10. Dwyane Wade- Wade’s scoring numbers dropped to the second lowest average of his career even though he shot a career high of 52.1 percent from the field. What does that mean? Wade isn’t the focal point of the offense, and that seems to suit him just fine. At this point of his career, Wade knows where he fits in and what it takes to win Championships. Even during a “down Year,” Wade averaged 21.2 points to go along with 5.1 assists, 5 rebounds and 1.9 steals a game.
9. James Harden- Harden only started seven games in his entire NBA career before being traded to the Houston Rockets at the beginning of last season. Finally getting a lead role and starter’s minutes really did wonders for Hardens career. Harden was able to lead the Rockets into the playoffs on the strength of his breakout season. He averaged 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game.
8. Dwight Howard- Howard was not a fit with Kobe Bryant or the Los Angeles Lakers and had his worst season in more than five years to show for it. With that said Howard is still the best center in the NBA and will be for years to come. His ridiculous physical gifts outweigh all of his crap other than his horrid free throw shooting. Even on a really down year, Howard averaged 17.1 points on 57.8 percent field goal shooting to go along with 12.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.4 blocks a game. Just imagine what kind of numbers he could put up if Howard could make a free throw.
7. Russell Westbrook- Westbrook still isn’t the pass first point guard that everyone wants him to be, but we’ve learned from his knee injury in last year’s playoffs, that he is a huge part of Oklahoma City’s success. Westbrook is one of the most explosive point guards the league has ever seen. He can get to the rim whenever he wants and finishes in dynamic fashion. Westbrook also has an improving outside game that will make him totally unguardable. Even with a suspect jumper, Westbrook put up huge numbers last year, averaging 23.2 points, 7.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game.
6. Tony Parker- He isn’t the most explosive, the best scorer or a great defender but what Parker knows is what it takes to win. Parker has been the starting point guard of three championship teams and was the catalyst of a team that pushed the Heat to seven games in the 2013 NBA Finals. Parker had one of his best statistical seasons in 2012-13, when he averaged 20.3 points, 7.6 assists, 3 rebounds and almost a steal a game.
5. Carmelo Anthony- Anthony isn’t your prototypical power forward and isn’t a great rebounder, averaging only 6.9 boards a game. But what he lacks in rebounding prowess, he makes up for in scoring ability. In his first year at the four spot, Anthony led the NBA in scoring, averaging 28.7 points a game.
4. Chris Paul- Paul has been a great point guard from the moment he stepped on an NBA court back in 2005 and he will be for years to come. Paul’s minutes, points and assists have all gone down since he joined the Clippers but that hasn’t changed his status as the league’s best point guard. Paul has figured out what it means to be a team leader and is primed to push the Clipper to all new heights.
3. Kobe Bryant- even coming off a brutal injury, Bryant will still be the most dominant shooting guard in the league this upcoming season. He puts in way too much work for that not to happen. In what some consider the most underachieving Laker team of all-time, Bryant all but carried Los Angeles into the playoffs last season before he got injured. He averaged 27.3 points to go along with 6 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals a game.
2. Kevin Durant- Kevin Durant is ridiculously skilled in all facets of the game but where he really excels is shooting the rock. Durant finished last season as a 50, 40 and 90 guy. That’s wildly impressive when you consider how much Durant shoots the ball. Durant finished last season as the second leading scorer in the league averaging 28.1 points to go along with 7.9 rebounds. 4.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks a game.
1. LeBron James- James won his fourth MVP trophy in five years while leading the Miami Heat to their second straight NBA title. James was named All-NBA first team for the sixth consecutive season to go along with his fifth straight year making All-Defensive first team. Add to that, his second straight Finals MVP and there is no doubt who the best player in the game is today. LeBron finished 2012-13 averaging 26.8 points on 56.5 percent shooting to go along with 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals a game.