Not of the Trail Blazers, but of the NBA.
List consists of nine of the top players, somewhat arbitrarily selected by me, plus an "other" category. No, Brandon isn't on the list--he's not quite ready for that.
OTOH, the fact that the thought is even conjured up is amazing.
- LeBron. Best stats of anybody in the league. Team (Cavs) are fairly weak, though watch out in the postseason.
- Kobe. The only guy close to LeBron statistically, some say he's "due". (What is he, a pregnant woman?) Lakers are a much better team than 'Bron's Cavs, and Kobe has been much less selfish this year.
- Chris Paul. Has wrestled the title of "league's best point guard" away from Steve Nash, and is now guarding it jealously. (Though he gets competition from Deron Williams, who despite not putting up Paul's gaudy stats, seems to own him like a car that's paid for).
- Kevin Garnett. Other than the first three, KG has been MVP before. This year, though, his Celts are arguably the league's best team--and he's probably one of the top defensive bigs in the league.
- Dwight Howard. Dude's a beast. Like Cleveland, plays for a somewhat middling team; and unlike many of the other guys on the list hasn't shown he can step it up.
- Steve Nash. 2-time ex-MVP, still a deadly offensive weapon. Talent is being squandered by cheap ownership--a recent Bill Simmons post noted that Phoenix hadn't made a series of cost-saving moves, the Suns could have been an all-time team.
- T-Mac. Amazing what a 20-game winning streak will do; this time two months ago, the subject was how McGrady doesn't deserve to be in the ASG; now he's played himself into the MVP discussion. (He won't win, but that's beside the point). The Rockets, for some reason, seem to be a better team without Yao. Unlike other low-post scorers who don't bother playing defense (like Zach), Yao is a good defender and passer, so it's hard to understand why--I guess he just blunts the effectiveness of the Rockets' perimeter game (lots of guys, like T-Mac, need the ball).
- Duncan. Some might argue that Manu Ginobili is the best player on the Spurs this year, but Manu can get away only with being Manu because he's got Terrible Tim backing him up. This year, or next year, is probably one of the last for TD, as the odometer is getting up there.
- Deron Williams. DW vs CP3 will be an interesting thread for a long time--and maybe Brandon will crash that party. :) Some may think that Carlos Boozer is the Jazz' best player, but if I were to pick one player from the Jazz to add to the Blazers, ignoring our roster needs, it would be Williams.