The NBA has seen countless star players dazzle fans, and plenty of them have even earned enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. But, of those NBA stars, who have been the greatest players of all? We searched through the many statistical leaderboards and found the players who dominated the game and left very large basketball shoes for their successors to fill.
List of Top 20 NBA Players Right Now (2022)
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Antetokounmpo reached the NBA mountaintop in 2021 by winning a championship and Finals MVP award.
He wasn’t able to repeat in 2022 with Milwaukee after Khris Middleton suffered a knee injury at the beginning of the playoffs. But after averaging 33.9 points, 14.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists in a seven-game series against the Celtics, Antetokounmpo reminded us that he’s the league’s alpha right now.
2. Kevin Durant
Durant had a claim as the best player in the world at the end of the 2021 season after going toe-to-toe with Giannis while James Harden and Kyrie Irving were hurt.
Antetokounmpo has overtaken him now, however. Durant missed a bulk of 2021-22 with an injury and then the Nets flamed out in the first round following a turbulent regular season. Maybe with his new team, Durant will be able to reclaim his status as the best player in the world.
You might have thought he was done, but Curry can still be the best player on a championship team. He secured his first Finals MVP award after carving up the best defense in basketball for six-straight games.
Curry is not done terrorizing opposing defenses with his legendary shooting stroke, and it’s hard to see when he’ll slow down at this point.
4. Nikola Jokic
Jokic raised his game in 2021-22 to win a second-straight MVP award, this time playing almost all of the regular season without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
As Denver gets healthier, Jokic might not get the same MVP buzz, but he’ll certainly have a chance to move up this list as he tries to lead the Nuggets to a title.
5. Joel Embiid
There’s an argument that Embiid should’ve been MVP the last two seasons. It’s hard to argue that given his production, but unfortunately Nikola Jokic still exists.
Can he finally get over the MVP hump in 2022-23? Will Embiid be healthy enough in the playoffs to take his team past the second round? Regardless of how those questions are answered, Embiid is a top-five player in basketball.
6. Jayson Tatum
Tatum took a major step forward in 2022, leading the Celtics past Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler to get the Celtics into the Finals for the first time in 12 years.
As he sits on the outside of the top-five looking in, Tatum will need to get back to the Finals and perhaps win a championship to climb to the top of this list.
After two years of losing to Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers, Luka Doncic made it out of the first round of the playoffs and helped the Mavs beat the No. 1-seeded Suns to reach the Western Conference Finals.
With a player like Doncic on your side, you’ll have a chance to win any game against any opponent.
It’s weird to see LeBron James this far down an NBA player ranking, but the two years since his championship inside the NBA bubble have not been kind to him.
Injuries have sidelined him for long stretches in both of the last two seasons, the Lakers were bounced from the first round in 2021 and then missed the playoffs altogether in 2022. James is still an elite force. He averaged 30 points per game in 2022. He just hasn’t had as big an impact on the game for two-straight seasons now. We’ll see if 2022-23 brings a renaissance.
When healthy, Leonard might be a surefire top-five player in the world. After missing all of 2021-22 and the 2021 playoffs, Leonard will have to work his way back up this list as he tries to win it all with the Clippers.
10. Ja Morant
Rounding out the top 10 is Ja Morant, who established himself as one of the game’s brightest young stars in 2021-22. He won the Most Improved Player award, finished seventh in MVP voting and lead the Grizzlies to the second-best record in the NBA during the regular season. Few players can score at the rim like Morant, and he’s a point guard.
Booker is probably the best shooting guard in the NBA now after helping the Suns to the Finals in 2021 and earning first-team All-NBA honors in 2022.
The next step is winning it all. If Booker can become the best player on a championship team, he’ll find himself in the top-five conversation.
12. Jimmy Butler
He might not get the attention other superstars on this list get, but Butler has been incredible since joining the Heat.
Butler’s made the Finals once and made two Eastern Conference Finals in three seasons with Miami. Every step of the way, he’s been their best player and has elevated his game in the biggest moments. Just look at Game 6 and 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals or his 40-point triple-double against the Lakers in the Finals.
Harden has a lot to prove as he enters his second season in Philadelphia. His career has been highlighted by incredible regular seasons followed by underwhelming playoff performances, especially in elimination games.
Harden has a perfect running mate in Joel Embiid. If he can’t get the job done with the Sixers, can he do it anywhere else?
14. Karl-Anthony Towns
Towns led the Timberwolves to the playoffs last season and with Rudy Gobert by his side in 2022-23, he’ll aim to become one of the very best players in the Western Conference.
Playing the power forward almost exclusively will be a significant challenge for Towns’ defensive versatility.
15. Trae Young
The undersized scoring machine cemented his place in the NBA’s Top-20 after upending the first-placed Sixers in the second round of the playoffs. An improbable Eastern Conference Finals appearance has made believers out of doubters for Trae Young.
16. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis is a game-changing presence on the floor when he’s healthy. He can protect the rim, switch on the perimeter and score at all three levels. Injuries have kept him from reaching that peak the last two seasons, however, and the Lakers have suffered because of that fact.
Mitchell is an elite scorer who’s proven he can give his team the buckets they need no matter the situation. However, playmaking and perimeter defense is keeping him from becoming a true No. 1 option on a championship contender.
As the Jazz move on from Rudy Gobert and reshuffle the decks to build around Mitchell, his development as a passer and defender will be crucial for their ceiling moving forward.
18. Damian Lillard
Lillard has re-upped with the Trail Blazers and will try to lead a new-look Portland squad into the Western Conference playoff picture. Lillard is probably past his peak, but there’s no reason to believe he doesn’t have more prime years left.
Beal turned into one of the best scorers in the NBA after John Wall’s injury in 2018, but now he’ll have to become one of the best all-around players in the league for the Wizards to contend in the Eastern Conference.
After signing a five-year, $251 million contract with the Wizards, Beal is committed to finding a way to win in D.C.
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Like his Clippers running mate, George struggled with injuries last season but when healthy, is one of the best two-way players in the world.
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These are the list of the top 20 NBA Players right now, what is your take? share with us using the comment section below.