The NBA season is finally in full effect, and the wait was absolutely worth it. There were a lot of power moves made this offseason - the Clippers added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis and the 76ers added another All-Star in Al Horford to join Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Those are all landscape-changing additions, but what if I told you that there were moves happening during the offseason just as big that flew under the radar? It happened right before our eyes. NBA players took the offseason to reload and retool their sneaker collections because they want to make a run at this season's Sneaker King crown. Last season, Rockets guard P.J. Tucker ran away with the throne and he'll be competing with a stacked group this year.
Don't play yourself, you're going to want to see the sneaker heat on this list. These are the guys that planned all offseason for this moment and will likely be on this list at the end of the year when it's all said and done.
10. Derrick Jones Jr.
Heat high-flyer Derrick Jones Jr. is as legit an NBA sneakerhead as they come. He finished last season at the No. 6 spot in our final Sneaker King rankings and says he has a plan in place to top it all this year. Jones is on his way to doing just that. He gets extra credit for rocking the Nike Kyrie 1 'Opening Night' during the Heat's season opener against Memphis. He's also laced up the Nike KD 4 'Easter' and the KD 4 'Rouge Green' so far this season. Airplane Mode is setting the bar high to kicks things off, but he's definitely capable of keeping the hot streak going.
So far this season no player has come close to touching Langston Galloway when it comes to custom sneakers. Galloway is extremely passionate about his shoe game. He has his own sneaker page on Instagram where he previews which shoes he's going to wear before games and even does YouTube videos reviewing notable sneaker releases. Galloway established himself last season as one of the NBA's most creative players when it comes to custom kicks and he looks to be keeping that trend going this season.
8. Jayson Tatum
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was one of Nike's young and promising faces last season. He was among a select group of players chosen to debut the Nike Adapt BB, the self-lacing basketball shoe The Swoosh broke out to revolutionize the game. Prior to this season, though, Tatum jumped over from Nike and joined Jordan Brand. The move keeps him in somewhat the same building, just a few doors down. Now he's lacing up the new Jordan 34 on a nightly basis and he keeps breaking out some of the best Player Exclusive kicks that shoe has to offer.
7. Ja Morant
Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant isn't taking it slow when it comes to showing off his shoe game. He's already laced up the Nike Kyrie 5 'Spongebob,' a pair of Nike Kyrie 5's that he designed himself to pay tribute to the team's he's played for during his path to the NBA and a clean Nike Kobe 4 Protro PE. If Morant keeps producing heat at this level, there's no doubt he'll remain on this list.
6. Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic exploded on the scene last season for the Mavericks, winning Rookie of the Year while also making it known he's as legit as they come when it comes to kicks. Doncic is avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump to start this season both with his play and his footwear. He's broken out a number of player exclusive Nike Kobe 4 Protro kicks while mixing in some of the best from the Nike Kyrie line. Keep scrolling to check out what he's bringing to the floor.
Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell was last season's No. 1 contender for the Sneaker King crown. Harrell brings a unique approach to the sneaker scene in the NBA. He's as versatile as they come and doesn't see limits to what he'll wear on the court. Lucky for us his start to this season has been nothing short of incredible. Harrell opened the year rocking the Reebok Question 'Double Cross,' an ode to when Allen Iverson put a mean crossover on Michael Jordan. He's also rocked a pair of custom Jordan 12's inspired by TV show 'The Boondocks.' Simply put: Harrell is one of those players that you need to check for every night because he might lace up a pair of shoes you've never seen before.
Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan can seemingly do no wrong when it comes to his on-court footwear. DeRozan is basically the Nike Kobe line ambassador and the perks that come with that are quite amazing. He rocks the most exclusive kicks from the Kobe line on a nightly basis and it just seems like he's showing off, to be honest. The player exclusive sneakers he breaks out are things of beauty and you just have to keep scrolling to check them out.
3. LeBron James
Lakers star LeBron James debuted his latest signature shoe, the Nike LeBron 17, to start this season and the colorways he's shown off so far have all been hits. The King has shown off the LeBron 17 'Future Air' on a number of occasions while also shuffling through player exclusive editions of his kicks. It's safe to say that there's a lot of heat coming from the LeBron 17 this season.
2. P.J. Tucker
Whenever Rockets guard P.J. Tucker is not No. 1 in sneaker rankings it's a monumental upset. Tucker is the hands-down favorite to go back-to-back and win the Sneaker King crown again this season. The player ahead of him has simply put on a Herculean performance to start this season. Tucker has been his usual self, breaking out the highly-coveted Jordan 6 Travis Scott, the classic Nike Air Bakin and a number of Nike Kobe 4 PE's this season. Don't get used to Tucker at this No. 2 spot, he won't be there long.
1. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving has been beyond impressive during the start of his Nets tenure. He's scoring at will and showing off why that team has a bright future ahead. He's also doing all of that in kicks literally no one can get their hands on other than himself. Irving has been in his bag with the exclusive footwear so far. He opened the season in the Nike Kyrie 5 'Pineapple House,' the only shoe he's worn so far that's been made available to the public. Since then he's just been shuffling through player exclusive kicks from his signature line and every single one has been a hit. It's this type of next-level effort that lands him in the No. 1 spot this week and he's going to have to keep up this level of production to hold off other contenders.
Just Missed The Cut
Heat big Bam Adebayo, Nuggets guard Gary Harris, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Bulls forward Thaddeus Young, Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson, Jazz forward Jeff Green, Jazz guard Mike Conley, 76ers forward Tobias Harris, Pistons forward Markieff Morris and Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker.