rankings", thus covering many of the teams I was going to speak about. Thanks a pantload, T-Bone. So today, I'm going to look at the top 5 by position this season with a little commentary. Remember, this is a top 5 for the first third of this year only.

Point Gaurd
5. Rajon Rondo-Celtics 11.1 ppg, 7.6 apg 5.0 rpg 2.3 spg 52.4% FG
Rondo has been a steadying force for the Celtics and barely nudges Jameer Nelson for the 5th spot. Rondo's defense has been stellar, and his offense is ever improving, leading the C's to a 28-4 record.
4. Tony Parker-Spurs 22.1 ppg 6.6 apg 50.3 FG%
Tony is having a great season thus far for the Spurs. He has taken over as the team's top scorer. Parker has been very efficient, despite battling injury.
3. Chauncey Billups-Nuggets 17.9 ppg 6.9 apg 5.0 rpg 40.3% 3pt FG
Chauncy has saved the Nuggets season. They are 19-8 with him in the lineup, leading the Division. Chauncey's leadership and defense have been great, and his offense has been solid as per usual.
2. Devin Harris-Nets 23.7 ppg 6.4 apg 1.6 spg
Harris has taken a jump into elite status as a scoring point gaurd. Who knew he would make the Jason Kidd trade look completetly lopsided for the Nets? I did. Harris has, along with a rejuvinated Vince Carter, lead the Nets to a surprising .500 record.
1. Chris Paul-Hornets 20.1 ppg 11.4 apg 5.2 rpg 3.0 spg 49.7% FG
Paul is, once again, not only in the discussion for best point gaurd in the league, but in the discussion for best player in the league. And Jazz fan, don't come at me with Deron Williams smack, he can't even hold Paul's jockstrap when healthy, let alone on a gimpy ankle.

Shooting Gaurd
5. Joe Johnson-Hawks 23.2 ppg 4.7 rpg 5.7 apg
Did you know the Hawks are 19-10? Did you know that Joe Johnson has gone for over 30 points 6 times this year already? Did you know that the Celtics drafted Joe Johnson, then traded him for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk after less than one season? Did you know that I am crying a little bit right now?
4. Vince Carter-Nets 23.0 ppg 4.9 rpg 4.6 apg
Vince Carter is apparantly not dead. Ok, Vince's last few seasons haven't been that bad, but the big difference this year is that it looks like Vince is actually trying on both ends. How he and Harris have lead this band of misfits to a .500 record thus far is beyond me, but I'll give props where they are due.
3. Brandon Roy-Blazers 23.0 ppg 4.5 rpg 5.3 apg
Stop it, Blazer fan. Don't put this guy anywhere near the MVP this season. Roy keeps getting better and better though, and I love his game. I like his makeup. He seems to be pretty cool and collected, which serves this young team well. The scary thing for teams in the West is that this guy and this team have tons of room for improvement. Watch out.
2. Kobe Bryant-Lakers 26.3 ppg 5.4 rpg 4.2 apg
Bryant is having another spectacular year, and it seems as though the improvement of his team will allow him to get some added rest the last month of the season. Bryant is still spectacular in the 4th quarter and I suspect we will see him in the finals again this season.
1. Dwayne Wade-Heat 28.9 ppg 5.1 rpg 6.9 apg 2.2 spg 1.6 bpg
Wade is simply amazing. He is carrying a team of misfits to a respectable season almost single-handedly. Dude is averaging 1.6 blocks per game. He has 13 games over 30. If it weren't for LeBron and the fact that his team will probably finish middle of the pack, Wade could be having an MVP season.

Small Forward
5. Paul Pierce-Celtics 18.2 ppg 5.7 rpg 3.8 apg
Pierce is having one of his worst statistical seasons, but has been a big part in a 28-4 start, usually taking the brunt of the big 4th quarter shots. Pierce gives up a lot of shots to his teammates, but has been a very efficient scorer this year, averaging 1.4 points per shot. Just edges out Josh Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Andrei Kirilenko and Gerald Wallace
4. Kevin Durant-Thunder 23.7 ppg 5.5 rpg 44.8% 3pt Fg
This guy could be higher if his team were any good. Having lousy teammates actually hurts KD's numbers, as there is literally no one that defenses need to worry about other than Durant on the Thunder. Has improved his game in every facet and should continue to blossom as he is, after all, only 20 years old.
3. Caron Butler-Wizards 21.0 ppg 6.5 rpg 4.5 apg 1.6 spg
I love Caron Butler. He has improved so much over the past few years. He plays extremely hard and is a tenacious defender. I can't believe he is the third highest paid player on the Wizards, as I would take one of him over two Gilbert Arenas' and 6 Antawn Jamisons.
2. Danny Granger- Pacers 24.9 ppg 5.1 rpg 3.2 apg
The Small Forward position is not loaded admittedly, but look at Granger's scoring average! Some guys sign big contracts and rest on their laurels, but Granger looks like he's trying to prove that he deserves another raise before he is even getting paid for the extension he just signed. I saw dude get his two front teeth knocked out against Boston and he kept playing, helping to hand the C's one of their 4 losses. I have a lot of respect for this guy.
1. LeBron James-Cavs 27.5 ppg 6.7 rpg 6.4 apg 2.0 spg 1.1 bpg 50.9%FG
I don't know how you can watch basketball and say this guy is not clearly the best player on the planet. He's finally started to hit his free throws, and has figured out that no one alive can stop him if he heads to the basket. LeBron has at least one "Oh My Lord" highlight every single game. Oh, and he is playing excellent defense. Please, some one, take this team out before they get to Boston. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease.

Power Forward
5. Amare Stoudamire-Suns 22.5 ppg 9.0 rpg 55.6% FG
I have to admit, Amare is having a little bit of a down season for him. His scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage have all suffered this year. Maybe he needs to shut his damn yapper about where he is going to play in the future and focus on the present and get back to utterly dominating fools. That being said, he's still 400 times better than Pau Gasol.
4. Dirk Nowitzki-Mavs 25.8 ppg 8.9 rpg
Can you believe this guy one an MVP one season? The league has gotten much better since, I would have to say. All that aside, Dirk is having a classic Dirk season, shooting very well, rebounding at a respectable rate, and not shooting enough damn threes. Say what you will, but the Mavs were better when Dirk was launching threes. He is after all a career 38 percent gunner.
3. Kevin Garnett-Celtics 16.6 ppg 8.8 rpg 1.4 bpg 53.9% FG
KG is having a bit of a down year, particularly on the boards, but his defense is still the stuff of legends, and he continues to take the opportunities given him on an extremely balanced team to shoot a very high field goal percentage. Oh, and we don't need to add all the intangibles in. I mean, dude either inspires or has the bench so scared of his wrath, that they play hard when, like last night, they were up by 40 damn points.
2. Chris Bosh-Raptors 23.4 ppg 9.7 rpg 49.3% FG
I feel a little sad for Bosh. For so long everyone called him so underrated that now I think he is actually a little bit overrated. I mean, he is a great player, but in watching him I don't think he goes at it hard enough. He just seems a little soft to me as all. Still, he is terrific and needs to get the hell out of Toronto as soon as he can.
1. Tim Duncan-Spurs 20.7 ppg 10.4 rpg 3.2 apg 1.7 bpg 51.6% Fg
What is going on with Duncan this year? Yawn. 20 and 10 with stellar defense, leading an injury plagued team to a very respectable 20-10 recrod in the West. Yawn. Best Power Forward ever. Yawn.

5. Al Jefferson-Wolves 22.1 ppg 10.2 rpg 1.9 bpg 49.4% Fg
Jefferson makes this list by default. Center and Small Forward are the 2 weakest positions, and Jefferson has been only so-so this season. He doesn't look to be working that hard in the games I've seen. Perhaps all the losing has him down. I know he has good numbers, but something is off and I feel he could do more. 20 and 10 ain't bad, though.
4. Zydrunas Ilgauskas-Cavs 14.0 ppg 7.1 rpg 1.2 bpg 51.5% FG
Old Z has turned back the clock and is playing terrificly for the Cavs thus far, helping to stretch the floor for LeBron, and otherwise being extremely solid on both ends of the floor despite playing fewer minutes for playoff conservation.
3. Shaquille O'Neal-Suns 16.4 ppg 8.6 rpg 1.4 bpg 58.5% FG
I gotta give Shaq his credit. I don't know how his ass tastes, but I know that he is palying with a lot of effort and intensity for the Suns this year. They are doing a good job of keeping him rested by not having him go in most back-to-backs, and he is repaying them with improved conditioning, better free throw shooting, and a solid inside presence on defense.
2. Yao Ming-Rockets 20.3 ppg 9.7 rpg 1.8 bpg 53.3% FG
Everyone knows what Yao is capable of when healthy. I think that the decreased offensive burden (shooting 2 less shots a game, playing 3 less minutes) will all help to keep Yao fresh as the season drags on, as he has a lenghty injury history. The Rockets have been good so far, and we'll see if the second half can bring on a further gelling of their talents for a run at the title.
1. Dwight Howard-Magic 19.6 ppg 13.7 rpg 3.7 bpg 55.1% FG
I've given Howard crap for not having enough post moves the last few years, but in the games I've seen, he has really improved in that respect this year. I know that his numbers are a little bit down from last year, but the team is better overall, and the opposition is now really focusing on Howard more than ever. I've been impressed by his improved (believe it or not) offensive rebounding as now one can box this guy out it seems, and by his defense, which has gone from great to otherworldly.

(sorry for any misspells. Spell checker down. Peace.)


And One said...

Thanks a pantload? Stop it.

Jim said...

I wish Rick Pitino had died the day before he ever thought about trading Joe Johnson. Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk?!?!? For the love of God why has Pitino been allowed to live?

Taylor said...

The pantload ends up on chairs, khaki's, TP, etc. Boyd is intimately familiar with the pantload.