NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings: DeMar DeRozan, Paul George soaring to the top; Kyrie Irving, LeBron James fall back
Vol. 10 brings along some new names that rocked their best heat on the court
With the NBA season winding down, there's more at stake when teams hit the hardwood. Not only are players locked in to secure playoff berths and seeding, but they understand that this isn't the time to slack when it comes to their on-court footwear. The last few weeks have seen the competition to be crowned the NBA's Sneaker King reach an all-time high.
The pursuit for the top spot in the rankings remains contentious here in Vol. 10. Retro Jordan's, Nike ID kicks, new colorways and more custom fire is what's in store.
Here are the 15 players who stood out above the rest this past week.
15. Kemba Walker (Last week: NR)
Hornets point guard Kemba Walker does a good job of not making all of us feel horrible about our sneaker collection. Walker, who completely turned the sneaker community on its axis with his , has remained relatively low key with his footwear during the regular season. His frequent use of the Jordan 10 "Orlando" put him on the map and he couldn't be overlooked this week.
14. Bam Adebayo (Last week: NR)
Heat big man Bam Adebayo has quietly put together a very impressive sneaker campaign this season, blending classic Jordans and custom work with the latest sneakers out of the Nike line. His recent highlights include the Nike LeBron 16 Atmos "Safari," a shoe he wore in the first half of a March 28 matchup against the Mavericks before switching over to the Jordan 11 "Concord" for the rest of the game. Stay tuned to Adebayo's footwear as the season winds down as he told CBS Sports he has something special planned to honor teammate Dwyane Wade. Based off his sneaker taste, we know it's going to be good.
13. George Hill (Last week: NR)
Bucks guard George Hill has been on the brink of cracking the Sneaker King Power Rankings for a few weeks now. He's continued to show off his Nike ID creativity lately and that finally landed him a spot here on Vol. 10. Hill has been in the lab cooking up some amazing, personalized colorways of the Nike Kyrie 5 to blend with the Bucks' uniforms. Nike might want to get Hill on the line and ask if he's willing to join their design team because he's coming up with some heat.
12. Dwyane Wade (Last week: 12)
Heat legend Dwyane Wade first made an appearance in the Sneaker King Power Rankings way back in Vol. 3, but he's made the cut every time since and it really isn't fair we won't get his shoe style back next season. Below you'll see two pairs out of Wade's recent run of amazing Li Ning sneakers. A silver, pink and blue custom pair designed by Marcus Rivero (@SolesBySir on Instagram) with words to describe Wade's mother, who surprised Dwyane by attending the game against the Mavericks on March 28. Father Prime then pulled out the Way of Wade 7 "StingWade" for his final game at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.
11. Tobias Harris (Last week: 7)
It's well documented that 76ers forward Tobias Harris has one of the most consistent shoe games in the league. You can always rely on Harris to lace up a pair of classic kicks from the Nike Kobe line. Here in Vol. 10 the same energy was kept and Harris came through with two great pairs that we have to highlight. First, he pulled out the Nike Kobe 10 "Chester" in a matchup against the Hawks. Harris kept the momentum going when he laced up the Nike Kobe 11 Elite "All-Star" when the 76ers took on the Timberwolves.
10. Kyrie Irving (Last week: 4)
Kyrie Irving has been taking some time off to get his body right for the Celtics' playoff run, so that explains his dip in the rankings this week. He hasn't had as many opportunities to bring out the latest heat from his signature Nike Kyrie 5 line, but the unreleased pair we have pictured below is enough to still make the cut. Irving has rubbed it in our faces all season by rocking so many colorways that are simply unattainable to the public, and we have a feeling he's only going to raise the bar once the playoffs get underway.
9. LeBron James (Last week: 8)
Though his Lakers won't be in the playoffs and he was shut down for the season with six games to go, LeBron James kept the heat from his Nike LeBron 16 collection coming to the very end. It's only fitting that the last shoe James wore in a game before being shut down was the LeBron 16 Air Trainer "Medicine Ball," a shoe inspired by Bo Jackson's signature kicks in the '80s. There won't be any LeBron sneaker watch in the playoffs for the first time in a very long time this year, which only gives us hope that next season's kicks will hit an unprecedented level.
8. Russell Westbrook (Last week: 5)
Thunder star Russell Westbrook simply likes to show off his style when he's securing triple-double after triple-double on the court. We've documented this before, but we'll say it again: Westbrook seemingly debuts two or three new colorways from his signature Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 line a week. The Brodie did just that again here in Vol. 10, showing off a new set of Pokemon-inspired colorways. Keep scrolling for Westbrook's kicks.
7. Jayson Tatum (Last week: NR)
Jayson Tatum is the poster boy for Nike's state-of-the-art sneaker technology. The Celtics' second-year player was one of a small group of players who were pegged to debut Nike's brand new self-lacing sneakers, the Nike Adapt BB, earlier this season. Tatum now stands above the rest of the pack because he's the first player to rock the newest colorway the Nike Adapt BB has to offer.
6. Derrick Jones Jr. (Last week: 10)
Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. believes he has the best sneaker game in the NBA. When he found out he was ranked No. 10 in Vol. 9 of the Sneaker King Power Rankings, Jones said in disbelief to CBS Sports: "You got nine people in front of me?" Well, Airplane Mode, we understand your concern and your recent shoe selections did all the talking for you. A run of heat highlighted by the Kobe 6 "Supreme Rice," the Nike KD 4 "Easter" and the Nike Kobe 5 "Fade to Black" definitely warrants his rise to No. 6 this week.
5. Kyle Kuzma (Last week: NR)
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma makes the biggest jump of any player from Vol. 9 to Vol. 10 of the Sneaker King Power Rankings. Kuzma's no stranger to these rankings, making the first two editions before falling off just a bit. What brings Kuzma back and how is he in the top five? Glad you asked. Kuzma absolutely reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out two amazing Nike Kobe 4 colorways in an absolute boss move.
4. Paul George (Last week: 6)
Paul George took his game to an astronomical level this season, and he'll get some MVP votes as a result of that. PG-13 has also maintained one of the best on-court sneaker games in the league this season. George debuted his most recent signature shoe, the Nike PG 3, earlier this season in a bright orange NASA colorway that resembled a space suit. Now he's breaking out yet another NASA-inspired colorway in a crispy white and gold colorway that features an American flag on one heel and the NASA logo on the other. One trend to watch as this season winds down and the playoffs start: PG-13 never misses when he debuts a new colorway.
3. Montrezl Harrell (Last week: 2)
Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell has opened a ton of eyes during his breakout season. If NBA fans didn't know who he was before this year, there's no doubt they do now. The sneaker community KNEW Harrell, though, and he's continued to put on a show with his on-court footwear on a nightly basis. Since Vol. 9 of the Sneaker King Power Rankings, Harrell has laced up the Jordan 7 "Marvin the Martian," the Nike LeBron 10 "LeBroncurial," the Nike LeBron 11 SE multi-color and the Jordan 11 "Win Like 96." That's enough heat for an entire month, let along a week's worth of fresh kicks. That's Montrezl Harrell.
2. DeMar DeRozan (Last week: 3)
DeMar DeRozan was our feature athlete for Vol. 9 of our Sneaker King Power Rankings. He was rocking brand new Nike Kobe 4 Protro kicks on the regular basis and the sneaker world just assumed there was no way he could keep that momentum going. Wrong. Somehow DeRozan continues to defy all logic and debut new colorways of the Nike Kobe 4. At this rate you'd think he's rocking the No. 24 with "Bryant" on his nameplate.
1. P.J. Tucker (Last week: 1)
At this point in the season, 10 volumes deep into our Sneaker King Power Rankings, it's hard to come up with new ways to describe just how dominant P.J. Tucker is when it comes to the shoe game. It's must-see content every night. If you miss it, you have to follow up the next morning to get the full recap of just what Tucker laced up. The highlights this week include the Jordan 11 "Pinnacle," an all-grey suede shoe that always steals the show. Tucker ditched the Jordan 11 in the same game for the Nike Kobe 1 Protro "DeMar DeRozan" PE, which might be one of the only shoes that you could call an upgrade over the Jordan 11 "Pinnacle." Sneaker fans just keep scrolling to get a glimpse at the gems Tucker blessed us with this week. It's all you can do at this point.
Just Missed The Cut
These are the players that are on the brink of making the jump in the Sneaker King Power Rankings: Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Nets guard D'Angelo Russell, Suns guard Devin Booker, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Rockets guard James Harden and Heat guard Josh Richardson.
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