January 11, 2013 by Brandon Keller
1. Tim Duncan (17.4 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg)
He is not quite where he was 5 years ago, but the Big Fundamental is still one of the top players in the league. His game is centered on making his teammates better, be it passing out of the post or anchoring the defense. Is fine with not getting his numbers, because the only numbers that matter to Duncan is wins
2. Blake Griffin (17.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, .6 bpg)
The “air” to Dominique? There is no question that Griffin is a human highlight reel. Unreal strength, tenacity, and jumping ability means that he has a giant Griffin flag planted on the rim, and any defender that gets in his way. A great rebounder who plays with boundless energy. Not great on defense, but hopefully his explosiveness will translate to that end with time. Has shown that he has a nice shooting stroke and is a willing passer.
Has a great face-up jump shot that he will shoot whenever open. Does not go the post or drive much, but when he does he is highly effective because of his length and quickness. Has improved his toughness on offense and defense, finally getting rid of the bad habits he picked up from playing on losing teams. A great player, but he will always draw laughter after a big play when he unleashes his Raptor roar.
4. Kevin Garnett (14.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.7 bpg)
KG is one of the best defensive players in the history of the league. You cannot pick and roll against the Celtics because Garnett can jump out at the ball handler and is quick enough to get back to the roller. Can still hit the turnaround jumper that he fine-tuned in Minnesota, although he cannot bang in the post or beat guys of the dribble like he once could. A great passer and teammate, KG is an enormous asset to playing winning basketball.
5. Zach Randolph (16.9 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 0.6 bpg)
A double-double waiting to happen. He is one of the best offensive rebounders in the game who uses his wide body and big booty to get position. He shoots the midrange jumper surprisingly well, and is a true classic Power Forward with a variety of low post moves. Tends to sulk if he doesn’t get enough touches and lacks true effort on defense, but is a great asset because his strengths heavily outweigh his weaknesses.
1. Marc Gasol (13.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg)
A bull in the post, he uses his strength to get position and touch to finish. Gasol is a great rebounder and adequate shot blocker, and he has improved his defense rotations to nearly elite level. A great mid-range jumper, and might be the best passing big man in the league at this point. What more do you want in a center?
2. Tyson Chandler (12.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
A great athlete with a level of agility that is unseen in men his size. Can defend the rim as good as anyone, using his quick feet to seal off any and all lanes to the hoop. Not very diverse offensive, but his two skills, offensive rebounding and scoring on pick-and-roll, are so elite it does not matter. Has proven in the last three years with the Mavs and Knicks that his mere presence is enough to make a team an elite defensive unit.
3. Dwight Howard (17.3 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 2.6 bpg)
The guy seems to be carved from marble, but his injury is still obviously hampering him. He still at times change the game on defense with his rebounding and blocking ability, but his closing speed and ability to quickly jump a second time in the air is not what it was last year. On offense he relies on his size and explosiveness to throw sweeping hooks, but has not countermoves and cannot pass out of double teams. His horrendous free-throw shooting makes him a liability late in games.
His game is based purely on energy. Seems to want every loose ball more than everyone else on the court making him a great rebounder and terrific defender. Is a surprisingly good on pick and rolls, as he can seal off defenders well and has very soft hands. His jump shot is about as ugly as his face, but he has practiced it enough that he is a reliable shooter from 12 feet in. A winner whose passion rubs off on his teammates.
5. Al Horford (15.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
As polished a player there is in the league. A power forward stuck playing center, Horford is a defensive powerhouse who makes the whole team better because of his prowess. On offense his combines a nice jump shot with an above average post game. He is a very strong rebounder and also moves the ball very well when passing out of the high post.
Talent Rankings (thus far)
1. Heat (20 points)
2. Clippers (18 points)
3. Thunder (16 points)
4. Lakers (15 points)
5. Spurs (13 points)
5. Knicks (13 points)
7. Grizzlies (11 points)
8. Celtics (9 points)
9. Rockets (7 points)
10. Cavaliers (5 points)
11. Bulls (3 point)
12. Mavericks (1 points)
13. Pacers (1 point)
14. Nets (1 point)
15. Hawks (1 point)