Ranking team’s go-to scorers

Over at Yahoo! Sports at the moment, Kelly Dwyer is ranking each position from 1-30. Seeing as how there is no NBA news, rankings seem the way to go. I have decided, though, to rank each team’s go-to scorer from 1-30. I haven’t used any advanced statistics, complicated metrics, or anything else. I have just ranked the guys who I believe have the perfect combination of scoring (shooting, driving, ability to get to the free-throw line), efficiency, ambidexterity and clutch-ness. With that said, here we go:

1. Kobe Bryant, LAL: who else? He has unlimited range, can shoot from 3 and mid-range, gets to the line, lays up with his left when he has too many messed-up fingers on his dominant right hand and there is no other player you’d want shooting the ball with the clock winding down to 0.0. The only knock is that he mightn’t be the most efficient player, but he’s still the best go-to guy in the league.

2. Kevin Durant, OKC: may have only been in the league for 3 seasons, but has already been the scoring champion and shows no sign of slowing down. He can shoot from anywhere, gets to the line 10 times a game (making a 90% clip) and is extremely efficient. His young Thunder squad is going to go as far as he takes them.

3. Carmelo Anthony, DEN: can shoot, drive, post and get to the line. Hits clutch shots. Has averaged nearly 25 points per game over his career. Many observers suggest he is the best pure scorer in the league. Not many would argue.

4. Brandon Roy, POR: handles the ball, shoots, finishes with both hands and is extremely clutch (just don’t ask Houston fans). Another guy you’d absolutely want taking the shot with time running out.

5. Dwyane Wade, MIA: has mid-range game, drives and finishes like few others, has vastly improved 3-point range and a deadly killer-instinct – isn’t that right, Dallas? He has previously been the league’s scoring champ and is, I believe, a more complete offensive talent than new team-mate LeBron James.

6. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL: silky-smooth jump-shot all the way out to three-point land despite being 7-foot tall. Dominant post game including an impossible-to-block turn-around fall-away. Extremely efficient considering the sheer weight of Dallas possessions that are run through him. 12 seasons in the league with an average of 23 per game.

7. Deron Williams, UTA: possesses a killer crossover that he uses to get to the rim, smooth looking jump-shot all the way out beyond the arc, and has hit his share of game-winners.

8. Ben Gordon, DET: can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor and has never shied away from the big shot. Another guy who I can truly say I would want taking a final shot.

9. Paul Pierce, BOS: drives to the bucket, makes free throws and can shoot from range. Has bailed Boston out of many games with his sheer ability to put the ball in the bucket. A major offensive talent.

10. Vince Carter, ORL: statistically, he is one of the most clutch players in the league. With the ability to put the ball on the floor and drive to the hole or pull-up and shoot from pretty much anyway, VC is as good a choice as anyone to go to at the end of games. Too bad he never seemed to have the desire of some of the others above him, for he has so much talent.

11. Joe Johnson, ATL: he can catch-and-shoot, shoot of the dribble, shoot in isolation, shoot the midrange, shoot from distance – basically, he’s a pretty good shooter. He is involved in a ton of possessions for the Hawks but scores a solid 20 per game and has a knack of coming through in the clutch.

12. Danny Granger, IND: he just puts the ball in the bucket. Driving, shooting, from the free-throw line…everywhere. Really put himself into the league’s elite group of scorers in the 2008/9 season, averaging 25.8 points per game and hitting several clutch baskets.

13. Gilbert Arenas, WAS: his gimpy knee, along with the gun incident and resulting suspension, has left him a bit forgotten around the NBA. But healthy, Gilbert has ridiculous range, a wicked first step and is one of the best at hitting clutch baskets.

14. Chris Paul, NOH: he’s extremely tricky with the ball and can basically get wherever he wants on the court. However, he ranks lower on the list because he looks to set others up first. But with his quickness combined with his ever-improving shooting ability, I don’t think there’d be too many people suggesting that he’s too selfish.

15. Kevin Martin, HOU: here’s a guy that can shoot the ball, can get to the rim with his deceptive quickness and often lives at the free-throw line. Despite an odd shooting stroke, he can shoot accurately all the way out to the three-point line. And he’s an efficient scorer. The only knock for me is that he hasn’t really delivered in the clutch.

16. Amar’e Stoudemire, NYK: out on his own now, leaving Steve Nash and Phoenix for the max-deal in New York. Now we’ll see whether he can succeed without a former-MVP point guard dishing him the ball. Despite this, Amar’e is superbly talented offensively, mixing in a face-up game and a quick first step with his devastating strength. He can also shoot it out to 20-feet and knocks down his free-throws, impressive for a big guy.

17. Carlos Boozer, CHI: I went with Booze over D-Rose as Chi-town’s best scorer. While Booze can post-up and hit the jumper, D-Rose’s best chance at scoring is driving the lane, with his jumper often shaky at best. Boozer, however, can use both hands very well and is a fairly high-percentage shooter. I’m sure that Coach will call for some Rose-Boozer pick-and-roll if Chicago needs a bucket late game.

18. Jason Richardson, PHX: with Amar’e leaving, it figures that he’ll be the main scorer in Phoenix this season. Has the ability to get to the rim and shoot from distance, and scores fairly efficiently, shooting just below 50% in his two seasons in Phoenix. They’ll look to him to score 20 per and he’s more than capable.

19. Manu Ginobili, SAS: he’s super tough and afraid of nothing, so it figures he’d have the ball in his hands late game. Although the Spurs have their MVP in Tim Duncan and Finals MVP Tony Parker, I’m sure it’s Manu who’ll get the last shot, be it a crazy drive or a step-back three.

20. Eric Gordon, LAC: not too sure whether they’ll still go to the young fella this coming season or whether Blake Griffin gets the ball on the block to wreak havoc. Whatever happens, Gordon has shown he can score in this league, mixing solid handles and a knack for getting to the line with deep 3-point range.

21. Rudy Gay, MEM: just got the max-deal from the Grizz, so they obviously believe he can be a lead guy. Extremely long and athletic, he excels in the open floor while being a good shooter from distance. Has hit big shots in the past.

22. Devin Harris, NJN: put up big numbers with backcourt mate Vince Carter in his first full season in New Jersey, 2008/9. However, after the Nets traded Carter and left Harris to shoulder the scoring load, his per game went from 21 points to just 17. He did start the season on the IR and struggled to get into a rhythm but it seem Brook Lopez is ready to become the Nets lead guy.

23. Andre Iguodala, PHI: he can definitely get to the rim, but his jumper is totally suspect. He is a rather efficient scorer, less so when he is the main guy. However, he has shown a knack for clutch buckets, generally pull-up jumpers from 17-feet. Not the worst scorer but certainly not the best.

24. John Salmons, MIL: he can get to the rim but often settles for the mid-range jumper. He can shoot all the way out to the three but can sometimes become a volume shooter. He has made big shots though.

25. Stephen Jackson, CHA: he can shoot and post, but can be wildly inefficient and has an extremely slow release on his jump-shot. However, he’s tough and fearless, and never shies from taking that big shot.

26. Tyreke Evans, SAC: only just coming off his rookie season, in which he averaged 20 points per, ‘Reke is still finding himself. He can get to the rim at will with his strength and quickness, but his jumper is pretty bad. He did hit a couple of game-winners the past season and has already demonstrated that he can get to the line. One to watch climb this list.

27. Monta Ellis, GSW: his lightning quickness allows him to get to the rim at will and he is quite adept at the mid-range game, but he’s a volume shooter and hasn’t really shown an ability to hit the big shots.

28. Mo Williams, CLE: he’ll become the Cavs main scorer this season (really, who else do they have?), and then…we’ll see. He can shoot from mid-range and three, and his floater is one of the prettiest in the league. He definitely has offensive talent, but has never had to be the main guy (he had Michael Redd as a backcourt mate and main guy in Milwaukee, and then some guy in Cleveland did a lot of the scoring…)

29. Andrea Bargnani, TOR: he was the top pick, he got the big contract extension and now it’s time to prove the faith. Bosh is gone and someone’s gotta put in 25 a game. Is it Andrea? We’ll have to wait and see.

30. Michael Beasley, MIN: it figures that Beasley’ll be the main scorer in Minny, what with the litany of offensive moves he possesses. He’ll likely come off the bench behind Kevin Love, but should still see plenty of court time. This is his season to show the league he was a worthy number 2 pick in the draft.

Comments? Thoughts?

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