The NBA is full of amazing athletes that wow us with their insane dunks and amazing three-point shots. It’s hard to narrow it down to just a few, but Red’s Army has compiled a list of the best NBA players you need to know about.
From young up-and-comers to seasoned veterans, these players are sure to entertain.
Best NBA Basketball Player of 2022
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
By winning a title and the MVP of the Finals in 2021, Antetokounmpo ascended to the peak of the NBA.
Khris Middleton’s knee injury before the start of the 2022 playoffs prevented him from repeating with Milwaukee. However, Antetokounmpo reminded us that he is currently the league’s alpha after a seven-game series against the Celtics, in which he averaged 33.9 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 7.1 assists. In present, he is the best basketball player in the world.
2. Kevin Durant
However, Antetokounmpo has now passed him. Durant missed most of 2021–22 due to an injury, and the Nets’ difficult regular season ended with a first-round exit. Durant might be able to recover his title as the best player in the world with the help of his new team.
3. Stephen Curry
Curry can still be the best player on a championship team, despite what you may have believed about his career. After playing the best defense in basketball for six straight games, he won his first Finals MVP title.
Curry is one of basketball most famous players and still has plenty of time left to terrorize rival defenders with his renowned shooting stroke, and it’s difficult to predict when he’ll slow down at this point.
4. Nikola Jokic
Jokic improved in 2021–22, playing the regular season without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. to earn the MVP title for the second consecutive year.
Jokic may not receive the same MVP attention as Denver’s health improves, but he will undoubtedly have a chance to climb the best players NBA all the time as he attempts to guide the Nuggets to a championship.
5. Joel Embiid
There is a case to be made that Embiid should have won MVP the past two seasons. Given his output, it’s difficult to contest that, yet Nikola Jokic is regrettably still alive.
In 2022–2023, will he eventually surpass the MVP threshold? Will Embiid be fit enough to lead his team beyond the second round of the playoffs? Embiid is one of famous current basketball players, regardless of how those questions are resolved.
6. Jayson Tatum
Tatum made significant progress in 2022, guiding the Celtics over Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler to advance the team to its first Finals appearance in 12 years.
Tatum will need to return to the Finals and claim a championship to move up to the top of this ranking, where he now occupies a spot on the outside looking in. He deserves among the best NBA players at the moment.
7. Luka Dončić
Luka Doncic advanced past the first round of the playoffs and helped the Mavs defeat the top-seeded Suns to get to the Western Conference Finals after losing to Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers for the previous two seasons.
You’ll have a chance to win any game against any opponent when you have a player like Doncic on your team.
8. LeBron James
LeBron James has had a rough couple of years since winning the NBA championship, which makes it strange to see him this low on the best player ever for each NBA team list.
He has missed significant amounts of time due to injuries the past two seasons, and as a result, the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs in 2021 and 2022, respectively. James is still a powerful elite. In 2022, he scored 30 points on average. For the past two seasons, he has not had the same significant impact on the game. We’ll see if a renaissance occurs in 2022–2023.
9. Kawhi Leonard
Leonard might be a lock for the top five players in the world when he’s in good condition. Leonard will have to climb up this list as he attempts to win it all with the Clippers after sitting out the entire 2021–2022 season and the 2021 playoffs.
10. Ja Morant
Ja Morant, who became one of the game’s brightest rising stars in 2021–22, completes the top 10. He received the Most Improved Player title, came in seventh in the MVP voting, and helped the Grizzlies to the second-best regular-season record in the NBA.
Morant is a point guard with one of the few rim-rattling skills among players.
11. Devin Booker
After leading the Suns to the 2021 NBA Finals and being named to the first team of the 2022 NBA All-NBA, Booker is currently regarded as one of the league’s top-best shooters in the NBA right now.
Winning everything is the next phase. Booker will enter the top-five discussion if he can emerge as one of the best basketball players in the world.
12. Jimmy Butler
Butler has been outstanding since joining the Heat. However, he may not receive the same media exposure as other superstars on this list.
In three seasons in Miami, Butler reached two Eastern Conference Finals and the Finals once. He has been their finest player at every stage and has improved throughout crucial situations. Look no farther than his 40-point triple-double against the Lakers in the Finals or Games 6 and 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals.
13. James Harden
As Harden begins his second season in Philadelphia, he has a lot to show. His most memorable regular-season efforts have been followed by poor playoff outings, particularly in elimination games.
14. Karl-Anthony Towns
Towns guided the Timberwolves to the postseason last year, and in 2022–23, he’ll try to become one of the best players in the Western Conference with Rudy Gobert by his side.
Towns’ defensive versatility will face considerable challenges as he plays the power forward nearly exclusively.
15. Trae Young
After defeating the Sixers, who were in the first place, in the second round of the playoffs, the diminutive scoring machine solidified his place at the NBA’s Top. Trae Young has won over skeptics with his unlikely run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
16. Anthony Davis
When healthy, Anthony Davis is a game-changing force on the court. He has the ability to score at all three levels, switch on the perimeter, and guard the rim. But during the past two seasons, injuries have prevented him from reaching his peak, and the Lakers have suffered.
17. Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell is a talented scorer who has demonstrated that he can provide his team with the buckets required in any circumstance. Playmaking and perimeter defense prevent him from establishing himself as a legitimate No. 1 option on a championship-caliber team.
His growth as a passer and defender will be vital for the Jazz’s future as they replace Rudy Gobert and rearrange the decks to center the team on Mitchell.
18. Damian Lillard
After signing a new contract with the Trail Blazers, Lillard will try to guide a revamped Portland team into the Western Conference playoff picture. Although Lillard is likely past his best, there is no reason to think he isn’t still in his prime.
19. Bradley Beal
After John Wall’s injury in 2018, Beal sprang to prominence as one of the NBA’s top scorers, but he must now develop into one of the league’s top all-around players if the Wizards are to challenge the Eastern Conference title.
Beal is dedicated to finding a way to triumph in Washington, D.C., after agreeing to a five-year, $251 million contract with the Wizards.
20. Paul George
George, a running back for the Clippers, also had injury issues last year, but when he’s healthy, he’s one of the best two-way players in the world.
21. Chris Paul
Chris Paul had an incredibly fantastic regular season with the Phoenix Suns in 2020–21, proving that he still has plenty of gas in the tank. Despite injuries this past regular season, he established himself as one of the top two-way point guards in the NBA. The issue is whether CP3 can maintain his performance after the 37-year-old had difficulty throughout the playoffs.
22. Jaylen Brown
A talented young wing tandem in Boston has been formed by Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. The former third-round pick has shown that former general manager Danny Ainge was correct to pass on, including him in trades for players like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the past. In the regular season of 2021–2022, he shot 47 percent for 23.6 points and 6.1 rebounds but had significant difficulties in the postseason.
23. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving, arguably the greatest ball handler of all time, is a basketball whiz. He can drop any defender before him and score 50 points on any night. This previous regular season, Irving averaged 27.4 points on a 42 percent three-point shooting clip after returning from a COVID-mandated hiatus. Since there has been more conflict between the two parties, he is now most likely to leave Brooklyn via trade this summer.
24. DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan has completed his finest regular season effort while playing for the Chicago Bulls. The five-time All-Star contributed 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game while scoring 27.9 points on an impressive 50 percent of his shots.
25. LaMelo Ball
Lamelo Ball did not experience a sophomore slump in 2021–2022, coming off a season in which he became the first Charlotte Hornet to earn Rookie of the Year since Emeka Okafor in 2005. The former No. 3 overall pick averaged 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 39 percent shooting from beyond the arc en route to making his first All-Star appearance. He’s only 20 years old, dude.
26. Pascal Siakam
Since being handed the chance to start as Toronto’s full-time power forward, Pascal Siakam has proven that he is one of the league’s top power forwards right now. After having some early difficulties in the 2021–22 campaign, Siakam improved in the final 38 games, averaging 24.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists on 51 percent shooting.
27. Tony Edwards
This young man, the No. 1 choice in the 2021 NBA Draft, led Minnesota to an unexpected playoff berth as a sophomore in 2021–2022, averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists on 36 percent shooting. He is currently the face of the Wolves organization and a top-tier young NBA player.
28. Brandon Ingram
The Pelicans’ unexpected run to the playoffs this past season culminated in Ingram’s development into a true star. In a valiant first-round defeat to Phoenix, the former Los Angeles Lakers No. 2 selection averaged 27.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. This forward, who is 24 years old, is almost elite.
29. Khris Middleton
Khris Middleton is one of the NBA’s most underappreciated players, despite having a negative reputation for being unreliable. Middleton has been playing outstanding defense and averaging 19.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists since the 2017–18 season began. Milwaukee lost in the conference semifinals due to his injury during the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
29. Ram Adebayo
Adebayo, a first-round pick out of Kentucky in 2017, was seen as undeveloped going into the NBA. In his first two seasons, the big man only scored 8.0 points on average. Over the previous three seasons, the center’s performance has been entirely different, averaging 17.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists on 56 percent shooting.
30. Darius Garland
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who are on the rise and narrowly missed the playoffs last season, have a true star in the making in Darius Garland. Garland, one of the top NBA players under 23, averaged 21.7 points, 8.6 assists, and 46 percent shooting in his third season with the young Cavaliers. Yes, he deserves the longest possible contract extension.
31. Shai Gilgeous
Gilgeous-Alexander, who had a maximum contract extension before the 2021–22 season, once again suffered from ailments. He missed 26 games due to injury, totaling 63 absences over the course of two seasons. SGA excels on the court as a player. During that time, he has averaged 24.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 5.9 assists.
32. Zach LaVine
LaVine has improved over the past few seasons, becoming a two-time All-Star and, most importantly, the perfect running back partner. Nowadays, playing alongside LaVine is quite simple because he can either play primarily out to the side or run most of a team’s offense if necessary.
33. Jamal Murray
In a very unfortunate turn of events, Jamal Murray suffered an ACL tear 48 games into the 2020–21 season. After averaging 21.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in the 2019–20 NBA Playoffs while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. Many people forgot how great the 25-year-old guard is due to the injury that sidelined him for the entire 2021–22 season.
34. De’Aaron Fox
De’Aaron Fox has established himself as one of the top point guards in the NBA. Given that Fox has progressed over the course of his four seasons, this is amplified. The Sacramento Kings have not competed in the postseason since 2006. Things might be improving if Fox made a turnaround in the latter part of last season.
35. Dejounte Murray
After DeMar DeRozan was traded, Murray, 25 years old at the time, stepped up for the Spurs in 2021–2022. The seasoned guard was spectacular, averaging 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 9.2 assists on 46 percent shooting. After a major deal, he has joined Trae Young on the Atlanta Hawks, becoming one of the NBA’s most potent backcourts.
36. Domantas Sabonis
Sabonis, acquired by Sacramento in the sensational Tyrese Haliburton trade, is still one of the most talented big players in the league. Since the start of the 2019–20 season, the two-time All-Star has been averaging 19.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. Sadly, Sabonis is ranked low on our list of the best NBA players due to his defensive shortcomings.
37. Deandre Ayton
Ayton is 23 and one of the NBA’s top young centers. In each of his first four NBA seasons, he averaged a double-double. He just had a career-best performance, averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds. Additionally, he is back with Phoenix after the Suns matched the four-year, $132.9 million contract Ayton inked as a free agent with the Indiana Pacers.
38. Jue Holiday
As humble as they come, Holiday has developed into one of the NBA’s top all-around point guards by combining a general field attitude with excellent defense. This late bloomer has posted a combined defensive win share of 29.8 while averaging 19.1 points and 6.6 assists since the 2018–19 season began.
39. Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges started to exhibit signals in the latter half of the 2020–21 season that he was prepared to have a breakout year this past season. In 2021–2022, the former star player for Michigan State upped his game significantly, averaging 20.3 points and 7.0 rebounds on 49 percent shooting.
40. Klay Thompson
Thompson made a comeback to help Golden State win their fourth championship during its dynastic era after missing more than 900 days due to a torn Achilles and ACL. While not fully recovered from his injury, Thompson could still average 19 points while shooting 39 percent from outside the arc throughout the postseason.
41. Rudy Gobert
The “Stifle Tower,” an outstanding defender, has demonstrated his ability to stop practically anyone at the basket. If Gobert wants to continue playing against smaller, quicker opponents, his offense requires improvement. But he’ll be OK as long as he does his part. After the sensational Utah Jazz trade, he appears to be a nice fit for his new Minnesota Timberwolves squad. Bringing something different to the table than Karl-Anthony Towns, in other words.
42. Andrew Wiggins
Around the NBA, there is now a lot of crow eating. Once regarded as a draft flop, Wiggins has developed into one of the best two-way players in the league. In the playoffs, his defense helped him to win against Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic. In the NBA Finals, Wiggins improved, even more, averaging 18.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and playing outstanding defense.
43. Marcus Smart
Smart, the current NBA Defensive Player of the Year, has transformed from a liability to the foundation of the Eastern Conference champs. In addition to playing excellent defense, he has improved his offensive performance. Smart has improved to become one of the top NBA players of the present via diligence and hard work.
44. RJ Barrett
Barrett, who is 45. and only 22 years old, is already well on his way to becoming one of the game’s top young players. The former Duke star’s third-year averages in 2021–2022 were 20.0 points and 5.8 rebounds. As a result of rumors that New York will not trade off the wing for Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, he is now the face of the Knicks’ club in that city.
45. Cade Cunningham
After being selected first overall by the Pistons in the 2021 NBA Draft, Cunningham missed training camp and the beginning of his rookie campaign. But he played well in his final 21 games, averaging 21.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists.
46. Jarrett Allen
Allen, a 2017 first-round selection of the Nets, showed flashes of greatness in Brooklyn before being traded to Cleveland in the James Harden deal. He has been an outstanding force for the Cavaliers since he joined the team, and they are a promising group. During the regular season of 2021–2022, Allen averaged 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds while shooting 68 percent of the time.
47. Tyrese Haliburton
Haliburton is one of the top young point guards in the NBA and was acquired from Sacramento during the NBA trade deadline in February. The 22-year-old guard averaged 17.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 9.6 assists while shooting 50% from the floor in limited time with the Pacers. He and Chris Duarte should be able to make a fantastic young backcourt pairing for the struggling Pacers.
48. Fred VanVleet
What VanVleet has accomplished since leaving Wichita State as an undrafted free agent is just spectacular. Over the previous two seasons, the little 6-foot-1 guard has averaged 20 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists while shooting 37 percent from outside the arc.
49. Draymond Green
Do not be misled by Green’s struggles in the NBA Finals and during the postseason. When it matters most, the guy shows up to play. In the final two games of the Finals, Green averaged 10.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists on 50% shooting, in addition to outstanding defense. He is still among the finest NBA players in the league today and is that down-home warrior.
The Legendary NBA Players Of All Time
Certainly among the best 30 NBA players of all time is AI. NBA All-Star for 11 years. NFL MVP. Third-team selection All-NBA. NBA scoring champion four times. A participant on the 75th anniversary NBA team. There are many more examples, but Iverson’s cultural influence on the present and future generations of NBA players is more significant than his performance on the court. He has been hailed as the finest ever, pound for pound, by LeBron James.
John Stockton leads the NBA in assists and thefts, has made 11 All-NBA teams, been named to five All-Defensive teams, and is the league’s all-time leader in assists and steals. He also has a lengthy resume that outweighs his (questionable) 6’1″ physique.
The NBA’s Holy Trinity of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan was destroyed by The Bad Boys, and much of the harm was carried out at the 6’1″ point god’s behest.
He continues to irritate Michael Jordan and is still among the top five in assists (he had a 13.9 APG average in 1985). Zeke’s exclusion on the Dream Team is the worst snub ever without hyperbole, but he deservedly earned a berth on the NBA 75 team.
Read more related post: Why Is Isaiah Thomas Not In The NBA? What Really Happened?
With 10 All-Defensive choices (8 First-Team selections) throughout his 17-year career, Pippen is unquestionably one of the best defenders in the history of the NBA. He frequently suppressed the opposition’s best player like it was nothing. Pippen was a part of the Dream Team and a two-time gold medalist who excelled to the point where the NBA named him one of the 50 greatest players ever in 1996 and one of the 75 greatest players ever in 2021. Pippen accomplished far more than his averages suggested (16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 5.2 APG)
That Dwyane Wade appears on this list shouldn’t come as a surprise. He is a three-time NBA champion with a Finals MVP, a spot on the 75th-anniversary squad, a spot on the All-Star team three times, a member of the All-NBA team seven times, and a member of the All-Defensive team thirteen times.
Malone played for seven different organizations throughout his stint in the NBA. Still, the rare legend that followed him knows it shouldn’t take away from the fact that he is unquestionably one of the greatest centers of all time.
The three-time MVP and Finals MVP in 1983 was also an eight-time All-NBA pick, a member of the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team, a rebounding machine almost unmatched in the 1970s and 1980s, and a 13-time All-Star. Malone, known as the Chairman of the Boards, led the NBA in rebounds six times and averaged double digits in the paint-cleaning department for 14 straight seasons.
Baylor was first overall in the NBA Draft in 1958 and was the Rookie of the Year in 1959, an 11-time All-Star, and an incredible 10-time First-Team All-NBA selection. He is, of course, included on the team honoring the NBA’s 75th anniversary because he more than lived up to the expectations when he first entered the league and finished with an average of 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per contest.
David Robinson ranks No. 21 on our list and is a truly generational talent. That demonstrates just how challenging it is to rank these players. A two-time champion, MVP, 10-time All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year, and a four-time member of the first team of the NBA can’t make it into the top 20.
Both Erving’s plays and career statistics are exceptional. He had a 24.2 PPG average, 8.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.0 SPG, and 1.7 BPG average. Additionally, he played on 11 NBA All-Star teams, was named to the 75th-anniversary squad, and earned three MVP titles in the NBA and ABA.
Malone averaged 25.0 PPG throughout the course of his 19 seasons in the NBA, ranking him as the No. 2 scorer in league history. He won the NBA MVP award twice, played in 14 All-Star contests, was selected to the first team of the NBA 11 times, and is a member of the 75th-anniversary team. According to the statistics, Malone comfortably ranks among the top 20 NBA players.
One of the all-time great guards was a five-time All-Defense selection and was on 12 All-NBA teams during his 14 seasons in Los Angeles. Seven times he averaged 30 or more, including a ridiculous 40.6 over 11 games in 1965.
He amassed several accolades throughout his career, including scoring over 30,000 points, winning the MVP title, participating in 14 All-Star games, being selected for the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team, and making 14 All-Star appearances. Even though it’s not that significant, Dirk was able to do it while playing for the same team his entire career.
Even during his “low” years in Houston, Mound Round of Rebound was a monster on the glass, averaging 11.7 during his entire career. Barkley was also unstoppable offensively, defeating Jordan for the MVP award in 1993 and leading his new team, the Suns, to the Finals, where they were defeated by Jordan’s Bulls in six games.
In addition to making the All-Defensive team 12 times that year, he also won the Defensive Player of the Year award, won his sole title with Boston that year, and was comfortably selected for the league’s 75th-anniversary squad. Garnett upped the standard for what a man of his height could accomplish on the floor, much like Magic Johnson had done before him.
In addition to serving as the MVP for each of those NBA Finals trips, Olajuwon won the league MVP award in 1994, participated in 12 All-Star games, and now holds the NBA record for blocks with 3,830.
The Big O was a difficult opponent to match up against due to the unique methods he scored. The 1961 Rookie of the Year, the 1964 NBA MVP, the NBA 75, the 12-time All-Star, the 11-time All-NBA pick… His collegiate career is nearly unequaled, but since this is professional basketball, be aware that he was the only player to earn an MVP award between 1960 and 1968 outside of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.
In addition to his 11 NBA championships, Russell has two of them as a player-coach and is perfect in Game 7s, going 10-0 when it’s winning or going home.
Duncan played all 19 seasons in San Antonio and continually put up numbers like he was a robot, earning the NBA 75 honor, five championships, three Finals MVPs, two regular-season MVPs, 15 All-Star selections, 15 All-NBA selections, and selection to the All-Defensive team.
Like Wilt did in 1961–1962, who averaged 22.9 RPG over the course of his career, averaged 50.4 PPG for a season.
He is now getting close to his 23,924 career rebounds. Despite playing five more seasons than the illustrious lothario, Tim Duncan, the best rebounder, the game has seen since Moses Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finished 9,000 boards behind Chamberlain.
A three-time champion who, in the middle of the 1980s, won three MVPs in a row. The back injury Bird suffered during the summer of 1985 while paving his mother’s driveway is one of the biggest What Ifs in the history of the NBA.
Given that he was never quite the same after that and was severely impaired for his final few years in the league, it is mind-boggling to consider what else Bird might have accomplished if he weren’t Mr. DIY. He nevertheless played 13 seasons, averaging 24.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG.
The only word that comes to mind when describing Shaq’s career is dominant. We’ve all seen the film of Shaq cooking Michael Jordan in a one-on-one before the All-Star Game. Shaq is one of the most skilled big men ever to touch a basketball and is undoubtedly a part of the NBA 75 team. The amazing thing about Shaq’s supremacy is that even if you were aware that he was about to hit you in the post with a drop step after two dribbles, you still couldn’t stop it.
Numerous achievements are evident, including NBA MVP, five championships, two Finals MVP awards, 18 All-Star selections, nine First Team All-Defensive honors, and being the current fourth-leading scorer. He is one of the all-time best basketball players.
In 2020, his achievements and achievements seem unreal. Magic had one of the best careers in league history with five titles, three MVPs, nine nominations to the All-NBA first team, and membership on the 75th-anniversary squad of the NBA.
Abdul-Jabbar defied expectations by winning NBA Finals MVP honors 14 years apart. He received nearly every individual award a superstar can receive, but his six MVP awards stand out in particular (one more than Russell and Jordan combined). He is still the first player in league history to receive an MVP award despite his team missing the playoffs.
He was one of the oldest basketball professional athletes to average 20 points per game and score 40 or more points in a game. He won three straight games before leaving to play baseball, returning to win three straight games again. The GOAT, without a doubt.
Although he made six appearances, he never took the field in a Finals Game 7, and in addition to his five MVP awards and six Finals MVPs, he also won the 1988 Defensive Player of the Year title. He is always on list of best basketball players of all time.
The best players in the NBA can significantly impact the game, both offensively and defensively. While there are many great players in the league, the truly elite players are those who can take over a game and lead their team to victory. These are the players most deserving of the title of the best player in the NBA. Read more: How Does The NBA Play-In Work? Everything You Need to Know!