By Jay Rumph
Out with the old, and in with the new. The NBA has been fueled by some of the best rising stars this year, which is good news for the league.
There’s a new era of basketball in the NBA.
We’re just a couple of games into 2016, but we can already see who contributes the most to their respective teams.
Evaluating players from the beginning of the season until now, these rankings are based on players’ total contribution so far this NBA season. We bring you our favorite players at each position entering the NBA’s New Year.
We live for these types of discussions. Here’s the best of the best. Let the debating begin.
Point Guard: Stephen Curry
Curry is single handling changing the game of basketball. Leading the Golden State Warriors to the best record in the NBA at 35-2. The reigning MVP, Curry is doing everything for the Warriors. He’s playing so well this season, people are making comparisons between him, and Michael Jordan. Although I think the comparisons are coming a bit too early, we can’t help but admire his overall greatness.
He has the ability to make an impact on any game at any moment. Besides his terrific shooting ability, Curry is also a great finisher around the basket. A prolific passer, he is able to get all his teammates involved on the court.
Putting up historic numbers, Curry is averaging 31.8, 5.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. He’s doing all of that, while shooting 52.0% from the field, and 45% from the three-point line. Not only is he the best point guard in the league, there’s no doubt that he is also the best player in the NBA. The favorite to win the MVP again this year is Stephen Curry. Curry would join a list of great NBA players that has won the MVP award in consecutive years.
Shooting Guard: Jimmy Butler
Discussion of who the NBA’s best shooting guard has become the new topic in 2015-16 season. Klay Thompson recently said he was the best shooting guard in the league, but James Harden quickly dismissed that claim. There’s no doubt that Jimmy Butler is in the conversation. A versatile player, Butler is a lockdown defender on defense, and Jimmy “Buckets” on offense.
He’s averaging 28.5 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.5 rebounds since the beginning of 2016. The Chicago Bulls are now second in the Eastern Conference, because of Jimmy’s two-way game. Bulls’ have finally found their offense, from their best player, Jimmy Butler.
Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has become one of the best small forwards in the league. Another two-way player, Leonard can guard the opponents best player, and score on their best player. He has become the Spurs’ best player, and most important player. Let’s not forget how good the San Antonio Spurs actually are, but they are much better when he’s on the basketball court.
Leonard is averaging 20.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season. That’s not including what he does to opponents on the defensive end. He has the NBA’s best defensive rating at 90.2. He has proven that he is one of the NBA’s great players, this season is just another example of his humble dominance.
Power Forward: Draymond Green
A major part of the Warriors’ success, Green is playing on another level this season. There’s nothing Green can’t do this year. This season, he is averaging 15.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. He’s the league leader in trouble doubles this season with a total of eight. Green posted triple-doubles in two of the last four games this week.
The options are unlimited when the ball is in his hands. His ability to get his teammates involved helps contribute to the Warriors play style. Yes, Green is another one of those versatile players. He can play the point forward, and then slide up to the center position, when Golden State wants to play small ball. Draymond Green’s ability to contribute in all aspects of the game is one of a kind.
Center: Demarcus Cousins
Bad attitude or not, Demarcus Cousins ability on the basketball court speaks for itself. Cousins has the most talent out of all the centers in the NBA today. He can score the basketball from the inside or outside. He’s a huge threat from three-point line, currently shooting 32% from behind the arc. He ranks fifth in NBA scoring averaging 25.2 points per game. Also he is averaging 10.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.
His abilities at the center position puts him above any other player at the position. He can put the ball on the floor and create opportunities for his teammates. Improving his offensive game will only make him a major threat for opponents. Look for Cousins to continue his hot start entering the New Year. There’s still a lot of basketball games left, but hopefully Cousins and Rajon Rondo can lead the Sacramento Kings into the NBA playoffs.
These players make our list as the top players at their position. Do you agree or Disagree? Who’s in your top 5? Let us know in the comments below.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)