It seems like the Miami Heat were hoisting the trophy just a few weeks ago, but the 2012-2013 NBA season is already nearly finished. In a league filled with larger-than-life superstars, it can be difficult to narrow the field down to the five most impressive, but we’ve done just that. Here is a list of players which can arguably be considered the top 5 players in the league.
Any list of the game’s greatest players should begin with King James, who was able to attain his first NBA Championship last season in his second year with the Miami Heat. LeBron came into the league as an 18-year-old ready for the biggest stages in the world, and he has grown in terms of maturity and skill with each passing year. He is head and shoulders above most players on the court as far as athleticism and physical capability go, and he can fill up a stat sheet like nobody else.
Durant is basically a shooting guard in the body of a center player. He has continually proven that he can carry a team on his back as a relentless scorer who is willing to play full speed for a full 48 minutes. Durant has amazing coordination and shooting touch for a man who stands nearly seven feet, and he has improved on his overall defense since his rookie year in 2007. Humble and polite yet supremely confident in his own abilities, Durant is the perfect front man for a franchise that is just establishing its identity in Oklahoma City.
Soft spoken, stoic and deadly on a basketball court, Derrick Rose has been able to catapult the Chicago Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference in recent years. His quickness and agility is unmatched, and his leaping ability has surprised many defenders that have been posterized by the young point guard. Rose won the NBA MVP Award in 2011, and he will likely be a perennial All-Star for as long as he is interested in playing then game. Rose has averaged 21 points and nearly seven assists per game over the course of his entire career, and has done so with a supporting cast that is not known as the league’s best.
Bryant is clearly entering the twilight of his career, but tell him that and he’s likely to light you up for 50 points on any given night. Bryant has been joined by Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in the offseason, and the additions have made the Lakes the overwhelming favorite in the Western Conference. Bryant still has the ability to rise up over defenders and make jump shots at will, but the Lakers’ window for opportunity is clearly closing. If Kobe is going to cement his place in history as one of the game’s best, he will need to be able to play at his top level for another few years. Bryant’s career scoring average is over 25 points per game.
Griffin has taken the basketball world by storm since he arrived in the talented and popular league in 2009, and his incredible athletics and ability sets him apart from the rest of the league and its many talented players. Griffin’s dunks often make the highlight reels, and he can rise so high that hitting his head on the rim and the bottom of the backboard are actually a legitimate problem. He is quickly becoming the single most popular player in the league.
Werner Pratt is a freelance writer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Werner blogs and writes articles about NBA bobbleheads, random sports memorabilia, custom bobbleheads, custom made bobbleheads, sports history and other related topics.