Welcome to the 2nd edition of my weekly player power rankings, your comprehensive guide to the top dogs in the league right now. This week features some overturn in the rankings, with some guys going up and some guys going down, plus a few new guys. It will still be 15 players deep, with a few honorable mentions. Here it is.
- LeBron James– The King has continued his domination by avergaing 28.5 points in his last 10 games. Although there is a lot of hype around Westbrook averaging a triple double, people don’t realize that LeBron could easily average better stats in the same situation if he wanted to. Expect LeBron to be at the 1 spot in my rankings for the rest of the season.
- James Harden– If you play fantasy basketball, you know that Harden is easily the top player. He’s averaging a double double in points and assists, while maintaining a very efficient style of play despite the amount of shots he takes. With the Rockets making their bid for the 2 seed in the west, there’s no question about Harden’s ability to lead a team. The only reason I’ve moved Harden ahead of Durant is that the Warriors are floundering despite loads of talent, while the Rockets are winning with Eric Gordon being their 2nd best player.
- Kevin Durant– Even though Curry has been playing better lately, Durant has clearly established himself as the Warriors’ best player. While the assertion that Warriors actually being better with him is up for debate (https://hoopnationreport.com/2017/01/11/the-struggles-of-the-golden-state-warriors/), there is no question that he is producing well enough this year to be a top 5 player.
- Chris Paul– I cannot tell you enough how underrated CP3 is. He’s by far the best defensive guard in the league, along with being a top 3 passer and facilitator, while being incredibly efficient from the field and from the free throw line. Also, he’s basically been averaging these same stats for the past 10 years. He’s been so good for so long that people have forgotten how good he really is.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo– I vastly underrated Giannis at 9 a week ago, and now I intend to correct that. The Greek Freak is the best player on a good team, and has become the 2nd most polarizing player in the east behind LeBron. If you just watch this guy, you will realize that he is the Bucks’ entire offense. Everything flows through him. I honestly believe Giannis could be put on any team in the league, and that team would at least be decent. He’s the best defender among the league’s elite, and he has the best size-length-quickness combo in the NBA.
- Kawhi Leonard– Kawhi Leonard has been eerily consistent this season. While this is a good thing for the Spurs, this type of play won’t move him very much in my rankings. He stays at the 6 spot for this week.
- Russell Westbrook– Westbrook continues to be the most overrated player right now. His high volume stats can be misleading, because they take attention away from his inefficiency and porous defense. Westbrook’s bad shooting number are worse than most players because of the high amount of shots he takes. Thus, he’s affecting his team’s shooting percentage a lot more than the average player. If you would like to know more about why Westbrook is overrated, click this link to one of my articles: https://hoopnationreport.com/2017/01/11/the-struggles-of-the-golden-state-warriors/
- Anthony Davis– There’s simply no way to overlook Davis’ monster stats this year. At 29 points and 12 rebounds per game, he is making his case for being a top 5 player. To make the jump, he needs to stay healthy, and fully incorporate his jump shot to his game.
- Steph Curry– I would have had Curry stay at 7 if Giannis hadn’t made such a big jump. His numbers have taken a drop since last season, but he’s been pretty consistent all year and I don’t expect his standing to change very much.
- DeMarcus Cousins-Cousins is almost like a poor man’s Anthony Davis. He averages similar points and rebounds, but doesn’t protect the rim as much, or play with the same efficiency. He is a better shooter than Davis, but he can be to perimeter-oriented at times.
- John Wall– Wall is quietly putting together a career best season, with 23 ppg and 10 apg. Wall has become a significantly better shooter over the course of his career, and is currently at 45 percent from the field.
- Jimmy Butler– I kind of overlooked Jimmy Butler last week despite the fact that you could make an argument for him being a top 10 player. Also, he’s recently been on a roll, with 28 ppg in his last 10 games. But Jimmy has stats that are very uncommon for wings who are not very good shooters. He is a little below the league average in 3 point percentage, but this doesn’t affect his team much because he does not shoot very many 3s. He does attempt almost 10 free throws a game, and advanced stats usually say that guys who get to the line a lot tend to be more effective. Jimmy Butler is trending up, so look for his name even higher in later rankings.
- Kyle Lowry– Lowry has cemented his place as the leader of the Raptors, mainly because he is their only facilitator. His average of 7 assists per game is impressive considering the Raptors have a good iso scorer in DeMar DeRozan. Look for Lowry’s name higher in the rankings in later weeks.
- Damian Lillard– I had no choice but to drop Dame in the rankings after he had averaged only 18 points in the past 10 games. While I’m probably placing too much emphasis on his recent performance, with so many guys moving up, Dame had to take the fall.
- DeMar DeRozan– DeRozan does one thing and one thing only: score. He can get to the rim whenever he wants, often drawing fouls. Despite his poor jump shot and very poor defense, there is no question that he will help Toronto come playoff time. The duo of him and Lowry will probably be the greatest obstacle for the Cavs.
Honorable Mention(not in order): Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Draymond Green, Isaiah Thomas