Sick of arguing with your friends about who is the best player in the NBA? Leading into the ’13-14 NBA Season, Ball So Hard will be putting an end to the debate. Here is the decisive list of the 50 best NBA players.
Note: predictions are for the up coming season and rank players on how they will perform in the ’13-14 season.
No. 13, Kyrie Irving
In only two seasons in the NBA, Kyrie Irving has proved he is easily a top 10 point guard in the league, and is hot on the heals of the top five.
Some doubted whether he was good enough to be picked at number one in 2011. After only managing 11 games in his single season at Duke, some critics hadn’t seen enough to declare him a franchise-changer.
However, by the end of his rookie season, with a Rookie of the Year trophy now sitting in his cabinet, Uncle Drew had quelled any doubts about his abilities and more than validated his No. 1 draft position.
Irving has everything you could want in a NBA point guard. Skill wise, Irving is an elite player; he’s fast, a great passer and a deadeye shooter. But what makes him special is his confidence, leadership and ability to win games.
The Australian-born, New Jersey native possesses that rare sixth sense in the closing stages of games, that unteachable killer instinct that makes everything seem easier when the game is on the line.
The kid is cold blooded, has no fear and can beat a team any way he wants.
Irving’s knack for game-winning heroics has launched him into elite company and he has become a genuine topic for conversation when talking about the most clutch players in the league.
And it isn’t only the fourth quarter that Irving excels in. In his sophomore season, he increased his scoring to 22.5 points per game (eighth in the league), upped his assists to 5.9 and picked a career high 1.5 pockets a night.
His improved production earned his first selection to the All-Star game, and if not for injuries holding him to 59 games during the year, he could’ve made a genuine case for All-NBA selection.
For most of last season, Irving wasn’t even old enough to legally drink, but he played with the poise and confidence of a seasoned veteran. Look no further than his humiliation of Brandon Knight in the rookie/sophomore game to see just how far in front of his peers his game is.
All-Star weekend was Irving’s coming out party. Playing for the Cavs meant his early season performances went mostly unnoticed by fans that didn’t have league pass, but after mortally wounding Knight and dropping 32 points in 26 minutes in the Rising Stars game, winning the three-point contest and dropping 15 points in the All-Star game, Irving was a nationally known star.
The additions of fellow first overall pick Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack coupled with the Cavs plethora of lottery picks and a healthy Anderson Varejao, give Irving a capable cast to make a push for the playoffs this season.
In only 11 college games Irving proved he was a number one draft pick and in only two NBA seasons he proved he was an All-Star. Imagine what he can do in three.