I always laugh at the idea of ranking NBA players against each other because it’s an impossible task. Comparing someone like Steph Curry to a 3rd string backup point guard is an easy task; however, it’s such a difficult debate when comparing him to another top talent who may be a forward or even a center. Each player does unique things at their position and each player is called to have a specified role. It’s hard for me to compare so many different skillsets, but why not give it a shot. LeBron James to me is the clear #1 so I’m not going to include him on my list. He’s been in the finals since 2011 and has been such a monumental force in the league. Here are my next top 4 current NBA players, in order, with Lebron at the top:
- Kevin Durant: Durant has been an absolute machine since entering the league. He is a lengthy shooter with both 3-point range and a great mid-range jumper. In his career, Durant has shot an average of 49.2% from the field and 38.2% from beyond the arc. He can create space with his length and separate from defenders. Durant is also insanely efficient from the free-throw line knocking down almost 90% during his career. He is a great defender and can deter shots and close out. Durant is a defensive nightmare once he crosses half court and has both the experience and that “X-factor” that you want in a shooter come crunch time.
- Steph Curry: I am not going to say that Curry is the best shooter in this history of the NBA, right now. The second that Curry retires, he will have that title. I just don’t like saying anyone can be the best or worst until their full career is over, although I do believe he has already solidified it. Curry is electric beyond the arc shooting over 45% during his career. He also shoots over 50% from the field. He can drive into defenses and force the defense to contract onto him and then find the open man. He averages 6.7 assists a game and almost 2 steals a game. He is such an elite shooter in addition to the ability find the open player. He is orchestrating the top offense in the NBA efficiently.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: Giannis has increased his stats in every single category since entering the league. His scoring has increased steadily from an average of 6.8 points per game as a rookie, to 27.2 this season. He is averaging 13 rebounds per game this season in addition to 1.3 blocks per game. Giannis generates steals, blocks, and assists, but more importantly, he is a dunking machine. His shooting percentage inside the arc is 64% this season and a large part of that is the sheer number of dunks. The “Greek Freak” is an absolute stud on both offense and defense and is leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA.
- Anthony Davis: This spot is understandably the hardest. I think this pick comes down to Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Anthony Davis. I give the nod to Davis simply because of his sheer dominance in the post. Maybe it’s my big man bias, but something about a physical, bruising big man excites me. Last season (I’m focusing on last season as opposed to this year’s drama), Davis averaged 28.1 points, 2.6 blocks, 1.5 steals, and 11.1 rebounds per game. He is a tough athlete to cover on the block and has very impressive post moves. Davis is an extremely talented defender generate steals and blocks on a consistent basis. He has both the offensive and defensive skillset to crack my top 5.