NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings: Kawhi Leonard enters the mix; LeBron James, P.J. Tucker in line for top spot

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Did you get the sneakers you wanted for the holidays? If you did you know have something in common with all the players that made the cut for Vol. 8 of our NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings. The 10 guys below all brought some new heat to the court during the holiday week. 

Vol. 8 will feel a lot like the first day back at school after the holiday break — there’s a ton of new kicks everywhere you look. Check all the heat out below.

10. Dejounte Murray (Last Week: NR)

Dejounte Murray is the latest addition to New Balance Basketball, joining Darius Bazley and Kawhi Leonard on the exclusive roster. Since joining the brand, Murray hasn’t been shy to show off the player exclusive colorways of his New Balance OMN1S. The old school Spurs colorway he rocked this week can go toe-to-toe with almost any other player exclusive we’ve seen this season.

9. Kawhi Leonard (Last Week: NR)

You can’t tell the story of the return of New Balance to the basketball scene without Kawhi Leonard. He’s been the face of New Balance’s push since he signed on as a signature athlete over a year ago. The marketing around Leonard has been effortless for New Balance, but they’re also lacing him up with some heat when he hits the floor. Leonard debuted the New Balance OMN1S ‘Money Stacks’ on Christmas Day against the Lakers. He had a helping hand designing the shoe and it was his concept that helped lead to the midfoot strap mirroring a rubber band. 

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Kawhi Leonard in the New Balance OMN1S ‘Money Stacks.’
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Kawhi Leonard in the New Balance OMN1S ‘City of Angels.’
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8. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Last Week: 5)

The debut of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s signature Nike sneaker has been nothing but a success. The Nike Zoom Freak 1 is uniquely designed to complement Antetokounmpo. For the Christmas Day showdown against the 76ers, Antetokounmpo broke out the Zoom Freak 1 ‘Soul Glo’ colorway to rave reviews. Keep scrolling for the rest of the Greek Freak’s best kicks this week.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo rocking the Nike Zoom Freak 1.
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7. Derrick Jones Jr. (Last Week: 9)

The high-flying Derrick Jones Jr. had the Nike KD 6 ‘Liger’ on his feet when he took off from Miami Gardens and threw down one of the nastiest dunks of the season on two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert on Dec. 23 against the Jazz. Two things were clear at that moment: you get why his nickname is ‘Airplane Mode’ and you got the feeling it was going to be a Nike KD 6 week. 

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Derrick Jones Jr. in the Nike KD 6 ‘Liger.’
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Derrick Jones Jr. lacing up the Nike KD 6 ‘N7.’
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6. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Last Week: NR)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexnader is such a promising young hooper. He looks like he’s the kind of player that can help carry the next wave of stars while also being up on the sneaker game. Gilgeous-Alexander is capable of taking all the buzz on any given night because of what he has on his feet when he hits the court. This week’s highlights include the Nike Kobe 1 Protro ’81PT Game’ and the Nike Kobe 4 Protro Undefeated ‘Suns.’

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rocking the Nike Kobe 1 Protro ’81 PT Game.’
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5. Paul George (Last Week: NR)

It’s so easy for Paul George to make a huge sneaker splash whenever he wants. His Nike PG 3 signature shoe is one of the more versatile sneakers out and he’s constantly showing off new colorways. George’s player exclusive PG 3 kicks for the Christmas Day game against the Lakers were vibrant and eye-catching. And if those neon-heavy kicks were too much for you, he also laced up the Nike PG 3 ‘NASA Apollo 14’ this week.

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Paul George in a Nike PG 3 PE on Christmas Day.
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Paul George in the Nike PG 3 ‘NASA Apollo 14.’
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4. Montrezl Harrell (Last Week: 2)

When Montrezl Harrell hit the court on Christmas Day against the Lakers in the Reebok Question ‘Heart Over Hype’ sneaker it was a perfect match. You could argue Harrell has best motor in all of basketball and it’s his relentless play that transformed him from a second-round pick to a high-level contributor on a championship contender. Harrell, in customary fashion, switched out of the Reebok Question and hopped into the Nike LeBron 15 Kith ‘Closing Ceremony’  for the second half of the Clippers’ win on Christmas. Another elite sneaker performance by Trez. 

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Montrezl Harrell in the Reebok Question ‘Heart Over Hype.’
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Montrezl Harrell breaks out the Nike LeBron 15 Kith ‘Closing Ceremony.’
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3. Tobias Harris (Last Week: 6)

Tobias Harris stole Christmas with the best sneaker performance of the day. Harris started the game in the Nike Kobe 7 ‘Christmas,’  the shoe Kobe Bryant wore during the Lakers’ season opener on Christmas against the Bulls in 2011. Bringing out that shoe alone would’ve made for a noteworthy performance, but Harris decided he needed to also break out the single best Christmas-themed shoe ever — the Nike Kobe 6 ‘Grinch.’

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Tobias Harris broke out the Nike Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’ on Christmas Day.
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2. LeBron James (Last Week: 3) 

LeBron James has been in the league long enough to understand that you HAVE to bring your best sneakers out on Christmas Day. Being the seasoned veteran that he is, King James did just that when his Lakers faced off against the Clippers at Staples Center. James started the game in his Nike LeBron 17 ‘More Than An Athlete’ kicks and then switched over to a more vintage look in the Nike LeBron 7 ‘China Moon.’ 

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LeBron James in the Nike LeBron 17 ‘More Than An Athlete.’
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LeBron James breaks out the Nike LeBron 7 ‘China Moon.’
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1. P.J. Tucker (Last Week: 1)

We hyped up the Christmas Day kicks so much you would think either Tobias Harris or LeBron James would’ve secured the No. 1 spot in this week’s rankings, right? WRONG. P.J. Tucker proved once again that if you’re coming for the NBA Sneaker King, you best not miss. Tucker decided to flex on the entire sneaker community on Christmas when he broke out the Jordan 4 ‘Wahlburgers,’ a shoe you could also have if you have an extra $15K to spend. What makes these shoes special? Jordan Brand produced them for friends and family of Mark Wahlburg after the grand opening of the Wahlburgers restaurant in Minnesota last year. Getting your hands on a pair of these was beyond difficult if your last name wasn’t Wahlburg, so hats off to Tucker. 

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P.J. Tucker in the Jordan 4 ‘Wahlburgers.’
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Just Missed The Cut

Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Knicks guard Allonzo Trier, Heat big man Bam Adebayo, Kings guard Buddy Hield, Pistons forward Blake Griffin, Pelicans guard Frank Jackson and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. 



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