NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings: DeMar DeRozan pushes past LeBron James, Paul George in race for shoe supremacy

We've told you how difficult it was going to be for new names to crack the Sneaker King Power Rankings moving forward, but NBA players are always up for the challenge and a number of new names made the cut this week. Those that return on the list should be household names by now. Those are the guys that take pride in lacing up fire kicks on the court on a nightly basis and continued to do just that. 

Vol. 9 features a new signature shoe debut, crazy customs and players continuing to carry the torch for the long-lasting Nike Kobe line. You'll see kicks here that you've never seen before, kicks you never thought you'd see on an NBA court and shoes so colorful and eye-popping that you have to put on a Sherlock Holmes investigation to find out who did the custom work. 

Without further ado, here's this week's list:

15. Kevin Durant (Last week: NR)

Back in Vol. 6 of our Sneaker King Power Rankings, we shed some light on Kevin Durant's run with Nike. He signed as a rookie in 2007 and his signature kicks have been debuting every season since. Recently, the Warriors star debuted his latest shoe with the Swoosh, the Nike KD 12. The silhouette is quite the contrast from the KD 11, which is more of a sock-like shoe that goes without a tongue for a snugger fit around your foot. The KD 12 is more of a traditional shoe when it comes to looks, but it does feature some of Nike's most up-to-date technology in order to keep the perennial MVP candidate happy while he's clowning opponents on the court. 

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Kevin Durant debuts the Nike KD 12 (left) and shows off the Nike KD 11 'Aunt Pearl.' USATSI

14. Luka Doncic (Last week: NR)

Front-runner for NBA Rookie of the Year, Luka Doncic continues to make waves on the court with his game but that also includes his extensive shoe game. Doncic is a fanatic of most Nike low-cut kicks, but he's been making the rounds with the Nike PG 2.5 lately. His biggest highlight comes when he broke out his "Dragon Ball Z" inspired PG 2.5s this week. The custom kicks come from designer Martín Redondo (@MelonKicks on Twitter), who has stocked the rookie with a number of elite designs over the course of his first NBA season.

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Luka Doncic loves the Nike PG line, even enough to get custom with it sometimes. USATSI

13. Isaiah Thomas (Last week: NR)

Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas gets a special spot here in Vol. 9 because the kicks he rocks on the court all seem to be telling special stories. Thomas, who's been battling back into shape after an injury kept him out most of the season, returned to Boston to take on his former team and broke out some special shoes for the occasion. Thomas wore some vibrant green and gold Nike Kobe AD's that he had never worn before because he was saving them for a Finals run with the Celtics in 2017

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Isaiah Thomas saved these Nike Kobe kicks for a 2017 NBA Finals run in Boston. USATSI

12. Dwyane Wade (Last week: 13)

Dwyane Wade has become a mainstay in the Sneaker King Power Rankings with a crazy run of debuting new colorways, on what seems to be a nightly basis, of his signature Li Ning Way of Wade kicks. I'm selfishly hoping Wade calls off his #OneLastDance retirement tour and comes back next season just so we can keep the run of these sneakers coming. Keep scrolling for a glimpse at the Way of Wade 7 "RazFuego" PE, one of the more unique colorways Li Ning has suited Wade with this season.

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Dwyane Wade debuts a new Li Ning Way of Wade shoe seemingly every night. USATSI

11. Stephen Curry (Last week: 11)

Warriors star Stephen Curry makes back-to-back appearances in the Sneaker King Power Rankings battle. Curry, who's enjoying yet another stellar season in Golden State, continues to break out new colorways of his signature Under Armour Curry 6 kicks and they've all been a hit so far. Giving credit where credit is due, Under Armour and Curry have bounced back enormously since the time his signature kicks were dubbed ugly dad shoes and generated nearly every other meme on the internet.

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Stephen Curry in another new colorway of the Under Armour Curry 6. USATSI

10. Derrick Jones Jr. (Last week: 9)

Two things you can count on if you tune into a Heat game and concentrate on Derrick Jones Jr.: He'll likely jump out of the gym for a top-play-worthy dunk and he's undoubtedly rocking some fire on his feet. Airplay Mode's highlights this week include the timeless Nike Kobe 6 "Supreme Rice," a shoe that will always get you some clout from the sneaker community. 

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Derrick Jones Jr. wearing the Nike Kobe 5 'Wolf Grey.' USATSI

9. Taurean Prince (Last week: NR)

Hawks forward Taurean Prince was a regular in the Sneaker King Power Rankings before he slipped off for a couple of volumes. Well, it looks like he was paying attention and knew he had to make a splash to make a jump back into the action. Prince did just that when he laced up the Jordan 11 "Pinnacle" on the court for a matchup against the Magic. If he keeps this momentum going, you'll be seeing a lot more Prince kicks in the weeks to come.

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Taurean Prince rocking the Jordan 11 'Pinnacle.' USATSI

8. LeBron James (Last week: 4)

Laker star LeBron James is taking a cautious approach to the rest of the season, sitting out back-to-backs and scaling down his minutes but that hasn't stopped The King from rocking the best his Nike LeBron 16 line has to offer when he is on the hardwood. LeBron's highlights this week include the Nike LeBron 16 "Watch The Throne," a shoe he debuted during this season's All-Star Game but rocked for the first time with the Lakers during their trip to Madison Square Garden. Let's just say, it's probably not a coincidence that LeBron saved those kicks for the mecca of basketball.

7. Tobias Harris (Last week: 8)

76ers swingman Tobias Harris continues to be one of the de facto brand ambassadors for the Nike Kobe line, consistently breaking out some of the best retro shoes from that line. This week, Harris hopped in his time machine and dialed it back to 2013 when Kobe Bryant debuted the Nike Kobe 8 "Black History Month."The shoes are near the top of the list when it comes to iconic Nike Kobe line shoes that pay tribute to Black History Month. If you're ever up for a history lesson when it comes to Kobe kicks, tune into whatever Tobias Harris is doing. Thank us later.

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Tobias Harris laces up the Nike Kobe 8 'Black History Month.' USATSI

6. Paul George (Last week: 5)

Thunder MVP candidate Paul George never ceases to amaze us with the new colorways and player exclusive kicks from his signature Nike PG 3 line. George, along with teammate Russell Westbrook, was a feature athlete on Vol. 8 of our Sneaker King Power Rankings in large part because the sneaker community always gets to buzzing when one of his new sneakers hits the scene. George keeps the momentum going this week with two new colorways. Keep scrolling to check the gems out.

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Paul George keeps you guessing which Nike PG 3 colorway coming next. USATSI

5. Russell Westbrook (Last week: 3)

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook gets tagged in right after teammate Paul George here in Vol. 9 of our Sneaker King Power Rankings. Like George, Westbrook debuts a new colorway from his signature Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 shoes at a crazy pace. I'm not sure Jordan Brand can manufacture the shoes fast enough for Westbrook to debut them at this rate, but we'll have to keep focusing on The Brodie's kicks to find out. Keep scrolling to check out another brand new Jordan Why Not Zer0.2.

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One of the latest colorways of Russell Westbrook's Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 kicks. USATSI

4. Kyrie Irving (Last week: 6)

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving has cooled off the Duke basketball player exclusive shoes over the last few weeks, but he hasn't dropped the university-themed kicks altogether. No, instead Irving has simply moved on to a Nike Kyrie 5 "Oregon Ducks" PE run that has spanned two volumes of our Sneaker King Power Rankings. In Vol. 8, Irving debuted a black and yellow colorway that set a seismic wave through Sneaker Twitter and he somehow managed to top that with a white and green pair this week. How's he going to keep this going for Vol. 10? See you next week and we'll find out together. 

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Kyrie Irving showing off the Nike Kyrie 5 'Oregon Ducks' PE. USATSI

3. DeMar DeRozan (Last week: 7)

At one point in our Sneaker King Power Rankings history we asked who the rightful torchbearer for the Nike Kobe line was. There was some argument to be made for Isaiah Thomas, another for Tobias Harris and DeMar DeRozan. Since bringing up that topic, DeRozan has completely hit another stratosphere when it comes to the Kobe line. The Spurs guard has debuted new Kobe 4 PE shoes -- that only he has and laced up -- on the regular to the point where it's clear that he's the premier Kobe guy in the NBA. The two Nike Kobe 4 PEs pictured below had never seen the light of day until DeRozan hit the court with them over the last week. We're hopeful that he keeps this trend going as the season winds down, but one man only has so much heat, right?

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DeMar DeRozan is on an unprecedented wave when it comes to the Nike Kobe line. USATSI

2. Montrezl Harrell (Last week: 2) 

Back in the No. 2 spot for the second week in a row, Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell simply continues to prove on a nightly basis that he's the No. 1 contender when it comes to the battle for the Sneaker King crown. Harrell is among that exclusive class of players of which you simply log on to Twitter, or Instagram or, more conventionally, whatever channel his Clippers are playing on to see what kicks he's rocking that day. The highlights this week are in line with the heat he's rocked all season: the Nike KD 4 "Easter," which hit sneaker shelves back in 2012 and the Nike LeBron 10 "Pure Platinum."

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Trezz with the good gem, the “Easter” KD4.

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1. P.J. Tucker (Last week: 1)

Six. That's how many weeks in a row Rockets guard P.J. Tucker has secured the top spot in the battle for sneaker supremacy in the NBA. The level of dedication and the ability to execute the on-court footwear is the rare combination that places Tucker in a class of his own when it comes to this sneaker stuff. This week's highlights include the super rare Nike LeBron 8 "South Beach" and the Jordan 23 "Chicago," a shoe that only a true sneakerhead like Tucker would unearth to rock on the court. For the complete roundup of P.J.'s highlights keep on scrolling, but just know that this was all light work for Tucker.

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P.J. Tucker in the Jordan 23 'Chicago' (left) and the Nike KD 4 (right). USATSI

Just Missed The Cut

These are the players that are on the brink of making the jump in the Sneaker King Power Rankings: Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood, Knicks guard Allonzo Trier, Nets guard D'Angelo Russell, Warriors big Jordan Bell, Jazz swingman Thabo Sefolosha, Bulls guard Zach Lavine, Lakers guard Josh Hart and Pistons center Andre Drummond.

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