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NBA: The 10 Greatest Individual Performances of the 2014 Season

The 10 Greatest Individual Performances of the 2014 NBA Season

Kevin Durant OKC vs SA
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The 2014 NBA season was full of outstanding performances. It's hard to narrow down the field, but here are the 10 players that performed above and beyond their expectations this year.

10. Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson vs LeBron James
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10. Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson vs LeBron James
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Lance Stephenson played out the final year of his contract like a mad man. His five triple doubles during the regular season led the NBA. Although his decision making was questionable at times, he made up for it with the heart and hustle he displayed on the court. Stephenson is a free agent this summer; it'll be interesting to see who takes a chance on the erratic guard.

9. John Wall

John Wall vs Indiana
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9. John Wall

John Wall vs Indiana
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John Wall was the straw that stirred the drink that is the Washington Wizards. His 8.8 assists per game and 19.3 points per game were both career highs, leading the Wizards to their first playoff series victory since the 2004-05 season. If the Wizards can keep their backcourt of Wall and Bradley Beal, the sky is the limit for this team moving forward.

8. Al Jefferson

Al Jefferson vs Miami Heat
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8. Al Jefferson

Al Jefferson vs Miami Heat
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It only took one season for Al Jefferson to prove to everybody that he deserves the three-year, $41 million contract he signed with the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) last season. In his first year with his new team, Jefferson took the Bobcats from being the laughing stock of the NBA to the playoffs. Averaging just under 22 points and 11 rebounds per game, Jefferson reminded us what it's like to see a big man completely dominate a game.

7. Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin Dunk
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7. Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin Dunk
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In his first season with Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin showed us that he's more than just a dunking highlight reel with two legs. He averaged career-highs in assists (3.9) and points (24.1) per game, and impressed us with a much improved mid-range jumper. Oh, and did I mention he finished third in MVP voting, only behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James? Blake Griffin was a monster in 2014 -- you can expect more of the same next season.

6. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry
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6. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry
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What's not to love about the Golden State Warriors' All-Star point guard? Not only is Stephen Curry one of the best shooters the NBA has to offer -- he knows his role. His assists per game jumped from 6.9 in 2012-13 to 8.5 this season. He finishes at the rim and has a floater that's almost as pretty as his jumper. What won't show on the stat sheet is how clutch Curry was in 2014. When the Warriors needed a big shot, Curry had the answer.

5. James Harden

James Harden
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5. James Harden

James Harden
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In his second season with the Houston Rockets, James Harden finished fifth in scoring (25.4 ppg) and dished out a career-high 6.1 assists per game. Opposing defenses were on full-alert when the ball was in Harden's hands, but that rarely made a difference. His craftiness and ball handling make Harden one of the most exciting players to watch, and one of the toughest to guard. He and Dwight Howard will look to avenge last season in 2015.

4. Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah vs Pistons
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4. Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah vs Pistons
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Hope seemed lost when Derrick Rose suffered another season-ending injury. But Joakim Noah doesn't back down from a challenge -- he embraces it. The Defensive Player of the Year put the Chicago Bulls on their back, leading all big men in assists per game (4.6) and helped the Bulls seal the No. 4 seed. Noah poured his heart out on the court and as a result, finished fourth in MVP voting. I can't wait to see what this team does once Rose is back.

3. Kevin Love

Kevin Love vs Utah Jazz
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3. Kevin Love

Kevin Love vs Utah Jazz
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One can't help but feel a little sorry for Kevin Love. He finished fourth in the NBA in points per game (26.1), third in rebounds (12.5) and nearly doubled his career-high with 4.4 assists per game. He's arguably the best PF in the game. The problem with Love is that he plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves and has never made it to the playoffs. If and when Love leaves Minnesota, you can expect whatever team gets him to become serious contenders.

2. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant
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2. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant
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This might make a few of you upset, and rightfully so. Kevin Durant finally earned himself an MVP. He won the scoring title (again) by a landslide, posting 32 ppg. He has a silky smooth jumper and is a force to be reckoned with in the lane -- in other words, he's virtually unguardable. Unfortunately for Durant and Thunder fans, he can't get over the hump in the postseason -- and that's enough reason to not make the No. 1 spot on my list.

1. LeBron James

LeBron James NBA Finals 2014
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1. LeBron James

LeBron James NBA Finals 2014
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What's left to say that hasn't already been said about LeBron James? Like him or not, he's the best player in the NBA. Although not career-highs, LeBron's per-game averages of 27.1 points, 6.4 assists and 6.9 rebounds are freakish. The Heat need scoring? LeBron plays more aggressively. The Heat can't stop somebody on defense? LeBron will guard him. With all due respect to Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen -- LeBron James IS the Miami Heat.

Brandon Sandberg is a writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook. Follow him on Twitter @SandbergBrandon and add him to you network on Google.