Mark Gunnels’ Top-10 players in the NBA right now

This list comes at a very appropriate time. The season has come and gone, even the Summer League is over. Free-agency is still alive barely. It seems as if everybody has been picked up except Brandon Jennings. So, I’ve had a lot of time to talk hoops with my followers on Twitter and obviously they don’t agree with a lot of my tweets. I tweeted my top 10 players in the NBA last night and as you can guess I received quite a bit of slander. And since you only get 140 characters on Twitter, it’s very hard to explain your reasoning for such things. This is why I’m presenting it to you all right here. Let’s take a look at my rankings:

1. LeBron James - No surprise here. LeBron has been the best player in the world for at least five years now. He has 4 regular season MVP’s and 2 finals MVP’s at the age of 28. James is right in the middle of his prime. That’s a scary proposition for the rest of the league. His versatility is what makes him so special. At 6’8, 270 pounds, he is still able to guard every position on the floor because of his great quickness, strength and athleticism. The league has never seen a player like this. Expect LeBron to rack up a couple more MVP’s and to win more championships. It doesn’t seem like he can get better, but he somehow does every year. The NBA is in the LeBron era.

2. Kevin Durant - “I’ve been second my whole life,” the Oklahoma City Thunder told SI. “I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came second in the finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.” Well, I’m sorry Durant, but you’re second once again. There’s no shame in being right behind one of the all-time greats in LeBron James. Durant proved that he’s more than just a scorer last season. He averaged 8 rebounds and a career high 4.6 assists to go along with his 28 points. Durant is a 3-time scoring champion and he’s only 24. The future is very bright for KD.

3. Chris Paul - The best floor general in the Association is holding down the number three spot. He’s all-around game is what makes him great. He can score whenever he wants, but he elects to distribute the rock. CP3 averages nearly 10 assists a game and gives you over two steals a night. The defensive side of the ball is where Paul doesn’t get enough credit at. Chris Paul holds the record for at least having one steal in 106 consecutive games. He’s also proven to be clutch as well, hitting multiple of game-winners throughout his decorated career.

4. Tim Duncan - The 37-year old still has it. Duncan averaged 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.6 blocks this past season. He was elected on the All-NBA first team. Duncan is widely recognized as the best power forward ever and he’s proving why. He was one win away from winning his 5th ring. Duncan averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds in the finals vs. Miami.

5. Russell Westbrook - Westbrook being this high may surprise people, but if you look at his overall game then you will understand why he’s a top five player. He impacts the game in multiple of areas. At 6’3, he has good size at the point guard position. Westbrook is lighting quick and can get to the rim at will. He’s a great rebounder for his position and is a solid passer. The one thing that often gets overlooked is his defensive pressure. He’s one of the best on-ball defenders in the world, averaging nearly two steals a game.

6. Kobe Bryant - I can already hear the angry Kobe fans all over the world. This is not a sign of disrespect at all. Kobe is still a great player, averaged 27.3 points this past season before tearing his Achilles. The reason he dropped out of the top 5 is because other players got better. Bryant’s defense has fallen off tremendously over the past couple of seasons. He doesn’t have the lateral quickness that he once had and he gambles way too much. With all that being said, the “Black Mamba” is still one of the top players in the world.

7. Dwight Howard - When healthy Dwight Howard is a top five player in the NBA. He didn’t live up to expectations during his one-year tenure in L.A., but he clearly wasn’t 100%. Coming off back surgery, it was apparent that his explosiveness wasn’t there. He also never felt comfortable playing with Kobe and being in D’Antoni’s system. It was just a horrible mix of everything. Now Dwight gets a fresh start in Houston playing alongside James Harden. Howard still led the league in rebounding last year, grabbing 12.4 a night while pinching in over 17 points. The main strength of Howard’s game is his impact on the defensive end. The 3-time defensive player of the year covers a lot of space in the painted area. He will single-handedly improve Houston’s defense.

8. Derrick Rose - The return of Derrick Rose is the most anticipated one in recent memory. Rose hasn’t played in a NBA game in over a year. He received a lot of criticism this past season after he was cleared to play by doctors, but elected not to. Fans, media and fellow players questioned his toughness and commitment to the Chicago Bulls. Rose knows his body better than anybody else, so now it’s time to silence the critics. There’s no doubt that Rose is confident in his ability to return at that MVP level. When asked by CNN’s Pedro Pinto in an interview who the best player in the NBA is right now, the former MVP did not hesitate with his answer.

“Derrick Rose,” the 24-year old said confidently.

If he does return to MVP form then expect for Rose to jump higher on this list.

9. Kevin Love - Love was slowed down last year with injury, but when healthy he’s an absolute beast. Pound for pound he’s the best rebounder in the NBA. Before getting hurt, Love was averaging 14 boards a night. He’s a classic stretch four at his size of 6-10, 250 lbs, he is able to play inside-out. The main thing for Love is just staying healthy. If he can do that then he’s going to be one of the all-time greats when it’s all said and done.

10. Carmelo Anthony - I couldn’t leave the best all-around scorer in the Association off the list. Melo has the complete package offensively. He can face-up, post-up, spot-up, drive off the bounce and score in transition. He won his first scoring title this past season, posting up over 28 points a game. He’s also a very underrated rebounder. The main knocks on his game is his lack of ability to make others better and his poor defense. The main reason he’s on this list is because of his elite scoring ability.

Staff Writer

Follow me on Twitter @MGTHEFRESHGUY

Twitter: @FullScaleSport




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