NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings: LeBron James, Paul George heating up; Dwyane Wade makes massive jump

This is around that time during the NBA season in which fraudulent teams start to get exposed and the real contenders begin to pull away. That also stands true when it comes to Vol. 5 of our Sneaker King Power Rankings. These are the moments where the extensive shoe game gets put on display and when the battle for the top spot starts to truly take shape. In Vol. 4, we tried to warn you that the league's biggest stars were seemingly coming together all at once to show off as much sneaker heat as possible.

Vol. 5 keeps the big-name trend going while also shining a light on some legit contenders for the Sneaker King crown as the season continues to unfold. The shoe vaults are open, the sneaker plugs overnighted their shipments and every last favor was called in for the 15 players on this list. It's getting real, so let's get down to business. 

15. Aaron Gordon (Last week: NR)

Magic forward Aaron Gordon's high-flying ways are always supplemented by a fire pair of kicks. Air Gordon is making a ton of work out of one of the most iconic Air Jordans ever: the Jordan 11 "Concord." If Gordon keeps adding kicks like these to his weekly highlights, this won't be the last time you'll see him in the Sneaker King hunt.

Aaron Gordon casually hooping in the Jordan 11 'Concord.' USATSI

14. Marcus Morris (Last week: NR)

Celtics forward Marcus Morris has been knocking on the door and on the brink of making the Sneaker King Power Rankings for a while now. Well, the heat kept coming and he could no longer be overlooked. Morris shows off a versatile shoe game on a nightly basis and he's ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone when it comes to rocking rare kicks on the court. His recent highlights include the Nike LeBron 16 "King," the Nike Kobe 1 Protro "Mamba Day" and the Nike LeBron 16 "Superman."

Marcus Morris wearing the Nike LeBron 16 'King.' USATSI

13. Malik Beasley (Last week: NR)

Nuggets guard Malik Beasley is enjoying a breakout season and he's doing it in style. The third-year guard out of Florida State is making waves around the league while wearing the best kicks the Nike LeBron 15 line has to offer. Beasley's recent highlights include the Nike LeBron 15 "Cereal" and the Nike LeBron 15 "Black History Month." While those two pairs are noteworthy on their own, Beasley really put his stock over the top when he pulled out the Nike LeBron 15 KITH "King's Crown," a shoe that was released in limited numbers and will cost you a down payment on a used car in the resale market right now.

Malik Beasley keeps the Nike LeBron 15 on rotation. USATSI

12. LeBron James (Last week: 15)

The Chosen One is back in pursuit of the Sneaker King throne here in Vol. 5, getting a slight bump up from last week's rankings. LeBron James' signature line with Nike is on its 16th silhouette and the creativity behind the designs and releases have not dropped off in any way. Best believe you haven't seen anything yet when it comes to the Nike LeBron 16, and as the season winds down James himself will be opening a ton of eyes with the new colorways he rocks on the court. For the time being, his highlights include two unreleased colorways of the Nike LeBron 16 that we have pictured below.

LeBron James showing off some unreleased colorways of the Nike LeBron 16 line. USATSI/GETTY

11. DeMar DeRozan (Last week: 12)

Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is a regular contender in our NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings, making an appearance in four of the five volumes to date. We've shown you time and time again how DeRozan keeps the Nike Kobe line thriving years after future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant retired. DeRozan's highlights this week include the rare Nike Kobe 11 low "Fade to Black," which he followed up with the Nike Kobe 9 low "Beethoven."

DeMar DeRozan breaking out the best of the Nike Kobe 11 line. Getty

10. Lance Stephenson (Last week: 9)

Kicking things off in the top 10 is Lakers guard Lance Stephenson, who makes his fifth consecutive appearance in the Sneaker King Power Rankings. Stephenson always keeps the same energy when it comes to his on-court footwear, bringing out the best of the Air Jordan line and occasionally shifting between pairs during a game. His highlights this week are dope as usual and include the Jordan 9 "Kobe Bryant" PE, a shoe that was made to be worn in a Lakers jersey. Stephenson also broke out one of the bolder Air Jordans in history when he rocked the Jordan 19 "Chrome" in a matchup against the 76ers.

Lance Stephenson showing off his extensive Air Jordan collection. USATSI/GETTY

9. Russell Westbrook (Last week: 7)

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is a machine and I defy you to make the argument he's human. Westbrook notched an NBA-record 11 consecutive triple-doubles leading into the NBA All-Star break -- to put that into perspective the last time he didn't record a triple-double was before Vol. 2 of our Sneaker King Power Rankings released in late January. In the meantime, Westbrook has debuted a number of new colorways in his signature Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 line, most recently breaking out a Valentine's Day PE that had the sneaker world buzzing. 

Russell Westbrook keeps breaking out new colorways of the Jordan Why Not Zer0.2. USATSI

8. Tobias Harris (Last week: 6)

76ers forward Tobias Harris has been a mainstay in these rankings since making his Sneaker King debut back in Vol. 3. Harris breaks out the top colorways of the Nike Kobe line on the regular and often wears unique kicks depending on which team he matches up against. In a game against the Lakers, Harris rocked the Nike Kobe A.D. "Fearless," which stands out in its all-purple colorway and as it so happens the Lakers wore their road purples that day. Harris has also made frequent work of the Nike Kobe 8 "Year of the Horse," while also dipping deep into his vault for the Nike Kobe 5 in a white and gold colorway. 

Tobias Harris in the Nike Kobe AD (above) and the Nike Kobe 8 'Year of the Horse.' USATSI

7. Luka Doncic (Last week: 8)

Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic continues to defy the odds when it comes to his record-breaking accomplishments and the fire on-court footwear he rocks on a nightly basis. If the competition here in Vol. 5 wasn't so intense, Doncic would undoubtedly be much higher on the list. Teaming up with shoe customizer Martín Redondo (@MelonKicks on Twitter), Doncic broke out another insane custom inspired by the 1988 film "Akira." As if the custom work wasn't enough, Doncic continued to highlight his sneaker selections with the Nike Kobe 4 Protro "Draft Day," a vibrant red Nike ID version of the PG 2 and the Nike Hyperdunk X low "Black History Month." One thing here is a certainty: the No. 7 spot is only a temporary stop for Luka and his kicks.

Luka Doncic continues to make waves with his footwear this season. USATSI

6. Taurean Prince (Last week: 3)

Hawks forward Taurean Prince is making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Sneaker King Power Rankings. The third-year player out of Baylor is as versatile as they come as it relates to this sneaker thing. His collection is extensive and gets shown off as well as any contender for the Sneaker King crown. Prince's recent highlights include the Jordan 11 low IE "Gym Red," and the Nike PG 3 "NASA," which is in line to be one of the premier sneakers to drop this year.

Taurean Prince flipping between the Jordan 11 and the Nike PG 3. USATSI

5. Langston Galloway (Last week: 4)

Pistons guard Langston Galloway is making a push for the crown on a weekly basis, but if we were just looking at custom kicks he'd likely be No. 1 and it might not be close. We've already put you on to the details of his unique sneaker deal, and since Vol. 2 we've kept diligent track of the stunning custom shoes he puts on display. This week, Galloway's customs hit so close to home that he secured a top five finish for the second week in a row. He broke out the Q4 kicks inspired by the early 2000s TV series "Rocket Power," giving everyone who grew up watching the show instant flashbacks. And now I can't get the show's theme song out of my head.

4. Paul George (Last week: 5)

Thunder swingman Paul George climbs to his highest position yet as he makes his fifth straight appearance in the race to be named NBA Sneaker King. George is enjoying his best season as a pro on the court while also riding the momentum of what could be the hottest signature shoe out right now: the Nike PG 3. George's highlights this week include two colorways of the Nike PG 3 that haven't been released to the public. So let's get over our jealousy and keep scrolling to check out PG-13's heat.

Paul George keeps the clean colorways of the Nike PG 3 on rotation.  USATSI

3. Dwyane Wade (Last week: 11)

At his peak he was Flash, now he's Father Prime in the middle of the #OneLastDance retirement tour that has been making the rounds through the NBA. Dwyane Wade is doing this retirement thing in style, he's going out on his own terms as a player that should get consideration for the league's Sixth Man of the Year award all while making a push for the NBA Sneaker King crown. Wade makes his third straight appearance in these rankings while making the biggest jump from one week to another we've ever had. What puts Wade over the top this week was a pair of custom kicks inspired by the classic video game "NBA Jam." The Li Ning Way of Wade kicks were designed by Miami-based customizer Marcus Rivero (SolesBySir on Instagram) and are literally scorching hot. Keep scrolling to see the design and how they looked when Father Prime debuted them on the court.

Dwyane Wade rocking his custom Li Ning Way of Wade kicks on the court. USATSI

2. Montrezl Harrell 

Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell is the NBA Sneaker King's No. 1 contender. He's been the only player with the footwear and consistency to knock off the undisputed champ off the top spot (See Vol. 3). Harrell is back at the No. 2 spot here in Vol. 5 with another impressive week that just seems like casual light work for him at this point. He blessed us all by doing the seemingly impossible and breaking out two super rare Nike Kobe 5s during the same game. Harrell dipped into the vault and brought out the TWO editions of the Nike Kobe 5 "Aces," which were exclusively made in the colors of Kobe Bryant's high school -- Lower Merion in Philadelphia. 

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1. P.J. Tucker

Rockets guard P.J. Tucker is a living legend in the sneaker community. Long after he retires, there will be stories told about the kicks he somehow unearthed and wore on the NBA hardwood. Last week, Tucker regained the top spot in the rankings after being briefly knocked off and he hasn't looked back since. He was back to his usual shenanigans this week: rocking the Nike Air Maestro II collab with Kith, shoes that were never released and have likely never seen an NBA court until Tucker came along. That massive move just kept the momentum going from earlier in the week when he pulled out the Nike Kyrie 4 Concepts "Yellow Lobster" and the Nike LeBron 8 "SVSM." So the moral of the story here is that any shoe you imagine is too rare, too expensive and too wild to ever be worn on an NBA court, well, that might just be the next pair of kicks Tucker laces up.

P.J. Tucker wears shoes on the court on a nightly basis that defy logic. USATSI

Just missed the cut

These are the players that are on the brink of making the jump in the Sneaker King Power Rankings: Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, 76ers swingman Jimmy Butler, Heat forward Kelly Olynyk, Nets guard D'Angelo Russell, Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas and Kings guard De'Aaron Fox.

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