Devin Booker is on another level right now. He’s pretty much unstoppable — a methodical three-level scorer and playmaker with endless moves and countermoves, never getting phased by defensive pressure or letting his foot off the gas pedal. If the Suns make a championship run, there’s a very real chance that Booker, not Kevin Durant, is the primary engine behind it.
Health continues to fail Kawhi Leonard, who is very clearly still a top-10 player when healthy. In fact, if Leonard could just put together a full season, he could very well move back into the top five. A lot of people have said he’s the closest to Michael Jordan we’ve ever seen stylistically. It’s mesmerizing to watch. If only we could watch it more often.
It’s LeBron James. Dropping him any lower than this would feel disrespectful. The King isn’t quite the undeniable league-best force he once was, but he’s not terribly far removed. James with his head down driving the lane is still a terrorizing sight for opposing defenses. He can still pick apart defenses with his mind or overwhelm them with his athleticism. He’s still hard to beat.
Jayson Tatum has arrived as a tier-one superstar. Very few players can influence both sides of the ball at Tatum’s level. He’s simultaneously the most gifted wing scorer of his age group and a full-fledged wing stopper on the defensive end. The Celtics’ depth is often cited when people discuss them as contenders, but Boston simply isn’t this terrifying without a generational talent of Tatum’s caliber.
He’s still Kevin Durant, the most unstoppable individual scorer of the last two decades. A 7-footer with the skill set of a guard and the purest of pure jumpers, Durant can still influence winning however he chooses to. Phoenix has used him as an off-ball decoy. Ask him to take over the game as the lead ball-handler, and he will. Oh, and he just put together his best defensive season in a while. If only injuries (and the trade deadline) hadn’t gotten in the way.