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Stephen Curry was voted as the unanimous (first in NBA history) Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2015-16 NBA season. Some debated if he was deserving of the unanimous decision and some even thought that other players should have received the award. In the past, multiple players have won the MVP but it was well known that Michael Jordan was the best player in the league during the latter years he didn’t win it.
This prestigious award has become the most popular award lately and that’s not to discount anyone. Someone can have a great season yet it’s still based on the team’s success as well as the wow factor. With that being said, it’s been a lot of speculation on who is really the best player in the NBA. Is it LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard or even Anthony Davis?
Let’s break down each player’s strengths and weaknesses and see what we come up with.
1. Stephen Curry
Strengths: Curry has a high basketball IQ yet he’s a real life video game type of player. His herky jerky style compliments his incredible shooting ability. He’s only been in the league seven years and he’s already being categorized as the best shooter in NBA history by past greats. His ability to shoot has opponents in fear which creates lanes for him to drive. What is underrated the most from his game is his vision and court awareness. His eyes are always looking for the open teammate roaming around which usually results in an accurate pass. He also rebounds well for his size.
Weaknesses: Whenever Curry has an off shooting night, it affects his entire game. Usually the great ones know how to dominate the game in other ways when their shot is not falling. He stops driving to the rim, the assist are considerably down and he second guesses himself in his decision making. On the defensive side, he’s a pretty good defender excepts when he goes up against the best point guards in the game. By Raphael Haynes
2. Russell Westbrook
Strengths: Westbrook is one of the most unstoppable forces on the basketball court. He can get to any spot on the floor whenever he wants and he can go over or around you to do so. And the scary thing about this past season is he got his teammates more involved, averaging a career-high 10.4 assists. Not many guys are capable of going off for 40 points one game, go for double-digit assists the next and then go for the whole triple double in the following one. What separates Westbrook from all point guards is the uncanny athleticism. With his numbers and his athleticism, he is a terror every game and it can be argued that he gives more coaches nightmares than his once teammate, Kevin Durant.
Weaknesses: For as much as Westbrook brings to the team, he can definitely take away from the team as well. Sometimes he is a little bit out of control. In that instance, the turnovers seem to follow. That kind of play is what can drive a fan crazy watching him play and make a coach chew his nails off on the sideline. Not only are his turnovers an issue, so is his shot selection. For a guy that can get the ball to any point on the floor he wants, he can sure take some bad shots. He shoots highly-contested three’s, contested jump shots and difficult layups routinely. That type of play can make his teammates tune out during the game. It was once thought that his propensity to shoot the basketball would affect Durant in a negative way. And over the years, the balance has gotten better for Westbrook between scoring and assisting but he still does have those kind of moments where he becomes selfish on the court. By Mike Patten
3. Anthony Davis
Strengths: His versatility on both ends of the floor creates headaches for head coaches to scheme for. Offensively, he’s still learning and developing which is scary. With that being said, he’s nearly automatic from 15 feet and in and his range expands to the three point line. What’s most impressive is his ball handling skills which emulates a savvy point guard. Add his dribbling ability to his quickness, he’s nearly unstoppable for anyone that guards him. On defense, his shot blocking ability is a weapon. Along with his lateral quickness and length, he can guard anyone on the floor.
Weaknesses: He is injury prone and that’s a understatement. Since coming into the league in 2012-13, he has not played a full season. He also needs to develop a killer instinct, that aura all superstars possess. In order to become an elite scorer, he must get to the line more than seven times per game. That number needs to be at at least 10. By Allen Fields
4. LeBron James
Strengths: He is truly a rare combination of size, athleticism, skill, and talent. One of, if not the most versatile players to have ever played the game. He is a point guard incased in a power forwards body. His mere presence on the court can change the outcome of a game or the outlook of a franchise. His ability to conform to whatever the team needs at any point of the game is a attribute that the game has never seen before.
Weaknesses: Due to his versatility, he tends to have a difficult time deciphering what exactly is needed of him in particular parts of the game. He doesn’t show that he can move into scoring positions without the ball, that he can rebound offensively more consistently and provide better shot selection in the fourth quarter. His physical attributes are so overwhelming that they seem to have impaired his development of the conceptual subtleties of the game. By Eric Rodas
5. Kevin Durant
Strengths: He’s a 6’11 forward with a wing span of 7’2 who can shoot all over the court. His ability to shoot over his opponents at anytime and place gives him an unfair advantage. His range is undoubtedly a weapon that makes him un-guardable. The fact that you have to guard him 32 feet from the basket presents the opportunity for him to go deep into his repertoire and use his quickness by driving to the rim for a pull-up, layup or dunk. Duran’t’s smooth-silky style allows him to have no wasted movement. His rebounding skills doesn’t get mentioned much but the threat of collecting double-digit rebounds every game is always possible.
Weaknesses: His defense has gotten better but his lateral movement causes problems for him when guarding elite small forwards which we constantly see him watching his opponent drive to the rim. On the offensive side, his lack of posting up players prevents easier ways of scoring especially since he always has the height advantage. He continues to turn the ball over whether by errant passes or him driving to the rim and not holding the ball high which allows him to get stripped daily. By Raphael Haynes
6. Kawhi Leonard
Strengths: The long arm of the law literally, Kawhi Leonard is by far the best defender this league has to offer. Quick hands, a long wingspan, and a top notch basketball IQ makes it nearly impossible to have “your kinda game” against Leonard. Offensively, he uses his length to launch shots over his opponents. His ability to post up, his much improved three-point shooting and an athletic assault on the rim makes up his 20-plus points per game average.
Weaknesses: As great as Leonard is defensively, he has been shredded a few times by the smaller quicker guards. Offensively, although he is a good scorer, he’s not the first person you would expect to drop 40 points on the opposition. His weak ball handling skills puts him in a position where his shots have to be set up more by teammates than by himself. His jumper in between the three-point line and 10 feet away from the rim is not as strong as him shooting behind the arch. By Abade Stanley
Please leave a comment on the article on who you believe is the best player in the league. Thanks!!