I asked, on Twitter, why exactly Odom – whom I deemed the “35th best player in the NBA” – was on so many commercials. He’s now prominently featured on Taco Bell ads as well as hawking some power bar that I can’t remember. To which, the overwhelming response was, that he was married to Khloe Kardashian and thus was now a celebrity himself.
Of course, one friend challenged me on saying Odom was one of the 35 best players in the NBA. He claimed that Odom wasn’t even in the top 100. I am by no means a Lakers fan or an Odom fan, but I found that statement to be flat lunacy (sorry, Mike).
So I present to you the inaugural Scott Miles National Basketball Association Player Ratings, or SMNBAPR for short. There are no strings attached to the SMNBAPR – I’m simply ranking whom I feel are the top 50 players in the league right now.
Feel free to post your comments or criticisms below. Go ahead and berate me at your pleasure, but at the very least do it constructively and creatively (not just, “Scott, you’re an &^%*^# idiot for putting X above Y.” I want to hear your explanation.)
Without further ado…may I present to you the SMNBAPR.
50. Tyreke Evans, G, Sacramento Kings (20.3 ppg, 5.1 apg): Spoiler alert – lone rookie on the list. Not a spoiler alert – lone King on the list as well.
49. Al Horford, C, Atlanta Hawks (13.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg): Yeah, he’s having a nice season…but seriously, was anyone actually excited to watch him PLAY in the All-Star game?
48. Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder (16 ppg, 7.5 apg, 1.2 spg): Almost two more assists per game than Derrick Rose. Of course, he gets to play with Kevin Durant every night.
47. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Portland Trail Blazers (17.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg): Super-talented player, but balanced roster keeps his numbers from exploding.
46. Carl Landry, PF, Houston Rockets (16.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg): Should be included on any and all “Most Improved Player” list. Also makes me wonder why a guy like Terrence Dials, his counterpart at Ohio State, never got a shot in the league.
45. Lamar Odom, PF, Los Angeles Lakers (10.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg): So 35th was a bit ambitious. Can’t deny the production, even if it suffers playing with Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Kobe Ballhog, err, “Bean”, Bryant.
44. Mo Williams, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers (16.9 ppg, 5.1 apg): Not too many guys can stroke the jumper like Mo, “deep in the Q!”
43. Jamal Crawford, G, Atlanta Hawks (17.8 ppg, 38.2 3FG%): Including him on the SMNBAPR is the only compliment I will give to the Meesheegan man.
42. Jason Terry, PG, Dallas Mavericks (17.8 ppg, 3.8 apg): James Naismith himself couldn’t have drawn up a better Sixth Man than Terry.
41. Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs (16.9 ppg, 6.0 apg): Scoring down five points per game from last year, but he’s also taking four fewer shots per game with Richard Jefferson in the fold.
40. David West, PF, New Orleans Hornets (18.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg):In a league with numerous quality “fours”, remains one of the best.
39. Monta Ellis, G, Golden State Warriors (26.2 ppg, 5.4 apg): Sixth in league in scoring. Of course, when you hoist as many shots as he does in that system, you should be in the top-10 easily.
38. Andre Iguodala, SG, Philadelphia 76ers (17.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.7 apg): Solid across the board, plus plays defense. Scoring, shooting numbers have dipped this year.
37. Caron Butler, SF, Dallas Mavericks (16.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg): I’m going to chalk up his struggles in Washington to “instabilities in the locker room.”
36. Andrew Bogut, C, Milwaukee Bucks (16.0 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.18 bpg): Very well-rounded center continues to improve each year in the league.
35. Baron Davis, PG, Los Angeles Clippers (15.8 ppg, 7.9 apg): He’s fun to watch. Just wished he cared more about the game.
34. Antawn Jamison, PF, Washington Wizards (20.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg): Regarding trades - Am I mildly worried he’s 26-for-83 shooting in his last five games (twice against Knicks, once each against Boston, Orlando, Charlotte – three potential Cavs playoff opponents)? Um, yes.
33. Jason Kidd, PG, Dallas Mavericks (9.3 ppg, 9.9 apg, 5.1 rpg): One of few athletes whose numbers never tell the impact he has on a game.
32. Luol Deng, SF, Chicago Bulls (18.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg): Bouncing back nicely after struggling with injuries in 2008-09.
31. Al Jefferson, C, Minnesota Timberwolves (17.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg): Curious to see what he’d look like on a real NBA team.
30. Brook Lopez, C, New Jersey Nets (18.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.92 bpg): I don’t really have anything to say about him….but boy, are the Nets awful or what?
29. Kevin Garnett, PF, Boston Celtics (14.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg): Still shooting at high percentage (53.6 FG%). But his days as elite rebounder are gone.
28. Danny Granger, SF, Indiana Pacers (22.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg): Shooting, scoring down this year as he’s struggling with injuries. Still can’t deny his ability to create plays.
27.Gerald Wallace, SF, Charlotte Bobcats (18.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg): Outstanding rebounding surge for him this year has him in the top-30.
26. David Lee, C, New York Knicks (20.0 ppg, 11.4 rpg): Rebounding numbers easy to achieve with Chris Duhon and Larry Hughes laying so many bricks. (Coach K, please forgive me for calling out a Dukie like that!!!)
25. Chris Kaman, C, Los Angeles Clippers (20.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg): Reppin’ the MAC!
24. Carlos Boozer, PF, Utah Jazz (19.4 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.2 apg): The Karl Malone to Deron Williams’ John Stockton.
23. Rudy Gay, SF, Memphis Grizzlies (19.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg): People overlook his willingness to play defense.
22. Stephen Jackson, SG, Charlotte Bobcats (20.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.9 apg): Very good defender as well has Charlotte – CHARLOTTE! – in the playoff hunt.
21. Zach Randolph, PF, Memphis Grizzlies (20.5 ppg, 11.8 rpg): Scuffled a bit going into the All-Star break but his play throughout the season warrants this spot.
20. Paul Pierce, SF, Boston Celtics (18.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.3 apg): Can’t keep him out of the top-20. In a few weeks, that opinion might change.
19. Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Bulls (19.6 ppg, 5.7 apg): Sky is the limit for him.
18. Amare Stoudemire, PF, Pheonix Suns (21.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 55.5 FG%): No doubt about his talent. But doubts on his mental makeup and his health keep from the top.
17. Chauncey Billups, PG, Denver Nuggets (19.5 ppg, 6.2 apg, 42.4 3FG%): Brings it every night. He dismantled the Lakers two weeks ago.
16. Deron Williams, PG, Utah Jazz (18.6 ppg, 9.8 apg, 4.1 rpg): Numbers down slightly from last two years. Still one of the best at his position.
15. Pau Gasol, PF, Los Angeles Lakers (17.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg): Remember, he single-handedly had Memphis in the playoffs (best teammates were Mike Miller and 34-year old Eddie Jones) in the West.
14. Rajon Rondo, PG, Boston Celtics (14.3 ppg, 9.7 apg, 2.5 spg): Potential jump into top-10 if he could hit a jump shot. Still shooting 53 percent without one.
13. Joe Johnson, SG, Atlanta Hawks (21.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.6 apg): Four-time All-Star continues to shine.
12. Chris Bosh, PF, Toronto Raptors (24.4 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 52.6 FG%): Really flourishing. Boy, bet the Pistons would have taken him at power forward instead of Darko?
11. Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns (18.3 ppg, 11.1 apg, 94.0 FT%): If he was a baseball player, they’d be making him pee in a cup every day for how well he’s playing at his age.
10. Brandon Roy, SG, Portland Trail Blazers (23.1 ppg, 5.0 apg, 4.6 rpg): The guy just flat out knows how to play the game.
9. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks (24.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.4 apg): No other big man I’d want taking a 20-foot jumper. Hardly ever touches the rim.
8. Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic (18.0 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 2.7 bpg): The only player LeBron hesitates to drive on. That might be the biggest compliment of all. Would be higher if his teammates ever, you know, actually passed him the ball.
7. Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio Spurs (19.4 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.77 bpg): It only takes him 32 minutes a night to post those numbers. Has this guy had a bad game in his CAREER?
6. Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets (20.4 ppg, 11.2 apg, 2.3 spg): Everybody’s dream point guard. Put up nine-plus assists in last 18 games before getting hurt while averaging over 20 points a night.
5. Carmelo Anthony, SF, Denver Nuggets (29.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.4 apg): Was at 31.4 percent from beyond the arc and 80.2 percent at free throw line before the season. This year, 38.1 and 85.6, respectively.
4. Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder (29.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.9 apg): Last time he scored fewer than 25 was on Dec. 19. Think he’s starting to figure it out?
3. Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers (28.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.6 apg): Was looking at his profile on ESPN.com and see he is at 999 career NBA games. Actually shooting a higher percentage from the floor this year than for his career (46 percent to 45.5).
2. Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat (26.5 ppg, 6.5 apg, 4.4 rpg): Embodiment of “nobody does more with less.” The Nets starting five would rout Miami’s without Wade.
1. LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (29.9 ppg, 8.3 1pg, 7.1 rpg): No player is more versatile. In the Cavs’ 13-game win streak, he’s averaging 30.8 ppg, 10.0 apg, and 6.6 rpg, Ridiculous.
Just missed the cut (in no order): Andrea Bargnani, Al Harrington, Manu Ginobili, Ray Allen, Corey Maggette, Joakim Noah, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, OJ Mayo, Eric Gordon.