NBA: Top 50 Players Entering 2019-2020 Season (10-1)
This will be the final list of the Top 50 NBA Players heading into the 2019-2020 season. Whoever is announced on this list, these players are the best players in the world. Up to this point, players 50-11 were announced.
Those players are 50. Brook Lopez, C, Milwaukee Bucks, 49. Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder, 48. Aaron Gordon PF, Orlando Magic, 47. Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Sacramento Kings, 46. Marc Gasol, C, Toronto Raptors, 45. John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards, 44. De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings, 43. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder 42. Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic, 41. Clint Capela, C, Houston Rockets, 40. Draymond Green, F, Golden State Warriors, 39. Malcolm Brogdon, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers, 38. DeMarcus Cousins, C, Los Angeles Lakers, 37. Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks, 36. Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors, 35. Lou Williams, SG, Los Angeles Clippers, 34. Tobias Harris, PF/SF, Philadelphia 76ers, 33. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs, 32. Jamal Murray, PG, Denver Nuggets, 31. Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns, 30. Pascal Siakam, PF, Toronto Raptors, 29. Luka Doncic, SG, Dallas Mavericks, 28. Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons, 27. Khris Middleton, SG, Milwaukee Bucks, 26. Victor Oladipo, SG/PG, Indiana Pacers, 25. Kyle Kuzma, C/PF, Los Angeles Lakers, 24. CJ McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers, 23. Kevin Love, C/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers, 22. D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors, 21. Kemba Walker, PG/SG, Boston Celtics, 20. Chris Paul, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder, 19. Jimmy Butler, SG, Miami Heat, 18. Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves, 17. Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards, 16. Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors, 15. Ben Simmons, PG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers, 14. Blake Griffin, PF, Detroit Pistons, 13. Paul George, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers, 12. Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers, and 11. Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets.
Who are the Top 10 players entering the 2019-2020 season?
10. Kyrie Irving, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Irving decided to leave the Boston Celtics in the offseason and sign with the Brooklyn Nets for the next four seasons. He had no interest in staying with Boston and it seemed as if there was a negative narrative about Kyrie Irving inside the Celtics locker room. I think he will have a much better attitude in Brooklyn because this is somewhere Irving actually wants to be. He is also going to be paired up with Kevin Durant, but Kyrie Irving is going to be without him for the entire 2019-2020 season. The Nets also have a young foundation in place. This is going to be very interesting to see how it works out. Irving is also one of the best scorers in the NBA and he also has sick handles that make defenders dizzy. Kyrie Irving is only 27 years old. In 67 games played last season with Boston, he averaged 23.8 PPG, 5 RPG, 6.9 APG, 0.5 BPG, and 1.5 SPG.
9. Russell Westbrook, PG, Houston Rockets
It came at a surprise during the offseason that Russell Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. Westbrook was the most loyal player in franchise history for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They had to trade him because Oklahoma City traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Thunder also felt like they have hit their ceiling as well and they needed to start over. Russell Westbrook was also teammates with James Harden at the beginning of his career with the Thunder. Westbrook is also one of the most electrifying players in the NBA. He is 30 years old. Russell Westbrook is also a tough player to play with. He has averaged a triple-double for three straight seasons. In 73 games played last season, Westbrook averaged 22.9 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 10.7 APG, 0.5 BPG, and 1.9 SPG.
8. Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
I thought Embiid was an MVP candidate at one point in time last season because of how valuable he was to the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid is still valuable to this franchise. He can dominate a game at any moment and when he does, Embiid is tough to stop. He can shoot from the outside and Joel Embiid is a solid rim protector. Joel Embiid also turns his back to the basket often in the post and causes headaches for opponents. He also has a history of injuries however and is 25 years old. In 64 games played last season, Embiid averaged 27.5 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.9 BPG, and 0.7 SPG last season.
7. Anthony Davis, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers
Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans and he got his wish. Anthony Davis will be alongside Lebron James for the next few years. Davis is 26 years old. He has played with New Orleans since the 2012-2013 campaign. Anthony Davis is a force on both ends of the floor. He is also very scary at the pick-and-roll game as well. Davis has also had a history of injuries. In 56 games played last season, he averaged 25.9 PPG, 12 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.4 BPG, and 1.6 SPG.
6. LeBron James, SF, Los Angeles Lakers
Lebron James had a rough time with the Los Angeles Lakers in his first year with the franchise after leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers once again in free agency. James lost the best player in the world category when he had to deal with groin injuries and when Los Angeles missed the playoffs once again this past season. This was the seventh consecutive season that the Lakers have missed the playoffs, but this was the first time since Lebron’s rookie season that he missed the playoffs. James went to the finals eight straight years in the east and won three NBA titles and three NBA Finals MVP’s. With all of the rest he got in the offseason, Lebron James will look to reclaim being the best player in the world again. He is 34 years old and James has three more years remaining on his contract. He is one of the best athletes to ever play this game, but his defensive game isn’t the same as it used to be. Leadership has been tough at this point for Lebron James. He played in 55 games last season. James averaged 27.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 8.3 APG, 0.6 BPG, and 1.3 SPG.
5. Steph Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
Curry is one of the best leaders in the NBA. He is arguably one of the best shooters we have ever had to play this game. Steph Curry is 31 years old and he has won a couple of MVP’s in his career. Curry won it unanimously in 2016. He has also won three NBA titles in his career and Steph Curry has been to the NBA Finals five consecutive years. It will be tough for him to lead Golden State back there for the sixth straight season. Kevin Durant left for the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason. Klay Thompson will be out until at least January or February with a Torn ACL that was suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at home in the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors. Curry will have D’Angelo Russell as well to play within the backcourt. The Golden State Warriors acquired him in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets. Steph Curry is also terrific at creating shots off the dribble. He isn’t very good defensively. Curry is also starting to get injury prone a little bit as well. In 69 games played last season, he averaged 27.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.2 APG, 0.4 BPG, and 1.3 SPG.
4. James Harden, SG/PG, Houston Rockets
Harden is one of the best offensive players in the game. He gets to the foul line often. James Harden had to carry the Houston Rockets for a while last season when Chris Paul was sidelined. There was a stretch where Harden scored over 30 points in each game. It will be interesting to see how he and Russell Westbrook will co-exist with each other in the backcourt next season. They were teammates before with the Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden won MVP for the 2017-2018 and some people thought he should have won it again this season. The only thing that Harden is missing is an NBA Championship. He is 29 years old and is also very shifty with defenders. James Harden is also a very underrated passer. It seemed as if he and Chris Paul didn’t get along and I also wonder if Harden had a say in Westbrook coming to Houston. James Harden played in 78 games last season and he averaged 36.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 7.5 APG, 0.7 BPG, and 2 SPG.
3. Kevin Durant, SF/SG/PF, Brooklyn Nets
Durant would have been number one on this list if he didn’t tear his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals this past season against the Toronto Raptors. Kevin Durant will most likely be sidelined for the entire 2019-2020 season. He also injured his calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets at home. Ever since that moment, Golden State didn’t lose a game up until the NBA Finals. When the Warriors trailed 3-1, Durant was kind of forced back into the lineup and there was no way he was ready to come back. When Kevin Durant is healthy, he might be the best player in the game. Durant won two NBA Finals MVP’s with Golden State. He left the Oklahoma City Thunder after the 2016-2017 season when Oklahoma City blew a 3-1 lead against Golden State in the Western Conference Finals. Kevin Durant’s mid-range game is dangerous. He hopes to win a championship with the Brooklyn Nets and Durant signed a four-year max deal with them in the offseason after he decided to opt of his contract. Durant is 30 years old and he played in 78 games last season with the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant averaged 26 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.1 BPG, and 0.7 SPG.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF/SF/SG/PG, Milwaukee Bucks
Antetokounmpo is only 24 years old and he has already won one MVP Award. Giannis Antetokounmpo is about to entire his prime and it could be very scary for the rest of the league. He is super strong on both ends of the floor. Antetokounmpo is a player you do not want to take a charge from. He is also a solid facilitator. The only weakness in his game at the moment is his outside shooting, but it got a lot better this season. When Giannis Antetokounmpo fully develops an outside shot, he could be the most unguardable player in the league. Antetokounmpo doesn’t have a true second star by his side. He played in 72 games last season and averaged 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.5 BPG, and 1.3 SPG.
1. Kawhi Leonard, SF, Los Angeles Clippers
Leonard changed the landscape of the NBA. Last offseason, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard helped them win their first NBA title in franchise history. He won Finals MVP for the second time in his career. This was the first time since 2014 Leonard won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs. He is terrific on both ends of the floor. Kawhi Leonard can take over a game at any moment. With that being said, he was a free agent this offseason and Leonard decided to head back home to Los Angeles and play for the Clippers. I knew he wasn’t going to team up with Anthony Davis and Lebron James with the Lakers. Kawhi Leonard is a fierce competitor. He was able to convince Paul George to come to the Los Angeles Clippers somehow via trade. They will be one of the favorites to win the NBA title next season. It would be very interesting to see what happens if they do because that would Leonard would have won three NBA titles with three different teams and he would most likely be the NBA Finals MVP once again. Kawhi Leonard is only 28 years old. He also likes to take some games off because of load management. Leonard played in 60 games last season with the Toronto Raptors. He averaged 26.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.4 BPG, and 1.8 SPG.
Sometime in either September or October, I will have bold predictions and regular predictions for the 2019-2020 NBA Season.
What did you think of this NBA Top 50 Players List? Did I miss anybody? Did I rank anybody too high or too low? Comments are welcome below.
Drive the lane to IroniqMedia for all of your NBA coverage.
Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.