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The Top 10 Best NBA Players From The 2012-13 Season

The Top 10 Best NBA Players From The 2012-13 Season

We are nearing the 10th anniversary of the 2012-13 NBA season that saw the Big 3 of the Miami Heat continue to torch the league. The Heat finished the season with the best record and 66 wins. Following the Heat, the New York Knicks had their best season in over a decade and won the division thanks to a scoring title from Carmelo Anthony. Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the combination of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was making a name for themselves by leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to 60 wins and the best record in the conference.

There were a handful of other notable players from the season that stood out as well. When looking at those players, we have narrowed it down to the 10 best players from that season. Some players such as Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, Kevin Garnett, Ty Lawson, David Lee, and Joakim Noah made an appearance on the MVP ballot but did not make the cut.

These 10 players were the best players from the 2012-13 NBA season.

10. Marc Gasol

marc gasol 2013

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 14.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.7 BPG

Achievement: Defensive Player of the Year, All-NBA Second Team, All-Defensive Second Team

The only player on this list that did not make the All-Star Game was Marc Gasol. He was also snubbed from the All-Defensive First Team. Each defensive team takes one center, and somehow both Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah tied for the center position on the First Team, while the Defensive Player of the Year was reduced to the Second Team. While Gasol’s overall stat line is not sexy, he was a top-10 player during this season.

For starters, the Grizzlies were the best defensive team in the league. The team won 56 games and was the No. 5 seed in the conference. Gasol was the anchor that held that defense down. The advanced stats agree with this sentiment as well. Out of the players that received points in the MVP voting, Gasol is one of eight players that had double-digit win shares while recording the second-most defensive win shares. While one could argue that Parker deserves to crack the top 10, you have to give credit to defensive players as well.

9. James Harden

James Harden in Houston

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 25.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Third Team

Harden is one of two players on this list that made the All-NBA Third Team. The Rockets won 45 games and claimed the No. 8 seed to qualify for the playoffs. The 23-year-old had a big part in helping the Rockets make the playoffs. Harden finished fifth in the scoring race and was fourth in offensive win shares. He also made the top-10 in steals (seventh), three-point field goals (sixth) and led the league in free-throw attempts.

Harden also led the league in turnovers, but that was because the Rockets heavily relied on Harden’s offense. The players that scored behind Harden were Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, and Patrick Patterson. When you look at the team that surrounded Harden, you can understand why he finished fourth in total win shares.

8. Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 21.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Third Team

Wade should have received more votes in the MVP voting. Granted, he would not have won the award with the additional points, but Wade was often overlooked because he was playing with the best player in the world at the time. The Heat won 66 games, and that was not all because of one player. Wade was eighth in the scoring race, sixth in steals, and shot among the top-10 players in field-goal percentage.

While Tony Parker made the All-NBA Second Team, that place belonged to Wade. Parker had more assists than Wade, but he only shot a few tenths of percentage points better. Wade had a higher player efficiency rating by placing seventh compared to Parker’s ninth, while Wade finished with more total win shares. The Heat won eight more games than the Spurs, but the Spurs were the ones that had a player on the All-NBA First and Second teams.

7. Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook 2013

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 23.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Second Team

Westbrook was in a similar situation as Wade because he was also playing with one of the best players in the world. His teammate finished runner-up in the MVP voting, so it was easy to overlook what Westbrook was doing on the floor. He had a complete season for the Thunder, where he finished ninth in the MVP voting.

Westbrook finished sixth in the scoring race, seventh in assists, ninth in steals, and took a lot of shots. He led the league in field goals missed but still managed to score over 20 points per game. That key stat did not take a huge chunk of his total efficiency, where he ranked eighth for PER while also finishing fifth in total win shares, including eighth on the offensive side.

6. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant Learned Tap Dancing To Improve The Strength Of His Ankles After An Injury In The 2000 NBA Finals

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 27.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA First Team

The Lakers finished the season with the seventh-best record in the conference despite looking like title favorites before the season began. The combination of Bryant and Dwight Howard never truly meshed, but it didn’t stop Bryant from having one of his patented seasons. In a way, Bryant saved the Lakers and would have likely missed the playoffs had Bryant not played the way he did this season.

Bryant led the league in field-goal attempts and was third in the scoring race. He finished eighth in total win shares, while he was seventh on the offensive side. Had the Lakers finished with a better record, Bryant would have been higher on the list, but it’s beautiful that the Lakers even made the playoffs, given the drama the team faced all season long.

5. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan 2013

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 17.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, 2.7 BPG

Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team

At 36 years old, some might have been ready to write off Tim Duncan as a true contributor in the league. Despite his age, he was a top-5 player in the league at this time. The Spurs made the NBA Finals, with Duncan having a huge part in that late surge. During the regular season, the combination of Parker and Duncan prevailed again as the team won 58 games.

Defensively, Duncan didn’t get a lot of love in the DPOY voting. He finished sixth despite finishing third in blocks per game and fourth in defensive win shares. Duncan finished the season as an efficient player, though, finishing sixth in PER. He missed Brook Lopez and the top-5 by just 0.3 points.

4. Chris Paul

chris paul 2013

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 16.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 9.7 APG, 2.4 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team

While Rajon Rondo led the league in assists, the best playmaker was Chris Paul. Without Paul, Blake Griffin does not make the All-NBA Second Team. The amount of lob passes that were thrown down into thunderous dunks all starts with the playmaking from the guards of the Clippers. Paul led the league in assist percentage by assisting on 46.5% of his team’s offense.

Paul finished second in the league in assists, while he narrowly defeated Ricky Rubio for leading the league in steals. In addition, he finished with the third-best PER, win shares, and offensive win shares. The Clippers won 56 games for the season despite having a disappointing playoff finish. During the regular season, Paul was the best point guard in the league.

3. Carmelo Anthony

carmelo anthony 2013

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 28.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Second Team, Scoring Champion

After three years of Kevin Durant running the show offensively, Carmelo Anthony stole a scoring title from the OKC great. Anthony narrowly defeated Durant and Bryant to win his lone scoring title in his career. Anthony’s rise in scoring helped the Knicks finish with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference with 54 wins. For his efforts, Anthony finished with the fourth-best PER in the league.

What makes Anthony higher on the list is that he was the highest-used player in the league this season. At 35.6%, Anthony was used on offense nearly three percent more than the runner-up in Westbrook. Anthony turned those opportunities into points, which is why he led the league in scoring. He made All-NBA Second Team only because two forwards are named to each team, and the two forwards on the First Team were the only other players better than him this season.

2. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant 2013

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 28.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.3 BPG

Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA First Team

While it was Anthony that led the league in scoring, Durant led the league in total points. Durant scored over 300 more points than Anthony during the season but came up just short in the scoring race. On top of that, Durant led the league in free throw percentage by shooting 90.5% at the charity stripe and made the most free throws by making 679. Combined with Westbrook, Durant was a reason why the Thunder won 60 games and led the West in wins.

Durant finished second in the MVP voting for a good reason. He was the runner-up in multiple advanced metrics. He held the second-highest PER in the league, total win shares, and offensive win shares. The player he lost to in all of those categories won the MVP Award. Durant was also not too shabby on defense either, recording the third-best defensive win shares and cracking the top-10 in blocks.

1. LeBron James

lebron 2013

2012-13 NBA Season Stats: 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Achievement: MVP Award, All-Star, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team

The best player in the league this season was the player that claimed the MVP Award. LeBron James claimed the MVP for the second year in a row with Miami, and it was the fourth MVP in his career at the time. The Heat won 66 games, which led the league, and James had a big part in that happening. James was one of four players that scored over 2,000 points for the season and finished fourth in the scoring race. James was 11th in assists, 12th in steals, and shot 56.5% from the field, which was the fifth-best in the league.

James made the most field goals, including the most two-point field goals. The advanced stats supported him as well. James held the highest PER and had the most win shares and offensive win shares. James also led the league in win shares per 48 minutes, box plus/mini, offensive box plus/minus, and had the highest value over a replacement player. James capped off the season by claiming the NBA championship and winning Finals MVP.


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