As we approach the upcoming All-Star break, we look at who to vote for, for what is considered one of the most watched non championship sports matches. Of course there will be no surprises this year. Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, etc. will all get in. But after this fun filled weekend, we get into the longest stretch of the year for the players and front offices in this coveted sport. The two months before the start of the playoffs. It is in these two months that we find out who are the most valuable players in the NBA. If you think i have left out anyone, please comment.
10. Lamarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers are usually a non-playoff team before the season even starts. But due to Aldridge’s 20 points and 8 rebounds a game, they have creeped into the Western Conference playoff picture. Last year Lamarcus missed a lot of the season, and the Blazers couldn’t even get to .500. Its simple. No Aldridge, no playoffs.
9. David Lee, Golden State Warriors
It has been a tough year for big men in the NBA this year(Pau Gasol, Howard, Kevin Love), but through all the injuries, David Lee has proven yet again, that he can wreck havoc in the paint, with 20 points and 11 rebounds a game. Oh Yeah, the Warriors are 22-12 this year, better than their Laker neighbors .
8. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
I have always admired the Spurs for their hard work and dedication to playing good defense and winning games, but it never occurred to me until this year that Parker is the reason that works. Sure he is not the most flashy player, but he is still passing great (7.2 dishes) and dominating (18 points a game). With Manu Ginobili turning into a role player, Parker becomes even more important for an aging Spurs team.
7. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
People say he shoots too much. Those people can chew on 8 assists per game for the young fellow, and a .422 shooting percentage. How do you think Durant gets 29 points a game?! Certainly doesn’t get open from great passes from anybody else. Oh yea, and he is scoring more than Dwyane Wade, and Dwight Howard. OKC is poised to win a championship every year as long as Westbrook is flying through the air.
6. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
After 17 seasons in the league, he still leads the league in points per game, and is dishing out 5 assists a game as well. After all the big names coming to L.A(Dwight Howard, Steve Nash), Bryant still is dominating the game of basketball.
5.Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
Carmelo would originally have been around the 8 or 7 spot, but after a one game suspension for “trying” to tussle with Kevin Garnett, it became apparent to me how important he is for the city of New York and their beloved Knicks. The Knicks couldn’t even put up 80 against a Indiana team that was missing its superstar, Danny Granger, without Melo. Carmelo’s presence for the Knicks and how important it is can not be emphasized enough. He is the heart and soul of the Knicks, and is the best closer in the league.
4. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
Just look at the Lakers right now. It is very simple. With Dwight you get wins, and without him is a big L on the paper. He has to deal with adversity right now, but once it is behind him and Lakers nation, the dominating Dwight we know and love will emerge once again. He also is averaging the most boards in the league per game, with all his injuries.
3. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Although he may not be recognized by his brother Cliff Paul, he is recognized by the country as the best point guard in the league. He is averaging 10 assists per game, second only to our own Rajon Rondo. Remember though, Chris Paul actually has a consistent three point and jump shot though, and doesn’t get suspended every other game. There is no Lob City in LA if not for CP3.
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
We have quite simply never seen a pure scorer and shooter in the NBA before like Durant. He is the reason why the Thunder are such a dominating team. They have had the most 100 point games in the NBA (28). Of those games, they have only lost one. Credit their defense if you want, but it comes down to the consistent excellent offensive output from Durant.
1. Lebron James, Miami Heat
This decision was actually a very tough one believe it or not for me. Durant is a better scorer than King James, but Lebron’s leadership on and off the court, the adversity he has overcome, and the defense he has, that Durant doesn’t, were the deciding factors. Lebron has become the face of the National Basketball Association. Lebron proves his toughness on and off the court, as he was hated by everybody for so long before winning that ring, and was able to lead his team to key victories on the road in the playoffs. You just can’t find a better person and basketball player in the world than King James.