Top Plays
Top Plays
Top Plays
Top Plays

Top Plays Theatre: Ranking 2016-17's best plays

Khari Arnold,

Nov 30, 2016 8:41 AM ET


(UPDATE: Dec. 4) -- Ankle-breaking alert!

Our first crossover has checked into the countdown. 

(Nov. 30) -- After one month of NBA basketball, there's been a ton of plays that have reminded us why we love this game. The athleticism, skill, intensity and emotion that's on display every night is a highlight reel that continues to keep us in awe. 

So once again, is keeping an ongoing ranking of the 10 best plays of the season -- the Top Plays Theatre. As new plays happen, they'll move into our countdown and we'll continuously adjust the top 10. But after a month of action, here’s how it begins:


1. LaVine Leaps Like No Other

There's no way that when Zach LaVine retires this photo isn't framed to its max capacity somewhere in his house. The two-time dunk champ has certainly registered the best play of the season thus far. If there's an argument to be made, it's probably only happening among the Len family.



2. Young To The Rescue

Not sure what's the most impressive thing about this play. The steal or the shot? 

Very rarely do you see a player intercept a pass intended for his teammate, quickly find separation, then shoot it to win the game (feel free to replace 'very rarely' with 'never'). 



3. Westbrook Does What He Wants

Unlike last season, every opposing team knows which Thunder player gets the ball in crunch time. Yet, no one still had a chance on this play. How many players would even attempt to seal a victory with their off hand on top of a defender who's six inches taller than him?

Quietly overlooked was how quickly he lost his original defender on his way to the rim. Again, no one had a chance.



4. 'Bron Or Brady?

Once you get over the fact that LeBron James just wrapped a pass around three defenders, hit replay and observe this: A quarterback is supposed to put the ball where his receiver is heading, not where he's currently located. LeBron uses a slight spin on the ball to put this pass directly on the money.

Not often do you see that style of quarterback play in half-court situations, especially along the baseline. Cleveland could certainly use this elite passing on Sundays. 



5. Nance Jr. Goes Northwest

He palmed David West’s head. What else is there to really add here?


6. Saric Brings Out The Skates

While the Ben Simmons show hasn’t arrived in Philly yet, rookies Joel Embiid and Dario Saric have shown off their talent early on this season, with the latter using a crossover to send Jonas Jerebko to the floor and the Sixers crowd in a frenzy. 


7. Remember Me?

To be clear, hitting a buzzer-beater or game-winner doesn’t automatically guarantee a spot in this ranking. There has to be some interesting element, which Serge Ibaka has covered in his return to OKC when he personally sent the team that just traded him home with a loss.


8. Pump Once, Pump Twice, Take Flight

Honestly, should a guy at 7 feet tall be allowed to possess this type of footwork?

Somehow, that wasn't even the best part of the play. Sorry, Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot.



9. Gordon Goes 360

Aaron Gordon could see the outcome of this play the second Richaun Holmes caught the pass: a steal and a breakaway 360 slam.

February, where are you?



10. The Golden State Show Begins

The addition of Kevin Durant has brought more than just offense to the Warriors. His length and quickness has been a plus on defense, too, which Devin Booker can justify. That type of effort with Stephen Curry hitting 35-footers on the opposite end is indeed dangerous.


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