The NBA season is just over two months away and off season moves have been plentiful. Even with the player movement, however, talent remains the same and with that in mind we once again take a look at some of top players in the NBA today. Just in case you haven’t been keeping up, here are picks 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and 16-20.
21. Kevin Garnett – Boston Celtics
‘KG’ has been a top power forward in the league for more than a decade, and although he has somewhat slowed down over the past couple of seasons, in the 2012 playoffs ‘the big ticket’ once again proved why he will be an immediate hall of famer upon retirement. He was a force in the post-season, averaging a double-double with 19.2 ppg and 10.3 rpg as well as 1.8 bpg.
More than Garnett’s playing ability though is the heart he possesses on the court. KG has a ‘give everything’ attitude that he combines with his talent and this playing style is what the big man has been known for his entire career. Some even go as far as to say that his attitude is unsportsmanlike, but none can deny that Garnett will do anything it takes to win. With the Celtics fading with age, it will be interesting to see how much gas in the tank Garnett has left as the former Minnesota Timberwolve has contemplated retirement in the past.
22. Rudy Gay – Memphis Grizzlies
Gay definitely falls into the category of ‘unappreciated’. Aside from his own fans in Memphis, he receives little fanfare around the league, despite putting up stats as good as players like Paul Pierce. His ability to get it done was in full display just two years prior when he nailed an electrifying game winner over none other than LeBron Jamesin a Grizzly-Heat match-up. If anything, Gay has been held down by his albatross of a contract that most have suggested he has not lived up to. In my eyes though, he’s one of the top 30 players in the league and is a great asset to the Grizzlies.
23. Chris Bosh – Miami Heat
The third member of the `Big 3`in Miami may receive the least attention of the trio but he is in no way a pushover. `CB`is good for a 20/10 on any given night. He possesses a deadly jumpshot-drive combo and the only reason he isn’t scoring more is because of who he is playing with. Few bigs have the ability to guard Bosh’s explosive first step and when Bosh is on he is more than a headache to guard. Critics point at Bosh’s weak defending skills and lack of toughness, but there is no denying that he’s still a great player in his own right.
24. Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies
A player that has the necessary toughness and grit desired in a big man is Spanish native Marc Gasol. As the brother of Pau Gasol, Marc has carved his own career with Memphis and has emerged as one the top five centers in the NBA. There aren’t many centers that have Gasol’s combination of defensive toughness, rebounding and mid-range jumpshooting, and Gasol’s rare array of skills is what gives him the advantage over most centers in the NBA today. Pau and Marc are easily the best set of siblings in the league and lately, the younger Gasol has begun the process of overtaking Pau in terms of play. In two years, don’t be surprised to see Marc and not Pau leading the Spanish national team.
25. Amar’e Stoudemire – New York Knicks
If placed in the right situation, ‘Stat’ is one of the best scoring big men in the league, especially off the pick and roll. The problem last year was that he wasn’t put into the right situation, but that doesn’t stop the fact that he still is a tremendous talent. His days in Phoenix with Steve Nash are proof of that.
Stoudemire’s fall from grace cannot be completely blamed on the man himself. If anything, I feel that Melo is the one to blame. How many teams can win championships while running isolations repeatedly for one player? Take Melo off the team and Amare is back to 25/10, I have no doubt about it.
Let me know what you think of the picks in this segment and be on the lookout for the final five selections.