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NBA Player Power Rankings 1.0

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

To preface this article, it’s best to clearly define what exactly a power ranking is. A power ranking isn’t a definitive ranking of teams, nor is it permanent, nor does last season have any bearing on it. It’s completely subject to change and solely relative to the sample size of which you’re using. In this case, we’ll be using the entirety of this season thus far, which depending on the team, ranges from eight to ten games.

With that said, let’s continue you on to the list:

  1. Karl-Anthony Towns

Line: 22.5 points on 56.2 FG%, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks  

Despite the Minnesota Timberwolves’ stance on three-point centric offenses(or the lack thereof), their anti-meta lineup has found a surprising degree of success so far, picking up two marquee wins over the Thunder, both at home and Oklahoma City. That has been in large part thanks to Karl-Anthony Towns, who certainly hasn’t lost a step from his post All-Star break run at the tail end of last season. While I don’t believe the Wolves can sustain their level of success thus far, mostly due to their underwhelming competition, I don’t foresee Towns slowing down anytime soon either. In fact, expect him to be a staple in this series as the season progresses.

  1. Blake Griffin

Line: 24 points on 50.0 FG%, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists

The Chris Paul-less Clippers began the season with a red-hot 4-0 start, but have now fallen to 1-4 over their last five games. Despite their precipitous fall, their still-impressive record has been engineered in large part by Blake Griffin, the Clippers’ longtime red-headed stepchild who always seemed lost in the shadow of CP3. The biggest development in Griffin’s game has been his improved stroke from beyond the three-point line, discovering a consistent motion that he can rely on out of the hop, that has added a dangerous layer to his already impressive arsenal. Couple that with the playmaking sagacity of a point guard, and Griffin’s increased role in the offense has really accentuated his virtuoso talent as a basketball player.

  1. Kristaps Porzingis

Line: 29 points on 48.3 FG%, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks

The New York Knicks have been a bona-fide disaster since Porzingis arrived in 2014, but if Phil Jackson had any long-lasting conquests that should be celebrated by Knicks fans, it should be Porzingis. The Unicorn has had a string of 30 point games to start the season, but it was his 40 point-6 block game, in a comeback versus Myles Turner and the Pacers, that was the icing on the cake. And, for the first time in Porzingis’ short but exciting career, I think he’s finally supplanted himself above Karl-Anthony Towns in my mind, even if it’s just for a short while. Hopefully, we get a season-long revival of the exciting Towns-Porzingis rivalry that I was waiting for all last season.

  1. Kevin Durant

Line: 25 points on 54.2 FG%, 8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks

It’s not surprising to see last year’s Finals MVP playing at a considerably less exciting level than he was in last years championship series, but it is jarring. So much so, that it makes you stop and realize how other-worldly Kevin Durant is. He’s still averaging 25 points on roughly 54 percent as a forward, who specializes in shooting, and blocking nearly two and a half shots per contest. The difference between Durant and some of the other players on this list is that their numbers may be the product of typical early inflation. Whereas in Durant’s case, I have a feeling that what we’re seeing isn’t too far from the final regular-season product.  

  1. Stephen Curry

Line: 27 points on 49.7 FG%, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists

Since Kevin Durant’s arrival in Golden State, there’s been a paradigm shift for their two-time MVP and star point guard, evolving from their offensive juggernaut and offensive-manufacturing machine, to a more than capable extension of their democratic offense. And, thus far he’s had no shortage of highly efficient(scoring at 50 percent or better in 5/10 games), highly impressive(scoring 25 points or more in 6/10 games) performances to remind everyone that he’s still as dangerous as he was in his MVP years. Possibly even more dangerous, because of all of the gravity Kevin Durant has, granting Curry more wide open looks from downtown.  

Tied-5. Anthony Davis & Demarcus Cousins

Line(Cousins): 28.5 points on 47.0 FG%, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks

Line(Davis): 27.5 points on 54.4 FG%, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks

The New Orleans Pelicans’ very own rendition of the Twin Towers may be counter-intuitive to the way modern basketball is played, centered around guards and constant motion, but to deny their talent would be a fool’s errand. With that said, it’s hard to discern who’s better between the two at this moment. If both Davis and Cousins were stocks, I’d invest in Davis, but not without trepidation. Davis may have a better track record than Cousins, but Davis hasn’t even played all ten of the Pelicans games thus far. I think it goes without saying that his health in concerning, not just for prospective investors, but for the Pelicans. Regardless, after just watching these first ten games, I feel like it’s honestly impossible to pick one or the other. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses, and they can both do just about the same things on any given night. It’ll be interesting to see their relationship blossom as the season progresses.

  1. James Harden

Line: 27 points on 42.7 FG%, 4.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists

James Harden’s place on this list should be unquestioned after his masterful exhibition against Utah, one of the league’s premier defensive teams. 19-25 from the field, 7-8 from three-point land, 13 assists, and a career-high 56 points. That lone, insane outlier aside, the rest of his season has been astonishing, to say the least. Amazing enough that even after only ten games, I have no doubt that Harden will once again be vying for MVP honors.

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Line: 31 points on 58.3 FG%, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists

After Kobe Bryant challenged Antetokounmpo to win this years MVP, the NBA masses spiritual pick had been decided by majority. And, “The Greek”, as I have come to affectionately refer to him, has yet to disappoint. At this point, any Milwaukee game seems like it has the potential to become a freak show, because any team can fall mercy to Antetokounmpo’s insane arsenal. Sadly, he’s yet to hoist that one absurdly great performance above his head, like Harden, so his rank is limited. Expect to change in the coming months though.

  1. LeBron James

Line: 29 points on 61.0 FG%, 7.5 rebounds, and 8.5 assists

The Cavaliers’ failure has been the main talking point of the league thus far — usurping “The Greek”, the Warriors, Houston, or even their star player, King James. Make no mistake though, James’ incredible performance against the Wizards largely rectified that, despite their subsequent loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Not only because it was a domineering win over a credible team, but because it serves as a reminder that the season is still young, and LeBron James is the greatest switch in professional team-sports right now. At any moment, in any game or any series, against any opponent — LeBron James has the power to breathe life into his team, and that is the greatest power of all.

I'm a young college student who just wants to share his love for the game with the world.

About Ray Petree (27 Articles)
I'm a young college student who just wants to share his love for the game with the world.

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