Chris Paul could add an MVP trophy to his collection if he keeps up his early season domination.
Welcoming in the new year, I was perusing the NBA’s PER leaders (a raucous life I lead, yep), and noticed the top end was quite interesting. I decided to make my own top ten list, but in this case of the top ten players in the entire league. That list eventually turned into 13, but 10 really is a random number anyways, so I’m over it.
Interestingly, the average age was a prime-of-life 27-years-old, yet surprisingly only Carlos Boozer, at 26, comes within a year of the golden age, meaning that as the current generation of stars fades away, an even better group is set to take the place of its antecedents.
The following list keeps in mind players’ performance over the duration of their careers, while their play this season is weighted most heavily. Future performance, past this season, plays no role.
- LeBron James-23–He’s the most talented physical force in the league, and his incredible play this year is no fluke. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see him improve his numbers over the remainder of the season.
- Chris Paul-22–The fact that some people think Deron Williams is the better point guard is insane and proving more so almost daily. He’s my pick for MVP at this point in the season having lead his often-injured and only moderately talented teammates to an impressive 20-11 record.
- Kevin Garnett-31–His end-to-end dominance fuels the best team in the NBA, and his ability to adjust his talents to fit any cast of characters is his greatest attribute.
- Tim Duncan-31–Essentially 3A, Duncan continues to be the steady base of the NBA’s most recent dynasty. His backboard bankshots are a pleasure to watch.
- Dwight Howard-22–The rawest product on this list, the man-child is this decade’s version of young Shaq. His sheer strength and surprising quickness on the blocks have no comparison.
- Kobe Bryant-29–He’s still the best one-on-one scorer in the league, and most likely the one man you’d want with the ball in his hands at the buzzer.
- Carlos Boozer-26–He has elevated himself to an entirely different level this season, if his defense came close to matching his offense he would be much higher on this list.
- Chauncey Billups-31–The two-way star has kicked his offensive output up a notch this year, helping push the Pistons to take their place as one of the top 3 teams in the Association.
- Steve Nash-33–While his PER is actually the lowest on this list, the fact that he can change the entire culture of a basketball team with his unselfishness and efficiency is magical. Without their point guard, the Suns would be a shell of their current team.
- Dwayne Wade-25–Injuries have really slowed Flash down, but he still manages to keep himself on SportsCenter’s Top Plays some way or another (see Louis Williams). On a more serious note, if he ever gets fully healthy again Wade will compete for the top spot with King James and CP3.
- Chris Bosh-23–He plays the game like a slightly less fortunate man’s version of KG on offense. There’s still room for growth in his game, and if the improvement comes he’ll be even scarier.
- Manu Ginobili-30–The forgotten man in San Antonio, Manu came out firing this season right from the start, even leading the league in PER for a while. His high-wire act brings excitement to a team that most fans around the nation find too plain.
- Amare Stoudamire-25–If Amare could stop anyone, his tremendous offensive abilities would catapult him toward the top 5 or 6 in basketball.