We like to have fun with power rankings, from listing the top rookies to sophomores to dunks or blocks, but what about the best players in the game? Sure, there’s Steph Curry and LeBron James, but we decided to look at them, and 28 others to rank the best players on every NBA team right now.
You’ll probably scroll down this list and find a few players missing. Afterall, shouldn’t a “best players” ranking have, you know, some of the best players, like Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving? Well, that would be true if this was a traditional best players list. We kicked it up a notch, though, and decided to first find the best player on each team and then rank them. Here is that list.
30. Philadelphia 76ers: Jahlil Okafor
Because the Sixers are an NBA team, so we had to pick one.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: D’Angelo Russell
28. Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins
A star in the making, but still not there yet.
27. Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley
An underrated 3-and-d player who’s improved every year.
26. Orlando Magic: Nikola Vucevic
He’d be so much higher on this list if his defense matched his offense.
25. Brooklyn Nets: Brook Lopez
What blackmail did the Nets have on Lopez to make him sign a five-year max deal?
24. Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton
Remains one of the most underrated players in the NBA.
23. Charlotte Hornets: Nicolas Batum
He’s fit in beautifully for the Hornets in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s absence.
22: Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki
Yes, Dirk is still this good.
21. Denver Nuggets: Danilo Gallinari
When he’s on, he’s one of the best, most versatile forwards in the game.
20. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard
His 17-points-in-three-minutes outburst should remind people that Lillard Time is still very much a thing.
19. Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward
The only thing better than his game is his gorgeous hair.
18. Phoenix Suns: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe was having an All-Star worthy season before his season-ending injury.
17. Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry
Turns out losing a crap ton of weight makes you an even better player. Who knew.
16. Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol
There are few things more sublime and pleasing in this world than Marc Gasol’s passing
15. Miami Heat: Chris Bosh
A little less than a year ago, we weren’t even sure if Bosh would play basketball again. he’s back to his All-Star self.
14. Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford
Criminally underrated, and one of the best two-way bigs in the game.
13. Washington Wizards: John Wall
It is simply amazing that John Wall is playing at such a high level while his team is playing at such a disastrously low level. Also, that alley-oop continues to be one of the best alley-oops in NBA history, even if it was at the Rookie-Sophomore game.
12. Houston Rockets: James Harden
He’s had a miserable season, but let’s not forget he was the MVP runner-up last season, and deservedly so.
11. Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin
Terrific athleticism and amazing comedic timing isn’t something that normally just happens, but there’s Griffin, making it look as easy as breathing.
10. Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond
There may not be a more physically imposing presence in the NBA.
9. New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo finally has a team he trusts, and his non-scoring skills – specifically his passing – have blossomed as a result.
8. Chicago Bulls: Jimmy Butler
There were fears that Butler’s breakout 2014-15 would be his plateau. It’s clear now those fears were completely unfounded.
7. New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis
It hasn’t been the season of ascendence we expected from the Pelicans or Davis, but he’s nonetheless an otherworldly talent.
6. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins
If he ever is fully able to control his temper, and if he’s ever in a fully stable environment, we could talk about Boogie as the best player in the league.
5. Indiana Pacers: Paul George
Paul George didn’t just come back from the injury, he’s playing at such a level that one can almost forget the injury ever happened.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant
We still don’t quite know what the Oklahoma City Thunder are. They’re top ten in defensive rating, but are they actually a good defensive team? They have two of the best players in the NBA, but is that enough to truly contend for a championship? Here’s what we do know, though: Kevin Durant is back to his old self, and the NBA is a better place for it. He’s fallen somewhat off the popularity radar, thanks in large part to the worldwide love affair with the Warriors, but his skills aren’t diminished in the least bit.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James
2. San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard
We really shouldn’t be surprised at Leonard’s emergence as a superstar, right? Sure, he was a relative unknown coming into the draft, but the Spurs traded for him on draft night – sending away one of Gregg Popovich’s favorite players, actually – so we should have known, right away, that he’d be elite. Leonard’s been arguably the third or second-best player in the league this season, a stud on defense and a flawless player on offense. With Leonard, the present and future of the Spurs are in good – and quite large – hands.
1. Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry
The reigning MVP hasn’t slowed down at all this year. He picked up right where he left off, making extraordinary play after extraordinary play, from deep, deep threes to insane alley-oops. After awhile, it all starts to blend together in a collage of impossibility.