The consensus: Russell Westbrook.
The NBA has changed a bit since the Westbrook era.
Westbrook is back in the MVP conversation, but Cousins is the clear-cut top-five guy.
Who will be the best in the league next season?
That’s up to us, and our panel of experts have a few thoughts.
DeMarcus Davis, Memphis Grizzlies: This season was a disaster.
Davis missed a couple games with a concussion and a torn ACL, and the Grizzlies lost six straight games to fall to a 4-7 record.
But he was one of the league’s most electrifying players, averaging 27.7 points and 8.8 assists a game.
Davis is the player everyone wants to be when the Grizzlies are healthy, and his combination of size and athleticism should allow him to carry this team to a deep playoff run.
Cousins is a little older, but he’s already a better all-round player than Davis.
He’s the best overall player in this draft.
Kristaps Porzingis, Brooklyn Nets: The Knicks, who are in desperate need of a franchise point guard, were a lot better without Porzingys presence.
He averaged a team-high 15.8 points and 11.2 assists a night, and he led the Nets to the Eastern Conference finals and a title.
The question is whether he can be the catalyst the team needs to win this series, which the Knicks have the talent to do, but they don’t have a great coach.
Porzingos potential could be the difference in this series.
Anthony Davis, Philadelphia 76ers: Davis is going to be the top scorer in the NBA this season, but his impact on this team will be limited if he doesn’t play.
He has the talent and skills to be an elite scorer, but there’s no question he’s better off being an active, physical player.
That’s something the Sixers have lacked this season.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers: George is one of these guys who has a high ceiling, but if you’ve watched him play, you know he’s only good in one spot on the floor.
He can score, but also make things difficult for opposing defenses by playing through screens, picking up steals and finishing with a lot of jump shots.
That is something we haven’t seen the Pacers do much of this season and could cause problems if George can’t play with his back to the basket, which would limit his ability to score on defense.
Jabari Parker, Denver Nuggets: The Denver Nuggets, after losing four of their last five games, are in a position where they have to try to compete for a playoff spot.
The biggest question is if Parker can carry this group into the playoffs, which is something he’s never done in his career.
Parker can also make a lot more plays offensively than his shooting is capable of, so this could be a very tough team to play against, but the Nuggets will have to do it. 6.
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors: This is going not to be a easy task for DeRizan, but it’s a really tough task for a lot other players to pull off.
He had a terrible season, shooting 38.7 percent from the field and 29.5 percent from three-point range, and when he is healthy, he can only be a plus defender and a top rebounder.
DeRosa is an offensive threat, but Toronto has a lot to work with.
Jamal Murray, Brooklyn 76ers?: Murray is going nowhere soon, but Murray is one tough question to answer.
He scored 30.9 points per game in the first four games of the season, and after the All-Star break, he was shooting 43.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Murray will be in a similar situation next season, so there is a real possibility that he will not be the same player.
Jabril Trawick, Brooklyn Bucks: Trawill is the big question mark for this season’s Bucks, who were so far off the playoff bubble they have a lot riding on the way they play.
But the biggest question marks for this team is the frontcourt.
It’s hard to envision them getting a lot from the perimeter when their best players are both in their mid-20s.
The Bucks are one of those teams that can’t get any easier, so I would love to see Trawicks breakout this season to make this a playoff team.
John Wall, Washington Wizards: The Wizards are going to have to be ready for this to be Wall’s season.
The big question is what he will do on offense.
I’m not sure he can guard the best point guards in the game, but I do know he can defend the best perimeter players in the world.
He’ll have to work on his shooting to be effective at the next level, but that’s not a bad thing.
Marcus Smart, San Antonio Spurs