Ranking the best players- in any sport- is always a difficult task at hand. For one, not every person who ranks players considers the same factors. One might include previous accomplishments, and one might act like previous accomplishments don’t exist in the current season.
It is getting tougher and tougher to rank the players 3-10. Yes, spots one and two are on lock, and have been for a few seasons. For those who don’t know: LeBron James is number one, followed by Kevin Durant.
For these rankings, I took previous seasons into consideration, based on how long a player has been playing at a high level. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
10. Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Antonio Spurs (2017-2018: 16.2ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.3apg- 9 games)
The Claw. Finals MVP. Two-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Perhaps, the most quiet player in the NBA. Nonetheless, Leonard allows his game to do the talking for him. Entered the league as a lockdown defender, he’s added offense to his game. He can go get 25, while locking down the opposing team’s best player. He’s only played in nine games this season due to injury, but is due to be back soon. With him, the Spurs are capable of beating any team. But, is his time coming to an end in San Antonio?
9. Chris Paul, PG, Houston Rockets (2017-2018: 18.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 8.1apg)
Point God? Point Guard. In terms of the position, Paul is the best point guard in the NBA. Yes, even in his thirteenth NBA season. After six seasons of not living up to the hype with the Clippers, Paul, alongside James Harden, is right on the heels of reaching his first NBA Finals. CP3 is a magician with the basketball. He is always looking to get his teammates involved. Not to mention, he can go for 30 if he really wanted to.
8. DeMarcus Cousins, C, New Orleans Pelicans (2017-2018: 25.2ppg, 12.9rpg, 5.4apg)
Boogie! While Cousins will miss the rest of the 2018 season, it won’t hurt his spot as a top 10 player in the NBA. A terror in the paint, who also has a solid mid-range and three point jumper. Cousins and teammate Anthony Davis have the advantage every time on the court. No front-court in the NBA can guard the dynamic duo. Cousins had seemed to adapt well with the Pelicans, after things went sour in Sacramento.
7. Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks(2017-2018: 27.2ppg, 10.2rpg, 4.8apg)
The Greek Freak. A 6’11 specialist who can almost do whatever he wants on the court. He can get to the rim, play with his back to the basket and get his teammates involved. He lacks a consistent jump shot, but it has improved. He can also play solid defense. Did I mention Giannis is only 23? As long as he’s in Milwaukee, Bucks; fans will not have too much to worry about.
6. Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder(2017-2018: 25.3ppg, 9.7rpg, 10.2apg)
Russ. The Brodie. MVP. Westbrook, during the 2016-2017 season, became the first player to average a triple double for an entire season since Oscar Robertson did it during the 1961-1962 season. Many who have been around the NBA say the way Westbrook plays the game every night reminds them of the way Michael Jordan played the game. Westbrook attacks the rim with no remorse. He also has a solid mid-range game, and can also knock down the three on occasion. The only real knocks on him is he is turnover prone and can take too many shots.
5. Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans Pelicans(2017-2018: 28.0ppg, 11.1rpg, 2.4apg)
Is he more popular for some of the most historical stat lines we have ever seen? Or being known as “The Brow”? Either way, Davis’ impact on the game is nothing short of phenomenal. He can score at will, and his defensive skills are nothing to look away from. Not to mention, he’s added a three ball to his game. In the very near future, Davis will enter the top three.
4. Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors(2017-2018: 26.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 6.4apg)
The 2015-2016 season featured the NBA’s first ever unanimous MVP winner. The player? Stephen Curry. The debate surrounding Curry is whether or not he is the best shooter in NBA history. And each game, Curry is making the case that he IS the best shooter ever. Curry, a two-time NBA champion, is right up there with Kevin Durant and James Harden in terms of scoring ability. The downside? His poor defense. Don’t let the steal numbers fool you, Curry is a below average defender. But, even that is not enough to knock him down on these rankings.
3. James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets(2017-2018: 31.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 8.9apg)
When Harden is making the “cooking” hand gesture, the league knows he is on his game. And he’s doing the hand gesture quite often. Harden has come a long way from being the third or fourth option during his time with Durant and Westbrook in Oklahoma City. Harden is a left-handed machine who can score with the absolute best of them. The only thing really lacking in Harden’s game is his defense.
2. Kevin Durant, SF, Golden State Warriors(2017-2018: 26.1ppg, 6.7rpg, 5.4apg)
Just how there is no question who number one is, the NBA’s second best player really is not a conversation. A 7 foot sniper who is the best scorer in the NBA. Shoot the three? Check. Mid-range? Check. Back to the basket? Check. Free throws? Check? He can also play solid defense as well. The only negative thing we have to say about this NBA champion is him joining (and leading) Golden State to win a ring. It’s very realistic that when Durant retries, he’ll be the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
1. LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers(2017-2018: 26.8ppg, 8.4rpg, 9.0apg)
4 MVP’s. Three NBA Championships. Three Finals MVP’s. The list of accolades is long. There isn’t much to say about why LeBron James holds the top spot. Despite the on and off season Cleveland is having, LeBron is clearly showing why he in his tier of his own. Sometimes, you have to ignore the advanced analytics that may point to a decline in LeBron’s game. But, even if a small decline is happening, James is still the King of the NBA.