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Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at 12:50 pm  |  162 responses

Top 50: Kevin Love, no. 16

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Jake Appleman

I’m writing this in Amsterdam. And it’s raining, which is a surprisingly apt metaphor for how I feel about Kevin Love: Amsterdam—awesome; rain—his ranking is probably too high. (Cue everybody at once: Jake is in Amsterdam and he thinks Kevin Love at No. 16 is too high! How high? Too high! How high? Redman!)

Now. About Love.

Kevin Love’s personality seems to be universally beloved in NBA circles and his stats (20 & 15) impress like once-discreet Scar-Jo snapshots.

Put simply, Kevin Love is really well-liked by human beings. If you are a human being and you do not like Kevin Love, you’re probably a big jerkface.

Love takes basketball seriously and works tirelessly to get better, but doesn’t take himself all that seriously. So the adulation—his Twitter page bio says “Spread Love”—comes.

There are Jose Cuervo beach volleyball competitions, where the Illsbury Doughboy (as SLAMonline named him) transforms into his alter ego, SPF Pasty.

There are Entourage cameos with elves, erm, actors. (How Scott Caan could call Kevin Love a “UCLA legend” during one of those cameos was kind of head scratching, because Love only stayed in school for a year, but I suppose if you’ve never lost at pin-the-outlet-pass-on-the-donkey, you qualify.)

And there are Right Guard ads, dubbed “Love in the Shower,” where he’s showering in some random couple’s bathroom. Bizarre, but it works because he’s Kevin Love.

And there is this, from yesterday.

All of this and his gaudy, record-setting stats are why he’s listed as the 16th best player in the League on this list. Because he grabs rebounds as if he’s listening to the chorus of Biggie’s “Another”…

I have the quotes right here, from the Knicks broadcast team of Mike Crispino and Walt Clyde Frazier, that show how easy it is to love Love on a night when he makes history. This night launched him into another stratosphere of notoriety.

From a project I was working on last year:

Kevin Love has six points and nine rebounds at the half.

“Would you call that a Love tap?” Crispino asks Frazier when Love keeps a play alive with a rebound.

“Love hurts,” Clyde responds.

Love is snaring every rebound in sight. “Previously Love, bounding and astounding, Darko, swooping to the hoop,” Clyde says in his trademark rhyme. Clyde says Love is playing like a “man possessed.”

“Love has been maulin’ and appalin’ ‘em,” Clyde says of Love’s eight boards in the quarter. That gives him 17 overall. On Love’s 18th rebound, Clyde says it’s “like the ball is gravitating to him…”

Love misses a shot but grabs the board and gets fouled. “Perpetual motion,” Clyde says. According to the Hall-of-Fame point guard, the man at the helm when the New York Knicks last won a championship, the difference in the game is the “hustle and muscle” of the Timberwolves, “especially Love.”

The fourth quarter begins and Amar’e Stoudemire returns, having battled foul trouble. “Let’s see if he can put some chillin’ on Love’s thrillin’,” Clyde says. Wilson Chandler misses a dunk. Love grabs the rebound. He gets fed underneath and dunks, following a possession that he kept alive with a tip. Clyde employs one of his trademark lyrical devices: “huffing and stuffing.” This renders Love, quite literally, The Big Bad Wolf. Love ties the game on an open baseline jumper and then corrals a franchise-record 27th (!) rebound with over ten minutes remaining in the quarter.

Love misses a straightaway three. “That would’ve brought the house down,” Crispino says, no pun intended to Clyde’s Big Bad Wolf “Huffing and Stuffing” analogy from just a moment ago. When Love finishes a putback in traffic, Clyde says “the guy’s not jumping, he just has exquisite timing.” This is followed by Crispino calling Love ‘Superman’ and Clyde doing his best Judd Appatow film impression with: “we Love you, man!” He calls it, “resounding rebounding.”

When Wolves point guard Sebastian Telfair fires up an airball, Love sticks another putback, which gives him 31 boards. Crispino says Love is doing a great imitation of Wes Unseld (ironically, Love’s Godfather), the late Maurice Lucas, and Bull Russell. Clyde co-signs.

“No one has knocked him on his derriere” Crispino says, referencing what the Knicks will see when they study this game on film. Meanwhile, the Wolves have turned a 21-point deficit into a 12-point lead, and Love is the first player to notch 30-30 since Moses Malone in 1982. “Holy Moses!” Clyde says. Love checks out with 31 and 31, having played 40 minutes. He receives a standing ovation. “Bounding and astounding, resounding rebounding, huffing and stuffing,” Clyde says.

“Again, Love is hard to handle” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni says, before noting that the Knicks missed Ronny Turiaf’s presence. It’s the first 30/30 game of my lifetime. I actually researched when Malone’s 30-30 game took place and that was five months before I was conceived.

In the Timberwolves locker room, SLAM’s Myles Brown tells Love that Ryan Jones says what’s up. “Tell him I said ‘fuck you’,” Love responds. “Best shoutout EVAR,” Ryan tweets.

There’s that personality we were talking about.

Coming close to properly valuing Kevin Love the basketball player may prove difficult until he finds himself on a halfway decent team. Then the stats and the actual impact of his overall play can blend into a “performance soup” that helps fans and accuracy alike delight in spoonfuls of perspective-laden…whatever, this sentence sucks, you get the point.

In a league with personality and aesthetic borders that some players and reporters don’t cross, Love walks back and forth, easily communicating with all. It’s a skill, a gift maybe. Years of learning the game and the game within the game from his father while also tearing up the AAU circuit has put him in an excellent position to be a basketball ambassador of sorts for years to come. Expect to see him on TNT with Ernie, CWebb and GP in 12-15 years.

So…the co-leader of a 17-win team. An All-Star participant with awesome numbers and some impressive fundamentals, but a player with plenty of room for growth, one that shouldn’t be near his prime.

The list says 16. I say closer to the record-setting digit, 31. We might have to meet somewhere in the middle, where many of the rebounds are.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7
48 Ray Allen Celtics SG 9
47 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 6
46 David West Hornets PF 15
45 Kevin Martin Rockets SG 8
44 Andrew Bynum Lakers C 5
43 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 11
42 Lamar Odom Lakers PF 14
41 Gerald Wallace Blazers SF 7
40 Brook Lopez Nets C 4
39 Joakim Noah Bulls C 3
38 Carlos Boozer Bulls PF 13
37 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 12
36 Eric Gordon Clippers SG 7
35 Tony Parker Spurs PG 10
34 Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 6
33 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 11
32 Al Horford Hawks C 2
31 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 9
30 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 10
29 Josh Smith Hawks PF 9
28 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 5
27 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 8
26 Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 6
25 John Wall Wizards PG 7
24 Danny Granger Pacers SF 5
23 Monta Ellis Warriors SG 4
22 Joe Johnson Hawks SG 3
21 Paul Pierce Celtics SF 4
20 Steve Nash Suns PG 6
19 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 8
18 LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 7
17 Chris Bosh Heat PF 6
16 Kevin Love TWolves PF 5

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    EXTREMELY OVERRATED. SELFISH PLAYER. I DO LIKE SOME ASPECTS OF HIS GAME. BUT HE NEEDS TO CENTER HIS GAME ON DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN, NOT JUST GO FOR DOLO.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Aw hell to the no! Slam, y’all seriously got the nerve to place Mr. “I can’t lead my team to more than 20 wins” over LA (led the Blazers to the Playoffs), ZBo (led the Grizz to a first round upset of the #1 seed) and CB (3rd best player on the best team out east).

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    It’s bullshit that I didn’t get to write this. BULLSHIT.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    It’s bullsh*t that I didn’t get to write this. BULLSH*T.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Good work Jake that was entertaining. What is weird IMO is how high Rajon Rondo is climbing, despite being offensively handicapped. whose going to go higher, Amar’e or Rondo?

  • D

    This is a terrible rank for KLove he does not deserve to be in the top 20 maybe top 40. Seriously what are you thinking?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Nice dude, nice player, but 16th best in the league? Come on now. Lets see him get thse kind of numbers and have it impact a team’s win-loss record then we’ll talk.

  • BAWSE

    I like Love but he should not be over Zbo. Only gripe. Zbo led a team and Love couldnt make his team COMPETITIVE most of the season. If your a top 20 player your team needs to be at least close to .500.

  • http://dui007.com jbn74sb

    Great player, but not much of a fan of this piece. Will be interesting to see where he ends up in a couple of years. And I too would have preferred to have read this if it were written by Love’s pasty partner in crime.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Rondo is an interesting case for me…he’s a great distributor and a great defender, but he has clearly benefitted from playing with an ourstanding cast around him. I’d be interested in seeing how he would do on a mediocre/bad team.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Everyone that is complaining about ZBo “leading a team to the playoffs” needs to stop. ZBo did what he always does last season, he was just fortunate to be on a playoff caliber team. Normally he is the one putting up numbers on a losing team.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    HAHA AT BODIE CALLING THE FARMER LOVE’S PASTY PARTNER.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Appleman! Bodie! Tarzan! Its like 2008 all over again. I love it.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    and Ryan, of course.

  • SwissArmyKnife5

    Kevin Love leading the L in rebounding is the same as when Andre Miller led the L in dimes…C’MON SLAM #16? Z-BO is going punch somebody in the mouth.

  • SwissArmyKnife5

    @NBK so you’re telling me what Z-BO did wasn’t pretty much what Dirk did. Cause if you’re just going by stats Dirk’s were down, and they won the chip(Team effort). Memphis was not expected to be that good especially with Rudy hurt, and Mayo going awol. So now Memphis was just a good team…I think that started when Z-BO got there. You can’t sit here, and tell me that Memphis had a ill squad people knew who was getting the ball, and could not stop him. Outside shooting for Memphis was horrible, and Z-BO still cleaned up down low.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Rondo is not a great defender, I don’t know where that lie came from. He’s a good defender but he gambles and gets beat off the dribble too much to be considered a great defender.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    “What more can I say…”

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    This has got to be a joke, we all saw it coming, but still ridiculous.

  • BAWSE

    @nbk you are completely WRONG! Zbo improved this past season how he played the game to HELP his team become a winner. Either way that is not the point! Zbo is better than Love RIGHT NOW and should be ranked higher. When Zbo wasnt winning he wasnt on the list as a top 20 player. OXYMORON. How can you be so great and your team cant win at least .400 of their games?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Well, I will say that it’s not even about the team record, although I am pissed that many of the same folks who criticized ZBo for getting numbers on a bad team jock Love.
    It’s more about, I don’t believe that Kevin Love can be the first option offensively on a good team. I don’t believe he can got get his team a bucket when it’s bucket getting time.
    That bothers me for a player ranked at 16.
    Then again, Rajan Rondo is higher than him so …

  • BAWSE

    Your absolutely wrong @ NBK. Zbo is a better player than Love RIGHT NOW! If your such a great player your team should not win 20 games PERIOD!! At least .400 ball if your a top 20 player. Love is good but ZBO is better. Ohh and NO ONE expected Memphis to be a playoff team. They didnt go with the SAME SQUAD but added Zbo and went from a joke to a 2nd round contender. ZBO.

  • Angel of Stern

    not better than bosh, LA or Z-bo

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    ZBO for one, was not even the first option on the team until the 55th game of the season. And the team won by being good defensively, not offensively. You really think credit for the Grizzlies improvement should be applied to Zach Randolph? I would give more credit to Lionel Hollins & the defense/defensive players who stepped up for them this season (Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Shane Battier, & Sam Young) who kept the Grizzlies in games even when their offense wasn’t clicking.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    that 1:27 comment was me. my bad AP

  • http://sajkflf.com Jukai

    So, two SLAM writers have complained about how high love is… lemme guess, everyone put him at 20-25 and Ryan put him at #1 and this is where he balanced out?
    I’m not really that pissed though. I would have put him at 20, and he’s at 16, that’s a four spot difference. I think everyone is overreacting.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    And Bawse, did I say Love was better then Zach Randolph in my opinion? I said people lauding Randolph for being on a winner and hating Love for the opposite reason are clearly dense to the fact that ZBo has been the same player for oh idk, his whole career. Do I think Randolph is a top 20 player? Probably, do I think he’s better then Kevin Love? Yes. Do I think the difference between him and kevin love is helping a team win? not at all.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    To be clear, I’m not a SLAM writer. I just contribute occasionally for the website.
    And I disagree on whether Randolph helps a team win more.
    In his current form, he does. Mainly because he commands double teams, is a consistent scoring threat from a high percentage area, and appears willing to pass the ball.
    The ability to score on the block is still a game changer in the League.

  • http://sajkflf.com Jukai

    Allenp: I know. Appleman and the guy who wrote the Zbo article (was that Vince?) said Love was too high.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I am not saying he doesn’t help a team win. I am saying I don’t think the difference between him and kevin love is that Randolph makes a team win and Love doesn’t. I think its that Randolph is a better individual scorer (creating his own shot) and a slightly better defender. Not that Randolph has some huge impact on the W/L column while Love has none.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Oh, I agree completely. Like I said, Randolph did what Love did before Love did it.
    People who really watch the League have known Randolph was a beast on the block for years. I mean, KG and Duncan both praised him in their PRIMES as all-time great defenders as being one of the toughest matchups in the League.
    It’s weird how people just make up justifications to praise Love when they used those same situations to down Randolph, and it’s weird that people would down Love for something they excuse in Randolph. It doesn’t make sense.
    Randolph is better because he’s a better basketball player. Not because he won games this year.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    ZBo and LA are both better.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    exactly.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Yeah, Bodie. YEAH.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I honestly am going to be watching quite a few Wolves games(if possible) this year. They are young, athletic, and imo an intriguing young team that could be real fun to watch. This placement is a couple spots to high, not nearly worth getting your panties in a bunch. On the other hand Rondo being this high is extremely questionable to me.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    But you guys all fail for not commenting on us using a photo of Kevin Love and Tyler Hansbrough.

  • Andrew woods

    This Z-Bo arguement is getting out of hand. If Z-Bo was on the wolves instead of Love I doubt there would be a marked improvement in the win category. Love putting up 20 and 15 with less than 20wins only illustrates how bad the team was around him.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    ZBo’s Grizz winning more games has nothing to do with why he’s better than Love, no one’s saying that but we can’t ignore that fact that the Grizz remained a force without RGay in the lineup and they continued that success into the playoffs (defeating the #1 seed and taking a tough OKC to 7gms), Randolph played a huge role in their late season success. Doesn’t that count for something?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    It should count for a little bit. But please stop saying “defeating the #1 seed” I know its true, but all of us know that the Spurs weren’t a #1 seed in terms of what they were going to do in the playoffs. Poppovich figured out how to win in the regular season and exploited it. Like Nash & D’Antoni did the year Amar’e had microfracture surgery.

  • T-Money

    i’ve watched a few wolves games on league pass. love is an outstanding rebounder but those numbers are inflated. just like camby board numbers were inflated. love doesn’t defend the rim and under no circumstances will he rotate if it takes him out of prime position to secure an eventual rebound. and he never lets the uncontested rebounds to teammates. he’s not the only one in the league who does this but i think it should be pointed out. boards will get you paid way more than sound interior defense. he’s top 30 for me.

  • arthur

    Great, great write-up. GIven his situation, it’s hard to see what Love can do to improve this year unless he makes a HUGE commitment to defense.

  • http://slamonline Allenp

    Only if deduct points for the fact that roughly the exact same team, with Rudy Gay in the lineup, couldn’t even make the playoffs the year before.
    Look, last year the entire squad bought in on defense, played to their strengths and Rudy Gay took his game to a new level, as did Conley and Gasol. Randolph started passing and playing better on defense.
    He still played on a crappy Clippers team, crappy Knicks team and some crappy Blazer teams.
    His game has been nice individually for years, but this year he made some minor tweaks, and finally got in the right situation.
    I give him credit for making smart decisions, not for winning all those games.
    Love is a very good shooter and elite rebounder. He is a good passer, poor defender and average scorer on the block.
    I believe, and this is just my belief, that in order to elite, you need the ability to go get a bucket for yourself or your teammates when it’s time to win.
    Love needs more post moves to get there. It’s not like it can’t happen. Randolph and Love probably have equal athleticism, so if Randolph can dominate on the block, Love has a shot. But he has to put in the work.

  • Andrew woods

    It does play a part and I agree with your logic. My point is the outrage of Love’s placement of love is misguided and unfounded. I agree last year Z-Bo was more disruptive and a game changer. The fact still remains that this list is projecting next year. So as great as Z is right now his career has evened out while Love is ascending. Its not hard to see Love putting up a 24-14-3 line next year and if he does this ranking might seem conservative.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Why should I stop saying the “#1 seed”? Is it a lie? So it would be better if I said “the grizz beat the overrated, underserving of a #1 seed Spurs”. The spurs were the only team out west to win 60+ gms therefore they deserved the #1 seed. Stop reaching.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    The way I view these rankings is to inter-change players at their particular positions; When doing so with Love and ZBo, I see the Grizzlies having similar success with a healthy Rudy Gay, but not without him. When I think of the TWolves, I see ZBo just having a regular killer season and not making the playoffs by any means… Other than the difference in teams, they seem pretty equal to me.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    No it isn’t a lie. But Manu was hurt, and we knew the Spurs weren’t going to be very good in the playoffs…. Well some of us did atleast. I thought it was obvious the Spurs would struggle, even against Memphis. So you sayin “Zbo led the Grizzlies to a first round upset of the #1 seed” your being misleading. Your making it sound like it was an upset, when really, who was actually surprised?

  • jarrett

    shame on you slam… just “turrible” *barkley voice*

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Alright, maybe “upset” was too strong a word given the circumstances but it’s sill a huge deal whenever an 8 Seed defeats a 1 Seed.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    fair enough. idk why that mattered to me so much. I just don’t like the ignorant commenters (not you) to read one thing and then go off on a stupid rant using that as their motivation.

  • http://slamonline.com Andrew woods

    Lord just let chris paul be ahead of drose

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    If y’all think Slam’s Top-50 is bad, go check out ESPN’s Top-500. Those clowns have Manu/TD above ZBo. whooooo, talk about a bunch of morons parading as basketball experts.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Great Intro. LOL.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    This is lame.

  • chingy

    Y’all got to stop comparing the Grizz and the T-Wolves. They’re not comparable at ALL. The reason the Grizz started winning was because of their defense. I honestly think that Tony Allen single handedly changed the defensive culture of the team.

  • http://slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Dat’s my mans n’em.

  • http://007dui.com jbn74sb

    Go whiteboy, go whiteboy, go.

  • Mike

    Kevin’s stats are arguably better than Kobe’s, and Kevin’s still not even in the top 16?

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics?&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba%2fhollinger%2fstatistics

  • http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/10/13/2011-10-13_excop_we_fabricated_drug_raps_for_quotas.html Allenp

    Whoever it was I had those long debates with about police corruption, click on my name now. Thanks

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    15)Rondo, 14)Westbrook, 13)Stoudemire, 12)Griffin, 11)Anthony 10)DWill

  • Jono

    This is ridiculous. Flat-out BS. SLAM has always been one of the best basketball knowledge bases out there and still is. So sad to see them give up their soul just because K.Love likes to hang around their office when he’s in town. Absolute disgrace.

  • http://nokeysmusic.tumblr.com krocx

    and he was still boycotted from the 1st overall defensive team for none other than bryant. ahhh the star power of the NBA always amazes me

  • MUBWAR

    ^^^^^true dat^^^^^

  • ChipS

    Those guys in Memphis look up to Z-Bo…. Yall forgot that the season before they were 40-42 and were in the playoffs at all star break, and Zach was their all star…. So they were improving right when Zach got there and before Tony Allen got there, so when they picked up T.A. it only added to their puzzle. Zach, not only should be higher than Love for his play in the playoffs this past season but from the day he got to Memphis the team looked up to him.

  • Armando

    co-sign to most of what nbk has already said, which I said as well in the Bosh post. This “led the team” argument has serious flaws. I think Randolph is slightly better than Love, but put him on the wolves and see how far he’ll lead them…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Memphis had Zbo, Gay, Mayo, Conley & Gasol for 81, 80, 82, 80, 69 games in 2009-10. When you have that talented of a starting lineup, and they are all healthy, you better come in around .500 or else your just a major disappointment. Nobody is saying Zach Randolph doesn’t make a team better. He just isn’t the type of player that makes a whole team a winner.

  • ChipS

    only problem I have with your list @nbk is I think Melo is Top 10, can’t argue with the rest though.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Ryan Jones, y’all should try and get as many pictures as you can with Hansbrough in the background. He’s the type of player to be on the receiving end of a lot of highlights/photo ops, might as well give him some kind of shine in the 50

  • http://sajkflf.com Jukai

    To everyone who said Kevin Love ignores helping on the weakside to get rebounds: so did Dennis Rodman.
    Generally, this is what pure rebounders do.
    I think Kevin Love’s lack of hustle on his actual man is detrimental. His help defense is just his playing style.
    Also, he does have the workings of a decent post game, mechanical up-and-under, a hook I’ve seen a few times… he’s just at the three-point line a lot in that offense.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    1. LeBron
    2. Howard
    3. Wade
    4. Bryant
    5. Paul
    6. Durant (interchangeable w/ Rose)
    7. Rose (interchangeable w/ Durant)
    8. Deron
    9. Dirk
    10 Melo

    ____________________________________________

    You right Chips, my bad I forgot about Pau. I bet he comes in at 11 or 12, right after Griffin, or Stoudemire, whichever order Slam uses.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dEU3LVGBw nbk

    Jukai, did you not watch Dennis Rodman before 1994?

  • ChipS

    Point is look at what their record was the year before with all the players you just named without Z-Bo. He is exactly what that team needed, without him, we would be talkin who’s better between the Grizz, Wolves, Clippers, Warriors, and Kings. Let it have been Zach who was injured and not Gay(who I root for cause he from the DMV) and see how far they would have got. No Z-Bo, No Playoffs, No upset of No.1 seed! I get what your saying but from the looks of things they’re on their way to becoming a winner with Z-Bo not mention he has been a closer for them and it showed this past season and playoffs. But I gotta admit Tony Allen did give them alot of that growl on defense.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dEU3LVGBw nbk

    The Grizzlies are clearly, clearly more talented then Minnesota. — The Clippers would have been in the playoff hunt if they were healthy, but they weren’t. DeAndre Jordan is a huge downgrade to Chris Kaman, for example. ANd I’m pretty certain the Grizzlies would have been just as in the playoff hunt as they were if they had Kevin Love instead of Zach Randolph. Maybe a little bit worse, but nothing to spend time speculating about. The Grizzlies were better defensively then they were offensively, that alone it proof that Randolph is not the reason they made the playoffs.

  • ChipS

    @nbk that list right on the money, I thought I might have been the only one to have D12 at number 2

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dEU3LVGBw nbk

    I would actually put Chris Paul above Kobe Bryant. come to think of it

  • Heals

    Rajon still sneaking past the trip wires. Nothin to say that hasn’t been already; I (K)love his game, but 26 made more sense (still prob too high though)…

  • Heals

    nbk, the first thing that came to mind when I saw your list is I would drop #1 and #2 8 slots each if I was trailing in the final seconds. If I need 82 games than I keep those 2 where you have em’…

  • ChipS

    Yeah, your right about them being better defensively than offensively, but Zach had those go to moves down the stretch that you just couldn’t stop, moves that I think K-Love might not have been able to pull off when the double teams were about to come. Zach might not have been the sole reason but he was a pretty BIG reason.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dEU3LVGBw nbk

    i mean that makes sense. But you would still have those 2, #1 & #2 to get to the point of being able to have the opportunity to win in the finals seconds…..if you aren’t comfortably ahead. So you know, 47:50 Seconds a night they are the best players in the world, the other 10 seconds one is top 10 (LeBron) and the other is only useful when the other team has the ball (atleast so far in his career).

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dEU3LVGBw nbk

    ChipS I think you should just refer back to the conversation Allen, JTaylor and I had from 1:00PM to 2:30PM, I feel like I’m repeating myself if I say anything else about Randolph’s impact on the Grizz

  • ChipS

    @nbk you better watch out, Kobe fans about to pounce lol….. not to say I would disagree with you though.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dEU3LVGBw nbk

    don’t worry man, i’ll tear them up. I’m bored.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    KOBE BWYANT IS THE GWEATEST PWAYA EVA!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^Like how Kobe would tear up LbJ kinda tear up? Go beat your dog now ;)

  • Heals

    Oh definitely your on point, I just thought it was a wierd nuance about the list and those 2 in particular (although Rose could find himself in a similar LBJ predicament – Do I drive, pull-up or pass? – if his J keeps coming)…

  • http://sajkflf.com Jukai

    NBK: Yeah… seen Rodman a lot… great, great, great isolation defender… but he would absolutely ignore his side responsibilities to grab those rebounds. Dating back to even his later years in Detroit. He did the same sh*t that Kevin Love does. The only difference is, Rodman could lock his man down hard so he could get away with not caring about helping out his other teammates.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    The same Kobe that averaged 20, 4.5 and 4.0 on 37% against the Heat?
    That Kobe that would tear up LBJ?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^Yup, that same one lil bow wow!

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lakeshow, how come it seems like you’re always waiting in the background, ready to pounce on anybody that brings up Kobe’s name. If you showed the same determination when it comes to every other player, you would be Slam’s MVP.

  • ChipS

    @nbk you made some strong points, but imo Zach shared as much credit to the team as anyone else, maybe he’s not the sole reason but credit could be shared with him getting some. T.A. deserves some because how many guys thats 6’4 can frustrate a guard his size and a guy who is 6’10, 6’11, or 7’0 or however tall Durant is. Hollins deserves some even though I didnt get him sending Mayo back in the game to foul with 5 fouls, but that could be Mayo’s fault. Conley had a good season and Marc Gasol and Mayo woke up in the playoffs. So credit could go all around. I get what your saying about Zach’s impact, point made.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Just having a good time man. Don’t act like Enig isn’t just waiting to peddle some roses and you aren’t down to proclaim the Kings amazingness on every post that has a comment that is something contrary to what you think.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dEU3LVGBw nbk

    well I appreciate you going back and reading that stuff ChipS, I don’t expect my opinion to be yours, just don’t like typing the same sh*t over and over. Like I would have to do if I wanted to entertain Lakeshow right now.

  • ChipS

    @nbk good to hear, a vet stays ready…. and lol at JTaylor,Enig, and LakeShow

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Um, I’m really not just waiting to peddle some roses.
    Not sure where this idea of me being a Rose slurper comes from.
    I’m a fan of dude cause he’s a great player and on my favorite squad, but I’ve never proclaimed dude to be the best player, or even best point guard, in the L.
    You on the other hand, are one delusional Kobe fan!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ERd_Xvx7VI nbk

    Jukai, are you serious? Cuz he was a pretty damn good help defender in Detroit. Admittedly I didn’t see much of him from like 91-93, but in Detroit if he wasn’t guarding the best player on the court he was a solid help defender. Took a lot of charges, blocked some shots. There is some evidence if you click my name….

  • ChipS

    @nbk lol yeah I feel the same way sometimes and its good to have a nice debate without screaming(not sure you could scream over a keyboard) and name calling.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Enig claiming to not be a Rose slurper and then calling someone delusional is so incredibly hilarious to me. LMAO. Hit me back when your favorite PG can toss more than a handful of dimes shorty ;)

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    At least I’m willing to admit when LeBron sucks unlike you, who would dive into a pit full of black mambas (face-first) to defend Kobe’s honor.
    *the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem*

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ERd_Xvx7VI nbk

    Lakeshow, of all the regulars that typically add something to the conversation, only you and JTaylor show an obvious bias. His is a bias against Kobe, and yours is self explanatory.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Aight then.
    Perhaps it’ll be around the same time your favorite SG can shoot above 47% in a season?

  • roc

    In my opinion Rose should be ahead of Cp3 because his impact will be greater leading a team that has championship aspirations, while I envision Paul leading his team to a first round exit. Remember guys this is a ranking for players that will have the greatest impact this upcoming season.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    No it’s a list of the best players

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Bahh i’m not biased. I’ve admitted that LbJ is the best on the planet technically speaking. Enig, KB is a little occupied with trying to get some gold on his 6th finger to be worried about getting his FG% a digit or 2 higher to please stat nerds.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    How many times do I have to label Kobe a Top-15 great for people to understand that I don’t hate the guy?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh, you mean Kobe is too busy trying to catch Jordan, who did shoot above 47% ten times in his career?
    OK, gotcha.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    What a diss. Your saying Kobe wants to emulate the greatest player to ever play the game? What a loser that KB guy is… I see what you did there though. Rose is so far outta KB’s league you had to toss Kobe next to the GOAT to try to make him not look good. Fair play.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Saying one positive thing about someone doesn’t change that you hate on him (what seems like) every opportunity you get JT, but my bad for including you. Lakeshow, your biased, the only thing not recognizing LeBron as what he is does is make you look stupid.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    No, what I did was try to point out the fact that I’m a Bulls fan first and foremost.
    And yeah, Rose is far out of Kobe’s league. Not sure if that was supposeed to hurt my feelings, but ok…

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    LOL. I love you guys. I know you guys hate me, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have love for the whole entire Slamily! I’m gone for the night gents. I’ll be back with my biased remarks tomorrow!

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    If anyone hates you then they got their own problems. Everyone is biased about certain things (like the intelligence of their children) I accept you being biased about what your a fan of, it’s a personality trait. Most my friends that follow football are extremely biased when talking about things like this.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    KOBE BWYANT!!!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Allenp: Thanks for the link.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    (not that i debated you on police profiling or w/e. so i’m not sure who the link was intended for, but props anyways).

  • Seven Duece

    As a ball player I shouldn’t say “good looking” on his rank (a bit high); but he’s one of the few NBA players that I genuinely root for so I like it.

  • http://sajkflf.com Jukai

    NBK: He was a “pretty good” help defender in the beginning of his days in Detroit, taking charges and blocking a shot every once in a while. Then he started rebounding.
    Check when he won his two Defensive Player of the Year awards. Check his rebounding numbers during those years. I know numbers don’t hell the whole story, but that’s a pretty f*cking big portion of it.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    There is definitely a LOVE-HATE relationship here with this one.

  • guru

    If you want nice stats and regular season wins its Lebron all the way, if you want a closer who will not crumble and get you rings its Kobe. Define whose best as you will, but Kobe has got it done 5 times and can still match the phyciscality of Bron (see last years all-star game for proof)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    I dont think Love is a better player than the obvious pf mentioned but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a better season( statistically)

  • Jer Dawg

    I’d be shocked if Blake Griffin was #10 ALREADY after one good rookie year. If he’s just on the cusp at #11 then it’s all good. j/k.
    I can’t wait for rest of list. Always interesting, SLAM.

  • BZinz

    Growing up in the same city and going to the same high school as the guy, it would be a stretch to say that “Kevin Love is really well liked by human beings.” It’s hard to believe his attitude and sense of entitlement have improved that much.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Rondo? Where’s Rondo!?

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Great article, horrible ranking.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Great article, horrible ranking. I’ve also fallen in love with Walt Frazier a little more today

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    You might be right Jukai. I was pretty young, so I’ve only seen tape and big games (where he definitely did play help defense, Granted a lot of those were against Chicago, LA, and Boston) so I’ll prolly have to start asking around. I concede

  • Armando

    Top 8 players, ranked, on the Wolves and the Grizzlies:
    Wolves:
    1. Love
    2. Beasley
    3. Johnson
    4. Webster
    5. Milicic
    6. Ridnour
    7. Brewer
    8. Randolph

    Grizzlies:
    1. Randolph
    2. Gay
    3. Gasol
    4. Conley
    5. Mayo
    6. Allen
    7. Battier
    8. Arthur

    How many of the Wolves players would’ve cracked the Grizzlies rotation and vice versa? Randolph is better than Love, but swap teams and the wolves still suck and the grizz are still a playoff team. Remove both players from both teams and the wolves will have a hard time cracking double digits in the win column, whilst the grizzlies will still win 30+.

  • stayweird38

    1 KOBE

    2 LEQUEEN JAMES

    3 DWAYNE WADE

    4 DERRICK ROSE

    5 MELO

    6 DWIGHT HOWARD

    7 DIRK

    8 KEVIN DURANT

    9 CHRIS PAUL

    10 RAJON ROND

    11 AMARE STAT

    12 WHITE TRASH DERON WILLIAMS

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    ^
    Melo isn’t better than Dwight, CP or Durant

  • http://sajkflf.com Jukai

    Lol Max, he wrote Kobe #1 and wrote Lebron as “LeQueen.” Why did you read anything more after that?

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    ^
    Don’t know lol, didn’t even see that one..

  • seriousblack

    Rose is NOT better than Durant and neither is Melo. Yall trippin.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    great list stay weird…not really though

  • kapper16

    This will be the top ten from slam:
    1 James
    2 Durant
    3 Rose
    4 Wade
    5 Howard
    6 Nowitzki
    7 Bryant
    8 Paul
    9 Anthony
    10 Griffin

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Kevin Love is the white Kobe. Or maybe the white LeBron. Because you people cannot stop talking about him.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    And yet at least a third of these comments weren’t about Love.

  • bashmo

    This is disrespect to my man Lamarcus Aldridge. Minnesota is arguably the worst team in the L and a guy who admittedly rebounds the ball excellently,but only shoots 47 percent from the field and cannot have the Wolves win more than 20 games being over Lamarcus Is ridiculous. Also Zach Randolph. I just hope CP3 is top 7 and Dwight Howard is top 4-5.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    So what would LA do in Minny?^ Bring them to 25 wins i’d imagine…

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Best players in the NBA right now until proven otherwise.
    1. Dirk
    2. Wade
    3. James
    4. Durant
    5. Paul
    6. Howard
    7. Rose
    8. Kobe
    9. Pau
    10.Deron
    11.Melo
    Still not sure what SLAM’s ranking is based on (something about production next season? Sorry hasn’t been paying too much attention since the lock-out started)but anyway let’s forget about that as we all end up discussing the players based on who are the best.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    LA might do work minny… you never know.. they wouldn’t get to the playoffs but they’d have more than 20 wins.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    LA would improve the team. That much is certain. Anybody who can take minutes away from Darko & Tolliver improves the team. It would also allow Beasley to play PF and take advantage of his athleticism, unlike when he’s playing SF and just shooting over everyone.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    What would doing work be datkid? Putting up crazy numbers? K-Love does that. The reason why the Wolves suck is because no one plays defense and they have no go to players. LA does both those things better then K-Love, but I can’t imagine it creating any more than up to at the very most 10 wins for the team. Putting them at 27 wins. I mean it’s silly to pretend that Portland doesn’t have one of the deepest and better defensive teams in the L. That isn’t on LA. That’s McMillan, first and formost and then you gotta give some credit to Batum and Andre Miller and some of the other good defenders on the team. Too much credit is being given to LA and to much blame is being put on K-Love imo. LA is a slightly better player than K-Love.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ^ Cosign that.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Was expecting a page long rebuttal nbk lol.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I’m here to make sure what makes sense gets said. It’s the little control I have over my everyday conversations. I don’t care who says the stuff, as long as I think it’s right lol

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jake Appleman

    Good times, guys. Good times. Ben, 2008 was awesome.

  • Rainman

    *shouldnt have been ahead of Nash* <— Told y'all im gonna put that to everyone i feel shouldnt have been ranked ahead of dude

    Nash lead a crap team, to a near playoff spot, while Love's team was the worst in the L, u tell me.

  • Rainman

    cosign @ nbk about Rondo being offensively handicapped and being in the top 15? what is up with that slam?

  • ChipS

    Only thing Durant has on Melo is that he’s younger and gets to the line more…. He cant post(though they say he’s working on it, beileve it when I see it), his defense is exaggerated, rebounding is not much better, passing not better, Durant lets guys 6’4 stick him and keep him out by the three point line and bigger defenders just let him shoot over them, Melo posts the smaller ones up and blows by the bigger ones, As far as clutch, I remember Durant missing more shots than making them, not only that his shots come beyond the 3 point line, where as guys like Dirk,Pierce,Kobe and Melo get to their sweet spots. Durant and Melo are alot closer than what some people and writers beileve, Some say Durant is “far out” better but he’s not, they’re alot closer than some may think. Head to Head, just like Lebron, Melo has gave K.D. the business. For the stat junkies.

    Carmelo Anthony: 29.6 pts, 6.5 reb, 3.8 ast, 1.6 stl, 0.8 blk, .502 FG%, .379 3P%, .852 FT%, 2.5 TOV, 10-1 vs. Durant.

    Kevin Durant: 26.8 pts, 6.8 reb, 3.0 ast, 1.4 stl, 1.1 blk, .423 FG%, .400 3P%, .894 FT%, 2.7 TOV, 1-10 vs. Anthony.

    Not to say Durant can’t get better but hold all that for now!

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Durant is better because he plays hard every minute. Carmelo, only on one side of the court, sometimes. No matter what he says, the proof is in the pudding. Melo is a horrible, horrible defender, most the time. And only real good offensively some of the time.

  • http://www.slamonline.com house

    So apparently the weed in Amsterdam makes you grossly overestimate certain things, i.e., Kevin Love’s ranking.

  • http://30homegames.blogspot 30HomeGames

    Netherlands is dope. But yeah it rains big time, spent the summer there for a month and the rain made a cameo at least once a day. As I’ve been doing all around Europe, I played ball. Football is there number One sport by a mile, but there are courts everywhere there! Empty ones.

    http://lozintranslation.blogspot.com/2011/08/krepsinis-i-love-this-game-basketball.html

    Ummm yeah… 16 is ridonculously high
    All-star replacement is good. Stringing a few seasons worth of ASG appearances should be a prerequisite for borderline Top15 I would have thought.

    Congrats to Love but definitely a ¤cute¤ selection.

  • ChipS

    To me that doesn’t make him better and I don’t think he’s a horrible defender. Their could be more effort, but their are alotta guys who don’t put as much effort into defense, some will be in the next 14. It’s a real double standard. Melo’s real good most of the time offensively, thats why some people put him ahead of Durant as far as scoring, because he can beat you in more ways. But my problem is not about who’s better, its this Durant is much much much better, when the only arguement is he’s younger and gets to the line more. Head to Head Melo’s has had his way with KD, he’s shooting 50% against him in 11 matchups. Sefolosha has been getting treated too, but to me it show’s KD isnt a world class defender either. Sefolosha was the primary defender but KD still had his moments where he was lost on a island. I can see if it was only 1,2, or 3 matchups but its 11. Like I said it doesnt mean KD cant shoot past him because he’s only 23 but rite now I’m gonna say they’re even, but the numbers and wins do go to Melo.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Well whether you like it or not that’s what makes most players better than others. If it were just about what a guy can do on one play, or sometimes, Kobe would probably still be the best player in the league….but that’s a fictional idea. You gotta rate players on what they can do over the course of a season and playoff series, it’s only logical.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    And he is a horrible defender. This is a measurable fact. He is bad too horrible in every single defensive analysis you can find, anywhere. He made the KNICKS worse defensively. The nuggets turned into the best defensive team in the league per possession after he left. Its gotta say something when you only have 1 notable defensive game a season. Everyone remembers it because it’s like seeing a walruss ride an elephant, but it’s not consistent enough to really put any stock into.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Poor New York, they finally have a decent team……..but the two best players on the squad suck at Defense, so it looks like they’re going to be the whipping boy of the Eastern Conference’s Elite teams(playoff-wise)again.

  • ChipS

    I’m not going on about one play, his season numbers do come in consideration. Writers were debating about it how 99% of the players say Melo is a top talent in the league, but the media stones him for the way he forced his way out of Denver. They were going on about how his 42 and 17 against Boston with a injured elbow opened their eyes back up, and how unstoppable he can be like he was in Denver’s 09 playoff run. Their words not mine.

  • ChipS

    And if the Knicks did get worse defensively, I’m pretty sure most people didn’t notice because they were horrible to begin with.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Talent is not the same as production.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Basically what Phantom said is an inevitable fact.

  • ChipS

    I trust guys who go against him night in and night out, they whats there and benn there.

  • ChipS

    true indeed, but I trust guys who go against him night in and night out. They know whats there and been there. Sorry about my horrible grammar.

  • ChipS

    Only time will tell if what he says will be true. I’m gonna give Mike Woodson one chance and one chance only. So we shall see

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Look I’m not arguing with anyone that says Melo is the most talented scorer in the league, but he doesn’t do it consistently enough to overshadows everything that he is horrible at 98% of the time.

  • http://slamonline 3kings

    hes an amazing rebunder, and a double double machine. but he unfortunat=ly plays for a terrible team. good player tho

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