There are a lot of good players in the NBA. Where you sitting down for that? Hope that didn’t come with much shock. The league is producing more and more generational talent with each passing year. This is a combination of new and familiar faces capturing headlines and highlights on any given night. It has become a player’s league, and for good reason. But where do these players rank against the league’s best? We count down the top 25 best players in the NBA beginning with part one of five.
This list is critiqued based on the wave of momentum certain players will ride coming into the next season, where their team sits in the standings, and how they are positioned heading into the offseason and into the new year.
Top 25 Players In The NBA
25. Ben Simmons
One of the league’s most unique talents is Ben Simmons. Unfortunately, Simmons could not help the Philadelphia 76ers in their playoff run as he was kept out due to a partial dislocation of his left patella. Thus, the team was made quick work by the Boston Celtics in four games. The Sixers clearly missed their star point guard, as he would have added another element in their attack.
Fans love to get their memes and jokes off about Simmons’ refusal to stretch his game past the three-point line. Honestly, it should be becoming a bit of a concern. What is keeping Simmons from climbing this list is his inability to really grow or progress as a player. Simmons is already an All-Star, but his game is becoming too predictable. Teams are able to telegraph him and almost take him out of the equation on offense. If Simmons wants to reach that next level of NBA stardom, then it is time to repackage his game.
24. Kemba Walker
The Boston Celtics enjoyed a thrill ride of a postseason run that took an emotional and physical toll on some, including Kemba Walker. Walker spent much of his quarantine period rehabbing his left knee that hobbled him for the early part of 2020. While he was not quite “Cardiac Kemba” for most of the NBA bubble, he still managed to be a threat on most nights. When Kemba is right, he is one of the best offensive point guards in the league.
Walker had to be the man who ran the show his whole career in Charlotte. Now that he is in Boston, he can defer to guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and still average over 20 points a night. Walker has usually been one of the league’s most durable point guards, but a few stretches of rest due to left knee troubles kept him out for a small chunk of the year. With a full offseason of rest and recovery, along with progression from his younger teammates, expect a strong resurgence from Walker as he returns to Cardiac form come 2021.
23. Rudy Gobert
Despite catching plenty of flack for essentially starting the domino effect that led to the NBA suspending its 2019-20 regular season, do not let it distract you from the type of talent that Rudy Gobert truly is. One of, if not the league’s best defensive big man today. Standing at 7’1″ with a 7’9″ wingspan, Gobert sends shots back at a high rate of two blocks a night, and at 2.2 for his career. He is also fresh off a career-high in rebounds at 13.5 a game.
Robert was selected to the All-NBA Third Team this season, and deservedly so. He embodies the value of having an elite rim-protecting big man, and got rewarded for it. In a league that has transitioned to shooting and stretching the floor at all five positions, Gobert’s game is a reminder of an old-school defensive big that is nearly outdated in today’s NBA.
22. Bradley Beal
Few players played this season with a chip on their shoulder quite like Bradley Beal did this year. Beal put up All-Star quality numbers at 30.5 PPG, which was second in the league only behind James Harden, along with six assists and four rebounds. Beal also shot 52% from the field and 35% from three. All this and Beal was still kept off the All-Star team. The biggest case against him was the “good player on bad team” stigma that has kept many players like him from All-Star and All-NBA status.
Beal was not selected as an All-Star or to any All-NBA team. While Beal and the Washington Wizards had to gut out the 2019-20 season, Beal will be reunited with his running mate John Wall come next season. At their best, they are among the top backcourts in the NBA. Despite not getting the recognition he deserves this year, Beal has grown into a franchise superstar.
21. Donovan Mitchell
In just one series in this year’s playoffs, Donovan Mitchell turned plenty of heads and took a substantially leap to franchise superstardom against the Denver Nuggets. In a one-on-one clash against Jamal Murray, Mitchell brought his very best as he averaged 36 points PPG, including a massive 57 point game, along with five assists and five rebounds on 37% from three and 54% from the field.
Mitchell’s game resembles a young Dwyane Wade, as his explosiveness and athleticism is often a spitting image. Mitchell kicked his game All-Star gear this season, earning his first selection at the annual festivities. While the Utah Jazz did not enjoy a lengthy playoff run this postseason, they have a young star in the making in Donovan Mitchell, whose future looks as bright as its ever been.
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