No one was more active than the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason, but how many of them made my top 10 players ranking?
- LeBron James- Miami Heat- After winning his first title this is a no-brainer. He possesses a rare combination of size, strength, and athleticism, which he utilizes on both ends of the court; I would still like to see him become a more consistent jump shooter, but at the end of the day he can get it done in many other ways. It will be interesting to see how hungry he is this year after finally winning his long awaited NBA Championship
- Kevin Durant-Oklahoma City Thunder- Durant has one of the best shots in the game, and hits threes at an alarming rate for someone standing 6’9”, but he doesn’t have the all around game James does. In time, Durant might prove to be the better player statistically, but until his own teammate, Russell Westbrook, stops competing with him for the spotlight and turning the ball over, he may never win a championship.
- Kobe Bryant-Los Angeles Lakers- Starting to show his age a bit, but still remains one of those special players that can win a game for his team. Defensively Bryant doesn’t do much anymore, but when he’s hitting his fade away there’s no one in the league that can stop it. The additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash will take the pressure off him and could lead to his most efficient season in years.
- Chris Paul-Los Angeles Clippers- To high? Not the best point guard? Valid questions considering his first year in L.A. didn’t quite go as planned, but he’s healthy and ready to go this year. Paul doesn’t really have a glaring weakness in his game. He has the ability to beat a defense off the dribble, shoot from all over the court, and executes on almost all of his passes. I expect a big year from Paul and wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the MVP discussion.
- Dwight Howard-Los Angeles Lakers- There’s a lot of talent in L.A. this year, and no one is more physically talented than Howard. He showed a lot of immaturity with how he handled the Orlando situation, but once he figured out he wanted to leave there was no better place for him to end up. Teamed with Steve Nash, Bryant , and Pau Gasol down low will free him up and allow him to clean-up the offensive boards and finish with authority. He might be the most imposing defensive player in the league.
- Derrick Rose-Chicago Bulls- He’s kind of been the forgotten man after a year of injuries and off season knee surgery, but when he comes back and is fully healthy there’s no reason he can’t regain his status as the best point guard in the league. Rose will likely return with a chip on his shoulder to prove to himself and his fans he can still lead the Bulls to a championship.
- Kevin Love-Minnesota Timberwolves- I really love his game. A legitimate 30-15 guy every night that gets the most out of his talent. He’s willing to do the dirty work; while at the same time can take over a game and win it for his team. If he can make the T-Wolves relevant this season I’ll put him even higher on this list next year.
- Dwyane Wade- Miami Heat- Ran out of gas a little in the playoffs last year, but I expect him to come back strong this year. He now has two titles and is on a team that could win five more before he retires. His ability to defer to LeBron during their stretch run last season showed a lot of maturity. Instead of driving to the basket he might be asked to be more of a jump shooter this year to preserve his body for the postseason.
- LaMarcus Aldridge-Portland Trailblazers- One of, if not the most underrated player in basketball. He was thought to be a little raw coming out of college, but has done nothing but dominate since putting on an NBA jersey. My only knock on him is his quiet and unaggressive nature can make it seem like he’s complacent. If Aldridge wants to take his game to the next level and get the recognition he deserves, he’ll have to play with a little more edginess and hunger.
- Rajon Rondo-Boston Celtics- I’ve finally jumped on the Rondo bandwagon. After leaving him off my top ten point guards list all together last year there’s no way I can leave him off another one. His silky style and amazing court vision are the two things that set him apart. He has become the best player on a team that still features a couple of aging stars. If Boston is going to make any noise in the postseason they need to have Rondo leading the way.