#SoleWatch Power Rankings: The Best of the Season

The NBA's top sneakerheads from the 2015-16 season.


This season of NBA #SoleWatch was the tale of one grand exit and a few new faces emerging to potentially fill the void.

Kobe Bryant said goodbye to the NBA with a run of exclusive Nike Kobe 10 and Kobe 11 colorways, putting the final stamp on his signature line as a player. Kobe fans will be happy to know that the line will continue despite his absence from the hardwood, as confirmed to us by the man himself earlier this year.

Meanwhile, unlikely face of the league Stephen Curry took his game to another level, thus helping make Under Armour a serious player in the basketball footwear market. While full numbers haven't been released, some analysts expect Curry and the Curry 2 to be among the best sellers for this season when it's all said and done.

This season, the #SoleWatch Power Rankings featured a little more brand balance than last year, though Nike still dominated the field of representatives. Nick Young, who signed on with adidas mid-season, made wearing the 3-Stripes a little more fun than usual by mixing vintage pairs and even Yeezys Boosts into his rotation. It doesn't really benefit non-Nike brands to have their players lacing up sneakers that potential consumers can't purchase, but it certainly makes sneaker spotting enjoyable.

With the regular season in the books and the playoffs underway, we're running down the final Power Rankings of 2015-16. The list is based on a final tally of player appearances from individual Power Rankings posts throughout the season, which were determined by variety, the element of surprise, and keeping the rotation fresh. A few familiar faces make expected appearances, while there are a few that you may have not seen coming. See this season's biggest NBA sneakerheads below.

10. James harden

Image via NBAE 2016

Team: Houston Rockets
Peak Ranking: 2
2014-15 Final Rank: Not Ranked
Season Stats: 29.0 PPG / 6.1 RPG / 7.5 APG
Sneaker Highlights: adidas Crazy 1 Silver/Blackadidas Crazylight Boost 2015 "All-White" PE / adidas Crazylight Boost 2015 Black/Yellow PE / adidas Crazylight Boost 2015 "Christmas" PEadidas Crazylight Boost 2015 "Clutch City" PEadidas Crazylight Boost 2015 "Movement Tracking" Custom / adidas Crazylight Boost 2015 "Veteran's Day" PEadidas Crazylight Boost 2015 White/Black-Red "Stripe" PE / adidas Crazylight Boost 2.5 "All-Star" PE / adidas Crazylight Boost 2.5 Black/White-Red PEadidas Crazylight Boost 2.5 "Cargo" PEadidas Crazylight Boost 2.5 "Easter" / adidas Crazylight Boost 2.5 Silver/Red PE

While Harden waits for his first signature sneaker, he spent his first season as a member of Team adidas leading the brand's Crazylight Boost silhouettes. He wore a wide range of personal colorways throughout the year, including a few that eventually found their way to retail. It was a solid foundation for what should be an even bigger sneaker year for Harden next season.

9. Stephen curry

Image via NBAE 2016

Team: Golden State Warriors
Peak Ranking: 3
2014-15 Final Rank: 9

Season Stats: 30.1 PPG / 5.4 RPG / 6.7 APG
Sneaker Highlights: Under Armour Curry Two "All-Star" / Under Armour Curry Two "BHM"Under Armour Curry Two "Dub Nation Home" / Under Armour Curry Two "Iron Sharpens Iron" / Under Armour Curry Two "Northern Lights"Under Armour Curry Two "Surprise Party"Under Armour Curry Two "Giraffe" PEUnder Armour Curry Two "Haight Street" / Under Armour Curry Two "Suit & Tie"Under Armour Curry Two "Warriors Gradient" PE / Under Armour Curry Two Low "Energy"Under Armour Curry 2.5 Black/Yellow

In short, Curry had one of the greatest individual season in NBA history, leading the Golden State Warriors to a record 73-9 campaign. When the story is told years from now, the Under Armour Curry Two will be remembered as the shoe that helped the MVP raise the bar.

8. zach lavine

Image via NBAE 2016

Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
Peak Ranking: 1
2014-15 Final Rank: 25

Season Stats: 14.0 PPG / 2.8 RPG / 3.1 APG
Sneaker Highlights: Air Jordan 3 Retro "True Blue" / Air Jordan 9 Retro "Photo Blue"Air Jordan 13 Retro "Altitude"Air Jordan 13 Retro Low "Hornets"Air Jordan 17 "College Blue" / Air Jordan XX3 "Stealth" / Nike Air Foamposite One "Northern" Lights"Nike Hyperdunk 2015 Low "Dunk Contest" PE / Nike Hyperdunk 2015 Low Paul George PE / Nike Kobe 7 "Shark" / Nike Kobe 7 Elite "Away"

One half of one of the all-time great Dunk Contests, LaVine emerged as a surprising sneaker star this season. He clearly favored the Nike Hyperdunk 2015 Low, but kept his rotation fresh by sprinkling in a few Air Jordan retros and throwback Nike Kobes. If his game continues to trend upward, expect sneaker brands to look his way when free agency calls.

7. Russell Westbrook

Image via NBAE 2016

Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Peak Ranking: 1
2014-15 Final Rank: 8

Season Stats: 23.5 PPG / 7.8 RPG / 10.4 APG
Sneaker Highlights: Air Jordan 3 Retro Navy/White PEAir Jordan XX9 "OKC Gradient" PEAir Jordan XX9 Orange/White PE / Air Jordan XX9 "Veteran's Day" PEAir Jordan XXX "BHM" PE / Air Jordan XXX "Galaxy" PEAir Jordan XXX Navy/Photo Blue PE / Air Jordan XXX "Photo Blue" PE / Air Jordan XXX White/Black-Orange PEAir Jordan XXX White/Orange PE / Air Jordan XXX White/Photo Blue PEAir Jordan XXX "Wolf Grey"

Mr. Triple-Double had another season for the record books while introducing the world to the newest Jordan Brand flagship — the Air Jordan XXX. As the model's lead, Westbrook finished the season in several exclusive colorways, including a "Galaxy" version that stole the show during All-Star Weekend.

6. Kobe Bryant

Image via NBAE 2016

Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Peak Ranking: 2
2014-15 Final Rank: 32

Season Stats: 17.6 PPG / 3.7 RPG / 2.8 APG
Sneaker Highlights: Nike Kobe 10 Elite Black/White-Purple-Yellow PE / Nike Kobe 10 Elite "Opening Night" / Nike Kobe 10 Elite Low Black/Purple-White PENike Kobe 10 Elite Low Grey/Purple-Yellow PENike Kobe 10 Elite Low Black/Yellow PE / Nike Kobe 11 "All-Star"Nike Kobe 11 "BHM"Nike Kobe 11 Black/Yellow-Purple PE / Nike Kobe 11 "Del Sol" PE / Nike Kobe 11 "Eulogy"Nike Kobe 11 "Mamba Day" / Nike Kobe 11 Purple/Yellow PENike Kobe 11 White/Purple-Black PENike Kobe 11 White/Purple-Yellow PE

In his final season, it's fitting that Bryant cracks the #SoleWatch Top 10. After transitioning from the Nike Kobe 10 to the Kobe 11 mid-season, Bryant battled his way to the finish line in a solid rotation of Player Exclusive colorways that were famously given away to the who's who of sports and entertainment. He closed things out with a 60-point performance in the "Mamba Day" Kobe 11 — giving the model and that specific colorway a refreshing bit of context.

5. nick young

Image via NBAE 2016

Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Peak Ranking: 1
2014-15 Final Rank: 3

Season Stats: 7.3 PPG / 1.8 RPG / 0.6 APG
Sneaker Highlights: UNDRCRWN x adidas Gil Zeroadidas TS Lightswitch Gil "Gilwood" / adidas TS Lightswitch Gil "Vote for Gilbert"adidas Yeezy 750 Boost "Core Black" / adidas Yeezy 750 Boost "Light Brown"Nike Air Zoom Generation Black/RedNike Kobe 3 "Lakers" / Reebok Answer 1

While most adidas athletes keep things status quo, new signee Nick Young made wearing the 3-Stripes more fun than anybody since his good friend Gilbert Arenas. Young celebrated his deal with the brand by becoming the first player to wear Yeezy Boosts in a game — and then did it again. He also borrowed a few pairs from Arenas' personal collection.

4. jared cunningham

Images via NBAE 2016

Team: Cleveland Cavaliers / Milwaukee Bucks
Peak Ranking: 1
2014-15 Final Rank: 38

Season Stats: 2.7 PPG / 0.9 RPG / 0.5 APG
Sneaker Highlights: Air Jordan 7 "Bordeaux" / Air Jordan 10 "Stealth"Air Jordan XX3 "Stealth"Nike Kobe 4 "Bred" / Nike LeBron 2 White/Navy / Nike LeBron 3 "Area Code" PE / Nike LeBron 3 "Remix"Nike LeBron 3 Black/Gold / Nike LeBron 4 "China"Nike LeBron 6 "HWC" / Nike LeBron 20-5-5

When we interviewed P.J. Tucker back in February, he singled out Cunningham as one of the players whose sneakers he keeps an eye on. Splitting time in Cleveland and Milwaukee, Cunningham shined with vintage picks, especially throwback Nike LeBrons while teaming up with King James.

3. kyrie irving

Images via NBAE 2016

Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Peak Ranking: 2
2014-15 Final Rank: 7
Season Stats: 19.6 PPG / 3.0 RPG / 4.7 APG
Sneaker Highlights: Nike Kyrie 2 "Bruce Lee" PE / Nike Kyrie 2 "Christmas"Nike Kyrie 2 "Green Glow" / Nike Kyrie 2 "Kyrache" / Nike Kyrie 2 "Ky-reer High"Nike Kyrie 2 Black/Red-Yellow PE / Nike Kyrie 2 Navy/Yellow-White PE / Nike Kyrie 2 "Razzle Dazzle"Nike Kyrie 2 White/Gold PE / Nike Kyrie 2 White/Multicolor PENike Kyrie 2 White/Wine-Yellow PE / Nike Kyrie 2 Wine/Yellow-White PENike Kyrie 2 Yellow/Black-Crimson PE

After returning from injury in Dec., Irving wasted no time unleashing the Nike Kyrie 2 on the NBA. Perhaps taking some cues from his All-Star teammate, Irving played in a wide variety of colorways, including a buyable NIKEiD that salutes his career-high point total.

2. LeBron james

Images via NBAE 2016

Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Peak Ranking: 1
2014-15 Final Rank: 2

Season Stats: 25.3 PPG / 7.4 RPG / 6.8 APG
Sneaker Highlights: Nike LeBron 2 "Triple Double" PE / Nike LeBron 13 "All-Star"Nike LeBron 13 "BHM"Nike LeBron 13 Black/Gold PE / Nike LeBron 13 "Black Lion"Nike LeBron 13 Black/Red-White PE / Nike LeBron 13 Black/Yellow PENike LeBron 13 Black/Yellow-White PE / Nike LeBron 13 "Blue Lagoon"Nike LeBron 13 "Camo" PENike LeBron 13 "Cavs Gradient" PE / Nike LeBron 13 "Christmas"Nike LeBron 13 Crimson/Black-Yellow PE / Nike LeBron 13 "Doernbecher" / Nike LeBron 13 "LBJ25K"Nike LeBron 13 Navy/White-Yellow PENike LeBron 13 Navy/Yellow-Wine PE / Nike LeBron 13 Yellow/Wine-White PENike LeBron 13 Elite Black/Silver

The general reaction to the Nike LeBron 13 was mixed, but LeBron James lacing up more than 50 colorways of his signature can't be overlooked. His seemingly endless rotation of fresh colorways, both released and exclusive, nab him the runner-up spot for the second-straight season.

1. p.j. tucker

Images via NBAE 2016

Team: Phoenix Suns
Peak Ranking: 1
2014-15 Final Rank: 1

Season Stats: 8.0 PPG / 6.2 RPG / 2.2 APG
Sneaker Highlights: Don C x Air Jordan 2 Retro "Beach" / Air Jordan 5 Retro Shawn Marion "Suns Home" PEAir Jordan 9 Quentin Richardson "Clippers Home" PEAir Jordan 10 "Sacramento" / Air Jordan 13 Gerald Wallace "Bobcats Away" PEAir Jordan 14 Black Seamless SampleAir Jordan 14 Quentin Richardson "Knicks Away" PE / Air Jordan 16 "Cherrywood"Nike Air Huarache 2K4 Raja Bell "Suns Home" PENike Air Yeezy "Zen Grey" / Nike Air Yeezy 2 "Platinum"Nike Air Yeezy 2 "Red October" / Nike Hyperdunk Tony Parker PE / Nike Hypedunk 2011 Supreme "Galaxy" Sample / Nike Kobe 1 "Blackout"Nike Kobe 1 "Stash" PE / Nike Kobe 5 "Aston Martin"Nike Kobe 5 "Inline"

It was another superb season for the back-to-back #SoleWatch Champion. Tucker's lineup was highlighted by playing in three different pairs of Nike Yeezys and a season-long tribute to Kobe Bryant and former members of the Phoenix Suns. In a Feb. interview, Tucker told us that the only shoe off limits on the court is the Nike Mag.