Cohen's Position-by-Position Rankings

By Josh Cohen
December 14, 2011

ORLANDO -- Ranking players position-by-position is one of the more subjective arguments one can get involved in.

If you poll NBA fans in Dallas, on one hand, nearly everyone will suggest Dirk Nowitzki is the best power forward in the league. On the other hand, if you ask Bostonians to vote, Kevin Garnett probably receives utmost support. In New York, conversely, Amar’e Stoudemire likely gets favoritism.

It’s also difficult to compare talent because players are at distinctive stages of their careers. Steve Nash, for instance, earned MVP honors twice several years back and Tony Parker claimed Finals MVP in 2007. Are Nash and Parker, however, presently better point guards than, for example, John Wall, Tyreke Evans or even Kyrie Irving?

There needs to be some sort of criteria to properly rank players at each position. Sure, it’s easy to just glance at statistics and come to a conclusion. But frankly, that’s somewhat irrational considering stat sheet stuffers aren’t necessarily helping their team’s crunch out victories.

It’s also essential to define each position. For instance, one must ask, what is a point guard alleged to be and how is he supposed to manage his team? To be considered an elite shooting guard, does one have to be a great 3-point shooter or is attacking the basket and earning frequent trips to the free throw line more important? Should an advantaged center be able to consistently knock down open jumpers or is interior defense and a doggedness in the paint more essential?

Also when matching up players, we must examine who everyone plays with. It would be unjust to conclude that Rajon Rondo is absolutely better than some of the other supreme point guards bearing in mind he gets to play with future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen.

Should persona play a factor? Some players just seem more engaged than others even if they don’t necessarily possess as much talent. For instance, many classified John Starks as one of the top shooting guards in the 1990’s because of his unwavering passion and enthusiasm. However, from an aptitude standpoint, Starks probably didn’t have as much talent as, let’s say, Eddie Jones or Hersey Hawkins.

It is much more reasonable, however, to compare players from the same generation than it is to compare players from separate eras. It’s a common argument amongst NBA fans, but it’s practically impossible to make decisive judgments when comparing the best from the 1970’s or 80’s with the best of today.

While it wasn’t easy, I decided to rank the top 10 players of today at each position. My assessments were based on a myriad of factors, including statistics, value, potential, leadership and merit. Note: I did not include any rookies in my rankings.


POSITION
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
PG

Derrick
Rose

Chris
Paul

Deron
Williams

John
Wall

Steve
Nash

Russell
Westbrook

Tony
Parker

Tyreke
Evans

Jameer
Nelson

Rajon
Rondo
SG

Kobe
Bryant

Dwyane
Wade

Joe
Johnson

Monta
Ellis

Manu
Ginobili

Eric
Gordon

Ray
Allen

Kevin
Martin

DeMar
DeRozan

Jason
Richardson
SF

LeBron
James

Kevin
Durant

Carmelo
Anthony

Paul
Pierce

Rudy
Gay

Danny
Granger

Gerald
Wallace

Lamar
Odom

Luol
Deng

Caron
Butler
PF

Dirk
Nowitzki

Amar'e
Stoudemire

LaMarcus
Aldridge

Blake
Griffin

Kevin
Love

Kevin
Garnett

Pau
Gasol

Chris
Bosh

Al
Horford

Zach
Randolph
C

Dwight
Howard

Andrew
Bynum

Tyson
Chandler

Brook
Lopez

Marc
Gasol

Nene

Andrew
Bogut

Joakim
Noah

DeMarcus
Cousins

Roy
Hibbert



Which position ranking from the table above do you think is most accurate?
Which position ranking from the table above do you think is most accurate?
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