7 NBA Stars Who Will Dominate Headlines in 2015
The NBA is arguably the best basketball league in the world and has attracted some of the best players in the world. Teams have a lot of local as well as foreign talent on their rosters and each year the league is inundated with new stars. Players like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Larry Bird, Michael Jordon, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell and many more have helped shape the sport to what it is today. The achievements of these greats will live on in the memories of every fan of this beautiful sport.
As the game keeps developing, we see increased level of competition in the league as teams try their best to outdo each other. This has resulted in an influx of talented players who have what it takes to thrive and lead their respective sides to glory. There is a lot of talent in the NBA and that got us thinking about who will shine the brightest this year. With that in mind, we went to work and came up with a list of 7 NBA stars who will, according to us, dominate the headlines in 2015.
It is safe to say that the Oklahoma City Thunder were not going through the best of times when they posted fifty nine losses in the 2008 season. That all changed when they revamped their squad and signed Russell Westbrook.
A star athlete in college, Westbrook was selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft. Expectations were high and he delivered. Westbrook was fourth in the Rookie of the Year nominations and also featured on the All-Rookie first team. The excellent start to his career gave him the confidence to improve in the subsequent years and he managed to do just that.
Every year his stats show a marked increase as he enters the peak years of his career. Last season he was among the best defensive men in the NBA and his drive and energy led the Thunder to posting one of their best records in a decade. He was however not able to take his team too far in the playoffs due to a succession of injuries he suffered during the year. Westbrook will surely be all fired up to make up for lost time and take the Thunder further than they did last season.
Trying to live up to your father’s name in sports can be very hard for most players but not Stephen Curry. Son of the Charlotte Hornets all-time leading scorer Dell Curry, he had a lot to prove to the whole league. And he did just that. He came second in the Rookie of the Year considerations and made it to the rookie first team in his first season.
Curry has been a force to be reckoned with since his first year in the NBA. His performances have kept on getting better and better as his control and vision of the game have improved with time as well. As he received great reviews for his exploits on the court, his team the Golden State Warriors also got better. It was no surprise then, that they posted their first winning season in five years at the same time Curry hit his best form to date.
Curry set the NBA record for the most three pointers in a campaign and is now considered one of the best three point shooters in the game. His playmaking abilities have also improved over time and have led the Warriors to a winning average that is above what they have been used to in the recent past. If Curry continues to show this kind of form, the Warriors just might be able to add another championship to their collection.
Blake Griffin was a star even before he joined the NBA. Winner of four state titles in high school, he went on to win the Consensus National Player of the Year title in college. He was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers as the first overall pick in the 2009 draft and he has been unstoppable since his rookie season. In his first official year he won the Slam Dunk contest, the Rookie of the Year gong and also made it to the All-Star team.
Since then Griffin has gone from strength to strength. From losing fifty games, the Clippers went on to win fifty and more games per season. They managed to qualify for the playoffs after an absence of five years and it was all down to Blake Griffin’s magic. The power forward is one of the few players in the game who can do everything on the court. His scoring, attacking abilities, vision and playmaking talents are exceptional. He is not only an exciting player to watch but he is also one of the very few players who make others around them look good.
The next player on the list is somebody who is used to being a star. He is none other than Carmelo Anthony, the high school and college basketball MVP, who led his college team to their first ever national championship. He started his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets and led them to the playoffs for six straight years, winning two division titles before he was traded to the New York Knicks in 2011.
Anthony has found his best form at the Knicks. He has been scoring more points than at any other time in his career. Last season he set his and the Knicks’ best single game scoring record by amassing sixty two points in one game. His average of 27.4 PPG is one of the highest in the league.
Carmelo can end up as an all time great if he keeps working on the defensive side of his game. With a much more stable Knicks team and the wisdom of Phil Jackson to back him up, Anthony can be the factor that sets the Knicks apart from the rest of the pack at the end of the season.
The Los Angeles Clippers had never won a trophy in their entire forty three year history before they clinched their first division title in 2013. The arrival of Blake Griffin was definitely a contributing factor, but not the only one.
Chris Paul, the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2006, was traded from the Hornets in 2011 and it did not take him long to make his mark. The very next season the Clippers won over forty games after a gap of five years. It only got better over the next two years as they won back to back division titles and Paul was named in the NBA All Star and the NBA All-Defensive teams. He led the league in assists as well as steals and his partnership with Griffin developed into one of the best in the NBA.
Chris has consistently showcased the amazing defensive and playmaking abilities he possesses. With the Clippers getting closer each year, perhaps this is the season when he finally leads his team to the finals.
In the 2008 season, the Oklahoma City Thunder posted a winning average of .244. However they also drafted Kevin Durant, who would lead them out of this slump and turn them into regular title contenders once again. Durant was the first freshmen to win the Naismith College Player of the Year award and went on to win the Rookie of the Year gong in his debut NBA season. He also led the Thunder to their first NBA Finals appearance in sixteen years.
He won the MVP award for his achievements last season and has been selected in the All Star team every year since joining the NBA. He was also the leading scorer during the last campaign. His thirty two points per game were an unbelievable achievement for somebody at this level and the only thing missing now is the coveted NBA Championship.
LeBron James is one player whose place on this list cannot be doubted. James is unquestionably the best player in the league today and has been for the last few years. He took the NBA by storm when he made his debut in 2003 and has continued to raise the bar every season.
Plucked straight out of high school, James had been setting records even then. His abilities were clear for everybody to see and he was drafted as the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. He took the previously underperforming Cavaliers to two division titles and one conference championship. He also led them to their first ever NBA Finals appearance in history.
James moved to the Miami Heat in 2010 where he continued his great run of form. He led the Heat to two consecutive NBA Championships and was named the finals MVP on both occasions. He moved back to the Cavaliers last year and expectations are high that he will make them a force to be reckoned with once again.
James has won four MVP awards and has made it to the All Star team nine times. With a new look Cavaliers squad to back him up, he is now eyeing the ultimate prize; leading his home team to their first NBA title. That will cap off what has been a stellar career.
So there you have it. These are the top 7 players who in our opinion will light up the league in the year to come. You might not agree with all of our choices but if you do have any comments to make, feel free to do that.