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Top 25 NBA Player Rankings for 2010

Anklesnap December 10, 2010 Allen Moll, Blogs 3 Comments

December 10, 2010 – Allen Moll

With the ’10-’11 season already under way, it’s time to put into focus our 2010 Top 25 Player Rankings. Which player would you want to take the final shot with the game on the line? Who would you trust to run your high scoring offense? What superstar has the ability to play lock-down defense on the opposing team’s best player? Who would you trust to be the focal point of your team going forward?

These questions along with a little from-the-gut feeling were all deciding factors in how the rankings were decided. Over the past decade the league has been dominated by either Kobe, Lebron, or Tim Duncan. But in 2010, there’s a new breed of players led by Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard making their mark on the league. Who’s your favorite: Kobe, Lebron, or the Durant-ula?

Here are my 2010 NBA Top 25 Player Rankings:

Ranking Player Team Age ’10-’11 Statistics

1.

SF

Kevin Durant OKC Thunder 22 27.3 ppg, 6.9 reb, 2.8 ast, 1.2 stl, 1 blk, .915 FT%
The time has finally arrived where someone besides Kobe or Lebron reigns as the league’s best talent. At only 22 years of age, Durant may have a long run in the top spot. He scores as easy as any player in the league and has reached usually un-attainable heights in only 3 seasons in the league. Although Lebron may be a better all around player and Kobe has more rings, Durant is the poster boy for the new NBA going forward. In Miami, Lebron’s numbers will never be what they once were and Kobe is nearing his mid 30′s leaving last year’s scoring champ and this year’s leader in that category in the #1 spot.

2.

SF

Lebron James Miami Heat 25 24 ppg, 7.3 ast, 5.7 reb, 1.6 stl, .782 FT%
While ranking #2 in anything is new to Lebron, it’s not a knock on his talent but more because of his circumstance. His statistical numbers are down slightly across the board, with the exception of assists, as he is now a key cog on a team with three superstars rather than the go-to-guy putting up monster numbers every night. He is still a walking triple-double just waiting to happen but has still struggled to fit into his new role as facilitator on his new team. With Lebron’s numbers probably never again reaching the heights we are used too, Lebron’s run as the NBA’s best player could be over.

3.

SG

Kobe Bryant LA Lakers 32 26.4 ppg, 5.6 reb, 4.6 ast, 1.2 stl, .310 3 PT%, .861 FT%
As Durant and Lebron will now annually battle it out for the #1 spot, many expect Kobe to soon start to decline as he has seemingly been around forever, but is still only 32. He is arguably still the game’s most intense player and is the #1 player you would give the ball to with the game on the line and only 3 seconds left on the clock. With some already questioning if Kobe is even the best player on his own team, let alone the entire league, I thought about moving the “Mamba” down a few spots but putting all those questions and nagging injuries aside, I’d take Kobe over anyone if I had to win just one game today. Also, those 5 rings tend to cloud my judgement.

4.

SF

Carmelo Anthony Denver Nuggets 26 23.3 ppg, 8.1 reb, 3.4 ast, 1.2 stl, .359 3PT%, .847 FT%
Surely many will take issue with Melo ranking so high but honestly, outside of Durant who scores as easily and in as many different ways as Carmelo? Some percieve him as arrogant or brash but he’s just plain good. Even with the distractions this offseason of not playing for USA Basketball, getting hitched, and the constant rumors of where he will be playing next season, Melo has become a better rebounder and passer in his 8th season. As a career 25 ppg scorer, Melo is one of the few elite players who can go off for 40+ points on any given night. In the right situation, I see he and Durant challenging every year for the scoring title.

5.

SG

Dwyane Wade Miami Heat 28 21.6 ppg, 6.2 reb, 4.2 ast, 1.6 stl, 1 blk, .472 FG%
Just like Lebron, D. Wade’s stats are down in almost every category. We all know that he can take over a game whenever he feels like it, but is still learning how to play alongside Lebron and Bosh in Miami. As the Heat are presently constructed, his days of winning scoring titles are over as he should now be focused more on trying to win his 2nd ring. Even though Lebron may be a better athlete, Wade is freakish at times when attacking the rim, as evidence of his seemingly weekly posterization of some poor ususpecting big man.If he was still the go-to-guy, there’s no doubting he could still average 30 pts, 5 reb, and 5 ast for a season.

6.

C

Dwight Howard Orlando Magic 25 21.3 ppg, 12.1 reb, 2.4 blk, 1.2 stl, .585 FG%
While many are waiting for Howard to become the league’s best player, I don’t think it will ever happen until he becomes a better offensive player. His 20+ ppg average this season is an improvement over his career 17.6 average but many of those are still on dunks and tip-ins off of offensive rebounds. Another area in need of improvement is FT shooting, as he currently is struggling to shoot above 50%, making him a liability late in games. Surely no one doubts that Dwight is already the game’s most dominating defensive player but let’s wait to see if he develops further offensively before he moves into the Top 5.

7.

PG

Chris Paul New Orleans Hornets 25 16.2 ppg, 10.5 ast, 4.7 reb, 3 stl, .490 FG%, .488 3 PT%, .909 FT%
Paul has reminded everyone this season that when healthy, he is the game’s best all around point guard. I mean, in addidtion to the usual 10+ dimes on a nightly basis, he’s pulling down nearly 5 boards per night and shooting nearly 50% from behind the arc. Chris has been key in the resurgence of the Hornets this season and has to rank among the Top 3 in MVP voting through the first part of the season. Not many point guards can dominate a game as Paul, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where he leads the NBA in steals at 3 per contest. It shows just how good a player he is by ranking ahead of other point guards with names like Rondo, Williams, and Rose.

8.

PF

Pau Gasol LA Lakers 30 20.2 ppg, 11.6 reb, 4 ast, 2 blk, .536 FG%, .826 FT%
I’ll bet Pau is mighty thankful that the Lakers rescued him from basketball obscurity in Memphis more than 2+ seasons ago. He was always a very good player but in LA he has blossomed into an elite player. Some even consider him the best power forward in basketball because of his unique skill-set where he can do everything from score, rebound, shoot a high percentage, pass with efficiency, and even handle the rock in tight situations if need be. He is Phil Jackson’s prototypical big man to perfectly execute the triangle offense as he along with tim Duncan are the best passing big men in the league. Is Pau now the most important player on the Lakers? Sorry Kobe.

9.

PF

Dirk Nowitzki Dallas Mavericks 32 24.9 ppg, 7.7 reb, 3.3 ast, .553 FG%, .368 3 PT%, .855 FT%
Many are always quick to criticize Dirk for not being able to lead a team to the promised land in spite of his supreme talents. While a team’s superstar always takes the blame, it wasn’t always his fault as the Mavs roster has seemingly always been about 1-2 players short of being true contenders for the NBA crown. Now in his 13th season, Dirk is having one of his best, averaging a career high FG% and ranking among the Top 5 in scoring. Although he is no longer a lights out 3 point shooter, Dirk remains the league’s best shooting big man. Is he the best international player ever?

10.

PF

Ama’re Stoudemire NY Knicks 28 24.6 ppg, 8.7 reb, 2.4 ast, 2 blk, 1 stl, .523 FG%
Ama’re has been everything New York Knicks fans have wanted, a dominating big man with some swagger. He’s scoring at a career high clip, blocking 2 or more shots per night, and more importantly is turning the Knicks into a winner. Many were concerned, myself included, as to just how well STAT would fare without being on the recieving end of all of those Steve Nash passes but Ray Felton has fit in just fine at 8+ assists per night. Stoudemire continues to be one of the most intense competitors in the league and is capable of serving up a facial on any possession. Can he lead New York back to the post-season?

11.

PG

Deron Williams Utah Jazz 26 21.6 ppg, 10 ast, 4.2 reb, 1.2 stl, .352 3 PT%, .856 FT%
In just his 6th season out of Illinois, Deron is making it his mission to be the top point guard in the game. To be honest, he’s just about there as he does virtually everything from leading his team in scoring and assists, as well as shoot a high percentage from the field and behind the arc. It’s surely tough playing in the shadows of the best point guard of all-time(John Stockton) in Utah, but Deron has forged his own path as an elite level NBA superstar. He has proved to be valuable as a team leader, helping to keep the Jazz among the Top 4 teams out West.

12.

PG

Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls 22 25.7 ppg, 8.1 ast, 4.4 reb, 1.1 stl, .462 FG%, .357 3 PT%
D. Rose continues his ascent towards NBA superstardom as he is one of the game’s future stars, if not already. In injured free agent acquisition Carlos Boozer’s absence, Derrick has scored at an amazing 25+ppg clip in addition to averaging more than 8 assists per contest. He is one of the league’s hardest to guard players because of his unbelievable athleticism in getting to the basket. He still at time struggles with his shot selection but that’s to be expected in only his 3rd season in the Association. Look for Rose to rank among the league’s Top 5 players in due time.

13.

PG

Rajon Rondo Boston Celtics 24 11.4 ppg, 14.1 ast, 4.6 reb, 2.2 stl, .516 FG%, .300 3 PT%
The sky is apparently the limit for Rondo, who continues to improve nearly every facet of his game each season. Rajon has his sights set on Magic Johnson’s single season assist per game record for a season as he has a huge lead on the rest of the league when it comes to dishing the rock. Of course playing alongside 4 possible future Hall of Famers certainly helps but Rondo is now the best player on one of the league’s best teams and should be an All star for years to come. By improving his shooting from behind the arc to more than 30%, he makes it even harder for defenses to defend the super athletic Rondo, who now can get into the paint even easier to either score or dish the rock. As long as the Celtics aging core sticks around, Rondo should be ranked among the league’s best point guards.

14.

PF

Chris Bosh Miami Heat 26 18.2 ppg, 7.3 reb, 1.9 ast, .507 FG%, .797 FT%
Just like his All Star teammates James and Wade, Bosh’s numbers are down this season. After being the man for 7 seasons in Toronto, Bosh has had a steep learning curve in trying to be the 3rd option in MIami. With that being said, Bosh remains as one of the most athletic and physically gifted big men in the league. Bosh is shooting more than 50% from the field this season and is much more comfortable scoring from 15-20 feet than inside the paint, possessing one of the sweetest strokes of any big in the Association. To be utilized in the most efficient manor, Chris will have to transform himself into a rebounding and shot-blocking PF if he is to help the Heat be contenders for the NBA crown.

15.

PG

Steve Nash Phoenix Suns 36 18.1 ppg, 10.1 ast, 3.5 reb, .486 FG%, .340 3 PT%, .894 FT%
Despite the ever changing supporting cast surrounding him, the 2 time league MVP continues to play outstanding basketball, once again ranking among the league leaders in assists. Even after losing his favorite target(Ama’re Stoudemire) for the past 6 seasons, Nash shows little signs of slowing down, even as he creeps towards 40. Although his 3 point shooting has dipped so far this season, Nash remains one of the most exciting players to watch in the entire league but one has to wonder how much longer he can continue to play at such a high level without many potent weapons around him.

16.

SF

Paul Pierce Boston Celtics 33 19.6 ppg, 4.8 reb, 2.7 ast, .523 FG%, .433 3 PT%, .848 FT%
Even at age 33, “The Truth” continues to play at a high level. Although no longer dominating in one single category, Pierce remains the Celtics’ leading scorer by playing more efficiently, averaging career highs in FG shooting and from behind the arc. Paul is also still one of the league’s best one-on-one front-court defenders and biggest trash talkers( a requirement for playing in Boston). Many don’t realize just how big(6-8 and 230 lbs) Pierce actually is, considering his unique skill-set. His #34 jersey will undoubtedly hang from the rafters as one of the all-time best Celtics players.

17.

SG

Brandon Roy Portland Trailblazers 26 18.3 ppg, 3.1 reb, 2.7 ast, 1.2 stl, .365 3 PT%, .895 FT%
In my opinion, Brandon has always been one of the league’s most underrated players in his 4 seasons in the Association, always leading his Blazers deep into the Playoffs. Until this season, he has increased his numbers to elite levels, doing whatever his team needs to secure a win. But because of some pretty severe injuries, Roy will probably never regain the explosiveness he once had and will be forced to play more efficiently going forward. With that being said, Roy is one of the more rugged and intense competitors in the entire league and could remain a Western Conference All Star for years to come.

18.

PF

Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs 34 14.2 ppg, 9.5 reb, 3.3 ast, 1.9 blk, 1 stl, .484 FG%
The “Big Fundamental” will undoubtedly go down as quite possibly the best power forward to ever play the game but his stock is slipping. As old age creeps in and his knees begin to creak, for the first time in his career Tim is playing less than 30 minutes per game and is averaging less than 15 points per contest. When in the game, Tim is still a dominant player forcing teams to double team, allowing his superior passing skills to come into play as he regularly still finds open wing players on the San Antonio roster. While the Spurs are now Tony Parker and Ginobili’s team, Duncan remains one of the best big men in the league as the Hall of Fame awaits him upon retirement.

19.

SG

Joe Johnson Atlanta Hawks 29 17.1 ppg, 5.2 ast, 4.1 reb, .806 FT%
After recieving the biggest payday of any player this frenzied off-season, Johnson has slightly disappointed so far this season. Most concerning is his shooting stroke, a supposed strong point. His FG and 3 point percantages have bottomed out to .409 FG% and .256 3 PT%, by far career worsts. With that being said, Johnson is as productive as ever as a triple threat player, nearly becoming one of the few players in the league to average 17+ points, 5+ assists, and 5+ rebounds. The Hawks will only go as far as Johnson can take them.

20.

PG

Russell Westbrook OKC Thunder 22 24.2 ppg, 8.5 ast, 5.5 reb, 2.2 stl, .874 FT%
As the 2nd member of the OKC Thunder along with Kevin Durant, Westbrook has made the biggest improvement of any player this season. We knew he was good as the play-making point guard to the Durant-ula but he is now nearly his teammate’s equal, or Robin to his Batman at the very least. Russell has increased his number across the board to now rank among the Top 10 in scoring, assists, and steals. He is freakishly athletic when attacking the rim and has improved his shooting percentage nearly 50 points, up from a horrid .398% as a rookie. With Durant nursing nagging injuries early this season, Westbrook has helped lead the Thunder to a Top 4 status out West. Not bad for a supposed defensive specialist coming out of college.

21.

SG

Monta Ellis Golden St Warriors 25 24.9 ppg, 5.1 ast, 3.6 reb, 2.4 stl, .484 FG%, .355 3 PT%
Until this season, not many have taken notice of Ellis even though he has been one of the league’s most explosive scorers for the past 3 seasons. Ellis along with scintillating 2nd year player Steph Curry have helped lead the Warriors back to respectability by forming one of the most potent back-courts in the league. Ellis has been spectacular ranking in the top 10 in scoring and steals as one of the fastest players in the league. It would be a travesty if Monta didn’t make his first All Star appearance come February.

22.

SG

Tyreke Evans Sacramento Kings 21 17.6 ppg, 5.6 ast, 5 reb, 1.5 stl,
As the reigning 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year, Tyreke is poised to be one of the future stars in the league. Standing 6’6 and possessing point guard skills, Evans is a nightmare match-up every game he plays but has struggled in his 2nd season due to injuries and inconsistency. When healthy, he is a triple-double in waiting but must improve his shooting percentages to become one of the truly elite players in the league. In spite of those shortcomings Evans is one of the hardest to guard players in the league and one of the few to average 17+ points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.

23.

PF

Carlos Boozer Chicago Bulls 29 14 ppg, 4.3 reb, 1.7 ast, .500 FG%
Surely the Bulls are mighty happy to get back the talented Boozer, now fully recovered from a broken wrist. Carlos is a career 17 and 10 front-court force, who has both intimidated and overpowerd mostly bigger front-line players in his 8+ years in the Association. He is capable of alarming rebounding numbers as evidence of leading all players in clearing the boards last post-season. He loves to dunk on opposing bigs and shoots well out to 20 feet. He ranks a bit lower than some other superstar bigs because he’s only an average defensive player and is coming off of a major injury.

24.

PF

Kevin Love Minnesota Timberwolves 22 19.4 ppg, 15.3 reb, 2.1 ast, .386 3 PT%, .885 FT%
How can you not have a player that has notched both a 30 point – 30 rebound performance and nailed 5 or more 3 point shots in 2 seperate games this season? Ever since the Wolves decided to make the 3rd year player their focal point by shipping Al Jefferson to Utah, Love has responded by leading the league in rebounding and having the best scoring and rebounding game in the past 30 years. Even though he possesses only average athleticism, Love is becoming one of the toughest players to defend because of his ability to shoot from the perimeter as a 6-10 and 260 lb player and as a back-to-the basket player down low. At only 22 years of age, Love is a future All Star in waiting.

25.

PF

Blake Griffin LA Clippers 21 20.6 ppg, 11.7 reb, 2.7 ast, .523 FG%
In only his first season in the Association, Blake has been as ferocious a player the league has seen in recent memory. He possesses an amazing combination of size, athleticism, and power as evidence of his numerous highlight reel dunks he’s given us through the early part of this season. Already a 20-10 performer, it’s absolutely scary to think that he will not only get better but bigger and stronger as well. Hopefully the Clippers curse won’t derail a promising career.

Next 5:

Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies(21.6 ppg, 6.5 reb, 2.7 ast, 1.4 stl, .424 3 PT%)

Eric Gordon, LA Clippers(24.1 ppg, 4.7 ast, 3.3 reb, 1.1 stl)

Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers(21.4 ppg, 5.4 reb, 2.8 ast, 1.3 stl, .393 3 PT%)

Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats(16.5 ppg, 8.1 reb, 2.4 ast, 1.2 blk, 1.2 stl)

Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks(18.6 ppg, 5.6 ast, 4.3 reb, 1.3 stl, .398 3 PT%)

Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen also provides content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.

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