So with the All-Star Voting out for the NBA, I figured I’d make a list of the 30 best players on their respective teams. Now, in many cases, you’ll see sites make a 31-page article for this type of thing, but not me! Speaking on my own, those articles annoy me. Just let me scroll to what I want to see, let me compare, and let me move on with my day. So I’ll be doing it on this one page, but I also understand that thirty is quite a large number. I’ll be splitting the articles into two, one for the Eastern Conference, and one for the Western. Now, are you ready?
PF Paul Millsap – Millsap is one of the more underrated guys. He’s not a Tim Duncan caliber player, but he deserves some respect. He hardly misses time, and as of this post, he’s started and played in the team’s 44 games so far. Millsap, thus far into the 2015-16 NBA Season, leads his team in points, rebounds, and yes, even steals as a big man! Many love to chat about Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, but Millsap is my guy!
SF Jae Crowder – I, for one, like this kid! Many can go Isaiah Thomas here, and for a man leading his team in points and assists, I wouldn’t argue with them. I’m a personal fan of Crowder’s, and I feel that at 25, he’ll be entering his prime in a couple years. Jae Crowder leads the team in the steals category, but his ability to stay healthy (started 44 of 44 games), his ability to help in the scoring and rebounding aspect, as well as not kill his team with turnovers, is why I’d put Crowder in.
C Brook Lopez – I’ll be honest, if Lopez had missed a lot of his games this year, I would’ve taken Thaddeus Young, who is coveted by some NBA front offices. Brook Lopez, when healthy, can be a machine. He leads the team in points (19.5), blocks (1.9), while also putting in 33 minutes a night. Lopez might be a little overrated, but he’s finally healthy and showing us he can still be a nice contributor on a team.
PG Kemba Walker – It’s obvious that the Hornets are building their organization around this man at 25 years old. He is the only player on his team averaging 20+ points a game, and he also leads his team in steals. He puts in the most minutes at 35 a night, while starting and playing in every game this season. Not to mention, Kemba Walker dropped 52 points recently, a record for the Charlotte brand.
SG Jimmy Butler – I realized a while back that Jimmy Butler was going to be special in this game, and I didn’t know we’d be sitting here in 2016 talking about him as the best player on the Chicago Bulls roster, but now we are. Butler has consistently been in every game this season, logging over 38 minutes a game, and the next closest sits at 32.5 (surprisingly, Derrick Rose is that man). Butler is so valuable to his team, logging more than LeBron James himself! Jimmy Butler leads his team in points with a 45.2% shooting mark. Butler, like most of the guys mentioned so far, leads his team in steals, and he also puts in work on the boards and getting his teammates involved, being 2nd on the team in assists. Jimmy Butler also has a defensive presence, and we should all love watching him come into his own right now.
SF LeBron James – Let me just mention, I loathe the guy. But is there anyone really better on the overrated Cavaliers roster? LeBron James leads the team in points (25.0), assists (6.2), and steals (1.4), while getting nearly 36 minutes in a game. I wouldn’t call him a MVP candidate by any stretch of the means, but the well-paid and big-name “stars” he’s surrounded himself with haven’t helped much in this regard. Kyrie Irving’s injury prone and hasn’t shown me enough this year to be considered the Cavaliers best player, and the locker room thought Kevin Love was traded, before they heard that the big news was David Blatt’s firing.
C Andre Drummond – This dude is about to get paid! Arguably one of the top centers in the league, if not at the top on his lonesome, and he currently averages a double-double (17.7 PPG and 15.5 RPG). He leads the Pistons in steals and blocks, and he’s the one man people talk about out of the Motor City. Also, he’s been very durable, which seems to be a huge calling on this list. If Andre Drummond wasn’t in Detroit, my vote would likely go to Reggie Jackson, who in all fairness, leads the team in points and assists, who has adjusted very well since emerging from Russell Westbrook’s shadow using the trade that sent him away from the Oklahoma City area.
SF Paul George – What an incredible story! I remember in the Heat-Pacers rivalry, Paul George would give LeBron James fits, which at that time LeBron was in his prime. Paul George would suffer a gruesome leg injury going for the olympic team, one similar to Louisville’s Kevin Ware. Paul George would return to the NBA and he’d get in his groove toward the end of last season, but he hasn’t wasted the second chance this year! Paul George leads his team in points (25.3), rebounds (7.3), and steals (2.0). He’s logging the most minutes on the court, and not only that, he is playing like the best player on his team should. Could anyone imagine if the man dubbed “PG-13” didn’t suffer that injury? We’d be talking about him in the MVP race! Let’s hope he returns back to form, and then grows from there.
C Hassan Whiteside – To me, this is the toughest one yet. It’s not because it is my favorite team, as my favorite current player on the Heat is rookie Justise Winslow, but it’s the caliber of these three players. We have two former All-Stars, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, and while Wade’s battled through a health decline to play in 41/44 games this season and do so at a high level, Bosh has come back from a blood clot in his lung to lead the team in scoring! In a narrow three-headed race, I’m giving it to the young, promising Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside, who leads the team in rebounds (11.2) and the league in blocks (3.9), he also averages a double-double with getting 12.3 points per game. Miami’s always lacked a big man, even in the LeBron Days, but they have theirs now who has matured enough to be the best player on this team, and the future of the Heat.
C Greg Monroe – Contrary to the Heat, this is a hard one because there’s nobody who really stands out. Indiana was easy, Detroit was easy, but this wasn’t. Monroe leads the Bucks in rebounds with 9.7 a game, as well as ranking second on the team in points, right behind Khris Middleton. I’d dare to say the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo, but he’s too young and still makes the mistakes, as having a higher turnover and foul rate than the veteran Monroe. Greg Monroe in free agency was a good signing by the Bucks, but I just hope former 1st-round pick Jabari Parker can come into his own, because Milwaukee really needs Parker to reach his ceiling with the team so they don’t continue in their dumpster fire.
NEW YORK KNICKS
F Carmelo Anthony – I’d love to show some love to the rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis, who was booed by Knicks fans when drafted by the organization at 4, but I am not convinced he’s the best player on this team. I’ve always been highly critical of Carmelo Anthony, but he does lead the team in points (21.6) and assists (4.1), despite the ballhog narrative, and is second in rebounds, only to Porzingis. Anthony also shoots better and has shown growth as a player, so that’s why I’ll give the edge to veteran Carmelo Anthony, rather than the rookie Kristaps Porzingis.
C Nikola Vucevic – It’s not a stretch to say without Vucevic coming in to the Sunshine State in 2012, the Magic would be irrelevant to this day. Vucevic came from the 76ers in a four-team trade that involved Dwight Howard being shipped out to Los Angeles, but Howard wanted out anyways and the Magic gained a really nice player in the process, who is capable of a big game any day. He leads an abysmal Magic team in points (16.8), rebounds (8.6), and blocks (1.1). Not your all-star stats, but is there anyone else on the Magic you can think of? Don’t even comment on that.
C Jahlil Okafor – I’d vouch for there to be an unanimous vote on the 76ers being the worst team in the NBA all year, and they are proud of their tanking methods. It’s however, no surprise that Jahlil Okafor, the most pro-ready coming out of this draft class, is going to be Philadelphia’s best player. He’s leading the Sixers in scoring (17.6) and second in rebounds (7.4). Okafor’s shooting nearly 49% from the floor, so it’s nice to see a rookie transition so well to the pros. Plus, in their six wins of the season, I continue to hear Jahlil Okafor’s name coming up as a huge factor in those games. If he was on a legitimate team about winning, I wouldn’t be surprise if he would have catapulted a team to the playoff race this year.
G Kyle Lowry – Much like the Heat earlier in this article, it’s a three-headed race for the Raptors, who currently hold the 2nd-best record in the Eastern Conference, and likely the most formidable on a winning streak and after the Cavaliers fired their head coach 41 games in. Toronto has guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, as well as the big man Jonas Valanciunas. I’ll give the edge to Lowry, considering DeRozan didn’t jump off the page and garner this much attention until his contract year. Lowry leads his team in assists (6.4) and steals (2.3), while averaging over 20 points a game. If I can say this, that without Kyle Lowry, this team is a 6th-seed right now, not a number two.
G John Wall – John Wall is a crystal clear pick for the Wizards best player. He’ll turn over the ball a little bit, but you have that right for a few giveaways while leading your team in the assist category, by a wide 9.7 APG in all of Washington’s 41 games, to the next-best 3.1 APG, a total Bradley Beal has in playing in 21 games this season. John Wall also leads his team in points per game, a tenth away from 20 per game, and he’s recording 2.1 steals per game, another team-best. Could you imagine this guy at a place where a team’s surrounding him? Everyone would be talking more about John Wall and less about Kyrie Irving.
So these are 15 players noted as the best on their respective teams in the Eastern Conference. One of the great things about this article is nobody will agree 100% with what I have to say, so I get the privilege of hearing differing opinions and various ways of thinking through articles like these. Please take the time to say what you’d correct in the comment section down below!