Top 50 NBA Players Today

Initially I was going to do a ‘Top 100’ list of players like I did for the NFL.. But I thought how ridiculous and uninteresting it would be to start splitting hairs between Carlos Delfino and Ronnie Brewer for the 89th spot. So I’m rolling with the ‘Top 50.’

Not to be confused with the ‘NBA 50,’ a list of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, this is a list of the best players in the league right now. Trust me, Pau Gasol will never be the player that Tim Duncan was, but this is determined by the present and what their capabilities as players are now.

Unlike football, in basketball the better player is a lot more visible. In this sport the system is more of a reflection of the player, rather than in football where the player is more likely to be a reflection of the system. With that said, stats and all-star appearances, reputation, things of that nature are not the end-all be-all with determining the better player. It comes down to which player gives the team the better chance of winning? The things that need to be taking into account when deciding who is more valuable are, does Danny Granger’s scoring ability benefit a team more than Joakim Noah’s overlooked contributions such as forcing bad shots, and grabbing key rebounds? We’ll find out.

In a very selective list there are of course guys that are going to be left out, but still deserve to be mentioned. In the past Baron Davis, Jason Kidd, Rip Hamilton and Ray Allen were well cemented on a list of this nature. While they can still provide great help for a team, they are on the outside looking in. Up and comers Darren Collison, Carl Landry, Anthony Randolph, Eric Gordon, and Kevin Love could be here by the middle of the year. I had no reservations of putting John Wall on this list either, I just feel as good as he is going to be, turnovers are going to come in an abundance this year. And Caron Butler, Troy Murphy, Marc Gasol, Kevin Martin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Ron Artest, Aaron Brooks, Jameer Nelson, Andre Miller, Devin Harris, Jose Calderon, and Rodney Stuckey would have been on it, if it was a ‘Top 75.’

50. Andrea Bargnani (Raptors, C)– Not that this guy is going to shed the ‘European players are soft’ tag, but his skills as a 7-footer are what every team in this league covets. For this guy not to be a 20 ppg guy is an indictment on his toughness because all of his skills are there with his outside and inside game, also a solid penetrator. Maybe Bosh infringed on his numbers, but we shall see how he does now that he is the main man in Toronto.

49. Al Horford (PF, Hawks)– After a solid rookie season, Horford was on pace to being one of the best power forwards in the league. But he simply has shown little, if at all any growth as an NBA player. Dwight Howard tortured his team in the playoffs, and a lot of that was on Horford. The talent is definitely there, but he needs to learn to assert himself and become much more of an impact player.

48. Rashard Lewis (SF, Magic)– Last year was not good for Lewis. But it was the year before that gives him the merit of being on this list. He’s one of those guys that need to be steered in the right direction because he can either give you 21 points and 10 rebounds by exploiting the mismatch problem he often presents, or he can be totally tuned-out and score only 2 points.

47. Gerald Wallace (SF, Bobcats)– Wallace has always been a solid player in the league, and that’s evident in the stat sheet, the salary, and with a 2010 all-star selection. But this guy’s value to a team is his willingness to treat his body with reckless abandon with the motivation being to win a basketball game. Give me Gerald Wallace, who is willing to do anything to win and prove it with his performance, over a more talented guy like Gilbert Arenas whose style of play does not benefit a team as much as Wallace can with the role he thrives under.

46. Manu Ginobili (SG, Spurs)– 5 years ago, he would have been in the ‘Top 20.’ But it seems now that his injuries, and age are wearing on that athleticism that has helped him be the player he is known for throughout his career. He’s still savvy enough on both sides of the court to help any team in this league. I see Manu as the type of player who can develop another skill more effectively to compensate for what he has lost, so instead of being the slasher he was, he may become a more efficient three-point shooter.

45. Rudy Gay (SF, Grizzlies)– Fits the bill of an under-achiever because no one on the planet should be able to guard him. He is long, athletic, has range, and can penetrate. The makings of a prolific scorer in the league. His value to a team is to be that, and 20 ppg is not enough. Eventually though he will become a more prolific scorer, it wouldn’t make sense if he didn’t.

44. David West (PF, Hornets)– The perfect power forward for the pick & roll because he is money with the mid-range jumper. His scoring production is as any other player in the league from that position, however being it is that his threat is in the mid-range area, he does not provide an inside threat which creates better spacing for an offense.

43. Monta Ellis (SG, Warriors)– Ellis is a fun guy to watch and his production is outstanding. But he is a very small shooting-guard, whose production is primarily coming from him getting the bulk of the scoring opportunities. Ellis is a terrific scorer, but if he doesn’t put up 30-40 his team has a very good chance of losing.While other guys who are scoring threats that are better than him, still provide the threat of giving their teammates easy opportunities to score. Ellis does not do that as well, so teams can live with him scoring 25 a night knowing that they will still most likely win the game.

42. David Lee (PF, Warriors)– Lee is an outstanding athlete as well as an offensive player. Guys who can score in the post are valuable commodities in the league, and Lee can do that. However, defensively he gets pushed around to much. He’s a good athlete in the sense that he is a quick jumper, and has good feet which helps him a lot as a rebounder. But on defense he does not have the strength to withstand the force coming from the other big guys in the league who often exploit Lee as a defender.

41. Joakim Noah (SF, Bulls)– Mentioned earlier a bit about his contributions to a team. The fact is I see Noah as a fundamental piece to a winning team once the right pieces are in place, much like Dennis Rodman was. Noah is the type of player that supplements star players to the highest degree because of the extra possessions he provides for teams with a great ability to cause turnovers, and guard a vast order of players on defense. And he is also tough enough to set effective screens, and open up lanes using his physicality for guys like Derrick Rose to get easier looks at the hoop.

40. O.J Mayo (SG, Grizzlies)– Last year may have seemed like a set back for Mayo as his averages stayed put from his rookie season. But it’s important to factor in the impact Zach Randolph had on his numbers, and pay more attention to the improvement of the Grizzlies as a team. Mayo is an intelligent ball player, that has great skills. What is holding him back a bit is he is not the elite athlete that the upper-tier guys are at the 2-guard are. But he still knows the game very well, and the importance of getting others involved as a facilitator, regardless whether he is a 2-guard, which is traditionally the role of a scorer.

39. Tyreke Evans (PG, Kings)– Tyreke won the 2010 ‘Rookie of the Year’ against the tightest competition that award has seen in a while probably since 1998 with Vince Carter, Jason Williams, and Paul Pierce vying for the honor. I still don’t feel he is better than Jennings or Curry. While he is a master penetrator that can split any defense in the league. He still dribbles to much while his teammates sit and watch, and like I mentioned earlier with Ellis, other teams will let guys like Evans do their thing because they know they don’t get others involved and can still win the game. I’d be surprised if Evans didn’t put up 25, 6 boards, and 6 dimes for the next 5 years. I’d be shocked if he was the catalyst to a quality playoff team.

38. Josh Smith (SF, Hawks)– I can only think of one guy off the top of my head that is a better athlete than this guy in the NBA, maybe two, Dwight and Lebron. Not Kobe because he’s 32, and not Wade because he’s just not. With that being said, Josh does not seem to make himself assertive as he should be. He’s not a great offensive player, I seen Brian Scalabrine shut him down one game. But on defense he is tremendous, and one of the best weak side help defenders outside of the two guys I mentioned, Howard and James. For his talent though 38 is too low and he is certainly capable of being higher if channels his capabilities for a full season.

37. Brandon Jennings (PG, Bucks)– What was really promising to see from Jennings last year was him adapting to a role his team needed him to fulfill in different phases throughout the season. At the beginning of the season Jennings was lighting it up and scored 55 points in one game. And for a while he had a handful of nights where he scored in the 20’s and 30’s aided by his mid-range pull-up, driving ability, and three-point shooting. Then as the season progressed and Milwaukee grew, Jennings thrived under the role of a facilitator and helped earn a playoff spot and push the Hawks to 7 games without their big man Andrew Bogut.

36. Andre Iguodala (SF, 76ers)– Igloo is a sidekick playing a lead role right now. He certainly has the tools to be a broke man’s Scottie Pippen, which there is no shame in at all. He can contribute in just about every facet of the game, but is not great in one particular thing like a lot of superstars are.

35. Brook Lopez (C, Nets)– Brook Lopez is the biggest surprise to come into the league and be an effective NBA player, because when he was at Stanford, he appeared to be soft and without a skill set that could translate at the next level. Instead he’s one of the few good centers in the league who can mix it up inside & out, and rebound very effectively.

34. Stephen Curry (PG, Warriors)– I love this kid. An absolute offensive wizard. He’s luck a fucking savant. Seriously, there is nothing on offense he can not do, and whatever he lacks now it’s probably already corrected as we speak. Defensively though, a bit of a push over.

33. Russell Westbrook (PG, Thunder)– Terrific at beating guys off the dribble, and is a willing passer. But when you play with Kevin Durant it would be stupid not to be. Needs to work on minimizing mistakes, he has averaged over 3 turnovers a game in his first two seasons.

32. Zach Randolph (PF, Grizzlies)– This guy spent half a decade being a lazy fuck, and finally showed how talented he is for some strange reason. Does he like the aura of the whole Memphis music scene or something? Randy got very soft hands and he’s a spectacular low-post scorer.

31. Hedo Turkoglu (SF, Suns)– On the Orlando Magic’s run to the Finals in 2009, Turkoglu was their best player throughout the playoffs. Basketball players with great versatility are a valuable asset, and Hedo at 6’10 can play the role of distributor, shooter, and slasher. Last year was an off year for him in Toronto, but now that he is in a Suns uniform alongside Steve Nash, good things are going to happen in Phoenix this year despite the departure of Amare.

30. Tony Parker (PG, Spurs)– Parker was slowed down by injuries last season and had a mediocre year. If he can get back to his play that made him an NBA Finals MVP then he contend with the other great collection of point guards in the league right now. Easily one of the fastest guys in basketball, so it would be a pleasure to see him at his peak again.

29. Al Jefferson (PF, Jazz)– It will be interesting to see Jefferson play with one of the best point guards in the league. Jefferson has spent his career with sub-par teams, and now that is not the case we could see him morph into one of the great lo-post scorers in the league.

28. Chris Kaman (C, Clippers)– The league is void of quality centers to the point that guys who would normally fit the role of a power forward are playing the position. Kaman though, is the mold of a traditional center that can cover any other interior player in the league, and play with his back to the basket with any other interior presence in the league. That is the mark of a true center. Unfortunately Kaman has spent his whole career with the Clippers, but last year was his best, and his first with a quality point guard in Baron Davis, and it helped having the scoring threat of Eric Gordon

27. Andrew Bogut (C, Bucks)– Bogut was having a terrific 2010 season until it all turned in an instant when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury. 5 years after he was selected with the number 1 pick, Bogut did not show much promise until last season. Now he is one of the best defensive players in the league, a terrific rebounder, and a sound offensive threat.

26. Chauncey Billups (PG, Nuggets)– Billups is a chameleon on the court because he can channel a style of play to take advantage of a defender’s weakness. He can kill a smaller guard in the post, and he does it regularly. He can also blow by slower guards, and once they give him space, he punishes them by hitting threes. Billups is one of the more intelligent guys in the league, and he has a decorated career to back it up with an NBA Finals MVP.

25. Lamar Odom (PF, Lakers)– If Lamar Odom is the best player on your team then you’re in trouble. If he’s the second best then you’re probably going to experience a lot of letdowns. So why is he this high on the list? Lamar is more of a facilitator than a play-maker. His length, and athleticism create mismatch problems with any team he faces. Odom is one of the more unique cases in this league where if he’s put in the right position the return on him is going to be significant. The Lakers are as much of a championship team because of Odom, as they are because of Gasol. Odom is the ultimate complimentary player to the degree that he could be valued this high.

24. Yao Ming (C, Rockets)– The trouble with Yao is his lack of durability. The question becomes where do you value a guy compared to the rest of the league knowing he is a top-10 talent, but has trouble getting on the court because of injuries? The risk-reward puts him this high on the list because if he is healthy he does a lot for a team.

23. Joe Johnson (SG, Hawks)– Sort of like a broke man’s Lebron-Wade-Kobe. Joe Johnson is an NBA all-star, and deservingly so. But he’s staring at a mountain of the elite players in the league and he’s just not equipped to trek the journey (See the 2nd Round playoff series against Orlando). No knock on him, it’s just what he is.

22. Danny Granger (SF, Pacers)– This guy is on an island by himself for being a competent NBA player while on the Pacers. That is the mystery with him though. If he is surrounded by the necessary talent can he turn a team into a contender? Or is his great production a product of being the only scoring threat on the team? I know one thing, the guy is a scoring assassin.

21. Amare Stoudamire (PF, Knicks)– Amare is one of the most gifted players in the NBA. His problem is on defense , and now that he is no longer playing with Steve Nash he may not see the scoring opportunities he has in the past four seasons because I’m not sold on Amare as an efficient low-post scorer. But I am still sold enough to value him on the fringe of elite players.

20. Stephen Jackson (SG, Bobcats)– People are probably willing to give this list no credibility after putting S-Jack this high. If you don’t think I know what I’m talking about putting him as the introductory player for the top 20 then fuck you. I’ll go to war with Jackson, on the court, and in the streets.

Next to Lebron, Stephen Jackson is the most versatile defender in the NBA. The reason why Golden State knocked off the Mavericks in the ’07 playoffs as an 8-seed was because of Jackson’s defense against one of the toughest guys to guard in the league, Dirk Nowitzki. He helped Charlotte achieve their first playoff spot in franchise history as the teams go-to-guy. Offensively he also carries a bit of versatility as a long-range shooter, point forward and he can exploit mismatches in the post.

19. Carlos Boozer (PF, Bulls)– Injuries have unfortunately setback Boozer in the prime of his career and is a reason why he flies below the radar the way he does. Playing in Utah also had something to do with that. But Boozer ranks behind Gasol as the best low-post scorer in the game right now. He can also extend his game to the 15-foot area and make defenders pay for leaving him open. He has put together multiple 20-10 seasons and at 28 years-old, maybe we have yet to see his best.

18. Paul Pierce (SF, Celtics)– I’ve always felt that Pierce was the most underrated player for a long time. It wasn’t until the 2008 Finals when he outplayed Kobe that he got the recognition he deserved. Now on the downslide of his career, Pierce like most of the Celtics roster is in the stage where he treads water throughout the year until he taps into his optimum mode in big regular season games, and the playoffs. If you are asking someone to hit a last possession shot, you’re crazy if you go 3 guys deep without mentioning Pierce.

17. Chris Bosh (PF, Heat)– An elite power forward in the league who averages a gaudy 24 points per game and 10 rebounds. That production alone warrants him a spot this high. However, Bosh is not the defensive stalwart, or inside offensive presence that a team can build around. Which I’m sure he’s content with now that he’s playing the third-wheel in the ‘Miami Love-Triangle.’

16. Tim Duncan (PF, Spurs)– The discussion of who is the greatest player in the ‘post-Jordan’ era begins and ends with Duncan. Kobe is there, Shaq is there, Lebron is getting there, KG not quite there, but it’s Duncan who owns that title. In just his second season in ’98 he was the top player on his championship Spurs team. And after the Lakers dynasty from 2000-2003, he led a new batch of players, that made him look more like he was hoarding foreigners, and made champions of them 3 out of 4 seasons.

At this point in his career Duncan needs to be micro-managed with limited minutes to preserve him for the big picture, and yet it is still a method that is not nearly good enough to recapture that championship pedigree.

15. Derrick Rose (Bulls, PG)– Rose has an inordinate amount of talent and it has been displayed his two years in the league. Probably the best athlete at the point guard position in the NBA. Still not a great decision-maker that a great point guard has to be to lead his team to greater heights. Nash, Williams, Paul, and Rondo manage the game a lot better than Rose, and for that those guys widen the gap between themselves and Rose.

14. Kevin Garnett (PF, Celtics)– Garnett is another guy who is a shell of what he once was. KG no longer has the legs to carry a team to a 50-60 win season being the alpha of the team, like he did in his years at Minnesota and his first year in Boston. With that being said, Garnett’s effectiveness in the post-season is enough to rank him this high. For a playoff series he can either dominate a match-up, or contain one against someone like Gasol. The intangibles he brings as an inspirational leader is magnified by the presentation from the broadcast, but it is an aspect that helped anchor a Celtics spirit last season and achieve a surprising run in the playoffs.

13. Pau Gasol (PF, Lakers)– I hate his guts. Easily one of the biggest weasels in the NBA. He went up & down by the way to extend the Lakers lead in Game 7 during the final minute. Aside from all of that though, he is the best low-post scorer in the league right now, and by a lot. The knock on him before was that he wasn’t tough enough, and it was true during the ’08 Finals. But now he is able to use his physicality to obtain low-post buckets, and also with his superb finesse skills.

12. Brandon Roy (SG, Blazers)– This is the point on the list where we get into the guys who franchises can be built around. Brandon Roy is certainly a deserving candidate for that role, and that is exactly what they are doing in Portland.

The Western Conference is starting to see a shift in power aside from the Lakers being the one constant. Portland and Oklahoma City are likely to emerge as their respected division’s champ. Consequently Roy is going to emerge as one of the league’s prevalent stars. Roy is a natural scorer who can get open and create his own shot despite being the main focus of the defense. He can also contribute in other facets of the game and that is the mark of a superstar.

11. Steve Nash (PG, Suns)– The longevity Nash has displayed in his career is to be admired. At 36 years-old he is still a force in this league. Nash, maybe more than any other point guard in the league, elevates the play of the talent around him to a large degree. Defensively though, he is a liability. Even in his MVP years he was an enigma on defense, to the point where someone like Sebastian Telfair could exploit his defensive weakness.

10. Dwight Howard (PF/C, Magic)– The presence of Dwight Howard’s athleticism in the interior defense alters more shots in this league than anyone else can do on defense. Besides Lebron, there isn’t a better athlete in this league. Dwight’s athleticism and size is directly related to his great production, and for that alone he can elevate any team he is on to be in the playoffs.

What is keeping him from being one of the true elite players in this league is his lack of skill, and discipline. For the defensive presence that he is, he often gets exposed for being out of position and allowing easy buckets for the other team. His lack of offensive ability is no secret. The only time he does score is off of a fast-break, a put-back, or when he hits that low-percentage baby hook that good defenders bait him into shooting because they’re comfortable with the chance it doesn’t go in.

A lot of people expect him to grow into an elite player, some already see him as that (those people are foolish), but it will never happen. If it was ever going to happen, it already would have. Dwight does not have the character make-up to drive him to that point. He seems content with being a superstar off of the merits of personality and production, rather than truly being an elite player that can carry a championship contender.

9. Dirk Nowitzki (PF, Mavericks)– I’m a lot higher on Dirk than most people are. His early playoff exits in recent years have tarnished his reputation, but prior to laying an egg in the 2006 Finals, Nowitzki was the best player in the NBA at the time and he proved it with a terrific MVP regular season, and a playoff performance in which he led his team to victory over the Spurs dynasty.

Most would rate Howard ahead of him, maybe Gasol even. Possibly Garnett and Duncan too. However, right now Dirk is better than all of them. Howard has way too many flaws in his game, Gasol wasn’t in consideration until he has recently become imbedded in a terrific Lakers roster, and Garnett and Duncan right now don’t have the legs to carry a team through an 82-game season and playoff like Dirk does.

Dirk’s game has always been great. He is 7-feet, and he is also one of the greatest shooters of all-time. His back to the basket game is also very underrated. And his clutch-time activity is overlooked., tracks a players statistics in the final 5 minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime, and Dirk’s scoring production ranks third behind Lebron and Kobe, and his 3-point % is a ridiculous 67%, and free-throws 98%. I’ll take Dirk over any power forward in this league right now.

8. Deron Williams (PG, Jazz)– Deron’s size at the point guard position is a pain in the ass for any point guard to cover because he is able to use it to his advantage and body his opponent in the post for high percentage shots. Physically he fits the mold of a Baron Davis, but fortunately for coach Jerry Sloan, Williams embodies the style of play of a perfect point guard in this league with his shooting, handling, and passing game.

7. Carmelo Anthony (SF, Nuggets)– Earlier on in his career Carmelo was lazy and an underachiever. He turned that around in 2009 where he led his Nuggets to a competitive Western Conference Final with the eventual champion Lakers.

Talent was never an issue with this guy, that was evident in his title run with Syracuse. But for a couple of years he showed an unwillingness to play on the defensive end and seemed only interested in just scoring. Those type of players cannot lead winning teams in the NBA. But the type of player Carmelo is now is the one that a championship can be built around.

6. Chris Paul (PG, Hornets)– Paul had one of the greatest seasons for any point guard ever in 2008, carrying a New Orleans team to 56 wins, while averaging 21 points and 12 assists. He followed it with another great year, but unfortunately missed a large chunk of last season due to injury.

Chris does everything well on the basketball floor, and overall he has more tools than any other point guard in the league. Eventually he will hook up with a Carmelo, or another superstar of the like, and as soon as he does that team automatically becomes a championship contender. That’s how good Chris Paul is.

5. Rajon Rondo (PG, Celtics)– Consider me a homer all you want, but if you paid any attention to him in the playoffs the last two seasons, and his head-to-head match-ups with Chris Paul, and Deron Williams, you would covet Rondo as highly as most rational basketball fans do.

Paul and Williams are both great, and although Rondo is not the shooter either of them are, he is still more efficient at creating open shots for the other four guys on the court with his ability to penetrate and draw attention and lead his teammates with precise passes for an easy bucket. Also the unique aspect of his game is his ability to get extra possessions with deflections, steals, rebounds, and heady defensive plays more effectively than any other player in the league.

In a pivotal Game 3 Rondo recorded just the third ever playoff triple double of at least 29 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists. Joining the company of Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson.

As much of a pedigree Garnett, Pierce, and Allen carry, Rondo has been the best player on this team for the last two seasons. Instead of his success depending on the ‘Big Three’s’ like it did in 2008, the tables have now turned and the Celtics go where Rondo goes.

4. Dwyane Wade (SG, Heat)– Wade seems like he relies more on his athleticism than he does his skill. Sometimes it looks like he is playing out of control, but when you’re that effective you can’t be anything else but in control. He’s a lot like Lebron as a player, but much smaller of course. Last season the Heat were atrocious and had no right being in the playoffs, but Wade was good enough to give them about 25 more wins than they would of had, and he won a playoff game basically by himself against the Celtics before they were eliminated.

3. Kevin Durant (SF, Thunder)– His only weakness is inexperience, and maybe strength. Ultimately that cost his team Game 6 in the first round against the Lakers, as he was shut down for the remaining two minutes that helped LA overcome a hefty deficit to move on. Consider it a learning curve, cause if you don’t consider Durant great now, you will after this year.

Durant is the best scorer in the league, he is deadly from 3-point, he shoots 90% from the line, he’s 6’9 and has a height advantage over everybody he faces making it impossible to keep him from getting good looks at the hoop. He is an effective slasher because of the ball handler he is, and the threat he is everywhere else on the court. What is best of all about this kid, is that he is not a jackass like the next two guys.

2. Kobe Bryant (SG, Lakers)– Easily in the argument of the most skilled basketball players of all-time. There is nothing in this sport that Kobe can not do. There are no tangible flaws in his game. The comparisons to Michael though, or even Bird, or Magic? Not reasonable. While Kobe is one of the 7-15 greatest players to play, going 6-24 in a Game 7 is what holds him back from being in the 1-6 discussion.

Kobe to a large percentage of people is the best player in the league. But to be honest if he has a lesser player than Gasol, or Odom on his team. For instance, Amare Stoudamire, or a Caron Butler instead of those two, does he still win the championship? He barely won two with them. His game is not creating opportunities for other players off of his own intuition, the only reason that ever occurs is because of the defensive attention payed towards him, which opens up the opportunity for a simple pass that he sometimes neglects.

He is not as great at creating his own shot as most people think, and usually resorts to shooting a difficult one while the rest of his teammates stand around. That inhibits the flow of the offense and in crunch time it leads to indecisiveness, but sometimes his talent and skill alone are good enough to overcome it with the impossible looking shots he s frequently hits.

Kobe is too high maintenance, in order for him to have a successful team as the alpha like the one he has now, he needs the right pieces in place. That goes for 99% of the star players to ever play the game, but when determining the best you have to split hairs and so I split them.

1. Lebron James (SF, Heat)– Although he is the biggest dick in the league, there still isn’t a talent like him. He may not have the skill set Kobe Bryant does. However the athleticism he has in a 6’8, 260 lb. frame, knack for creating shot opportunities for teammates, defensive capabilities, and superb ability to penetrate to the hoop, more than compensates.

Lebron has had multiple 60-win seasons with very limited talent around him, while Kobe prior to being courted with Gasol only produced 40-win seasons with more talent around him than Lebron has ever had. His teams have crashed and burned in the playoffs in his career with Cleveland because a team with only one scoring threat is crippled in a 7-game playoff series. With the exception of last season where he rolled over on the team, he performed extremely well in the playoffs, but his teams were just not good enough.

Him going to Miami to play with two other stars raises a bevy of red-flags, maybe even some white ones too, about this guys willingness to compete, and drive towards greatness. That is one thing Kobe does have over him, but I’m just not sure it even matters because with the exception of the one-year shelf life of the Celtics being competitive from here on out, there isn’t a Jordan, or Bird, or Magic to make Lebron pay for being such a flake. Unless Durant can come to the rescue…

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