This is it. Who makes the cut and who doesn’t? With only five names left in the top 30, plenty of good NBA players will be left off of the list. Many of those who don’t make the list will be players just on the fringe, and most will have an argument for why they should be included.
Veterans are the forte in this final five, as all but one have been in the league for more than five years, with three being over the age of 29. The veteran experience and leadership they possess is the reason why they were able to edge out many rising stars such as Kyrie Irving and Blake Griffin.
Read on to see our final picks for the top 30.
26. Danny Granger – Boston Celtics
Granger’s numbers may have regressed over the past couple of seasons, but despite what others may think, he is still a top 30 player in the NBA. There aren’t too many forwards in the NBA with Granger’s combination of offense and defense and even fewer that can be considered ‘do-it-all’ players. Granger is an above average shooter who, with his above average size and above average quickness, is able to draw fouls with above average consistency.
With so many areas of his game being ‘above average’, it is no stretch to say that Granger is a pretty damn good player. In my opinion, his numbers have dropped for two reasons. One being that his team has continually improved over the past few season and thus his numbers have lowered as a result. The other reason is that Frank Vogel’s system emphasizes the importance of not the perimeter players, but the big men. These two factors may have dropped his numbers, but there is no denying that he would be welcomed as a starting small forward and leader on most teams around the league.
27. Roy Hibbert – Indiana Pacers
Hibbert had already established himself to be one of the top centers in the NBA, but as if there was any doubt, the fact that the Pacers decided to match the Blazer’s max contract offer sheet proves how valuable he really is. It is true that if this were the 90’s, Hibbert would at best be an average center in the league, but in this era, an era lacking of quality big men, he will be in the running for an all-NBA team year in and year out.
28. Manu Ginobili – San Antonio Spurs
Manu may be entering his twilight years, but he is still one of the better shooting guards in the league. His numbers this season are a bad indicator of what he can really do, as coach Gregg Popovich has been known to rest his veterans during the regular season. When it really mattered, Manu was once again his solid self, and although his 6thman of the year days are probably behind him, Ginobili is still a top 3 sixth man in the league.
Manu is a guy that has the skills to do a bit of everything, and he’s someone that Popovich trusts in late-game scenarios. When one of the greatest coaches of all time trusts you in a late-game scenario, you have to be doing something right. In a year from now, Ginobili will probably be knocked out of the top 30, but for now he is hanging on and is a solid choice for #28.
29. Eric Gordon – New Orleans Hornets
It will be interesting to see how Gordon performs this upcoming season considering that he clearly displayed an interest to leave New Orleans for Phoenix. Gordon had essentially told the Hornets front office that he had no desire to stay in New Orleans and had thought that the Hornets wouldn’t match the max offer from the Suns.
Well, they did match and now Gordon will spend five more years in New Orleans. He has his money now, having pocketed a max deal, and it will be interesting to see if he has the motivation to perform at a high level for a team he doesn’t want to play for. If he does, we will see a player with tremendous scoring abilities, a solid rebounder at his position and a lethal shooter. Gordon is an up and coming guard in the league, and should he not lose focus in the music city he should be much higher on this list in a couple years.
30. Joe Johnson – Brooklyn Nets
#30 was no easy choice. There were 5-6 guys I considered, but in the end, Joe Johnson in my mind is a top 30 player in the league. He is a poor man’s Kobe Bryant, as he has a very similar skillset but is less proficient at what he does. Johnson can shoot, pass, rebound and draw contact and has also proven to be a good player in the clutch.
A trade to the Brooklyn Nets should revitalise his career, as playing with Deron Williams should take the ball-handling pressure off of him allowing him to focus on scoring and defence.
Honourable mentions: Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs, Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers, Paul Pierce – Boston Celtics, Andrea Bargnani – Toronto Raptors, Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies, Monta Ellis – Milwaukee Bucks, DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings, Andre Iguodala – Denver Nuggets, Danny Granger – Indiana Pacers.
And so there you have it, the top 30 players in the NBA. I know there will be strong opinions on the choices I made, and I want to hear them! Let me know in the comments below what you think.