Skills Development Critical To Becoming The Best
This is a question that’s often discussed and hotly contested among friends in basketball circles. Anybody who loves and watches the game has their preference. Is it Lebron James? Dwyane Wade? Kobe Bryant? Dirk Nowitzki? Derrick Rose? Kevin Durant? Dwight Howard? Let’s enter into discussion…
Most basketball observers will tell you that Lebron James is the most physically gifted player in the NBA. He’s a 6’9” 265 pound perimeter player who is as fast and strong as anyone on the court. He can play four positions effectively, can “jump out of the gym” and has great court vision. The statlines he produces from night to night are unmatched. On the other hand, Kobe Bryant is the most accomplished player in the NBA. He has won 5 NBA titles, 2 NBA Finals MVPs, 2 scoring titles, and has been selected 1st team All Defense a record-tying 9 times. Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant are two young phenoms who have set the league on fire with their athleticism and scoring prowess. Dwight Howard is the most physically imposing player who changes the game on the defensive side of the ball. Dwyane Wade might be the quickest player in the NBA and Dirk Nowitzki might be its best shooter. With all of these great players and their different styles, how can we tell which style and which player comes out on top? Let’s use a standard to compare: Michael Jordan.
If you don’t know who Michael Jordan is, stop reading and go watch some clips and old games immediately. Michael is considered by many to the best player to ever play basketball. He is who a lot of today’s stars aspired to be like when they were young players, and who many tried to model their games after.
What made Michael great? For starters, he had super athleticism. When Michael came into the league he revolutionized the shooting guard position. He was a big guard who could get into the lane and finish over the tallest players on the court. As a young player, he was almost always the most athletic player on the court, much like Lebron James is. Michael also had amazing scoring ability, winning his first scoring title in his 3rd season just like Kevin Durant. He used his athleticism to dunk over people, drive around people, and shoot over people to score an amazing amount of points. Much like Dwyane Wade, he had too much quickness for guards to stay in front of. Also like Dwyane, he didn’t have to use a lot of fancy dribbling to get by his man. He just needed a step because once he got by you, you weren’t going to catch up to him. As a young player, Michael carried his team offensively, much like Derrick Rose did in the 2010-2011 season. Not only could he score, but he had to score in order for his team to remain competitive night in and night out. Although Michael was known for his scoring, and rightfully so, he also played great defense. He won the Defensive Player of The Year award in his 4th NBA season. That means that for at least one season he was considered the most dominant defensive player in the game, just like Dwight Howard is considered today. Over the course of his career, Michael developed a dangerous jumpshot. He was considered the best midrange shooter in the game in the later part of his career, just like Dirk Nowitzki. And in the last couple seasons of his career he played the game hungry, even though he was already the most accomplished player playing the game. He mirrors Kobe Bryant in that way.
You see, Michael started as a raw athlete but continued to develop his game. He was good running up and down the court to score points in the regular season in part because of his athleticism. But if you watch the NBA, you know that in the playoffs the game becomes a slower, half court game. Michael’s jumpshot and know how for getting to the free throw line allowed him to be effective in the playoffs. And his commitment to defense allowed him to edge his competition in the close games. He was an all around player. In his 30s he remained great because he worked to develop an amazing post game and he played the game very intelligently. He embodied the best of today’s top players because he continued to work on his game and was effective no matter what style of ball was being played.
So who is the best player in the NBA today? The best player in the game of basketball at any level is the one who takes his raw ability and adds skill to it, plays both sides of the ball, and works on his game until he is effective in any setting. Austin Youth Basketball encourages you to become the best player in the game, and that means we also encourage you to Keep Working. All of these players were committed to working with basketball trainers who could help them develop their game. What are you doing to develop your game today?