Tell your friends it was nice to meet them, but I hope I never see them again.
The NBA All-Star break is over.
My prediction remains the same: Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers (even though this is not the same Cavaliers team roster at the start of the season) in the NBA Finals. The Houston Rockets are a threat but don’t put your mortgage on it. The winner, my finals preview will answer the question soon.
However, the time is right to tell you the best starting five players in the National Basketball Association today. A couple of notes, Kawhi Leonard almost made the list even though he is out for the season for the San Antonio Spurs and at the five spot, the Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside gave me a nightmare of actually placing him on the list.
Let’s get into it and start at the one.
Pros: Curry is priceless. The two time MVP does everything better at this spot. He is a good passer, smart defender and efficient. Arguably the best shooter at the position, even when he is not making shots, he is a threat.
Cons: It is hard for him to guard bigger players. The slight frame is his only weakness. And injury prone.
At the two: James Harden
Pros: Great passer. Last year, Harden was a sniper at point guard. Chris Paul joined him, and he improved to an even better passer. Maybe the best passing two. Harden is one of the best penetrators in the league to the basket. And very good at finishing in the lane.
Cons: Turns the ball over less. However, the playoffs are where he can get sporadic. And a Lack of defensive effort.
I will cheat and add a runner-up.
Klay Thomson is a better defender than Harden. He played elite defense against the best players in the playoffs last season. His shooting in the half court is impressive. He has strong basketball IQ making him one of the smartest players in the game. Thompson’s ability to finishing the paint is underrated, very unselfish.
Cons: Harden can create his shot better.
We are at the three-piece now.
Pros: He is a physical marvel. He is aging by the second and demonstrates how can play any position asked. He is the best finisher in the league. The best playmaker, the most durable player at his position and that maybe forever, a physical force.
Cons: effort this year on defense has been lacking, free throw shooting has been average.
Kevin Durant is a runner-up at this spot.
Pros: He does everything well, LeBron is just stronger. Durant created shots for himself when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder and did move without the ball well. Now with the Warriors, he is not only better but a new player with improvements. Durant’s defense and offense are better; the NBA will be for his taking from LeBron.
Cons: he does not have a weakness, maybe weight but you have to pick LeBron over him.
At the four: Anthony Davis
Pros: He scored an All-Star game record of 52 points. He is the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki. Davis is more athletic than Dirk. As face-up shooter he has improved tremendously and if you don’t respect that he will drive to the basket. Put it this way, if he remained healthy to this point in his career he would give Durant and KingJames a run for best player in the league.
Cons: he needs to improve his handling, playmaking ability which he will.
Five: This would be the easiest if Joel Embiid were healthy dating back to college!
Pros: The only two-way center we have in the league. Embiid can be the best player in the NBA but owns being the best player at this position defensively. He can dominate for the entire game; he can switch to defend a guard. Terrific post player and improving. Embiid has the range to shoot and a good passer.
Cons: Staying healthy and minute restrictions.