The Washington Wizards had some questions heading into the 2016-17 season, with the most important question being if John Wall could lead the Wizards into the playoffs. John Wall responded to the doubt by posting his best stat line in his career. John Wall would lead the Wizards to 49 wins, which was good enough for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The two-time MVP had to make adjustments to his game after his team added Kevin Durant in the offseason. However, the adjustment may have made Curry a better teammate. Although his stats have dropped, Curry has made the next step in being a superstar. Steph Curry has always been the humble star, but this season he took that reputation to a whole other level.
This NBA superstar proves that big things come in small packages. Standing at 5’9″, Isaiah Thomas has captured the hearts of NBA fans around the globe. After all, most players in the NBA can’t average 28.9 points per game. IT averaged that and he is almost a foot shorter than most of his peers! Thomas was able to lead the Boston Celtics over the Cleveland Cavaliers for the one seed this year which proved that Isaiah Thomas showed up big time.
7. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans 28 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game, 2.2 blocks per game, 27.59 PER
Every year since being drafted, Anthony Davis has improved his game. Perhaps the only reason why AD hasn’t made a deep playoff run is due to his lack of playoff caliber teammates. Up until All Star Weekend, Anthony Davis had to compete in the Western Conference with Jrue Holiday. Now with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis has a chance to climb up the conference and this list.
“The Greek Freak” live up to his nickname all year long. Giannis is the first player in NBA history to be top twenty in every statistical category. He also became the prototype point forward that most teams cannot guard. The scariest part about Giannis is he is only 22 years old and has what might be the best upside in the NBA.
After his decision to join the Golden State Warriors this offseason, Kevin Durant received a world of hate from fans, sports analysts, and his fellow peers. This did not stop KD from being his usual self on the court. Kevin Durant elevated his defensive game in his first season with the Warriors, as he went from 1.2 blocks per game and 1.1 steals per game to 1.6 blocks per game and 1.1 steals per game. Love him or hate him, Kevin Durant is still a top five player in this league and will be for a very long time.
LeBron is universally known as the greatest player in the world, and this year was no different. Although he did not have the best season this year, he still was able to solidify himself as one of the most consistent players in NBA history. Coming off of a championship season, LeBron suffered a year of injuries to key players like JR Smith. Despite this he still was able to bring his team the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
After the loss of Hall-of-Fame power forward Tim Duncan, the Spurs looked to Kawhi Leonard to step up as the leader of the team and he did just that. Not only did he become a leader on and off the court, he had the best season of his career, playing at a high level on both sides of the ball.
James Harden was at a crossroads in his career after a disappointing 2015-16 season. He could not repeat a deep playoff run with Dwight Howard, so after a business decision, the Rockets cut ties with Howard and retooled their lineup to be more 3 point oriented. The plan worked to perfection, as the Rockets launched into the three spot in the Western Conference. The Rockets are now quite possibly one move away from being finals contender, and James Harden is the reason for this resurgence of H-Town. James Harden’s MVP caliber season surged him into the conversation of best point guard in the league, and deservingly so. However, there is only one other point guard can drop a 50 point triple-double.
This should be obvious….
Only one other player in NBA history has averaged a triple-double in the regular season, and that guy is in the Hall of Fame. Russell Westbrook once was considered Kevin Durant’s little brother, but after KD’s questionable decision to leave Oklahoma City, Westbrook has transformed into what we call “Beastbrook”. Not only did the Thunder lose Kevin Durant, they also lost Serge Ibaka, which took away a much needed presence in the paint. This did not stop Russell in his pursuit of greatness. Historic season or not, Westbrook has some improvements to make. He has to trust his teammates more and he has to work on his deep jump shot. Even if he isn’t at his best right now, he averaged a triple-double across a full NBA season, and other teams should be scared of the Thunder and what Westbrook has to bring in the coming years.