5 Allen Iverson – G, Denver Nuggets
In his only full season with Denver, AI averaged 26.4 points and 7.1 assists per game. He was an All-Star for the ninth straight season and led the league in games and minutes played. The experiment of combining Iverson and Carmelo Anthony would be a short-lived one though, as the Nuggets were bounced in the first round for the second straight year, and Iverson was shipped to Detroit just three games into the following season. Iverson will always be remembered by his Nugget teammates as “That other guy who won’t let us shoot.”
4 LeBron James – F/G, Cleveland Cavaliers
Although young King James had long since hit his stride, 07-08 was a record year for LeBron. He led the league in scoring with a monster 30 points per game, set the Cavs franchise record for most triple-doubles in a season with 7, became their all-time leading scorer, and became the youngest player in the history of the NBA to hit the 10,000 point mark. Despite all of his individual accomplishments though, the Cavs were knocked out in the second round by the eventual champion Celtics, and LeBron once again had little more than his millions upon millions of dollars to be happy about.
3 Chris Paul – G, New Orleans Hornets
In a season that marked the Hornets full-time return to New Orleans, Chris Paul gave the battered city hope when he broke out as a legitimate NBA superstar. Paul led the league in assists and steals, while averaging 21.1 points per game and finishing second in the vote for MVP. He also led the surprising Hornets to a franchise high 56 wins, good enough for the Southwest Division title, and brought them to the second round of the playoffs where they lost to the defending champion Spurs in an epic 7-game series (which was lucky for fans, because we were all sick of Paul’s flashy brilliance and eager to see more fundamentally sound Spurs basketball).
2 Kevin Garnett – F, Boston Celtics
Even if he did nothing more than get the hell out of Minnesota 07-08, Kevin Garnett would have had a great year. But he did so much more. Garnett’s move to Boston not only proved to be positive for him, but was positive for the fans as well since putting him in a major media market allowed us all to see a lot more of his amusing but all-too legitimate lunacy. Garnett averaged 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, while anchoring a stellar Boston D and earning the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He led the Celtics to their 17th NBA Championship, and gave arguably the best post-game interview in the history of sports… “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”
1 Kobe Bryant – G, Los Angeles Lakers
He may have fallen short of the championship in 07-08, but considering how the season started, we’d say Kobe had a pretty solid year. Coming out of an off-season where he demanded a trade and pretty much called Andrew Bynum a useless schmoe on camera, Kobe righted the ship and led the Lakers to 57 wins (a 15-game improvement from the year before) and the Western Conference 1st seed. He averaged 28.3 points per game and upped it to 30.1 in the playoffs, winning the MVP for the first time in his career and bringing the Lakers back to the finals where they fell to Boston in six.
Well, that sums up the best of 2007-2008 in a nutshell. We’re really beginning to think no one even makes it to the conclusion of these things, so if you did, prove us wrong by making a list of your own and titling it “I read the whole damn post!”