Okay: Yao Ming? Uh, no. He looked better this season, but he's still a softy. Once he convinces me that he can throw the occasional elbow and not be intimidated into submission by, like, every other player in the league, then we can start talking. That said, he really DID look a lot better this season. He has potential.
I think Kobe deserves to be at the bottom of the list after that game 7 performance against the Suns. He's probably the single most genetically gifted player in the league STILL, even including LeBron and DWade, but when it comes to actual performance, he can't hack it. He's his own worst enemy. I would love love love to put AI in his place, since he's been my favorite player in the league (on the court) for a long time, but in all honesty, you know who I think belongs there? Gilbert Arenas. Everyone's forgetting about him because LeBron upstaged him in the playoffs and pulled that Jedi mind trick on him with those free throws, but look at his stats during that series. He was going blow for blow with LBJ (who has GOT to be #1 or #2 right now, depending on how you rank him against DWade) for the entire series.
Dirk looked incredible until the Finals, and then suddenly started to disappear, except for brief flashes. I still don't know what happened there. After the way he took it up a notch in the playoffs, though, I can't keep him off the list. He belongs in the top 5 for sure.
Nash doesn't quite make it, for me. He's great, and he's the best pure point guard in the league, but he's not good enough on defense. Part of why he looks so good on the Suns is that the team is built in a manner that puts him in the best light possible--that team is predicated on a guard with Nash's skills, and doesn't ask him to do things that he can't do. He's in the top 10, but probably not the top 5.
Shaq is too old; it's over for him. He's not nearly as dominant as he was, except in occasional flashes, and he doesn't seem to be able to turn it on as easily as he used to.
LeBron, DWade, Nowitzki, Arenas, Kobe. AI #6.
*I'm not 100% sure on my Arenas pick, but I have to find one dark horse, right? Otherwise what's the fun? Plus, he was really, REALLY good in the Cleveland series.