The best players in the NBA right now: #40-31

English: Luol Deng playing with the Chicago Bulls
English: Luol Deng playing with the Chicago Bulls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Andre Iguodala on November 23, 2010
Andre Iguodala on November 23, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Washington Wizards v/s Miami Heat December 18,...
Washington Wizards v/s Miami Heat December 18, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

40.  Jrue Holiday- Holiday had a breakout season in 2012-13, scoring 17.7 points to go along with 8 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game before he was promptly traded.  Holiday had a very bright future with the Sixers but they apparently thought that Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams were more to their liking.  It may work out for Holiday in the long run.  The Pelicans have far more talent right now and it will show in Holiday’s assist numbers. With so many weapons, his scoring will surely drop but that shouldn’t change his value.

39. Luol Deng- Deng is another player who makes this list, despite the fact that he not a good outside shooter.  Even without a great outside touch, Deng can still score the ball quite effectively as evidenced by his 16.5 points a game last season.  Deng is also a solid rebounder and passer, averaging 6.3 boards to go along with 3 assists a night.

38. Rudy Gay- in my opinion, Gay was the reason why the Memphis Grizzles got swept in the Western Conference Finals last year.  Tayshaun Prince is a fine player but when you trade away your best shot maker it drastically changes your offense.  The Spurs just doubled the paint because they knew Memphis didn’t have a consistent outside scorer.  Even though Gay got traded mid-season and had to learn a new offense on the fly he still averaged 18.2 points to go along with 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals a game.

37.  Andre Iguodala- might be the worst free throw shooter from the guard spot of anybody in NBA history.  At least that’s what he showed us last year when he shot 57.4 percent from the charity stripe.  Luckily for Nuggets fans he didn’t go to the line often enough for that to make a difference.  Even though his scoring output has decreased dramatically, Iguodala does virtually everything else on the floor well.  Iguodala can pass, rebound and be a lock down defender which is why he will be a great fit with the Warriors.

36.  Monta Ellis- Ellis is another two guard who puts up huge numbers, even though he shoots a terrible percentage from both the three-point line and the field.  Ellis isn’t a bad shooter but doesn’t always make the best decisions.  He should get a lot more open looks this season playing next to Jose Calderon and Dirk Nowitzki.  Even with his poor shot selection, Ellis still managed to score 19.2 points a night to go along with 6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals.

35.  Pau Gasol- Gasol really struggled last year as did every Laker other than Kobe Bryant.  Now that the anchor known as Dwight Howard is now a member of the Houston Rockets, Gasol should return to his old was as a Laker stud.  Even though Gasol wasn’t at the top of his game last year, he still averaged 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 blocks a night.

34.  Josh Smith- Smith would be a dominating player in this league if he decided to abandon his horrible outside game.  Even with his atrocious jumper, Smith makes the list because of everything else he can do on the floor.   Smith averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks a game.  It will be very interesting to see how Smith incorporates his game in Detroit since he signed a massive deal this off-season to play for the Pistons.

33.  Kevin Garnett- Garnett is long past his prime and playing a different position than in his younger years but is still a really solid player.  Garnett settles for deep jumpers far too often because he has lost a step on the offensive end of the floor but makes the list because of his defense and intensity. That doesn’t mean “KG” is useless on offense as he still averaged 14.8 points and a couple of assists a night.  It will be interesting to see how he blends into the talent laden Nets roster this upcoming season.

32.  DeMarcus Cousins- Cousins is a terrible decision maker, especially when it comes to his shot selection, but his talent is undeniable.  If he can get his head screwed on straight, Cousins will be unstoppable.  For all his flaws, Cousins still managed to average 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals a game.

31.  Chris Bosh- Bosh isn’t a natural center and definitely doesn’t play like one.  Ever since he left Toronto to try to win championships, Bosh’s game has changed dramatically.  With the Raptors, Bosh was a back to the basket player who could finish around the rim.  In Miami, he is relegated to being a spot up shooter and garbage man.  Even though that role doesn’t fit him well at all, Bosh has still found a way to make his presence felt.  Bosh averaged 16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks a game while winning his second title.

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