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…

27. Shawn Marion

By Youtube

In honor of google’s acquisition of youtube, we’ll let the video speak for itself. On the court Marion is one of the best rebounders in the league by the numbers but those can be misleading. He is able to hit three point shots, but you wouldn’t think so by looking at his shot. His game needs to be seen in action to be appreciated. HIGHLIGHTS!!! And with the google and youtube news dominating the internet, this is only right. How timely! Enjoy the Matrix.