Welcome to Building The Perfect NBA Player Part I: The Body. This is the first installment of a 10-part series in which we’ll be building an NBA player from scratch, using 10 different categories to create our player. If you want to keep an eye out for the other parts, check out the “Building” homepage.
What’s In An NBA Body?
Our player needs to have great athleticism, speed and size. The NBA game has gotten faster over time and players across the board have gotten more skilled and athletic. No longer do we see stiffs on the court simply because they’re tall.
Durability is important for our player as well, as we’re going to want to count on him to be an ironman. Playing 82 games is a grueling feat, and that’s not even considering the playoffs.
The ideal candidate will possess a great combination of each of those traits. Let’s take a look at our five candidates:
Blake Griffin – 6’10″, 251 lbs.
Griffin is arguably the most athletic player in the entire NBA. He’s a highlight machine with his impressive vertical and ability to maneuver his body while in the air. His great combination of explosiveness and speed with his muscular frame makes him a rarity. He broke his kneecap as a rookie before playing a regular-season game and missed the entire 2009-10 season, but has played 228 of a possible 230 games since then.
LeBron James – 6’8″, 250 lbs.
The four-time and current MVP is unquestionably the best overall player in the NBA. He’s as fast and talented in the open court as anyone, due to his size, speed and grace. Average players bounce off James as if they’re sixth-graders. It’s been joked that James could play tight end in the NFL because of that combination of size and speed. Durability has never been in question, as he has never missed more than seven games in a season and those are often just to rest.
Andre Iguodala – 6’6″, 207 lbs.
Ironman is fitting for Iguodala, as it looks like his arms are sculpted out of some kind of metal. If the category were based solely on muscle, Iggy would give everyone on this list a run. In his first six seasons, he played all 82 games five different times. He’s lost some of the athleticism that once made him a premiere defender, but he still belongs on this list. It’s amazing that Iguodala, known as a very good perimeter defender, has made just one All-Defensive second team.
Dwight Howard – 6’11″, 265 lbs.
If this list were compiled two years ago, it would have been difficult to give anyone else the award. Howard missed just seven games in his first seven years and even stole … er … earned the moniker of “Superman.” Howard is (was) so athletic that he was a one-man defender, moving with such lateral quickness that no players could routinely get the best of him. Injuries have slowed him over the past two years, including back surgery and a very troublesome shoulder.
Paul George – 6″8″, 221 lbs.
Having a great NBA body doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be built like a concrete block. George is a bit on the light side for his frame, but it’s that length that has landed him on the list. Even though he’s listed at 6’8″, AOL Sporting News reported that he grew two inches over the 2010-11 offseason. George isn’t the fastest or most athletic player on this list, but he’s young and still evolving as a player. He has a similar frame to Kevin Durant, with more muscle and speed.
Building The Perfect NBA Player Part I: The Body Winner Is…