20. Marc Gasol
Since Phil Jackson moved to New York, there have been multiple rumors that speak of the younger Gasol ending up in a Knicks uniform next year. After seeing Phil deliver his older brother a couple of championships could you blame him? Marc has twice the talent, and twice the toughness that his older brother possesses, not to mention he loves to play defense. He is the glue that makes Memphis compete in the tougher western conference and he continues to elevate his game each year. High post, low post, back to the basket it does not matter, Marc Gasol can score anywhere inside the paint and has recently developed the 16 foot jump shot. If Marc ends up with Phil Jackson expect his game to reach a Hall of Fame level.
19. Derrick Rose
The former MVP has fallen a few notches down on my power rankings and before you begin to question my basketball acclimate keep in mind that Derrick has barely played the last two seasons. I am unable to give credit to on court production if you are never ON THE COURT. Given that information, I witnessed enough over the summer to know that DROSE remains a top 20 layer in the league. He came off the bench for the FIBA National team, and although his minutes were closely monitored he showed glimpses of the former MVP. His speed and explosiveness mirrored the old Derrick, and as he continues to get back into game shape, he will shoulder the offensive burden that the Bulls have lacked for the past two seasons.
18. Klay Thompson
The younger of the “Splash Brothers”, Klay Thompson has elite level talent. He continues to strengthen all aspects of his game and is far from just being a spot up shooter anymore. This past summer he had the privilege to line up against James Harden and DeMarr DeRozan during the FIBA World games everyday in practice and it paid off. It doesn’t hurt to play alongside the most prolific shooter in NBA history. Teams are unable to give the appropriate help needed and Klay capitalizes on defensive mismatches (which are nearly every night). Thompson can only move up this list and challenge Harden and Lance as the top 2-guard in the league.
17. Joakim Noah
Hands down Joakim Noah may be the most underrated player in the NBA. At a legit 7 feet tall, outside of his awkward shooting form, he is the most fundamentally sound player since Tim Duncan came into the league. He has singlehandedly kept the Bulls afloat the past few seasons in D-Rose’s absence. He is a coach’s player who does all the little things and wants no credit. He takes charges, fearlessly defends the rim, enables low post opportunities for his teammates, and he does not care about statistics. Noah has evolved the Center position and has became the new hybrid prototype for ‘True Centers’. If he increased his scoring output he could easily breach the Top 10.
16. Kyrie Irving
Despite the shaky start, Kyrie is on the brink of stardom. The uncanny street handle, stop and start acceleration makes him arguably one of the best guards in the league. Only Chris Paul and Steph Curry can break down a defender quite like “Uncle Drew” can. Although Kyrie has top 10 talent, I cannot move him up on this list due to his inability to make those around him better. Irving has proven that he can score and create his own shot, but in his first few years the Cav’s have failed to reach the playoffs. The argument can be made that guards like Steph and Westbrook have better supporting casts, but the Cavaliers play in what has been considered a tissue-soft Eastern conference. This year he has no excuses.
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