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NBA NATION AUSTRALIA’S TOP 25 PLAYER RANKINGS

With the NBA just around the corner, the team at NBA Nation Australia decided to take a look at who we think are the current 25 Best players in the league. We thought it was going to be easy and that we would all agree, ha! If it was only that simple. After days of discussion and a few little arguments, we have finally managed to put together a list!  Am sure some of you will think we have been too generous with some spots, too hard on some players, or just downright crazy!? Check it out and let us know!
25. Paul Pierce
“The Truth”…pretty much says it all. Since being drafted by the Celtics with the 10th pick in the 1998 NBA draft, Pierce has been a key member for the Boston franchise. A fan favorite through the good times and the bad, Paul Pierce has managed to do something quite rare in the modern game of basketball, and that’s be a franchise player in the truest sense of the word. When Pierce retires, the following career highlights will follow him to the hall of fame. NBA Champion, Finals MVP, 10 Time All Star and 3 Point Champion. In a team stacked with past superstars, Paul Pierce will go down, without doubt as one of the Celtics true greats. This is a great honor in itself considering their pedigree, but it’s hard to argue against it.
24. Tyson Chandler
The reigning defensive player of the year, Olympic gold medal winner and championship winner with Dallas. Chandler has earned his place amongst the NBA elite. Whilst not the most popular player amongst opposition fans, Chandler continues to impress and was one of the key breadwinners in New York in his first year at the Knicks. Being the starting center of the Knicks means Chandler has the weight of a city on his shoulders, and he does it perfectly. In his second year, it’s expected that he will find a sense of comfortability with his club and begin to evolve into an even better player than he currently is.
23. Kevin Garnett 

The old guard. One of the league’s most respected and loved players. KG has forever been etched into Timberwolves and Celtics fans minds as a defensive and offensive juggernaut. KG’s ability to own the court, intimidate and ultimately win games sees him stay in the top 25, age aside. If it wasn’t for Garnett being 36, he may well still be a long way up this list but in reality he is slower and less agile than he was but there is little doubt this man deserves to be heralded as a top player no matter how old he is. Last year’s playoffs showed he is still able to compete, and a new 3 year deal ensures he will remain dedicated and a thorn in opposition sides

22. Kyrie Irving

Only thing keeping Kryie away from a higher spot is experience. This 2nd year gun is without a doubt the most promising young player in the NBA and within a few years, we’ll see this kid grow into an absolute superstar. Whilst not having a hugely beneficial team around him, Irving has embraced the Cavaliers and seems happy to call them home for now. Give him time, and the inexperience will fade, and the hunger for a championship will rise. The Cavs will try hard to keep him but in reality all Irving’s stock is going to do is rise and he’ll be offered a very sizable contract. Keep an eye on his speed, and ability to space the floor and create looks for his players. In this, you will see his numbers, and fan base grow.
21. Tony Parker

Tony Parker really shone this past season for the Spurs. His tenacious attitude on the court and his willingness to mesh with other players sees him sit high in the rankings going into 2012/13. His appearances alongside fellow Frenchman Nicolas Batum at this year’s London Olympics didn’t yield a lot, but for Parker his spot was earned during the past season where his offense helped the Spurs go unbeaten for 20 straight games. He scores at a good rate (49% FFG) and this year, his assists stood at 7.1 per game. Good quality production for an aging guard with old pieces around him.

20. Steve Nash
Whats there to say about Steve Nash that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before. It’s hard to really see Nash being the 20th best player in the league since it’s a league he has dominated for so long now, but with so many talented players around him, and the fact that he is getting a little long in the tooth pushes him to 20. A 2 time league MVP and 8 time All Star, this wiry Canadian PG has done it all. If you were to look up basketball IQ in the dictionary, chances are a photo of Steve Nash is there. BUT, with all the accolades, something was missing. Nash has never won a ring. In the offseason, Nash made the move to the LA Lakers in the chase for his first ring, and to help a certain superstar get his 6th, and you know what? Nash is in with a massive chance. Will he go down as one of the best PG to play the game? Possible.
19. Pau Gasol
 
The Spanish big man has been the glue that’s bonded this champion Laker team together since his trade to them from the Grizzlies in 2008. Tall, fast and strong Pau’s ability to score saw him rise to All Star status on 4 occasions and in his rookie year with the Memphis Grizzlies, Pau won the NBA Rookie of the Year award. The Lakers have flirted with trading Pau away over the last few years and it would have happened last year if the Stern Veto-Gate didn’t get in the way, but things have changed. Both the Lakers and Gasol seem content and with a very bright light shinning on the LA horizon, expect big things from the Spaniard this season. There is no pressure on Gasol now, and i get the feeling he will show the Lakers just how good he can be.
18. Chris Bosh
Is Chris Bosh the most undervalued member of the Miami Heat? Regardless of his salary, reputation and constant All Star selection…I think he is. With two superstars ahead of him on the pecking order at the NBA champions, it’s easy to forget the impact the Chris Bosh has on both ends of the court. While LeBron and Wade get heaped with the praise and pressure, Bosh can slide in under the radar and change the momentum of a game. He has a great inside game and his timing on the defensive end is up there with the best of them. On any other team, Chris Bosh is a superstar and the go to player. On the Heat, well, the pressure is really off him. 2013 should be a massive season for Bosh. Who knows
17. Tim Duncan
The quite achiever,  the silent assassin. Am sure these aren’t his nicknames, but they would certainly match Tim Duncan’s game. You can’t say he flies under the radar by any means. Every opposing team knows how good Tim Duncan is and he proves it night in night out for the Spurs. He stats are crazy. 4 x NBA Champion,  2 x League MVP, 3 x Finals MVP, 13 x All Star. This is a dominant as you get in the modern game. Tim Duncan will go down as one of the best ever, without a doubt, and he has done it without flashy highlight reels and gravity defying plays. This is a man that knows how to play the game of pure, classic basketball, knows his strengths and weaknesses in position and most importantly, and on game, knows what it takes to beat his opposition to a pulp. 5 years ago, Tim Duncan would have been much higher than this position, but it’s a log jammed list now, but don’t let that fool you into forgetting Tim “The Big Fundamental” Duncan is still rocking….really??? is that his nickname?
16. Kevin Love
Arguably the best rebounder in the game at the moment, Kevin Love has a bright future. Still only 24 years old, Love has the time to be able to take his game to the next level, which is a scary thought in it’s own right. Originally drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, Love was sent to the Timberwolves as part of a 8 team trade. I wonder if the Grizzlies look back on this with regret now? I would. Love is a menace and plays a game halfway between the classic big man style or finesse and grace, with an aggressive mindset like the current crop of superstars. This is a combination most teams would move heaven and earth to have on their team. A pure scorer and great rebounder,  Love holds an NBA record for most consecutive double doubles (points and boards). For me, Love is destined for greatness. Watch this space.
15. Andre Iguodala
One of the leagues quickest and most athletic guys. With a great body frame that allows him to charge through the paint, Iguodala also produces some of the best highlight reel plays & dunks the league has seen in years. While playing the game with the right attitude, he has has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and helped Philly to become a thorn in side of the bigger forces in the East. After finally picking up an All Star appearance last season and, on the back of a Gold win and a move to Denver, times ahead are exciting for Andre.
14. James Harden
One of, if not the leagues most likeable guy. Insane dress style, mammoth beard, whats not to like. Harden can also ball, quick, handles the ball well, can shoot, and comes off the bench at OKC with a fantastic basketball I.Q. Rumours suggested he may move as he looked to finding a starting spot, but Harden quickly squashed those rumours and sad he was happy with his current role. Loyalty springs to mind as well as a coaches dream.
13. Dirk Nowitzki
Potentially, one of the most consistent players in the league who plays the game how he was mean’t to be played. Hard, but fair.
A disappointing season defending his title with Dallas won’t stop Dirk putting up huge numbers, but this former MVP, 11x NBA
All-Star who isn’t getting any younger can still bang with the best of them.
12. Andrew Bynum
If the stars align, in the next few years, big Andrew Bynum will be along way from the #17 position. Expect him to appear up in the top 5! This is a kid with such a bright future. Sure he has had issues with his attitude and has been accused of not really trying hi hardest during his time with the LA Lakers, but that is all in the past. The blockbuster Dwight Howard sent Bynum home to Philly and he seems genuinely excited about his future at the 76ers. On game, Andrew Bynum is one of the most dominant and exciting big men in the game A menace in the paint, aggressive on the boards and a soft touch around the rim makes Bynum a player you want on your team. If he can keep his eyes on the prize and his focus in check, it’s going to be a big year for Philly and Bynum has a real shot at climbing up this ladder.
11. Deron Williams
Arguably the best PG in the game who is still to shine on the biggest stage. Also with 3x NBA All-Star appearances under his belt, Williams is not only one of the most naturally gifted ball handlers in the game but on his day can be one of the most exciting. Has played the game consistently for years, but being on terrible rosters has hindered this. Picking up Gold in London will lift his game, and his new home in Brooklyn pieced with good assets around him could see Deron finally achieve.
10. Russell Westbrook
Russ should mature even further in the new season. The great thing about him is, he’s a point guard that plays like a power forward and when he decides to go himself, you better be sure you’re gonna get dunked on if you get in his way. Westbrook throws the hammer down unlike any other guard in the league and is responsible for some of the of the 2012 Olympics most devastating drives to the bucket. I am expecting to see him begin to look more at creating opportunities for Durant, Harden and Ibaka this season and looking forward, you’ll see a point guard who can not only destroy teams in the paint himself, but run an offense with finesse and poise also. Russ should really find his feet in 2012/13 and after the disappointment of losing a finals series, there will be a fire under him waiting to explode.
9. Rajon Rondo
This young guard is the ideal cornerstone for Boston’s foreseeable future. Rondo has always registered big numbers but in 2011/12 he was nicknamed ‘Mr Triple Double’ – Any player that gains a nickname like that, deserves his spot in the top ten. He’s well on his way to being THE number one guard in the league, but must make some strides to ensure he keeps a cool and calm nature about him. Sometimes a little too erratic, and with a penchant for annoying refs and getting ejected, Rajon will mature even further this season and show us he is not only a franchise player and numbers machine, but a leader as well. Now with his troubles with Ray Allen behind him, Rondo can now take hold of this Celtics squad and shake the hell out of it. He’ll be great to watch in 2012/13.
8. Dwyane Wade
D-Wade. Riding high after his second championship alongside his white hot Heat brothers LBJ and Chris Bosh. The Big 3 have certainly found their feet after an interesting first year together and now feel comfortable playing alongside each other. This is especially important for Wade who handed over the reigns to LeBron when he joined the team two years ago. You can see from the way he’s playing, Wade is happy taking a back seat and enjoying his time playing alongside a team, rather than in front of them. There is no doubt this champion is still a top 10 player and should he have another stellar season, he may even jump back higher on the list. He’s still an offensive annoyance for other teams registering 22 PPG last season thanks largely to his aggressive nature and pounding the ball into the paint rather than taking shots from open looks. The perfect example of experience and poise, D-Wade should see yet another successful season in South Beach.
7. Dwight Howard
Let’s remember, before we begin to judge, that this isn’t a popularity poll. Now, I much like many of you, have had grievances with the Dwightmare but there is no denying this guy is the real deal and is undoubtedly the league’s number one center. Offensively, Howard is a beast registering rebounds and points every which way and defensively, whilst already off the charts, he has even more room to improve. Bynum’s defense was something the Lakers loved and should Dwight be able to replicate it in LA, there’s no telling how far this team could go because of it. Here is a guy who has held the team in Orlando entirely on his shoulders for years, and now he has a chance to work with players who will take the pressure off and allow him to go to work. The injury may hold him back a little at first (excuse the pun) but Howard seems genuinely excited to be playing in the purple and gold and there is nothing to suggest this won’t be his finest hour to date.
6. Carmelo Anthony
What a player Carmelo has become. While injured last year, he had to take a back seat while the city of New York embraced Linsanity but he did it with grace and can now resume his role as the Knicks franchise player. ‘Melo had an especially fruitful Olympic campaign often registering game high numbers, and he should only improve on that as he takes some new found confidence into the new season. Struggling at times to find his groove in New York shouldn’t be an issue in his 3rd season as a Knick, and having Jason Kidd in the back court won’t do him any harm either. Kidd should supply him with enough open looks for Melo to have a huge impact on the scoreboard. Look for a high flying, scoring machine this season in Carmelo Anthony.

5. Chris Paul

Here is a man who has come from a small market team in New Orleans to the bright lights of Los Angeles and excelled in every way possible. Chris Paul has been the lynchpin that has bound the Clippers together and going forward should continue to do so. An elite athlete and starting Team USA guard, Paul orchestrates such brilliant plays and executes them with a maturity some other guards in the league could (should) work on emulating. Paul averages around 18 PPG, and his assist rates sit around the 9 per game mark. Look for this number to rise with new bloods like Lamar Odom joining the fold, and his already flourishing relationship with Blake Griffin gaining more traction.

4. Derrick Rose

Had D-Rose been healthy, the 2012 playoffs may have been very different for the Bulls. Rose, the league’s number one point guard seems to have the ability to draw a team together and run an offense that is nearly impossible to defend. The Bulls were disappointing at the end of last season and this is largely due to the influence their fallen star has on the team. Before he was injured, Rose boasted numbers that helped guide Chicago past a host of tough teams. 23PPG and 50% from 3 point range throughout the season. Look for Rose to become even more influential when he eventually returns and becomes the hardened, game ready player he truly is.

3. Kobe Bryant

What can we say? 5-Time champion, league MVP, last season’s runner up points scorer, Olympic gold medalist. Kobe just won’t take no for an answer. At 34, the Black Mamba has accomplished all there is in the world of basketball. Some say Bryant is past his prime, but let’s not forget had he played that last game in Sacramento last season, he would have likely beaten Durant to the scoring title. His ability to simply turn it on when needed and bury teams is unlike anyone in the NBA and calls for the highest amount of praise. Kobe’s 2012 was fraught with uphill battles which made him seem tired at times but be assured, this next season you will see a Kobe that hasn’t been seen for a years. He has Dwight. He has Nash. He has Pau. He has a bench. This year you will see the refreshed, invigorated, comfortable and downright terrifying Kobe everyone respects and fears.

2. Kevin Durant

He’s the reigning scoring champ, a fan favorite and 2012 runner up and for all his accolades, Kevin Durant is only 23 years old. Look for this young gun to really find his feet this season as he attempts to gain that first ring. Don’t be surprised if he takes out back to back scoring champ either. Averaging 28 PPG flat per game in 2011/12, Durant has only improved his shot in the off season which spells trouble for any team taking the Thunder on. His pairing with skilled point guard Russell Westbrook and the rest of OKC’s lineup should demonstrate how devastating Durant can really be and the new look Lakers will still be up against it when taking on this team.

DRUMROLL PLEASE……………

1. LeBron James

3-Time League MVP, and arguably the most talented player in the NBA. James finally won his first ring last season and now that that particular monkey is off his back, there’s no telling how dominant this superstar will be. The pressure is off, and LeBron can finally function as normal. James wasn’t far off the scoring title last year, having just being pipped by Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant but his 27.1PPG line looks pretty ominous and should only improve next season. Defensively, James has room to improve and you can be sure he will. Averaging 7.9 RPG, he’s already registering big numbers, but look for that to skyrocket come October. The only way is up for LeBron James at this point.

How did we do? Were we spot on, or were we way off the mark?
Let us know where went right, and spots where we may have gone wrong!

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3 Comments on “NBA NATION AUSTRALIA’S TOP 25 PLAYER RANKINGS”

  1. chris how September 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Good list and agree with most of it but i think i would have Blake Griffin In there somewhere and personally i would have westbrook up a little bit higher but overall good list and a good read.

    • Nick How (@Nick_A_How) September 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      Thanks bruv. Yeah we’ve had a few people suggest Griffin should have been in the 25. Personal preference of course, and obviously not everyone could make it. Cheers for reading!

  2. chris how September 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    maybe im just being biased about Griffin being a clippers fan but if he works on his jump shot he would be even more of a force then he is already.

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