Chat Sports is proud to present our list of The 5 Best Players In The NBA Right Now, a snapshot of the five franchise-changing superstars that both make their teams better and the NBA League Pass experience the single biggest relationship problem in a basketball fan's lives.
Who's #1? Who got left out? Find out below, and be sure to rage in the comments.
#5 Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have been as ho-hum as a legitimate contender winning over 2/3 of their games can be, with critics quick to point out just what this team lacks rather than what has kept them afloat. Blake Griffin may get the glory (and mostly deservedly so), but Chris Paul remains the league's most adept facilitator when it comes to a point guard getting the most out of the other players on the floor. His scoring may be slightly off his career average (17.8-to-18.6), but his 9.6 assists per game and ability to seamlessly switch hats from shooter to traditional point guard (not to mention his all-world ability to lock down opposing guards on D) keeps him as one of the NBA's elite.
#4 Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry has officially taken the leap over the past year-plus, graduating from top-tier NBA marksman to the most deadly pure shooter in all of the NBA. Give Curry an inch, and he'll confidently launch for 5, 10, 20, or 30 feet. Add to the mix his deadly first step and NBA2K15 set of handles, and Curry's offensive game has opened up the floor for the rest of the NBA-best Warriors to get theirs. Averaging 22.9 points and 8.0 assists per game, Curry has a legitimate chance to become just the 7th all-time member of the 50-40-90 club - shooting 49.3% from the field, 39.1% for three, and 92.5% from the free-throw line.
#3 Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Davis toils in relative obscurity out in N'awlins, but don't be fooled. He is the absolute prototype of what an NBA big should be in today's game - flexible inside and outside of the paint, quick on and off the ball, with a killer instinct down low that makes him almost impossible to defend when he gets his space. Aside from dominating both as a scorer and rebounder with a double-double average (23.8 points, 10.5 rebounds), Davis has supplanted OKC's Serge Ibaka as the most feared interior defender in the game - leading the NBA in blocks with 2.89 per game, .54 more than his nearest competion in Ibaka and the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan.
#2 Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Foot issues aside, the 2013-14 NBA MVP is still an heir to the top of the NBA mountain. Two years ago, he posted the most dominant 50/40/90 season we'll likely ever see. He followed that up last year by becoming the first player other than LeBron James to win the MVP award since Derrick Rose in 2011, and the first to lead the league in PER other than James since Chris Paul in 2008. There are plenty of other otherworldly factoids about Durant's ascent to greatness that we don't have space for, but the fact of that matter is that no one player in the league (aside from the man below, perhaps) changes his team's fortunes and other's team's gameplans quite like the versatile Durant.
#1 LeBron James, Cleveland Cavs
It's fashionable to hate on LeBron. It has been for years. Compound that with the Cavs' slide to the middle of a less-than-stellar Eastern Conference's playoff field, and critics have plenty of ammo. Say what you will, but the fact remains that James has set the bar so high for himself that people just expect him to turn the league into his own personal playhouse. Four NBA MVPs. Two NBA titles. Then there's this - each of the last ten years, LeBron has averaged at least 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Not once has he fallen off that perch. The last player to do it even once before LeBron? Michael Jordan in 1992.
We haven't even talked about his defense. Or his otherwordly court instincts. There's too much evidence to displace James as the NBA's best player. It could happen, and it could happen soon, but not yet.
Honorable Mentions: Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City), James Harden (Houston), Blake Griffin (LAC), Damian Lillard (Portland), Marc Gasol (Memphis), Tim Duncan (San Antonio), John Wall (Washington)
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