Who are the Top 50 Players in the NBA?

After an unexpected Playoffs and a crazy NBA Free Agency where multiple stars switched teams, who are the current Top 50 players in the NBA?

As I will be focusing on the upcoming season, I will not rank rookies like Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett as it is impossible to predict a ranking for them before seeing them play one game.

I will also not rank Kevin Durant or John Wall as they are both expected to miss most if not all of next season both with a Ruptured Achilles, otherwise KD would be seriously considered for the Number 1 spot. 

However I WILL be ranking Klay Thompson who also suffered a serious Torn ACL because Klay is expected to return before the All Star Break and I expect him to be back to himself before the playoffs start.  

Let's start with the Top 5 Players in the world, the 5 players who will most likely be fighting it out for the MVP.

1-5 MVP Favourites

1. Kawhi Leonard

For what Kawhi achieved last playoffs, bringing a title to Canada for the 1st time ever gives him the right to be considered the top ranked player this season, especially with Lebron getting older and KD out of action. 

The Klaw was a one man wrecking crew for most of the playoffs averaging 30.5 pts, 9 reb, 4 ast and almost 2 steals, shooting almost 50% from the field and 90% from the free throw line.  His 732 points is the 3rd most ever in a playoff run (behind Lebron and Jordan), and when you add in the fact he is also widely regarded as the league's best defender, there should be little doubt that this year's Finals MVP deserves to start the new season as the best player in the league.   

2. Lebron James

If this was any of the last 10 or 12 years Lebron would probably be number 1 on this list.  But in a year in where he suffered his first serious injury, and failed to even lead the Lakers to the playoffs, Lebron finally relinquished his status as the best player in the NBA. 

He hardly plays D anymore especially during the season, and even though he put up impressive numbers after coming back from injury, he seemed to lose some of his ability to take over games and will his team to victory - as evidenced by shocking losses to some of the league's worst teams in the second half of the season.    

Nevertheless even at age 34, he is still Lebron James and other than the guy above, I wouldn't take anybody else over him this season if I wanted to win a championship.

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo

It was a difficult decision to rank the reigning MVP Giannis at number 3 as it is likely that statistically he will outperform everyone on this list and at 24 years old, he is only going to get better. 

Last season the Greek Freak averaged 27 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists - numbers only ever matched by the Great Oscar Robertson.  But he was somewhat exposed in the playoffs against Kawhi and the simple fact is, if it's the playoffs and I have to win a series then I want Kawhi and Lebron over Giannis.  

4. Steph Curry

With Klay Thompson injured and Kevin Durant gone, all the offensive burden falls to Steph Curry, although he will have some help from newly acquired D'Angelo Russell.  Usually the only thing stopping Curry from putting up crazy numbers is that he has to share the scoring load with two of the best scorers in the NBA in KD and Klay. 

Now he will be forced back to his last MVP season form where he averaged over 30 ppg on 50/40/90 shooting in one of the greatest offensive seasons ever witnessed.  Expect Curry to have a similar monster season this year.  

5. James Harden

Sometimes it feels like James Harden gets a bit of an unfair rap.  I mean the guy averaged over 36 ppg and had a remarkable 32 game 30 point streak where he averaged 44 pts in January while carrying the injury depleted Rockets from the 13th place to Top 4 in the West. 

He had an amazing NINE 50 point games including back to back 57/58 pts and 57/61 pts, yet it still seems that he gets criticized more then he gets praised.  The fact is the 4 guys above affect the outcome of the game more than Harden and with High Usage Russell Westbrook joining the back court, The Beard will not be a one man team like he was for most of last season.     

6-10 MVP Candidates

6. Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis barely misses out on the top 5 but he may in fact be the Lakers number 1 option if the Lebron starting at Point Guard rumours are true and he becomes even more of a facilitator.  Before the trade request when he was playing full time, The Brow was averaging over 28 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.5 steals - numbers never ever seen before in NBA History! 

Davis is clearly the best Big Man in the game today and his main issue was his lack of exposure and lack of team success - two problems that will surely be solved by joining Lebron under the bright lights of LA.     

7. Paul George

How does a player who finished in the Top 3 in MVP voting AND Defensive Player of the Year be ranked as only the 7th best player overall?  George finished 2nd in the NBA in scoring averaging over 28 ppg after a slow start. And before a shoulder injury slowed him down, PG was scoring over 30 points a night peaking at 35 ppg in February, including several clutch 40 point performances and game winning shots.

Throw in the fact that he finished 1st in Steals, Deflections, Loose Balls Recovered and almost any other defensive stat, and you have clearly one of the best two way players in the game.  But his lack of playoff success including a disappointing loss at the hands of Portland, coupled with the immense talent of the players ranked above him, means PG can be ranked no higher than 7th (or 8th if including Durant).      

8. Joel Embiid

Another potential MVP candidate, Embiid averaged an impressive 27.5 pts, 13.6 rebounds and almost 4 assists and 2 blocks, numbers only matched by Anthony Davis.  Along with Davis, Embiid is one of the two elite two way Big Men in the league and it could be argued that his defensive impact is even more then his offense.  

But a disappointing playoffs where he was clearly not 100% and suffering illness cost the Sixers a chance at the title as they still took the Raptors to the last shot of Game 7 despite Embiid only averaging a paltry 17 pts and 8 rebounds on just 36% shooting in the series.  You can bet Joel will be back with a vengeance this season and I would bet he would finish higher on the MVP voting then his ranking here since he doesn't have MVP calibre teammates to compete with like Kawhi/PG and Lebron/AD.

9. Nikola Jokic

25 points, 13 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1 blk, 1 stl and 50/40/85 shooting....This is what Nikola Jokic averaged in his first ever playoffs.  These numbers, notably the 8.5 assists for a big man is unheard of and offensively 'The Joker' is just the perfect player.  He has a mean post up game, a soft touch and an amazing basketball IQ with unparalleled vision and unselfishness for someone so big. 

He also has the perfect Pick N' Roll partner in the soon to be star Jamal Murray, and look for him to take his game up another notch this year, possibly even averaging close to a triple double.  The only reason I have Embiid over Jokic is defense, something Jokic is already getting better at and should improve even more in 2020.  

10. Damian Lillard

Rounding out the Top 10 is the NBA's biggest ever contract with Damian Lillard signing a massive 196 million extension taking his contract value to an astounding 257 million over the next 6 years.  

Actually Dame did not play great against the Warriors or Nuggets in the playoffs, but what he did against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder will forever be remembered.  Not only did he clearly outplay his rival Russ, but his 50 point 37 foot Buzzer Beating Walk Off 3 to win the Series in 5 was probably the single most memorable highlight of the whole playoffs. 

Just for context, a Buzzer Beater to win the playoffs had only happened once before that in the last 20 years, and what do you know that was also Lillard in 2014 against the Rockets.  Of course Kawhi hit the famous bounce on the rim shot to also win the Series against the Sixers this year, but overall a Buzzer Beater to win a playoff series has only happened 7 times in History, with Jordan and Dame the only players to do it twice each. 

11-15 All NBA

11. Kyrie Irving

12. Russell Westbrook

13. Jimmy Butler

14. Karl Anthony Towns

15. Klay Thompson

The next 3 guys on the list Kyrie, Jimmy and Russ all switched teams this summer.  With KD injured, Kyrie is going to have to show he can lead a young Nets team much better than he did a young Celtics team last year.  And Russell Westbrook will have to answer even more questions if he can adapt his game to coexist with fellow high usage player James Harden.  But there is no doubt these two point guards are still elite talents and borderline top 10 players.  

Jimmy Butler surprised everyone by opting out of staying with the Sixers - not to join forces with another star but to go by himself to Miami - a team that didn't even have cap room to sign him.  All eyes will be watching how he fits in South Beach after causing some locker room issues the last few years, but everyone saw in the playoffs what a great player he can be. 

KAT was putting up monster stats after the trade - over 28 points and 13 rebounds, but the question remains can he translate his brilliant individual play into team wins?    

And Klay Thompson makes up the top 15 as one of the best two way players and pure shooters in the world.  Nobody can get hot like Klay and when he goes off the Warriors never lose.

16-20 Max Contract / Franchise Player

16. Bradley Beal

17. Blake Griffin

18. Luka Doncic

19. Ben Simmons

20. Kemba Walker

I ranked Beal just below Klay due to defense, although Beal has proven himself to be an elite franchise player putting up 25/5/5 last year for the disappointing Wizards.  Blake Griffin also had his best year averaging a Career High 24.5 pts and turning himself into a 3 point shooting big while earning All NBA 3rd Team Honours.  

Young guns Luka Doncic and Ben Simmons are next with Luka having a historic rookie season averaging an incredible 21 pts, 8 reb and 6 ast at just 19 years old so expect him to improve again this season.

As for Simmons, the fact that he can crack the Top 20 without even having a 10 foot jumpshot just shows how talented he is at everything else.  And rumours have shown that he has improved his shooting this summer, so watch out for Big Ben this season.

Finally Kemba deserves a top 20 spot for carrying a terrible Hornets roster to the brink of the playoffs, averaging over 25ppg, including a Career High 60 against the Sixers, on his way to earning All NBA Third Team honours for the first time in his career.   

21-25 All Star Calibre

21. Draymond Green

22. Rudy Gobert

23. Kristaps Porzingis

24. Chris Paul

25. Victor Oladipo

Next up is a pair of DPOY winners Draymond Green and Rudy Gobert.  Nobody influences the defensive side of the ball more than the Stifle Tower and with Draymond in a contract year without KD and Klay, expect him to have a career year statistically coming off an incredible playoffs where he had a league leading 6 triple doubles.   

Then I got Porzingis who is very difficult to rank since he missed the whole of last season.  But before his injury the Unicorn was the only player EVER to average over 20 pts, 2.5 blocks AND (almost) 2 threes per game. 

CP3 and Oladipo both also missed significant time with injuries last year.  Expect both to bounce back and with CP3 in OKC, expect him to have a lot to prove that he is not done, so that a championship contender will come calling for him and his massive max contract.  

26-30 Future All Star

26. Devin Booker

27. CJ McCollum

28. Donovan Mitchell

29. Pascal Siakam

30. Jamal Murray

A bunch of young guards and a Most Improved Player make up spots 26-30 on this list.  

Booker is up first and this kid just flat out knows how to score.  I mean he scored 59,50 and 48 in 3 consecutive games this season, that's 157 points!

CJ McCollum, Spida Mitchell and Jamal Murray are also super talented guards who would all be All Stars in the East but unfortunately have to compete with the likes of Steph, Dame, Harden and Russ in the West.  CJ and Jamal were smoking hot this playoffs averaging 25 pts and 21 pts respectively and while Donovan did not have the most efficient playoffs this year, he is still averaging over 23 points in 2 playoff years at just 22 years of age.  

Then we have Spicy P Pascal Siakam, who is primed for another breakout year with Kawhi gone.  Expect him to up his scoring average to well over 20ppg and make his 1st All Star Game next season.  He may even contend for the Most Improved Player award again if he keeps improving at his current rate.  

31-35 Vets

31. DeMar DeRozan

32. LeMarcus Aldridge

33. Kyle Lowry

34. Mike Conley

35. Al Horford

Now we have some 10+ year vets lead by San Antonio Duo DeRozan and Aldridge who both averaged over 20 ppg last season, with DeMar showing off his all around game by averaging over 6 rebounds and 6 assists for the 1st time in his career.  

Point guards Mike Conley and NBA champion Kyle Lowry are both All Star Calibre, the only difference is Kyle has been in the East allowing him to make the last 5 All Star Games while poor Mike Conley could never get selected in the guard heavy West.

Finally Al Horford showed how much he is valued by securing a 109 million contract at age 33 to form a formidable frontcourt with Joel Embiid and the Sixers.  Although not a box score stuffer, he was widely regarded as Boston's most important player and will be just as important as a mentor for these young 76ers.  

36-40 Max Contract Side Kicks

36. Jrue Holiday

37. D'Angelo Russell

38. Khris Middleton

39. Tobias Harris

40. Kevin Love

These 5 great players all deserve to be ranked higher, but with the unbelievable depth in today's NBA talent pool, somebody is going to be ranked lower than he should be.  

Jrue Holiday is a fantastic player who like Mike Conley could never sniff the All Star Game playing in the West, whereas D'Angelo Russell and Khris Middleton both benefited being the East by earning their 1st All Star selection.  Now D-Lo is out West so don't expect him to be making the All Star Game this season.

Tobias Harris and Kevin Love are both better than their 39/40 ranking but again it is splitting hairs and you could easily switch these 5 players with the vets above and I wouldn't complain. 

41-45 Upcoming Young Stars

41. Jayson Tatum

42. Trae Young

43. Buddy Hield 

44. De'Aaron Fox

45. Kyle Kuzma 

In 2018, rookie Jayson Tatum looked like a budding superstar being the youngest player ever to score 200 points in the playoffs.  He didn't quite have the growth many expected in his second season, but he is still just 21 and with Kyrie gone, expect a breakout year from him.

ROY runner up Trae Young will also be only 21 when the season starts and he averaged an impressive 23 pts and 9 assists since the All Star Break.

Young Dynamic Duo Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox are next on the list with both having breakout seasons, Buddy averaging 21 pts on 43% shooting from 3 and 'Swipa' putting up 17 pts and 7 assists a game. 

Rounding out the young stars is the Lakers third wheel Kyle Kuzma, who is the one young gun the Lakers managed to keep when trading for AD.       

46-50 Better than 50th but what can you do?

46. Nikola Vucevic

47. Andre Drummond

48. Lou Williams

49. Julius Randle

50. Zach Lavine

Finally these 5 guys are all better than these rankings suggest but looking at all the players above them, what can you do?

Big Men Drummond and Vucevic could easily be higher but personally I believe Andre Drummond is overrated and doesn't influence winning or perform in big games the way he should as a max player. 

All Star Vucevic was much better last year and was actually 9th in the whole NBA in PER, just behind Kawhi and Lebron James and was 8th in RPM as well as 8th in Defensive RPM, proving his value on both ends.  But he averaged just 11 ppg on 37% shooting in the playoffs so let's see if he can back up his Career Year before putting him higher in these rankings.     

Sweet Lou is one of the most clutch players in the league and is definitely better than a low 40 ranking but he will be 33 years old and with the addition of two 25+ppg scorers in Kawhi and PG, expect him to have a drop in scoring after going from the 1st to 3rd option on the team.    

Finally Julius Randle and Zach Lavine put up impressive numbers last season, averaging well over 20ppg, but they will have to show that their stats can translate into wins before moving up this list.  

Honourable Mention: Brandon Ingram

He many have just cracked the top 50 if his season wasn't cut short due to serious blood clots, but at still only 21 years of age, there is still plenty of time for Ingram to become a star in this league.  

Bonus 50 More:

5 Big Men Just Missed Out

Clint Capela

Steven Adams

Jusuf Nurkic (Out Until All Star Break)

Deandre Jordan

Marc Gasol

5 Scorers

Bojan Bogdanovic

Eric Gordon

Gary Harris

Danilo Gallinari

Andrew Wiggins

5 Sixth Men

Montrezl Harrell

Domantas Sabonis

Spencer Dinwiddie

Derrick Rose

Dennis Schroder

5 Young Players

Myles Turner

Lauri Markkanen

Aaron Gordon

John Collins

Lonzo Ball

5 Rookies

Zion Williamson

Ja Morant

RJ Barrett

Darius Garland

De'Andre Hunter

5 Sophmores

Jaren Jackson Jr

DeAndre Ayton

Marvin Bagley

Collin Sexton

Shai Gilgeous Alexander 

5 Blockers 

Mitchell Robinson

Brook Lopez

Hassan Whiteside

Javale McGee

Jarrett Allen

5 Perimeter Defenders

Patrick Beverley

Marcus Smart

Eric Bledsoe

Jaylen Brown

Derrick White

5 Shooters

JJ Redick

Kyle Korver

Seth Curry 

Joe Harris 

Malcolm Brogdon

5 Ex All Stars

DeMarcus Cousins

Gordon Hayward

Isaiah Thomas

Dwight Howard

Goran Dragic

and finally...

5 Retired in 2019

Dirk Nowitzki

Dwyane Wade

Tony Parker

Darren Collison

Carmelo Anthony??  (or will somebody sign him?)


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