Top 25 NBA Players for 19–20!
The NBA Season is less than a month away and so it’s time to rank the best 25 players in the NBA!
25. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
So let me just say that Fox has easily been the Kings best pick since the golden days of the early 2000’s when they had Chris Webber and Peja. We thought Vlade Divac was out of it with the Marvin Bagley pick, but Fox along with Buddy Hield and Bagley, made a playoff push until the latter got hurt. We’ll see what’s in store for Sac Town this year.
24. DeMar DeRozen, San Antonio Spurs
So this may seem cruel to be this low, because it was only a few years ago that DeRozen was one of, if not the, focal point of the Toronto Raptors. However, the Raps traded DeRozen for a guy you’ll see later on and won a championship with said guy. A tough break, but DeRozen plays for Popovich now and the NBA’s best coach is just scratching the surface with one of the league’s best shooting guards.
23. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
J-But has left the City of Brotherly Love for South Beach, which would be great if this was 10 years ago. The Miami Heat aren’t rebuilding, but they aren’t necessarily competing for a top spot in the East either. What do you want me to say other than that this is his third team in two years and he needs to step it up?
22. Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons
Griffin was meant to be the best player in the history of the Los Angeles Clippers. Their answer to Kobe. They talked of hanging his jersey in the rafters. Then, they traded him. While Blake Griffin wasn’t playing up to par towards the end of his tenure in LA, he’s revitalized his career in the Motor City. He’s become a better shooter and the team’s leader (Sorry Andre Drummond).
21. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
The poor Wizards. They own the worst contract in the NBA and are one of the worst teams in the league. And yet, they have Bradley Beal. Just trade him to a contender. Please.
20. Karl Anthony-Townes, Minnesota Timberwolves
Townes will more likely be remembered for being punked at practice by J-But, than being a consistently good Center. Sure, he’s a walking meme and makes everyone from New Jersey look like nice guys, but he’s good! Sadly, the league’s best center also went to Kentucky and also is in the West.
19. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
I don’t think any of us are expecting the Raptors to repeat as champions. Kawhi is gone and Kyle Lowry is getting older. But have no fear Toronto! Siakam is here! Pascal Siakam not only made his own lane in the regular season last year, but arrived at center stage during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, totally dominating the Golden State Warriors.
18. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Luka came over from Europe and became a star overnight, calming Mavs fans in the process as they found the savior to replace Dirk Nowitzki. He won Rookie of the Year and with a healthy Porzingis, could make a serious push for the playoffs in the heavy West this year.
17. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
The Jazz became one of the most improved teams over the offseason adding Michael Conley. During the Summer, Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell went at it in the FIBA World Cup and, although Mitchell lost, he’ll come out better for it. Offensively, he’s willed this team to the playoffs his first two seasons. They haven’t made it to the Western Conference Finals since the Malone-Stockton days, but Mitchell-Gobert are the duo of the future in Salt Lake City.
16. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
I am a Klaytheist. Klay is looking to come back in the latter half of the season and so, because of this, I have to put him in the top 20. When he’s healthy, he’s a top 10 player in the league. It’s Klay’s world and we’re living in it.
15. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
I know for a fact that the construction guys on Broad St. were savoring at the mouth watching Ben Simmons shoot (and hit!) 3’s over the summer, because nothing fuels the offseason more than workout videos. People have been alluding to Simmons as Australia’s answer to Lebron. While Lebron didn’t become a great shooter until his second stint in Cleveland, he was still a better shooter than Simmons at their respective ages. Now that Kendall Jenner isn’t around, I expect Simmons to FINALLY take a big jump…into attempting threes!
14. Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
The Celtics big signing this offseason may not posses the talent of the man he’s replacing in Kyrie Irving, but he’s a lot more levelheaded. Sure, Kemba didn’t have an otherworldly summer for Team USA, but he’ll fit right into Brad Stevens’ system. He’s the perfect point to run the system.
13. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
The Defensive Player of the Year the last two seasons has made his presence felt in the league, becoming a blocking and rebounding machine. With Mitchell having another year under his belt and Mike Conley as a competent point guard, the Jazz will make a huge splash.
12. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
After last season, I was just annoyed by Irving’s presence and didn’t want to hear from him for a while. Over the summer, he left the Celts for the Nets, the team he grew up rooting for when they were in New Jersey. While he has since remained quiet, what’s there left to say after he was last seen on a basketball court? Kyrie had one of the worst playoff series of all time for a player. The same level as John Starks in Game 7 of the ’94 Finals. Now that Irving is “home”, I’m sure he’ll lead the Nets to an even better record than D’Angelo Russell did. I’m sure Kenny Attkinson will get him to play defense as well!
11. Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
That still feels weird to type out. The heart of the Thunder was traded over the offseason as OKC finally decided to chop it all down. He joins former teammate James Harden in Houston, creating an all-time back court. For Westbrook’s sake, he’ll no longer have to carry the weight and the same will be said for Harden. It’s been seven years, but it feels right. For Thunder fans, it’ll be a sight for sore eyes as Mr. Triple Double joins Harden.
10. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
The man with the body of a lunch lady absolutely showed why he’s one of the best center’s in the NBA last season, when he led the Nuggets to the #2 Seed in the West, after just missing the season prior. With teammates Jamal Murray and Paul Milsap, Jokic is well equipped to take a jump as the best center in the league. He has stiff competition, but he’ll be sure to make a case this year.
When I watched him in person this season, he reminded me of Hakeem Olajuwon. Now, I never saw The Dream play in person, but we have the internet! He knows exactly when and where to facilitate the ball, can pull up anywhere off ball, and can yam it home with the best of them. Also, he plays with his back to the rim better than anyone right now, with the exception of Giannis.
9. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
A few years ago, it seemed as if Paul George’s promising career would all come crashing down. He suffered one of THE MOST GRUESOME injuries ever seen. And yet — he rose up and a few years later, was a viable MVP candidate last season.
By the time the playoffs rolled around, he suffered a shoulder injury. He tried to play through it, but couldn’t. Over the summer, he was at the center of a blockbuster trade that sent him home to the Clippers. Teaming up with Kawhi Leonard will do wonders for PG’s game. Though he may not be in the same spotlight as Leonard, he will still be one of the league’s ten best players.
8. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Growing up with Allen Iverson, it seemed as if no one would embody Philadelphia better than A.I. Embiid comes close, but if different lanes. Where Iverson embodied the grittiness and the grind of Philly, Embiid emraces the “Brotherly Love” aspects of Philly. This isn’t to say the pride of Cameroon isn’t afraid to talk trash, because he’s excellent at it.
What always seems to hold Embiid back is the fact that he can get sluggish if he plays too long — and the injuries. I almost forgot. If Embiid is going to take the Sixers to the next level, he’s gotta get in better shape and stay healthy. He has all of the talent in the world, though.
7. James Harden, Houston Rockets
This is a very controversially low spot for a guy who averaged over 35 points. I know. Here me out, please.
The only other athlete I could compare to James Harden is Clayton Kershaw.
They are excellent in the regular season. Absolute other worldly stuff. When they get to the playoffs? Historically, they disappear.
I don’t want to directly blame James Harden for his trials and tribulations during the playoffs, because by the time April rolls around, he’s been worn down like Clayton Kershaw. Harden is very similar to Kobe, because of the mass volume of shots in their respective eras. The former MVP has to feel better now that he has his best friend back in Houston. He finally has the help he’s wanted. Is it what he needed? I think so. I loved this trade when it happened and I love it going into the season.
With that being said, I also believe it’s time for Daryl to fire the Andy Reid of basketball. Actually, that’s kind of an insult to Reid, because at least he made a Super Bowl.
6. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Jersey Ciy native Bill Raferty has a famous call that I love to shout at ad nauseam, “THE ONIONS ON HIM!”
It’s how I feel every time that Damian Lillard steps on a basketball court. He isn’t the biggest guy, but he isn’t afraid of the biggest shot. Against the Houston Rockets years ago, he hit a buzzer beater to send them home. This year? He did it to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He took the Nuggets to a competitive seven game series and won and though got swept by the Warriors, it was a surprisingly competitive four games.
Lillard is clutch, he’s dynamic, and he’s exciting. Right now, he’s the second best point guard in the league only behind Stephen Curry.
And before we get into the Top 5, some honorable mentions that missed my Top 25 cut in no order!
5. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
So, I believe that Anthony Davis is the best Center in the league. Whether Anthony Davis wants to play Center or not is a different story. Like Manny Machado likes to play Shortstop even though he’s better at Third Base, AD likes to play Power Forward, but is at his best at Center.
Last year, AD was my pick to win MVP. It seemed that the Pelicans were prime to take the next step and become a contender in the West joining the Rockets and Warriors, but the Pelicans got out of the gate slow. Then, in late January, it was leaked that Davis wanted to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Well, he got his wish in the summer when the Lakers traded the whole farm for Anthony Davis. Lebron finally secured his new right hand guy. Davis will be, I’m assuming, playing power forward as the Lakers brought back Dwight Howard to the mix.
Anthony Davis will surely have big shoes to fill as he joins an elite list of Centers that have played for the Purple & Gold. Something tells me that he will fill out his destiny in Los Angeles.
4. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
There has never been a greater shooter in the history of basketball. Not Larry Bird. Not Ray Allen. Not Reggie Miller. No one comes close to Stephen Curry. Curry revolutionized basketball and the way it’s played…maybe ever. Whenever Curry hangs it up, it’s my belief that he will go down as the greatest Point Guard to ever grace a basketball court.
Are there things people do better than Curry? Sure. Harden draws fouls better. He’s not the greatest defender, although he’s gotten better. He’s not a great dunker for a small guy, like Derrick Rose.
But Curry reminds me of Tom Brady. When considering athleticism and throwing ability, Brady isn’t the best. But, when you look at the whole game and what needs to be done for the team’s success, there’s never been a better Quarterback than Tom Brady. Curry’s court vision, timing, and basketball IQ are second to none against any Point Guard.
Has Steph slowed down? It’s hard to say when Kevin Durant has been his teammate the last three seasons and has suffered these plaguing herky-jerky injuries at times over the last three years. It’s Steph’s team again. He’ll figure it out.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Last year’s MVP finally had the breakout season we were all waiting for him to have. Giannis has all the tangibles to become the greatest player to ever touch a basketball.
Which leads me to say this: Everyone better watch out when Giannis finally develops a consistent three pointer.
Giannis should’ve also won the Defensive Player of the Year, but there’s always next year. While Antetokounmpo got crushed by the Tornoto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s only the beginning of something great. The Bucks are finally building a team around Antetokounmpo’s “weaknesses” (there aren’t many) so they are at full strength. If Giannis is to jump from the number three spot to the number one spot, the long range jumper will have to be there.
On a light note, please enjoy Ruby going CRAZY!!!! for Giannis!
2. Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers
What more can any of us say about Lebron? He’s the greatest player of his generation, without a shadow of a doubt and one of the two greatest basketball players to ever live (I’ll let you decide who’s #1 and #2 between he and Michael Jordan). And yet, something strange happened last year.
He was injured. He missed the playoffs. He tried to lead a coup to get Anthony Davis to Los Angeles. It was all so…bizarre.
He just wasn’t the same when he came back from his groin injury. The young guys on the Lakers didn’t trust him anymore.
If this was anyone and I mean anyone else, they would be ranked lower. Lebron James? No chance. He can’t be lower than this. Between Space Jam 2, every workout video, and Taco Tuesday, the self proclaimed Hip-Hop Historian, Lebron James, will carry onto next season and probably average 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists.
And Skip Bayless will still consider that a lull year.
I don’t just believe that Lebron is the greatest basketball player I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes, I believe he’s the greatest athlete America, and maybe the world, has ever seen. If he played any other sport, he’d arguably be one of the best in that sport. So Lebron, start practicing hockey!
- Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
There isn’t a better two way player in basketball. It’s not even up for discussion. There isn’t a player who can defend everyone in the league, except for Kawhi Leonard. When he wants to be, he’s a staggering offensive brute that can shoot, pass, and jam it with the best of them.
And for some reason, we’ve kept undervaluing him. But not anymore.
He’s one of three players to win Finals MVP twice with two different teams, joining Lebron and Kareem, and the only player to do it in both conferences. He’ll forever be immortalized as he banked a shot that killed the 76ers in the Semi’s last season. He put the Raptors on his back, willing them to a title. It was Toronto’s first since the Blue Jay’s won it all in 1993, completing a back to back.
Over the summer, he went back home to his native of Southern California and convinced Paul George to join him. Basketball will be fun in LA with both teams finally shaping up to be competitive.
After watching last year, I believe Kawhi Leonard is the best player in basketball this upcoming season. Let’s have some fun!