With the whole NBA shockingly suspended, we have some time to rank and compare some different players and see which age bracket has the most talent.
Anthony Davis, Steph Curry and Joel Embiid recently celebrated birthdays, so let's take an updated look at the best players by age (as of today March 20th, 2020).
19 Years Old
Zion Williamson (Born July 6th, 2000)
23.6 pts, 6.8 reb, 2.2 ast, 0.8 stl, 0.5 blk
FG 59%, FT 64.5%, 3P 46.2% (0.3 3PM) PER 24.2
One of the only players in the NBA born this century, Zion is easily the best 19 year old in the world. Averaging over 23 pts in under 30 minutes, Zion is scoring the ball at a faster rate then any rookie in NBA history..including Wilt!
14.3 pts, 5 reb, 2.6 ast
Zion's Ex Blue Devil teammate RJ Barrett has been a bit disappointing for the Knicks shooting only 40% from the field. But he is still averaging almost 15pts at just 19 years old so I expect him to improve a lot in the next couple years.
Other Notable Players: Kevin Porter Jr, Jaxson Hayes, Sekou Doumbouya, Alen Smailagic
20 Years Old
Ja Morant (Born Aug 10th, 1999)
17.6pts, 3.5 reb, 6.9 ast, 0.9 stl, 0.3 blk
FG 49.1%, FT 77%, 3P 36.7% (0.9 3PM), PER 18
The runaway Rookie of the Year until Zion came back, Ja Morant is a walking highlight reel with the mojo and balls to try any dunk over anyone at anytime. And his game translates to winning as the Grizzlies has shocked everyone by securing a 4 game lead for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
16.9 pts, 4.7 reb,, 1.6 blk
People forget that Triple J although in his 2nd season, is still just 20 years old. Along with teammate Ja, the Grizzlies easily have the best 20 and under combo in the NBA and maybe in history.
Other Notable Players: Coby White, Darius Garland, Tyler Herro, Cam Reddish, Wendell Carter Jr, Anfernee Simons, Troy Brown Jr, Kevin Knox, Jordan Poole
21 Years Old
Luka Doncic (Born Feb. 28th, 1999)
28.7 pts, 9.3 reb, 8.7 ast, 1.1 stl, 0.2 blk
FG 46.1%, FT 75.2%, 3P 31.8% (2.9 3PM), PER 27.7
Probably the greatest Age 20-21 season in NBA History, Luka Doncic has firmly established himself as a Top 10 Player and MVP Candidate in just his 2nd season. He averages a 29/9/9 near triple double and has an NBA leading 14 triple doubles, the most ever for a player so young.
29.6 pts, 4.3 reb, 9.3 ast
Although overshadowed by Luka, Trae Young has evolved into a Superstar in his own right. Just like Luka, Ice Trae was voted to start the All Star Game and although scoring and playmaking are Luka's best skills, Trae actually averages more pts and assists and is in the top 3 in the NBA in both categories.
Other Notable Players: Shai Gilegous-Alexander, Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen, Mitchell Robinson, Miles Bridges, Markelle Fultz, Marvin Bagley, Michael Porter Jr, PJ Washington, Kevin Huerter, Josh Okogie
22 Years Old
Jayson Tatum (Born March 3rd 1998)
23.6 pts, 7.1 reb, 2.9 ast, 1.4 stl, 0.9 blk
FG 44.8%, FT 80.6%, 3P 39.8% (2.8 3PM), PER 20.3
Up until about a month ago, I would have been tempted to put Bam here and even Brandon Ingram was playing better than Tatum earlier in the season. But ever since Tatum was selected for the All Star Game he has looked like a Superstar, averaging over 30pts in the last 6 weeks and playing All NBA Level Defense.
16.2 pts, 10.5 rb, 5.1 ast
My vote for the Most Improved Player Award, Bam went from being an 8ppg role player last year to being one of the best Centers in the league. His playmaking especially has been a revelation, averaging over 5 assists and notching multiple triple doubles while also anchoring the Heat's defense. He just edges out Brandon Ingram who has also had a breakout year,
Other Notable Players: Brandon Ingram, De'Aaron Fox, Lauri Markkanen, Lonzo Ball, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, OG Anunoby, De'Andre Hunter
23 Years Old
Ben Simmons (Born July 20th 1996)
16.7 pts, 7.8 reb, 8.2 ast, 2.1 stl, 0.6 blk
FG 58.5%, FT 62.7%, PER 20.8
It was tight between Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker and obviously Spida and D-Book are clearly better scorers/shooters but Ben is (also clearly) the better rebounder, passer and defender, and he is better in the open floor and has better handles and court vision. This gives him the slight edge in my book, but only just.
Donovan Mitchell / Devin Booker Tied
Spida - 24.2 pts, 4.4 reb, 4.2 ast
Book - 26.1 pts, 4.2 reb, 6.6 ast
Both are undersized combo guards who clearly lead their respective teams in scoring and both made their 1st All Star Game this year. Donovan may get the slight edge for being on a winning team but both are equally talented in my book.
Other Notable Players: Jaylen Brown, Domantas Sabonis, Jamal Murray, Myles Turner, Dejounte Murray, Eric Paschall, Ivica Zubac, Donte DiVincenzo, Derrick Jones Jr, Landry Shamet
24 Years Old
Karl Anthony Towns (Born November 15th, 1995)
26.5 pts, 10.8 reb, 4.4 ast, 0.9 stl, 1.2 blk
FG 50.8%, FT 79.6%, 3P 41.2% (3.3 3PM), PER 26.5
With The Joker just turning 25, this opened the door for K.A.T to clearly be the best 24 year old in the NBA. His numbers 26.5p/11r/4a on 50/80/40 shooting with over 3 threes made per game are insane. But he has to improve his defense and start winning some games if he truly wants to be mentioned with the very best.
19.2 pts, 9.5 reb, 2.1 blk
KP returning from a Torn ACL has slowly been getting back to his previous elite level and starting to form a killer partnership with Luka Doncic. After averaging just over 17pts on 40% shooting in November through to January, KP has exploded since February averaging almost 25pts and 11 rebounds on a much better 46% shooting.
Other Notable Players: Aaron Gordon, Kyle Kuzma, Kelly Oubre Jr, Dillon Brooks, Christian Wood, Kendrick Nunn
25 Years Old
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Born December 6th, 1994)
29.6 pts, 13.7 reb, 5.8 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk
FG 54.7%, FT 63.3%, 3P 30.6% (1.5 3PM), PER 31.6
Easy Call here, Giannis is having one of the greatest statistical seasons of all time averaging 30pts in just over 30 min a game which is a higher scoring rate than even James Harden! His PER and his 36 min numbers are insane - 35p/16r/7a per 36 min, basically he is scoring like MJ, rebounding like Rodman and assisting like Larry Bird!
20.2 pts, 10.2 reb, 6.9 ast
By far the best passing Center of All Time, The Joker is averaging 20/10/7 pretty much the same numbers as last year and only the 4th player after Westbrook, Oscar and Wilt to have these numbers. And he upped his production in the playoffs last year averaging 25p/13/8.5a on 50/40/85 shooting - numbers unheard of for a Center in his 1st playoffs.
Other Notable Players: Pascal Siakam, Zach Lavine, Clint Capela, Andrew Wiggins, Caris Levert, Julius Randle, Jusuf Nurkic, Devonte Graham, Duncan Robinson, Gary Harris
26 Years Old
Joel Embiid (Born March 16th, 1994)
23.4 pts, 11.8 reb, 3.1 ast, 0.9 stl, 1.3 blk
FG 47.4%, FT 81.4%, 3P 34.8% (1.3 3PM), PER 26
Embiid luckily just turned 26 or else he would have been behind the Greek Freak and possibly Jokic as well for 25 year olds. Even in a down year Embiid is averaging 23 and 12 and is still clearly the best Center in the East.
30.5 pts, 4.2 reb, 6.1 ast
Based on this season stats alone, Beal has a case to be over Embiid. Beal is averaging 30ppg and had a crazy 21 game streak of 25 or more points, a streak only bettered by KD, MJ, A.I and Harden since the NBA Merger in 1976. But he is the worst defensive player in the league according to Defensive RPM so Embiid is still the better overall player.
Other Notable Players: Andre Drummond, Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, Marcus Smart, Steven Adams, TJ Warren, Fred VanVleet, Josh Richardson, Terry Rozier
27 Years Old
Anthony Davis (Born March 11th, 1993)
26.7 pts, 9.4 reb, 3.1 ast, 1.5 stl, 2.4 blk
FG 51.1%, FT 84.5%, 3P 33.5% (1.2 3PM), PER 28.2
Another player who just had a birthday last week, AD takes over from Kyrie Irving as the best 27 year old in the league. Lebron maybe getting all of the credit and MVP chatter in LA, but it is Davis who is the team's leading scorer AND best defender. AD actually leads LA in Pts, Reb, Stl, Blk, FG%, FT% and PER - compared to just assists and 3s for Lebron.
Kyrie Irving (Turning 28 on March 23rd)
27.4 pts, 5.2 reb, 6.4 ast
Kyrie's reputation has not been the best the last couple years, especially the way the young Celtics have improved by replacing Kyrie with Kemba. But his talent and scoring ability cannot be underestimated and the East better watch out when he returns with KD next year (or possibly even this year if the playoffs are delayed until July/August).
Other Notable Players: Rudy Gobert, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Buddy Hield, Malcolm Brogdon, Evan Fournier, Davis Bertans, Jordan Clarkson, Jonas Valanciunas, Jeremy Lamb
28 Years Old
Kawhi Leonard (Born June 29th, 1991)
26.9pts, 7.3 reb, 5 ast, 1.8 stl, 0.6 blk
FG 46.9%, FT% 88.9%, 3P 36.6% (2.1 3PM)
The reigning Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard is in the prime of his Career and is by far and away the best 28 year old in the league. He is also quietly having his best season averaging a Career High 27 pts and 5 assists showing that he has improved his playmaking skills and becoming an all around player on both sides.
21.1 pts, 6.2 reb, 4.1 ast
In one of the most underrated seasons, Khris Middleton was on pace to join an elite club of players who averaged 20+pts on 50/40/90 shooting. Larry Bird, Dirk Nowitzki and Steph Curry are the only players that achieved that feat but Middleton did it in just 30 min a game. But as it stands now, Middleton has just barely dropped to below 50% FG for the 1st time in a few months and his current 49.9% would be agonizingly close to miss out on this elite club.
Other Notable Players: CJ McCollum, Tim Hardaway Jr, Joe Harris, Alec Burks
29 Years Old
Damian Lillard (Born July 15th, 1990)
28.9 pts, 4.3 reb, 7.8 ast, 1 stl, 0.4 blk
FG 45.7%, FT 88.8%, 3P 39.4% (3.9 3PM), PER 26.2
Although the Portland Trailblazers have struggled and are currently outside playoff position, Dame Dolla is still having a Career year. Averaging almost 29pts and 8 ast, Dame was unstoppable at the start of 2020 averaging 33pts in Jan and Feb including a crazy stretch where he scored 61,47,50,36,48 and 51 points as the Blazers won 5 of 6 to keep their playoff hopes alive. This is clearly the best Damian Lillard we have ever seen and probably the most impressive stretch by any point guard in NBA history.
21 pts, 5.7 reb, 3.9 ast
After a Career Year in OKC where he finished 2nd in the league in scoring, 3rd in the MVP race AND 3rd in the DPOY race, PG13 has had an up and down year hampered by two injuries causing him to miss 22 games. But he is still the 2nd best 29 year old in the league and if it wasn't for Dame's incredible play this season he would have been considered for top spot.
Other Notable Players: Kemba Walker, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Jrue Holiday, Nikola Vucevic, Ricky Rubio, Robert Covington, Seth Curry, Tristan Thompson, Will Barton, Terrence Ross, Gordon Hayward (Turning 30 March 23rd)
30 Years Old
James Harden (Born August 26th, 1989)
34.4 pts, 6.4 reb, 7.4 ast, 1.7 stl, 0.9 blk
FG 43.5%, FT 86.1%, 3P 35.2% (4.4 3PM), PER 28.4
The best scorer in the league at the moment, James Harden is the only player that can get 40pts regularly without even playing well! His knack for putting points up on the board and getting to the line is unmatched and when he is shooting well the Rockets are almost unbeatable. The Beard started this season on fire averaging almost 39pts in November and December before cooling off substantially after the New Year.
Jimmy Butler / Klay Thompson Tied
Jimmy - 20.2 pts, 6.6 reb, 6.1 ast
Klay (2019) - 21.5 pts, 3.8 reb, 2.4 ast
Couldn't really separate these two as both are great players on both sides of the floor, with Klay being the better shooter and scorer, and Jimmy the better all around player. Klay was arguably playing his best basketball of his career when he went down with a Torn ACL in the finals and not many people would argue Jimmy Buckets has also reached his peak, leading the surprising Miami Heat to home court advantage in the East.
Other Notable Players:
Draymond Green, DeMar DeRozan, Bojan Bogdanovic, Hassan Whiteside, Serge Ibaka, Eric Bledsoe, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris
31 Years Old
Kevin Durant (Born September 29th, 1988)
26 pts, 6.4 reb, 5.9 ast, 0.7 stl, 1.1 blk (2018-19 Stats)
FG 52.1%, FT 88.5%, 3P 35.3% (1.8 3PM), PER 25.2
KD was 30 when we last saw him play and will most likely be 32 before we see him in action again, but expect him to reclaim his place as a candidate for the best player in the world when he does return. His game is not heavily reliant on athleticism and his skills and shooting ability should age well in the modern NBA so expect KD to have many more good years left.
27.5 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast
Durant's ex teammate Westbrook started the season horribly raising questions if he could co-exist with leading scorer James Harden. But since the New Year Russ has completely turned his season around and taken over from Harden as Houston's best and most impactful player. He averaged 22 in October, then 27 in November before upping his scoring to 33ppg in January and February (more than Harden!). Trading Capela for Covington has completely opened up the lane for him and this version maybe the best Russ we have ever seen.
Other Notable Players: Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari, DeAndre Jordan, Brook Lopez, Roin Lopez, Jeff Teague, Patty Mills, Nemanja Bjelica
32 Years Old
Stephen Curry (Born March 14th, 1988)
27.3 pts, 5.3 reb, 5.1 ast, 1.3 stl, 0.4 blk (2018-19 Stats)
FG 47.2%, FT 91.6%, 3P 43.7% (5.1 3PM), PER 24.4
Yet another elite player who has missed most of the season, Steph was just coming back and played his 1st game before being struck down with the flu (regular not Covid 19). But just seeing him play one game electrified all NBA fans and especially Warrior fans who have had little to cheer about this whole season. No doubt the best shooter ever makes the game so much more fun and the NBA just wasn't the same without him.
13.8 pts, 3.2 reb, 4.3 ast
Really not a lot candidates here except some role players, so Conley is easily the next best 32 year old. But he has had a rocky start in Utah and it seems when he plays well his teammates don't and vice versa but there were signs of improvement before the season was shut down.
Other Notable Players: Joe Ingles, JaVale McGee, Danny Green, DJ Augustin, Ersan Ilyasova, Wilson Chandler
33 Years Old
Kyle Lowry (Born March 25th, 1986)
19.7 pts, 4.8 reb, 7.7 ast, 1.3 stl, 0.4 blk
FG 41.7%, FT 86.1%, 3P 35.4% (2.9 3PM), PER 17.9
Turning 34 next week, Lowry has quietly had an excellent season averaging almost 20 points and 8 assists and he should be in the running for an All NBA 3rd Team Berth. Nobody thought the Raptors would still be in 2nd place behind the Bucks after the Kawhi trade but Lowry's leadership, defense and clutch play has been a huge reason why.
18.7 pts, 3.1 reb, 5.7 ast
Mr. 6th Man Lou Williams just knows how to score the basketball. It doesn't matter that the Clippers added the 2nd leading scorer and Finals MVP to the team, Sweet Lou always finds a way to get his 20 off the bench. With Kawhi and PG in and out of the lineup all season, Lou and Trez have been holding down the fort.
Other Notable Players: Al Horford, Goran Dragic, Aron Baynes, Rudy Gay, George Hill, Marvin Williams, Marco Belinelli, Wesley Matthews, Garrett Temple, Jeff Green
34 Years Old
Chris Paul (Born May 6th, 1985)
17.7 pts, 4.9 reb, 6.8 ast, 1.6 stl, 0.1 blk
FG 48.9%, FT 90%, 3P 36.2% (1.6 3PM), PER 21.7
After a down year in Houston where he had trouble getting along with Harden, CP3 has had a resurgent year, reclaiming his All Star Spot and his place amongst the best point guards in the league. He has lead the shocking OKC Thunder to a top 5 seed and they have had the best record in the West over the last 3 months! And he has been by far the best clutch player in the league.
18.9 pts, 7.4 reb, 2.4 ast
Aldridge maybe in his 14th year but he is still putting up good numbers - 19 points and 7.4 rebounds as well as a Career High 1.6 Blocks and Career High (by far) 1.2 three pointers per game at almost 40% shooting from 3. But his impact and consistency has been declining and he was unable to help the Spurs keep their NBA record streak of 22 consecutive playoff appearances going.
Other Notable Players: Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Trevor Ariza, PJ Tucker, Taj Gibson, Anthony Tolliver
35 Years Old
Lebron James (Born December 30th, 1984)
25.7 pts, 7.9 reb, 10.6 ast, 1.2 stl, 0.5 blk
FG 49.8%, FT 69.7%, 3P 34.9% (2.2 3PM) PER 26
What can you say? The King is still the King of the NBA in Year 17 - easily the greatest Year 17 season in NBA History and along with MJ the greatest Age 35 season in NBA History. He is averaging a double double for the 1st time his Career, while leading the league in assists (also for the 1st time) AND still averaging over 25ppg (and 30ppg since the All Star Break)! And he doesn't look like he is going to slow down anytime soon. At this rate, the only thing that could possibly stop him from catching Kareem in All Time scoring is a Global Pandemic...
15.3 pts, 6.3 reb, 1.6 ast
You could argue Marc Gasol, Paul Millsap or JJ Redick here, but Melo's comeback has been one of the stories of the season. And he is still averaging an impressive 15.3 pts even as a 3rd option behind Dame and CJ. Glad that a Future Hall of Famer can hopefully now retire on his own terms instead of being unfairly blackballed by the league.
Other Notable Players: Marc Gasol, Paul Millsap, JJ Redick, JJ Barea
36 Years Old
Andre Iguodala (January 28th, 1984)
4.4 pts, 3.8 reb, 2 ast, 0.6 stl, 1.1 blk
FG 49%, FT 25%, 3P 37.5% (0.6 3PM), PER 11
Surprisingly the only 36 year old in the league, Iggy only recently joined the Miami Heat after sitting out the season as part of the Grizzlies. Incredible that Lebron is playing the way he is at 35 and yet there is only one 36 year old good enough to even make a roster in this league.
37 Years Old
Tyson Chandler (October 2nd, 1982)
1.3 pts, 2.5 reb, 0.2 ast, 0.2 stl, 0.3 blk
FG 77.8%, FT 46.2%, PER 10.8
Again the only 37 year old in the league only plays 8 min a game and has been a DNP for the Rockets since January. With the season suspended and with the Rockets going all in on small ball, it looks like we may not ever see Tyson Chandler on the court again since he is widely expected to retire this summer.
38 Years Old
Kyle Korver (March 17th, 1981)
6.7 pts, 2.1 reb, 1.2 ast, 0.4 stl, 0.2 blk
FG 42.9%, FT 82.4%, 3P 41.5% (1.7 3PM), PER 11.2
Once again there is only one 38 year old in the league to choose from - Kyle Korver who joined the league the same year as Lebron in the historic 2003 draft. With shooting in high demand in today's NBA, players like Korver and JJ Redick can have much longer careers than in the past. And Kyle is still shooting 42% from 3 and has been a solid contributor for the league leading Bucks.
39 Years Old
Udonis Haslem (June 9th, 1980)
1.7 pts, 2.7 reb, 0.3 ast
FG 16.7%, FT 75%, PER 3
The only 39 year old who has seen the court this season, UD has played a whopping 21 minutes all year and scored 5 points. Pau Gasol is also 39 and would be the clear choice here but he currently does not have a team although he did say he plans to keep playing next year.
40 Years Old +
Vince Carter (January 26th, 1977 - 43 Years Old!)
5 pts, 2.1 reb, 0.8 ast, 0.4 stl, 0.4 blk
FG 35.2%, FT 79.3%, 3P 30.2% (1 3PM), PER 7.6
Finally Half Man Half Amazing has a different meaning now and it is amazing how long Vince has managed to prolong his Career. Not only is he the only player from the 90s and only player over 40, but he is 43 and there are only 4 players in the whole league even over 36 (Iggy, Chandler, Korver and UD)! No player in the 5 drafts after Vince is even in the league and you could make a strong argument he is still better than all the other age 36+ players. Simply Amazing.
Although Vince and Lebron are outliers, the NBA is still a relatively young man's league with an abundance of talent under 25 and some once in a generation type players like Giannis, Luka and Zion Williamson proving the future of the NBA is bright. There are also many stars in their early 30s such as Curry, KD, Klay and Harden who's games look like they could age well, so expect them to continue playing elite basketball well past their mid thirties like Lebron.
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