Age is a major factor NBA scouts and general managers take into consideration when deciding to Draft or even trade for any given player, as they would naturally rather have a player that could provide a lot of good things for the long run rather than a rental on a veteran player.
Nonetheless, some players seem to age as a fine wine, just getting better and better as years go by, being able to be quite productive even despite the fact that most of their speed and athleticism is far gone.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the best player by age on this league, starting from 19 years old, so take a sit and enjoy while we break this down.
19. DeAndre Ayton (Honorable Mention: Luka Doncic)
DeAndre Ayton is yet to make a single NBA appearance but he’s a lock to be the 1st overall pick of this year’s Draft. The big man is strongest as a veteran already and his offensive game is a round up as it is. He’s still got to put a lot of work on the defensive end of the hardwood, but his ceiling is just way too high to pass on him.
20. Jayson Tatum (Honorable Mention: Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball)
After hitting the rookie wall a couple of months into the season, Jayson Tatum has gone nowhere but up, and he’s proven that he can be one of those franchise players of the likes of Paul Pierce that can take the Boston Celtics back to contention. He’s been a stud on defense and has shown a vast variety of moves in the offensive end of the floor, he’s efficient, smart, and a very hard working young man bound for greatness.
21. Devin Booker (Honorable Mention: Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown)
Ever since entering the league, Devin Booker has been one of the most prolific scorers in the league, even with defenses constantly doubling him as the lone offensive threat for the sluggish Phoenix Suns. He can pull up from anywhere on the floor, has a never-ending layup package and can even finish through contact, and he’s even made some improvements in the defensive end.
22. Karl-Anthony Towns (Honorable Mention: Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner)
Karl-Anthony Towns has the kind of skill set to become one of the league’s most dominant scorers and he already leads the NBA in double-doubles after his dominance in both ends of the glass, and even though he fell short during crunch time and has a lot of work to do on defense, he’s the main responsible why the Timberwolves were able to end their playoff drought.
23. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Honorable Mention: Nikola Jokic)
The Greek Freak has become a much better player as years go by and even though he’s still quite raw in the offensive end when it comes to his jump shot, he’s one of the most skilled scorers in the league. His length and commitment in the defensive end of the floor will make him one of the deadliest two-way players for a very long time, but he needs more shooting around him in order to take the Bucks the distance.
24. Joel Embiid (Honorable Mention: Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond)
Ever since Embiid made his debut, everybody understood why the Sixers were so keen to take the risk on such an injury prone player. He’s proven to be one of the league’s most dominant defenders while also being a standout scorer. He’s got a ballerina-like kind of footwork and great basketball IQ, and he’s going to take the Sixers back to Championship contention in no time.
25. Anthony Davis (Honorable Mention: Rudy Gobert)
We just tend to forget about Anthony Davis, mostly because the Pelicans haven’t been able to step forward in the Western Conference, but this guy is used to posting MVP kind of stat lines on a yearly basis, and he’s by far the best and most dominant two-way big man in the league. Hopefully, he’ll get the chance to win a Championship, but he’ll have to leave the Pelicans to do so.
26. Kawhi Leonard (Honorable Mention: Kyrie Irving, Victor Oladipo)
Kawhi Leonard is the most talented two-way player in the league, a guy able to lock down Kevin Durant, James Harden and LeBron James on defense and then light them up for 25+ points a night. His quiet temper may be seen back lack of character and he tends to disappear at times, but he’s the only player that may be a yearly frontrunner to win both the MVP award and the Defensive Player of the Year as well.
27. Damian Lillard (Honorable Mention: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins)
Ok. This one’s a tricky one, but c’mon, we tend to forget about Damian Lillard mostly because he plays on such a small market as Portland. Still, he’s one of the league’s leaders in scorers and perhaps the clutchest guy in all of the NBA. Still, this one could’ve gone either way, as Wall’s one of the best playmakers and Cousins a terrific scorer for his size.
28. James Harden (Honorable Mention: Paul George, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson)
James Harden is a lock to finally win the MVP award and he’ll become the first player ever to win that accolade after being named the league’s 6th Man of the Year. He’s the most unstoppable scorer in the league, as you just can’t reach against him or you’ll be called for a foul. He’s the master of the Eurostep and his ability to finish through contact and find the open teammate make him a deadly triple threat everywhere on the floor.
29. Kevin Durant (Honorable Mention: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love)
We all knew Kevin Durant was one of the league’s most prolific scorers, and now that he’s finally using his tremendous wingspan to become one of the league’s top-notch rim protectors, he’s pretty much granted himself a spot on the Hall of Fame for sure. Finally becoming a Champion, there’s nothing Durant hasn’t done in the league anymore, regardless of how his detractors may feel.
30. Stephen Curry (Honorable Mention: Mike Conley)
Stephen Curry is almost unanimously the greatest shooter in the history of the game, and he’s got the best handles in the league (maybe tied with Kyrie Irving). His offensive impact is so incredible that he’s the most important player in the Warriors system, even if he’s one of the worst defenders in the league, and the 2 time MVP will be in his prime for at least a couple of extra seasons.
31. Al Horford (Honorable Mention: Lou Williams, Rudy Gay)
The big man has made a name for himself as one of the smartest players in the league. He’s never going to be a flashy scorer or put a lot of stats, but his great positioning, passing and defense make him a master of the intangibles. This is definitely overreacting, but he’s something like Tim Duncan’s younger, less talented brother.
32. LaMarcus Aldridge (Honorable Mention: Kyle Lowry)
LaMarcus Aldridge has improved a bit on the defensive end, and he’s proven that he can almost single-handedly carry the Spurs offensive load. Still, he’s no franchise player and needs a capable surround cast next to him, but he’s still one of the best scorers in the low post and a very crafty rebounder despite not being that athletic or having a huge vertical leap.
33. LeBron James (Honorable Mention: Chris Paul, Marc Gasol)
LeBron James is having arguably the best season of his career despite entering his 15th season, and even though he’s looked exhausted against the Boston Celtics, he just never ceases to amaze as one of the most dominant athletes in the history of sports. He’s the most complete player in the league and he’s the only reason why this sluggish Cavs have found their way to the ECF.
34. Andre Iguodala (Honorable Mention: Marcin Gortat)
Just to give you a bit of context: Andre Iguodala guarded James Harden and Chris Paul in 41 possessions between games 1 and 2 of the WCF, and he allowed just one bucket. Yeah, that’s the kind of lockdown defender Iguodala is, and even though he embraced a lesser role on offense with the Warriors, he’s still a very athletic and strong player that may posterize you in the blink of an eye.
35. Tyson Chandler (Honorable Mention: Nene, Devin Harris)
Even though Tyson Chandler has been a major non factor ever since landing at the desert with the Phoenix Suns, he’s still one of the league’s strongest big man and most dominant rebounders. The former Defensive Player of the Year would be better off just getting bought out and playing off the bench for a contender, as his talents are completely going to waste with the Suns.
36. Dwyane Wade (Honorable Mention: Tony Parker, Zach Randolph)
Dwyane Wade wasn’t nearly half as good with the Bulls and Cavs as he was with the Heat, and he proved that he can still bring it on a nightly basis when he finally came back home to play under Erik Spoelstra. The Flash is still capable of running the floor on a heartbeat and pump fake to make defenders fall for his move over and over, and then sprint back on defense to block a shot.
37. Pau Gasol (Honorable Mention: Kyle Korver, David West)
Pau Gasol looked borderline washed through some passages of the season, but he’s still one of the smartest players you’ll find on an NBA hardwood. He’s become a very reliable shooter from three-point territory and he’s a master of drawing contact and getting most calls go his way. Hopefully, we’ll get to see him for an extra couple of years.
38. Jamal Crawford
The fact that Jamal Crawford is 38 years old is kind of hard to believe. He’s still an athletic, strong and fast scorer that can put most defenders on skates and even make them fall for his antics. Crawford has one of the league’s deadliest crossovers and his never-ending box of tools is an offensive guarantee off the bench.
39. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki is hands down the greatest player in Dallas Mavericks history, and the lone reason why the team was finally able to win a Championship. There just hasn’t been a big man that’s able to shoot the ball with such a sweet stroke and consistency, and there will never be. Over 30 thousand points under his belt, 1 MVP and 1 ring, make Nowitzki the best 39 year old in the league.
40. Manu Ginobili
The 40 year old kid, “El Pibe de 40”, Manu Ginobili pleased us all with another full season with the San Antonio Spurs, and we all hope this won’t be his last. Ginobili’s a coach on the hardwood, a pesky defender and hell of a playmaker, and even proved he can dunk at 40 years old, and he’s arguably the greatest foreign player in the history of the game.
41. Vince Carter
And finally, we got Vince Carter, the guy that deserves a ring the most before calling it a career. Carter is the greatest dunker this game has ever seen, a beloved veteran that has mentored dozens of young men. Sadly, he was never able to put the cherry on top of the sundae with a Chip. Still, he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and one of the most entertaining players to watch on NBA history.