25. Tim Duncan, San Antonio
Duncan is rolling downhill fast, but name me a team who would not consider giving up key players and draft choices to secure him for one or two years? That's because he just wins every year with solid leadership and professionalism.
24. Kevin Garnett, Boston
Old as dirt, but still a beast with solid professionalism and love for a game he has dominated for many years.
23. Monta Ellis, Milwaukee
He is scorer deluxe with no conscience on a Milwaukee Bucks team that will need it every night.
22. Marc Gasol, Memphis
Gasol backpedaled last year in my estimation and did not improve as expected. Has solid passing skills in the post, but has to develop some selfishness.
21. Steve Nash, LA Lakers
The best conditioned player in basketball, but it's still a young man's game. Going to Los Angeles becomes a great move for Nash because he can lighten his work load there. A healthy Nash come playoff time could mean a sixth championship for Kobe Bryant.
20. Zach Randolph, Memphis
Randolph is one of the most difficult players to guard because he has an array of offensive moves that are executed from the left side of his body. When healthy, he has an ability to carry a team.
19. Tony Parker, San Antonio
Had a great season last year and definitely took over the leadership reins from Tim Duncan. He has never gotten enough respect from the media. But trust me: Players know and pay a price on a nightly basis.
18. Chris Bosh, Miami
Stepped up with solid play in the Finals and showed us skills we had forgotten he had since moving to the Heat. I still believe he has to be more assertive. That trait would move him past the three power forwards in front of him.
17. Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
Has lost some luster in my eyes because he has given in to the nightly highlights. I have not seen improvement in shooting technique or defensive abilities to be considered a top-tier player.
16. Pau Gasol, LA Lakers
Consistently takes hits for lack of aggressiveness, but even I would admit that it's difficult to play in the shadow of arguably one of the Top 10 players in the history of basketball in Kobe Bryant. Gasol is the best skilled big man in basketball and he will allow Dwight Howard to destroy teams off weak side rebounding.
15. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
He has evolved as a dominant inside-out post player and most importantly his leadership skills are blossoming.
14. Carmelo Anthony, New York
Anthony is an offensive machine, but more is expected of him if he wants to be considered in LeBron James or Kevin Durant class. He finally has a great mix of veterans around who will challenge him, so I am expecting a great year out of him and the Knicks.
13. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
Nowitzki is a prime example of a superstar getting settled after winning a championship. That has taken the edge off that player I marveled at a few years ago.
12. Derrick Rose, Chicago
The main question facing Rose as he battles back from injury is… Will he maintain that explosive two-foot explosion when attacking the rim? If he doesn't, will his jump shot improve enough to maintain superstar status?
11. Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia
Maturity is a problem with Bynum, but he is the best scoring center in basketball. If healthy he could play a major role in Philadelphia facing Miami in the conference finals.
10. Rajon Rondo, Boston
If he improves his ability to make mid-range shots off the two-man game like Tony Parker, then without question he would sit No. 5 on this list. Rondo is the best rebounding guard in the NBA too.
9. Dwyane Wade, Miami
Wade is without a doubt a Top 5 player with his skill set, but injury and a propensity to take plays off allow others to pass him on the list. I am truly impressed that he understands the Heat is LeBron's team despite the fact he is more beloved in Miami.
8. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
I watched him this summer concentrate on defense. If he wanted, he could make the All-Defensive 1st Team with ease. He showed during the Finals he can dominate offensively and quieted those who constantly want him to acquiesce to the talents of Durant.
7. Deron Williams, Brooklyn
The most physical point guard in basketball. Should explode this season with the ultra smooth talents of Joe Johnson playing alongside of him.
6. Kevin Love, Minnesota
The definition of beast on a basketball court. He rebounds the ball out of his area better than anyone since Dennis Rodman. What makes him even better is the that fact he can make shots from anywhere on the floor.
5. Chris Paul, LA Clippers
Best leader in basketball with the ball in his hands. Paul is underrated as a shot maker, especially in crunch time.
4. Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers
Age and length of service are catching up to the Black Mamba, but when healthy he is still the most dangerous player in basketball when it comes to shot making ability.
3. Dwight Howard, LA Lakers
The most physically intimidating defensive player in the game. Bad backs are tricky but if health permits, Howard will put up his usual double-doubles and help lead the Lakers to the Finals.
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
Although sitting at No. 2, he is still a ways away from overtaking LeBron if he does not improve his defense and passing. Anyway, the best offensive talent I have seen since the George Gervin.
1. LeBron James, Miami
Quite simply the best player in the world. Got another MVP, a title, MVP of the Finals honors and a second Olympic gold medal last year. It could get even worse for the rest of the league.
Column, Kobe B, Andrew Bynum, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Monta Ellis, Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Zach Randolph