With summer dragging on and on and on before the NBA tips off, we’ve decided to initiate a multipart series that will be the definitive look at the best players in the NBA today.

Over lunch at the Outback Steakhouse (word to Steve Irwin), your crack SLAMonline.com staff sat down and ranked the 50 best players in the NBA today. We realize that’s kind of ambiguous, but that’s how basketball is and that’s how we like it. Basically, though, we tried to list the 50 guys we think have the most value to their teams, right now, at this moment. This doesn’t mean they’ll never be traded, and it doesn’t mean they’re due tremendous contract extensions, but it does mean — since value is king in the NBA — that over the next month or so we’ll run down the 50 guys that we think are the 50 best players, right here, right now.

Before long it’ll be time for our annual NBA team previews. Right now it’s time for some law and order…

21. Pau Gasol

Finding someone to write about the Grizzlies isn’t easy. Just ask Truehoop. On top of that, Pau Gasol has had a strange career. He was rookie of the year from out of nowhere, he puts up great numbers, but he’s never won a playoff game. He was the best player in the FIBA World Championships, but his country won the final game without him. He used to get made fun of for being a metrosexual, so he went the oher way and now he’s got a hipster/homeless beard. We tried to reach out to the world’s #1 Pau Gasol fan, everyone’s favorite commenter TrippleX, but it turns out that the email address he’s been logging in with is a fake! Imagine that. Either that or there’s some kind of technical problem. So, we’re forced to use some of his greatest hits as a commenter for the Pau write-up. TrippleX, why don’t you elaborate further in the comments.
TrippleX’s greatest hits:
Pau was the MVP of the WBC!

I must admit, its awfully hard to put gasol over wade and lebron. but like i said, these guys are all WINNERS and LEADERS!

There is nothing wrong with me or my top 5. I’m just stating my top 5. Hate it or love it. Is there anything wrong with someone stating their personal beliefs? Jeez..

i forgot all about wade and lebron. i gues they are better than gasol and ak47.

Heres my top 5: Nash, AK47, Gasol, Dirk and Kobe. BTW this is not biased. All of the above mentioned players are WINNERS not ballhogs like lebron and wade.

Forget my top 5. First Team All-NBA:
Pg- J. Calderon
Sg- J. Carlos Navarro
Sf- J. Garbajosa
Pf- P. Gasol
C- M. Gasol

Pau was the MVP of the WBC! So like I said before, hate it or love. I honestly couldnt give a damn. Thanks to all the Tripple X (Vin Diesel) supporters. Haha.

Tripple, we’re waiting for you to add on