As the NBA Finals loom ahead of us, it seems like a fine time to look back on this year's franchise players. The term "franchise player" has become muddled, but these are the NBA players who I want on my team at each position.
PG: Chris Paul. This couldn't be easier for me. Chris Paul runs the floor as well as Magic and Nash ever did, has beautiful touch, and has the biggest clutch gene of any young player. Watch one Clipper game and you can see the way he takes care of and keeps control of his teammates. He's a pure point guard with minimal flash and maximum results.
Missed the Cut: Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker Overrated: Derrick Rose
SG: Dwayne Wade. Clutch, clutch and some more clutch. He plays as hard as anyone in the game and is the king of pulling of shots that make your jaw drop. He is and will always be the alpha male in any locker room. If you just take a look at him you can tell he's aging, but playing-wise you'd never know.
Missed the Cut: Kobe Overrated: Monta Ellis
SF: LeBron James. This is the first one I've really had to think about. I love Kevin Durant, and no one frustrates me more than the King, but no one can do the things he does. He's a very underrated defender, just won his third MVP, and this hasn't turned out to be the year Durant can top him.
Missed the Cut: Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony Overrated: Andre Igoudola
PF: Blake Griffin. He's not generally recognized as the best Power Forward in the league, but he's certainly the one I most want on my team. He's extremely talented, has great potential and intuition, and most importantly, plays his ass off every night. Double-doubles nightly are hard to turn down, and there's nowhere but up for him.
Missed the Cut: Dirk, Kevin Love
Overrated: Zach Randolph, Pau Gasol (I don't think anyone even overrates A'mare at this point)
C: Dwight Howard. I suppose Howard kind of takes the center position by default. As a L.A. fan, I'm much too frustrated with Bynum to even think of putting him at No. 1, and no one else at the five is a real superstar. Howard is a physical specimen and a terrific defender when he tries to be. His post-up game still has holes, but his otherworldly athleticism keeps him at the top.
Missed the Cut: Andrew Bynum, Roy Hibbert Overrated: Brook Lopez