Sports Guru Ranks the Top 10 NBA Players
By George Keene
Sports Editor in Chief
Heading into the NBA season which started last night, October 19th, I put together a list of the top 10 players in the NBA. This ranking was made based on their statistics and play from last season.
The list is headed by Brooklyn Nets superstar, Kevin Durant, who has been recognized by many, including Giannis Antetokoumpo, as the league’s best player.
- Kevin Durant SF
After coming off a ruptured achilles, Kevin Durant had another season averaging over 25 points per game. In his first season with the Brooklyn Nets, he averaged 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists, leading the Brooklyn Nets to an Eastern Conference Semifinals appearance, where they matched up with the future NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. In a back and forth series, where the Nets were missing stars Kyrie Irving and James Harden for multiple games, the Nets fell to the Bucks in seven games. Despite this, Durant’s unbelievable performances in game five and seven certified him as the best player in the NBA. After 12 straight seasons of averaging over 25 ppg, you can only believe that he will extend it to 13.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo PF
NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmp is coming off the best season of his career, leading his Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Finals. Averaging 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 5.9 assists, Antetokounmpo keeps on getting better. His ability to dominate in the paint while being one of the league’s best defenders has put the league on notice, and this season, the Greek Freak will look to defend his title.
- LeBron James SF
Four time NBA champion, LeBron James comes in at number three on this list. James got off to a great start last season, with hopes of winning the 2020-21 Most Valuable Player award before spraining his ankle, leading him to miss several weeks. He averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game and led the Lakers to another playoff berth. The Los Angeles Lakers would eventually lose in the first round to the Phoenix Suns in six games, who were finals bound. James has been one of the league’s most consistently productive players and we can expect to see another MVP caliber season from one of the greatest players this league has ever seen.
- Steph Curry PG
Stephen Curry, the league’s most prolific three point shooter, is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. At one point, scoring 30+ points in 11 straight games. Curry averaged 32.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists and shot 42.1% from beyond the ark. His Golden State Warriors were unable to clinch a playoff berth after losing to both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in games. His deep range and prolific scoring has caused defenses lots of trouble, and with his splash brother, Klay Thompson coming back, Curry should be in for another big season.
- Joel Embiid C
Joel “The Process” Embiid, is coming off the best season of his NBA career. Embiid, who was on his way to his first MVP award, suffered minor injuries in the regular season and playoffs resulting in him missing time. Averaging 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists, Embiid will look to take the next steps in delivering the city of brotherly love an NBA championship. The Philadelphia 76ers finished as the number one seed in the eastern conference and will look to do that again this season, behind Joel Embiid.
- Nikola Jokic C
Winning the Most Valuable Player award last season, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets is coming off a remarkable season. He played all 82 games and averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists. Jokic is the greatest passing big man of all time and continues to change the center position. His ability to shoot free throws and the three ball has made him an unstoppable force.
- Damian Lillard PG
After firing their coach, Terry Stots, and hiring Chauncey Billups, the Portland Trail Blazers had an offseason of trade rumors surrounding their star point guard, Damian Lillard. Lillard averaged 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists while leading the Blazers to the playoffs once again. He is one of the league’s best scorers and most clutch players and that is why he finds himself at number seven on my list.
- Luka Doncic PG
Luka Doncic, the Slovenian superstar, is one of the league’s most promising players. He has risen to stardom quickly and is an offensive genius. He averaged 27.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.6 assists in 34 minutes a game. The Dallas Mavericks have been eliminated by the Los Angeles Clippers in back to back seasons and will look to advance past the first round of the playoffs this season behind newly hired head coach, Jason Kidd. After last season, you should expect a MVP caliber season from Luka Doncic.
- James Harden SG
James Harden, once an unstoppable scorer, has changed his game, and has become an elite facilitator. Joining the Brooklyn Nets in the middle of last season, after forcing his way out of Houston, he was an MVP candidate before getting injured. He averaged 24.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 10.8 assists, shooting 36.2% from the three point line. With Kyrie Irving sitting out for the start of the season, you can expect Harden’s numbers to go up, resulting in a big season for the beard.
- Kawhi Leonard SF
Kawhi Leonard is coming off a good season that ended early because of a partially torn ACL that occurred during last season’s playoff run. The Klaw has been one of the league’s best players, but will have to re-earn that spot this season. His Los Angeles Clippers went to six games with the Phoenix Suns before being eliminated in the Western Conference Finals. He averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists.
All statistics coming from ESPN.com retrieved October 20, 2021.