Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Top 5 Ballers

As the season comes to an end, I look at this playoff race between the Bulls and Raptors and ask myself this question: which team is more fun to watch? Of course I'm biased. I'm a Bulls fan, always have been and always will be. But if I can put the two teams side by side and evaluate who puts on a better show against the Cavs, it's the Bulls by a Madhouse on Madison mile.

Especially in these past two weeks, the Raptors have just been dreadful. As great a player as Chris Bosh is, he wouldn't add much in the excitement column. He's a fundamental player and I'd love to see him in a Bulls jersey next year, but he's not the kind of superstar that you have to watch intently on every play. Derrick Rose, on the other hand, is. I forget which sportscaster said it, but the day he was named an all star Rose was described as "still pulling things out of his ass." Meaning, Rose does amazing things on the court that we've never seen before. Things that even Derrick has never seen before! He does stuff that makes fans cheer, sportscasters bug out their eyes, and other players say "wow."

Who are the other players in the NBA that do this? Honestly, there aren't many. I picked five (six actually, slotted to 'honorable mention') ballers who I just love to watch. When they play basketball, I'm reminded of why I still love the game.

Honorable Mention:

Josh Smith

Whenever I look at this guy I feel like I'm right there in the dirty south. I don't know if anybody has made a YouTube mix of Josh Smith moves with Young Buck and T.I. doing Stomp, but I think I might have to throw the Ratatat mix behind some of those last second game-winner put-backs. This guy is just so Atlanta it's ridiculous. He's got those long arms that nobody can block, and an attitude that I usually hate but can't help but love when this thug gets to the rim.


5. Brandon Roy

The leader of the Portland Trail Blazers. If the Blazers didn't have so many injuries this year, they'd be the most feared team in the league. They have absolutely everything a team needs to be a championship contender, and if they can stay healthy next year, everybody forget about your predictions, this is the team to beat. And a really, really big reason is their best player. Brandon Roy is stealth. He's not very flashy, but not because he can't be; he just does everything right. If you want to be reminded of what fundamental basketball looks like, watch a Blazers game. Brandon Roy gets it done.


4. Derrick Rose

See, I'm not THAT biased. I know that Derrick Rose isn't the best player in the league, but he's definitely one of the most fun. For everything I said above, and more. That dunk on Dragic. The number of defenders' ankles he breaks on a nightly basis. The speed that just can't be defended at all. D Rose is the sole reason I care about basketball again. I've never seen a player quite like him. A point guard doesn't usually do what he does, especially not after just two years in the NBA. And it just keeps getting better too.


3. Deron Williams

He might be the only University of Illinois player in the NBA. But good Lord, he does us proud. This is the best point guard in the NBA. No disrespect to Chris Paul, but seriously. Deron Williams makes fundamentals look so good. He's a little bit Pistol Pete, John Stockton, Rajon Rondo, D Rose, CP and his own unique sort of artist blended into a player who simply cannot be dealt with properly by any defender in the league. Pass, shoot, dunk, whatever. Deron Williams does whatever he wants.


2. LeBron James

Obviously he had to be on this list. He's the best player in the NBA, but not just because he scores points. He makes basketball more than just a game. He turns it into an experience. Kinda (just kinda) how MJ did back in the day. As a player, he's almost inhuman. I don't feel like I even have to prove it to anyone. You've seen how he swats the ball away on fast breaks. King James, obviously.


1. Dwyane Wade

Wade is it. When Lebron makes a great play, it still feels like a playground move. But when Wade does it, it's like a grown man move. I don't think there's a more balanced basketball player in the world today. Whereas Lebron is a sort of beast, Wade is just a perfect example of human athleticism. He's that guy who makes the crowd go "OHHHH" at away games. Seriously, just check the PROOF.

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