In Boston, Irving has become a bona fide superstar and one of the best closers in the league. Kyrie carries a level of respect amongst NBA players that few have. Kevin Durant went on the record to say, “Kyrie reminds me about myself…as far as just loving to play the game, trying to learn it and get better everyday.” Kyrie is the ultimate “hooper’s hooper” and he’s been nearly unstoppable in fourth quarters, where he’s scored 244 points good for 5th best in the league…
Honorable Mention: Klay Thompson
Steven Adams is having a fantastic 2017-18 campaign and is once again one of the most underrated players in the league. Adams is shooting 63.4% from the field good for 7th best in the league. A majority of his contributions however are outside of the box score, setting fantastic screens, running the floor, and being the neighborhood tough guy for Oklahoma.
The Thunder have three former Al-Stars on their roster but it’s number 12 Steven Adams who is perhaps the most important piece for OKC going forward.
Honorable Mention: Lamarcus Aldridge
The Beard. Step-back King. The Orchestrator. Number 13 for Houston has arguably been the league’s MVP through 35 games. On the year, he’s averaging a ludicrous 32/9/5 on 45% from the field and 39% from three. Integrating Paul into the offense has been easy for D’Antoni because Harden is just as lethal off-ball as he is with it in his hands.
Harden is expected to return within a week after suffering a grade 2 hamstring strain, but once he’s back he’ll once again be in charge of the league’s most prolific three-point attack.
Honorable Mention: Paul George
Brandon Ingram edges out Gary Harris as the best active number 14. Ingram has been stellar this year putting up 16/3/6 up from 9/2/4 a year ago. BI has demonstrated the ability to get to his spots and score on some of the most prolific defenders, including 32 on the Warriors. At 6′ 9″ with a 7′ wingspan and soft shooting stroke, Ingram has the genetic formula to score. Brandon is still only 20 years old which means he is still 5 years away from his prime. Lookout.
Honorable Mention: Gary Harris
The Hornets have had a tough time with Batum, MKG, and even their head coach Steve Clifford missing games due to illness and injury. But Kemba Walker has been special this year despite Charlotte’s woes. For the 3rd year in a row Kemba is averaging over 20 points and 5 assists a game. He’s attacking the rim at will and making a career high 4.7 free throws per game at 85%.
Kemba is the heart and soul in Charlotte and deserves recognition as the best #15 and one of the best point guards in the league year in and year out.
Honorable Mention: Nikola Jokic
Pau Gasol is aging like a fine wine in San Antonio.
Gasol is once again having an extremely efficient campaign scoring 11 points and grabbing 8 boards while shooting 46% from the field and 42% from three. What’s even more astounding is he has a PER of 19, and he’s blocking over a shot a game at age 37?! Gasol has clearly found the fountain of youth in San Anton and if he, Manu, and Aldridge can keep up their production Kawhi won’t have to do all the heavy-lifting in the playoffs.
Honorable Mention: James Johnson
Schroder has been one of the few bright spots in Atlanta this year. He’s averaging career highs across the board including 20.1 points, 6.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. Dennis is still only 24 so he will be a large part of the Hawk’s rebuild.
Schroder had a fantastic playoffs last year and he’s kept his production up for most of this year. The German point guard has a competitive fire like few others, and he may be able to carry the Hawks to the playoffs in a few years. Atlanta will continue to work on developing their promising young core of Schroder, Prince, and Collins, along with a top pick in the 2018 draft.
Honorable Mention: JJ Reddick
Casspi is the best number 18 in the league and it’s not particularly close… I’m looking at you Miles Plumlee.
Casspi has embraced his role on the Warriors, finding ways to contribute on both ends of the floor. He’s averaging a career high 61% from the field and 50% from three, and he stepped in admirably when Kevin Durant was out early in the year. Casspi is a wily veteran who is constantly moving and freeing up space for his teammates…he’s a high IQ player who’s found a niche on the best team in the league.
Check out Jim Barnett’s one-on-one with Casspi earlier this year.
No Current active players wear number 19! But here’s a montage of number 19 Willis Reed’s historical career.
Astoundingly Manu Ginobili is amongst the top 10 guards in All-Star fan voting with over 650,000 votes.
Fans may have gone a little bit overboard but Ginobili is having an awesome 2017-18 campaign including not 1 but 2 game winners and tons of clutch plays. Manu is showing father time a thing or two, scoring over 9 points per game at 40 years old. The Spurs look as dangerous as ever with an all-time great Manu Ginobili doing his part.
This is nonsense. Steven Adams is the fourth best player on the fifth seed, LaMarcus Aldridge has been the best player on the third seed. How is Adams better than him?