Countdown: Best Active Player to Wear Each Jersey Number (0-5)
Each week for the next few weeks, I will count down the best current NBA player that wears each jersey number from 0-99. These will be more loose articles compared to the other serious ones I have dove into in the past. Nonetheless, it’s pretty cool to see which numbers have better talent than others. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
#0: Russell Westbrook
I consider the number 0 the hipster number for jerseys because it’s a little douchey and out there to wear a number less than 1. Even with me considering that, “0” jerseys are loaded with talent by the guys who wear them. Maybe soon Jayson Tatum and Kyle Kuzma can hope to be in this debate of best to wear 0, but for now Russell Westbrook takes the cake. He was the MVP two seasons ago and puts up just godly numbers. Last season, Westbrook averaged 25.4ppg, 10.1rpg, and 10.3apg. That’s a season of averaging a triple double, which is just insane. Russ gives off this selfish mentality where he’d prefer great stats over winning, but there is no denying how freaking good he is.
Honorable Mentions: Damian Lillard (26.9ppg, 4.5rpg, 6.6apg) and Demarcus Cousins (25.2ppg, 12.9rpg, 5.4apg)
#1: Devin Booker
Number 1 would seem like a star-studded number, but there’s really only a few good players who wear it. The best who rocks it is Devin Booker. A scoring machine who happens to play for one of the worst ran franchises in the NBA, the Suns. Even through the crappy team that’s around him, Booker is able to shine. This past season, he averaged 24.9ppg, 4.5rpg, and 4.7apg. Luckily, this offseason the Suns drafted Deandre Ayton first overall and signed Trevor Ariza to provide some hope for the near future. Hopefully, sometime soon we can see Booker put on a scoring display in some playoff series and see what he’s really about.
Honorable Mentions: D’Angelo Russell (15.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 5.2apg) and Reggie Jackson (14.6ppg, 2.8rpg, 5.3apg)
#2: Kawhi Leonard
Number 2 is another number that has some good names wearing it. The best being Kawhi Leonard. Leonard has been in NBA news headlines for a bunch of different weird reasons lately but let’s not forget how damn good the dude is. He’s a Finals MVP and 2-time Defensive Player of the Year Award winner. To boot, he’s only 27 and should be hitting his prime this upcoming season. Two seasons ago he averaged 25.5ppg, 5.8rpg, and 3.5apg and finished 3rd in the MVP race. As of this summer, Leonard was traded to Toronto and is expected to lead them through a deep playoff run. Anything less than the Eastern Conference Finals would be a disappointment in my eyes.
Honorable Mentions: John Wall (19.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 9.6apg) and Joe Ingles (11.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.8apg)
#3: Chris Paul
This one was basically a no brainer, but there are some other really good players who wear 3. His nickname “CP3” even stems from the number he wears. Chris Paul joined the Rockets prior to last season, and boy did it prove to be the right move. The Rockets snagged the best record in the NBA last season at 65-17 and lost in 7 games to the Warriors in the Conference Finals. CP3 was injured for games 6 and 7 leading many to believe the Rockets would have made the NBA Finals had he been healthy. His averages were 18.6ppg, 5.4rpg, and 7.9apg. People seem to have written the Rockets off next season, but I promise you they’ll be making some noise in the playoffs.
Honorable Mentions: Bradley Beal (22.6ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.5apg) and CJ McCollum (21.4ppg, 4rpg, 3.4apg)
#4: Victor Oladipo
A year ago, I would have put Isaiah Thomas as the best player wearing number 4 and not have even given Oladipo a second glance. Now, Isaiah Thomas is no longer wearing number 4 and Victor Oladipo has turned into a complete stud. After Paul George was traded from the Indiana Pacers, many people viewed them as a team that would miss the playoffs. Instead, they became a 5th seed led by Oladipo that pushed Lebron and the Cavs to 7 games. He became a first time all star last season as well with averages of 23.1ppg, 5.2rpg, and 4.3apg. In the Eastern Conference where everybody is talking about Boston, Philly, and Toronto, the Pacers have a chance to be a sneaky contender behind those teams.
Honorable Mentions: Paul Millsap (14.6ppg, 6.4rpg, 2.7apg) and Milos Teodosic (9.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.6apg)
#5: Will Barton
Number 5 is a number that has way less talent than I would have figured. Will Barton is a good player don’t get me wrong, but he should never be considered the best at anything. Barton is on a Denver Nuggets team that just barely missed the playoffs last season. This offseason they drafted Michael Porter JR. and signed Isaiah Thomas. The combination of those two guys should bode well in Denver. As for Barton, last season he averaged 15.7ppg, 5rpg, and 4.1apg. He’s going to be starting at the 3 for them next season and he’ll provide a solid scoring punch. I firmly believe that this team will be a 6-8 seed in the Western Conference next season.
Honorable Mentions: Nicolas Batum (11.6ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.5apg) and Bobby Portis (13.2ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.7apg)
Stay tuned next week for numbers 6-10.
Brandon Black(Follow @bhblack02)