25. Chris Bosh
Before Justin Beiber and Drake, the Toronto star attraction was Chris Bosh. For years he led the team in scoring and rebounding and displayed a full arsenal of athletic explosiveness, with a mixture of finesse touch, all built inside his 6 foot 10 inch lengthy frame. Once the Heat formed the notorious “Big Three” he took a back seat statistically wise to Dwayne and LeBron but his skills never diminished. In fact, Chris has managed to improve upon his 3 point field goal percentage and has evolved into a stretch 4-option. While he is more than likely entering the final two seasons of the prime of his career he will need to carry the burden for a Lebronless Miami Heat team. At this point with all the young talent the NBA has to offer, Bosh has most likely peaked at #25.
24. Dwight Howard
The most dominating force since Shaq’s retirement has no doubt, without a question been Dwight Howard. Dwight has been highly scrutinized over the past few seasons after not re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. However the 6’10’’ Atlanta native has seemed to find a home in Houston playing sidekick to James Harden. Pairing with a young superstar who has not made a huge playoff splash has allowed Howard to take the burden of Championships off of his shoulders. Nonetheless, he still dominates the paint against most opponents, and has managed to improve upon his offensive game with his back to the basket. If Dwight could manage to finish 60% or better from the free throw line then he is no doubt a top 20 player.
23. Damian Lillard
I feel bad for Western conference point guards this year having to deal with Damian Lillard the season after being cut from the US National team. An argument can be made that he is one of the 5 most valuable players in the league. If you analyze Portland’s success prior to Damian becoming their floor leader and after, it does not compare. Even with the improved game of LaMarcus Aldridge, it was not until Lillard entered the fold when the Trail Blazers started to become a contender in the Wild Western conference. Damian, still in his early twenties has plenty of time to move up this list and eventually will be in the argument for best point guard in the NBA.
22. Andre Iguodala
Iggy has been a little bit of a journeyman in recent years, having played the majority of his early years in Philadelphia, then having a stint in Denver before signing in Golden State he has been a highly sought after player for many teams. Andre Iguodala has been given the label of “glue guy”, which commonly is associated with players who do not do one thing very well but do a collection of things good. AI is a tough defender and often takes the role of guarding the opposing teams best player. He is not a marksman from outside, but can slash to the rim and finishes above it. AI’s most athletic years are behind him but he is such a valuable player in this league and is held in such high regard by other players that he will remain in the top 25 until he is over the hump. (Working on that perimeter jump shot wouldn’t be a bad idea either)
21. LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus is what consistency looks like in the NBA. For years LaMarcus Aldridge has been in the conversation for top power forwards, after Tim Duncan. The problem the past few years was that he was playing out of position. As a center LaMarcus had to sacrifice some of his offense to bang with the biggest guys in the league, and he had to play rim protector on the defensive end. Now that Robin Lopez has solidified his role as the Center, LaMarcus has gone back to being LA. Only Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett have a more deadly back to the basket game then LaMarcus Aldridge. And since the acquisition of Damian Lillard, LaMarcus does not see as many double teams in the paint allowing him to flourish. Portland will be a contender and LA (along with Lillard) is the reason why.
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