DAR Sports: The 10 Best NBA Players In The Western Conference

By @TrueGodImmortal

The Western Conference is simply stacked. With a ton of trades and moves made, it looks as if the Western Conference is yet again the Conference to watch in the NBA. Last year, the West was the most engaging Conference and this year will be no different. The West has a ton of stars, along with the most skilled players in the game, And today, we wanted to take on the challenge and task of narrowing the list down to the 10 best in the game. This is going off success, skill, talent and ability, and leadership. Of course, you might not see a player you think that deserves to be on this list, but that's just how opinions work. Regardless, these are the players we think make the top 10 in the West. Let's take a look.

*Paul George
(Oklahoma City Thunder)

-The newest addition to the West is one of the best players in it instantly. The newest member of the Oklahoma City Thunder will have some tough times playing more games in the West, but playing next to Russell Westbrook should guarantee some success for him. Despire some slander from the social media gallery, Paul George is still a top tier player and he's definitely top 10 in the Conference for the ability he brings on both ends of the court. A good defender, a solid court general, and a great scorer, in all aspects of the game, Paul George has it together. Is he top 5? No, but he definitely cracks the top 10.

*James Harden
(Houston Rockets)

-While I'm not the biggest fan of Harden, he's clearly a top tier player in the West. His efficiency and turnover rate isn't anything to rave home about and he has a knack for hitting more free throws than actual shots, but what sets him apart from many in the West is that he's a leader. He's led the Rockets to the playoffs every season, and despite some tough second round and first round losses, along with his big loss in the Conference Finals with the team, he's still proven that he's a leader for his team and a possible MVP candidate. While some feel he was robbed of the MVP two of the last three seasons (he wasn't), Harden is regularly a candidate who could be even more of a force if he put more effort in on defense and raised his efficiency just a bit. Harden is really good, but the crazy part about it is that he could actually get even better. If that happens, the MVP trophy might be coming home with him sooner than later.
It will be interesting to see him work side by side with Chris Paul this season.

*Anthony Davis
(New Orleans Pelicans)

-It's telling. Of the top 10, a majority of the list features teammates. The Thunder, The Pelicans, The Rockets, and The Warriors each have two players a piece on this list. There are some glaring names missing from the list like Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, Karl Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, and others, but AD was a no brainer. He's top 5 in the West and top 7 in the entire NBA, and we see that he has the ability to stay as healthy as possible during a season. He's a great defensive player, an amazing offensive player, and the best big man in the entire game. The 2nd best big man in the game? It just so happens to be his teammate still. That's a scary sight for teams, but with or without another top tier teammate, AD is still one of the best in the game period.

*Jimmy Butler
(Minnesota Timberwolves)

-There was a need to place CJ or Conley on this, but the truth of the matter is, Jimmy Butler is going to take their place and rest comfortably within the top 10 players in the Conference. The truth of the matter is, Jimmy Buckets is now the best player on the Wolves. Yes, KAT is a versatile big man, but he JUST misses the list. He isn't the elite defender that Jimmy is, and he can't take over and dominate a game quite like Jimmy either. Jimmy isn't the only star on his team, but he is the best player once again on his team, and that earns him a spot in the top 10.

*Chris Paul
(Houston Rockets)

-It was tough to put CP3 over some other names who didn't make the list, but we have to be honest: there aren't many point guards in the game as well rounded as CP3 still. Yes, he is slowly heading towards the dreaded decline that comes with being in the league so long, but in terms of point guards in the West, the only names I would take over him are Steph and Russ. He's solid on the defensive end still, a leader in the court, and able to score or dish out assists at any time. He's the most pure point guard of this era, and despite never reaching the Conference Finals, CP3 is someone you want on your team. It will be interesting however to see how Harden and CP3 work together in Houston, but that's the fun of this game. The unpredictable makes this coming season absolutely fun to watch.

*Demarcus Cousins
(New Orleans Pelicans)

-Boogie has fallen victim to not getting playoff time, but make no mistake about it, he's still top 10 in the Conference. He was seen as top 10-15 in the NBA at the start of the season, and although his new role with the Pelicans hasn't shown the full extent of his talent, we know what he can do. Will this coming season see the Pelicans make the playoffs and Cousins and AD reign as the Twin Towers in playoff basketball? That remains to be seen, but when it comes down to skill, ability, and overall, Cousins is still top 10, but his spot is admittedly the shakiest one on this list.

*Stephen Curry
(Golden State Warriors)

-While he's not the best player on his team, he's the most important player on his team without question. The offense runs and flows through Steph without question. He's not as physically gifted on the court as some of his counterparts, but he's more skilled than nearly all of them, And I still think Steph is the no. 3 player in the entire NBA and honestly no. 2 in the Conference. He took on a role that caused him to defer somewhat to Durant and still had a huge season where he cracked 300 three pointers and averaged 25 points a game, which is the 2nd highest average in his career. In the playoffs, he was the most important player for the Warriors up until the Finals, where he and Durant shared the duties to perfection. Steph has the best handles in the West, he's the best shooter in the West, he's the best floor leader in the West (I think he is due to the success that the Warriors have had), and contrary to incorrect popular belief, Steph is a good team defender. As an overall player, Steph is the best point guard in the entire game and the 2nd best in the West hands down still. If his playoff aggressiveness is an indication, we might be seeing Steph get even better and that's a scary thought for the rest of the West and the league.

*Russell Westbrook
(Oklahoma City Thunder)

-The reigning MVP is top 5 in the Conference and he's still seeming to find his rhythm and leadership. Russ is explosive, aggressive, and although he has a few flaws in his game (he has essentially the same flaws that Harden has), Russ is still on top of his game. Defensively he isn't the best, but offensively, he's the most aggressive player in the league. He's very tough to guard and to stop, and his motor is undeniable. Despite some moments where he wasn't efficient in the 4th quarter during the first round of the playoffs, during the regular season, the Triple Double Machine led his team with ease and showed up in clutch moments better than anybody in the league. That's more than enough to garner Russ a spot on the list.

*Kawhi Leonard
(San Antonio Spurs)

-The two time Defensive Player of The Year and 2014 Finals MVP winner is in a three man race to be seen as the best two way player today. The fact that the Spurs had the Warriors right where they wanted them in the Conference Finals for game 1 speaks volumes to the leadership Kawhi displayed. He showed his leadership in the Memphis series multiple times and it's clear to me that he's a definite MVP candidate going forward for this coming season. He's a great defender, he's able to lead his team, and even more, he's developed his game as an offensive player even more, making him the biggest threat in the Coach Pop system, which is proven to be just about as flawless as anything in basketball. Kawhi is my pick for MVP this season honestly, and I think he will showcase elements of his game that we haven't seen yet, making him more dangerous than ever for the coming season.

*Kevin Durant
(Golden State Warriors)

-The 2017 Finals MVP and one of the most skilled players today definitely deserves to make the list. If you ask me, there's a huge case to make for Durant being the best player in the NBA period, not just the West. As a LeBron fan, sure, you're not going to like that statement, but objectively speaking, the only thing that separated the two at the time is Finals appearances and championships. Now that Durant has obtained a championship and put on one of the most efficient Finals performances ever, the gap between them is much shorter. KD is a better scorer, and on the defensive end the last season, KD was much more consistent. He elevated his game and improved as a player all around and with newfound championship confidence, this honestly might be the scariest thing for the league. His teammate Steph Curry makes the list as well, and Steph seems focused on getting better just like KD is, which could spell a lot of torment for the rest of the NBA. As of now, KD is right there as the 1B to LeBron's 1A (or is it the other way around?), and he's definitely the best player in the West. Next season can't get here fast enough.



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