LeBron James is one of the greatest players of all time due to his sustained excellence and leadership.
1. Kevin Love
Kevin Love is the son of former NBA player Stan Love. Stan was picked 9th in the 1971 NBA draft by the Baltimore Bullets. He played three and a half seasons in the NBA and one in the ABA.
Kevin was the 5th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies but was traded with Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins to the Minnesota Timberwolves for O. J. Mayo, Antoine Walker, Marko Jarić, and Greg Buckner.
Kevin was a double-double machine right out of the gate. In his rookie year, he averaged 11.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 1.0 APG. Love developed into a star in Minnesota where he averaged 26.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 4.4 APG in his final season with the team.
LeBron came back to Cleveland after a four-season stint in Miami. He needed some firepower to combat the Western Conference powers. They already had Kyrie Irving, but they needed another piece. The team pulled the trigger on a trade where the Cavaliers got Love, the Wolves got Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and Thaddeus Young, and the 76ers got the 2015 Miami Heat first-round pick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Alexey Shved.
The move paid off for Cleveland as they went to four straight Finals and won the 2016 Finals from a 1-3 deficit. Love was a solid third option for their championship run where he averaged 16 PPG, 9.9 RPG, and 2.4 APG during the regular season.
2. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving was the 1st pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. He came from the prestigious Duke Blue Devils collegiate program that has produced many quality NBA players. Kyrie was an excellent collegiate player who averaged 17.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 4.3 APG.
What separated Kyrie from many players was his handles. He was comparable to many greats before him such as Allen Iverson and Tim Hardaway. Right out of the gate, Kyrie was special. In his rookie season, he averaged 18.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 5.4 APG on his way to becoming Rookie of the Year.
Kyrie was an excellent running mate for LeBron as they went to four straight Finals and won the 2016 Finals. Kyrie made the clutch shot over Curry in Game 7 of the NBA Finals that sealed the deal.
"Uncle Drew" is one of the most skillful players to ever step onto an NBA court.
3. Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh was part of the legendary 2003 NBA Draft and was in the same class as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. This helped the three form a friendship that resulted in the three teaming up in Miami.
Chris was the 4th pick of that draft and was solid in his first year. He already averaged 11.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 1.0 APG as a rookie. In the beginning, the Raptors were Vince Carter's team. When Carter was traded to the Nets, the Raptors became Bosh's team. He became a solid double-double machine and even averaged 24.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.4 APG in his last year in Toronto.
The following year, he joined forces with LeBron and Dwyane to form a superteam in Miami. They went to four straight Finals and won back-to-back championships. Miami was a powerful team as it had three of the top ten players in the game.
Unfortunately, Chris had to retire on March 26, 2019, due to blood clotting issues.
4. Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade was part of the legendary 2003 NBA Draft with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. This trio would eventually team up in Miami. Dwyane was the 5th pick of that draft, and he was solid in his first year. He averaged 16.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 4.5 APG as a rookie. In just his third season, Wade won his first championship playing alongside Shaquille O' Neil. When Shaq was traded, Dwyane was left alone to carry the load. After a few seasons, Dwyane teamed with LeBron and Chris to form a successful superteam.
After LeBron left Miami, Dwyane had stints in Chicago and Cleveland before ultimately returning to Miami to close out his career.
5. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis was the first pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets. He was a generational talent who averaged 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.0 APG as a rookie. Davis developed into one of the premier big men in the league who could easily score 20 points and 10 rebounds on any given night. He even averaged 25.9 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 3.9 APG in his final season with the Pelicans.
Davis was traded for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks. Even though the Lakers had to give up a lot for Davis, the move paid dividends immediately as the Lakers became the 2020 NBA Champions. Anthony averaged 26.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 3.2 APG in his first season with the Lakers.
© 2021 Jan Michael Ong