NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings: Zion Williamson debuts signature shoe; P.J. Tucker returns with Nike samples

The NBA sneaker community has been buzzing lately. Kevin Durant debuted the latest shoe in his signature line last week, Zion Williamson just laced up his first signature shoe this week. Brands are dropping new models and sending shipments to their athletes to have the kicks on the court right away. There’s a lot of sneaker heat on the court these days but you have you come with a certain level of heat to crack the NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings.

Keep scrolling to see who’s really doing it in the NBA sneaker world.

Kendrick Nunn has been a part of the Puma Hoops family for more than a year and the connection is a perfect match. The second-year player is enjoying a very efficient season on the court for the Miami Heat all while lacing up the latest Puma products. Nunn makes the cut this week after breaking out the brand new Puma Court Rider, a sneaker designed to excel on and off the court.

Kendrick Nunn in the Puma Court Rider.
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When the Jordan 35 debuted shortly before last season’s playoffs, Jayson Tatum continued to frequently wear the Jordan 34 because he was having such a great season and it felt natural to him. It’s safe to say that he’s grown accustomed to the Jordan 35 this season because he seems to break out a new player exclusive colorway every night. All the Jordan 35s you’ll see below stand out for their own reasons but none more than the pair designed after the classic Jordan 5 retro ‘Fire Red,’ which you can spot in the bottom right of the image.

Jayson Tatum continues to show off the Jordan 35.
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When you’re not one of the major sneaker brands — Nike, Jordan, Adidas — you have to hit it big on the athletes you sign to your roster. You could make the argument no brand has done that better than Under Armour with Stephen Curry. Pretty much every significant milestone this future Hall of Famer has accomplished has been with UA kicks on his feet. And this season continues to be huge for Under Armour as Curry is playing some of the best basketball of his career and he’s doing it all with the new Curry 8 sneakers on his feet. As Curry continues to battle to keep the Warriors in playoff contention, you better believe you’ll continue to see new exclusive colorways of the Curry 8. Stay tuned.

Stephen Curry with some new flavors of his Under Armour Curry 8.
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It must be something about the New Balance Two WXY sneaker because Darius Bazley is having a monster sophomore season for the Thunder. He’s been lacing up the Two WXY, the latest basketball sneaker from New Balance designed for players who impact the game on both sides of the court. The perks of being a New Balance athlete also include player exclusive colorways, and if you look closely at the kicks below, the pairs with the “DB” logo on the tongue are made just for Bazley. That’s got to be a cool feeling.

Darius Bazley showing off the New Balance Two WXY.
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Earlier this season, Ja Morant tweeted out that he ran out of different Nike Kobe kicks to wear, but he quickly got the help of DeMar DeRozan and replenished his stock. Running out of Kobe sneakers might actually become a sad reality for Morant after news broke this week that Bryant’s deal with Nike expired after his estate and the brand could not come to a new agreement. Like Morant, a huge number of NBA players wear Kobe sneakers on the regular so if we’ve seen the last of those sneakers it’s going to take a lot of creativity to keep a fresh rotation. If anyone can do that, though, it’s Morant — even if he needs to get back on Twitter and ask for some help.

Ja Morant keeping his Nike Kobe rotation fresh.
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5. Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson has played in less than 80 NBA games in his career and he just debuted his first signature shoe with Jordan Brand. That sentence alone should put into perspective just how ridiculously talented he is and how he projects for greatness for years to come. When Williamson inked a deal with Jordan before his rookie season it was always known he’d have a signature shoe, and we finally got to see it on the court this week. Say hello to the Jordan Zion 1; you’ll be seeing a lot of it as the season plays out.

Zion Williamson debuted his signature Jordan Zion 1 this week.
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Death, taxes and Montrezl Harrell wearing classic Rebook kicks on the hardwood — those are the only certainties you can count on in life. This week, Harrell makes the cut after taking a deep dive inside Allen Iverson’s signature line with Reebok and breaking out the Reebok Answer (left) and two pairs of the Reebok Question (right). He even went the custom route and had one of the Questions designed after the late-’90s popular cartoon TV show “Hey Arnold!” It’s that type of creativity that has made Harrell a fixture in these rankings this season.

Montrezl Harrell taps in to the Allen Iverson signature line with Reebok.
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The Jordan 35 has been one of the more popular sneakers in the NBA this season and now Wizards star Bradley Beal is starting to show off the low-top model. The higher-cut version of the Jordan 35 isn’t too bulky to begin with so the shorter cut is a subtle transition, but with more and more players preferring low-top shoes in the modern NBA you’ll see a ton of the Jordan Brand guys in this model as the season unfolds. Can’t wait.

Bradley Beal shows off the low-top version of the Jordan 35.
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By this point, you’ve noticed that the Jordan 35 has been getting a ton of love recently and rightfully so. The player exclusives you’ve seen over the past few weeks with the sneaker designed to reflect classic Jordan 5 models has been one of the better executed ideas in the sneaker world. And as good as some of those colorways have been, Carmelo Anthony just lapped the field with a Jordan 5 ‘Raging Bull’ colorway. Melo gets extra points because he laced up these kicks the same week the actual Jordan 5 retro kicks released. He’s playing chess and everyone else, well, you get it.

Carmelo Anthony in an amazing Jordan 35 PE. 
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1. P.J. Tucker

The rest of the NBA sneaker community had its fun, but now that P.J. Tucker seems to be settling in with the Bucks that fun might be over. There were a few weeks where the reigning NBA Sneaker King was nowhere to be found in these rankings either because he wasn’t suiting up in Houston and then getting the lay of the land in Milwaukee, but this week was vintage Tucker when it comes to the sneaker game. The highlight of Tucker’s week was a pair of sample Nike LeBron 9 sneakers that never saw the light of day for a release back when LeBron James was still on the Heat. Incredible find for someone who has two interns on staff to scour the internet all day looking for sneaker gems.

P.J. Tucker is starting to get back in the groove of things.
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