There is no sport more reliant on its players than the NBA. Coming off this past NBA season, leading into the 2019 season, here are the 50 best players ranked 1-50:
*The ranking is based off a combination of where the players were at the end of this past season and where they project heading into next. The list is NOT projecting where a player will be at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.
#1 LeBron James
The gap between LeBron James and Kevin Durant narrowed some, but not nearly enough. If any one player was swapped with LeBron last season, the Cavs would have been eliminated in April. No player impacts the game, changes a franchise, sways a season like LeBron. If one says LeBron James is not the best player in the NBA right now, remove them off Snapchat/Twitter/Instagram.
#2 Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant still needs to prove he can win a championship without the Warriors to be considered a Top 10 player of all-time, but he has proven he can be in the discussion. Durant is the most unstoppable offensive force of the past decade and now has a defensive game to make things cruel. He may be petty, but he can ball with the best of them.
#3 Kawhi Leonard
When last seen full healthy, Kawhi Leonard was leading the charge for three quarters demolishing a team that ended up going 16-1 in the playoffs. Leonard is the best two-way player in the NBA, can lock down the league’s best, score in the biggest moments, and will alienate the doubters once he is free from the Spurs.
#4 Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis gets better by the year, but now there isn’t much better for him to get. Davis can change a game below the rim, outside the paint, with the ball in his hand, and with his hand on the ball of a shooter. Tim Duncan’s reign as the greatest Power Forward of all-time could be in jeopardy at some point.
#5 Steph Curry
He may not have won the Finals MVP, or be the best player on his team, but he is special. The best shooter in the history of the game is three possessions away from blowing any game, anywhere, wide open. No lead is safe when facing Steph Curry … like ever. Curry is a 2-time MVP, and the only unanimous one in NBA history.
At the time of the season’s conclusion, Curry was playing like the third best player in the sport, but don’t be fooled, Curry has never been able to impact the game on both ends of the floor like Leonard and Davis.