Photo Credit: Hoop Doctors
This list is the top 10 guys I would want to have on my team to win a championship right now.
1. LeBron James
I hate LeBron more than anyone, but I also understand how great he is. Yes, in the regular season his defense was abysmal, and he deserves all the criticism in the world for that. But I also believe in the playoffs he would turn up his effort a lot and we would see him be one of the better defenders in the NBA as he has been for over a decade. The past few years he’s clearly not gone 100% in the regular season and then stepped it up in the playoffs, and this year would have been no different. Though LeBron is getting older and older, he is still the best player in the world, for now.
2. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is one of the greatest scorers I have ever seen. Say what you want about him off the court, but you cannot refute his greatness on the court. In addition, he doesn’t get enough respect for his defense. In last year’s finals, Durant guarded LeBron more often than anyone on the Warriors and still had the ability on the other end to put up massive numbers and win another finals MVP.
3. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi has been incredible this series against the Sixers putting up massive numbers while playing extremely efficiently. He also is arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and statistically, he is one of the most clutch players in the league.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis is already nearly unguardable, and if he can improve his three-point shot over the next couple of years he will be the best player in the NBA soon. He might win MVP this year already, and rightfully so. The Bucks have done a great job using his skill set to not only have Giannis be one of the leading scorers in the league but also to open up shots for everyone else. The Bucks have made the Eastern Conference Finals, and Giannis deserves all the credit in the world for getting them there.
5. James Harden
James Harden is an incredible scorer. He’s frustrating to watch with his flopping, but you can’t deny the results. And although the Rockets were unable to beat the Warriors this year, as long as they have Harden they will be contending for championships for a long time.
6. Paul George
PG is one of the better two-way players in the NBA, and he is only getting better. He had the best season of his career this year averaging 28-8-4. People criticize him for not being clutch, but I’ve seen him hit big time shots like the game-tying three he made against the Heat in the 2013 ECF. I hope George leaves the Thunder before his prime is over so he can go somewhere where there isn’t a Russell Westbrook to ruin his chances of winning a title.
7. Damian Lillard
Dame has been incredible these playoffs, and I think he has proven he is the best point guard in the NBA. He is arguably the best shooter off the dribble in the league, and there aren’t many players I’d rather have to take a game-winning shot for me than Lillard.
8. Kyrie Irving
Irving struggled this season, but it was clear his heart was not in it for Boston. He needs a fresh start for another team. I don’t think he can win a title on his own like he wants to be able to do, but if he teams up with another top player (Kevin Durant), then I think Irving could very well get another ring. He is one of the most skilled players of all time and is an underrated defender.
9. Anthony Davis
Davis is the best big man in the league, but I don’t think an NBA team can win a championship with a big man as their best player in today’s age. Those days ended with Tim Duncan. With that said, Davis is an incredibly talented and versatile player on both ends of the court, and I hope he teams up with another guy on this list to make a run at a title.
10. Steph Curry
Curry is arguably the best regular season player in the league, but time and time again he takes a step or two down once the playoffs roll around. In addition, he doesn’t get criticized enough for his poor defense. Watching the Rockets purposely try to get Curry to switch onto Harden over and over has been cringe-worthy. For those reasons, I don’t think he deserves to be higher than 10 on this list.