There are special kinds of individuals that exist in the NBA. These players are not only good but are team leaders. They exude extra qualities that you cannot quantify on a stat sheet. These players are the alpha males of the team. They will fight anyone on the court in order to defend their teammates. Here is a ranking of the top five alphas in the NBA.
The NBA Alpha Power Rankings
1. LeBron James
He’s been renowned as the NBA’s best player for a while. However, eight years ago LeBron James wasn’t really known as the most clutch player. He was actually criticized for that part of his game. Especially when he lost in the 2011 NBA finals against the Dallas Mavericks. Since then James has fixed that and he’s won a couple NBA finals along the way.
Although he didn’t win the finals last year. LeBron James’ playoff performance was extremely alpha. It’s no secret that Cleveland didn’t have a very good team beyond LeBron James. He scored career-highs in points and assists. He also led last years playoffs in minutes, free throws, field goals, and points. James carried this team on his back hitting two game winners to help punch his teams ticket to the NBA finals.
2. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler made most news headlines at the end of the offseason when he made it known he wanted a trade. Butler spent most of the preseason alone and practicing alone while his fate was determined by the front office. When Butler knew he wasn’t gonna be traded he returned to practice with the full team. This practice will live in infamy in NBA history.
The Minnesota Timberwolves finished the 2017-2018 campaign with a 31-51 record. After adding Jimmy Butler to the roster they clinched their first playoff berth in 14 years. He all made the all NBA team, all NBA defensive team, and made his fourth all-star team. The success of this Timberwolves team and Jimmy Butler’s arrival is no coincidence
3. Russell Westbrook
A lot has been talked about over the years about Russell Westbrook and how he’s a bad teammate. One thing is for sure, Westbrook gives the Oklahoma City Thunder a chance to win every night. He’s that talented of a player.
Westbrook is one of the most animated players on the court. He’s well known for his signature snarl when he finishes a tough play to the basket. He became the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. Westbrook then became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double in back to back seasons. His ability to put the team on his back cannot be questioned.
4. Enes Kanter
After being traded to the New York Knicks in the offseason, Enes Kanter brought with him a change in the culture of this team. The Knicks had been the laughing stock of the NBA the past couple of seasons that a lot of teams walked over. Although the Knicks record hasn’t improved, Kanter has helped give the Knicks a swagger they haven’t had in a while.
The first example of this was when he came to the defense of his rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, getting in the face of LeBron James. This came a year after LeBron and teammates were caught flipping water bottles on the sidelines at MSG during a blowout win against the Knicks. Kanter showed the NBA world that the Knicks were gonna fight every possession of every game.
5. James Harden
James Harden was the player that brought about a culture change in Houston. He gave the Houston Rockets an identity in a Western Conference with many budding young stars. Harden is known for his intense play style and ability to go out and attack any player no matter who it is.
His defining alpha moment in the NBA was last season when he crossed over Los Angeles Clippers forward Wesley Johnson. As Johnson hit the floor Harden stared at him for a two seconds before draining a three to cap off a dominating first quarter for his team.