Fadeaway World

There are literally thousands of way you could sort and rank NBA players. There are so many great athletes in the league that could spend years just trying to put them together on a list.

And now that the league is on pause for, at least, 30 days; we have some time on our hands to try and put together some of our finest rankings.

For instance, have you ever wondered which are the best players in the league by letter? If so, check out the following paragraphs:

 

A – Giannis Antetokounmpo

29.6 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Credit: Getty Images

The Greek Freak has slowly become one of the greatest players in the world and he just keeps getting better and better. He’s a perennial MVP candidate and that’s not likely to change any time soon, as he’s the ultimate leader for his team.

The Bucks are now a contender because of Giannis. He’s such a competitor and just won’t back down from a challenge. His combination of skills, length and winning mentality really help him stand out from the pack.

Runner-up: LaMarcus Aldridge, Deandre Ayton

 

B – Jimmy Butler

20.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.7 SPG

Credit: Getty Images

Jimmy Butler has said it himself. He’s not the most talented player in the world. However, he’s always the hardest-working guy in the arena, and that’s why he’s become an alpha dog on every single locker room he’s been. It’s his way or the highway.

Butler is a top-notch defender and has found a way to develop his offensive game as well. He’s not a shooter but will always get to his spot if you hesitate to put a hand on his face. He’s one of the best two-way players around, for sure.

Runner-up: Bradley Beal, Devin Booker

 

C – Stephen Curry

20.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.0 SPG

Credit: Getty Images

Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter ever. Period. There’s just no debate about it, so let’s not entertain that. However, he’s way more than just a shooter. He’s a leader, a top-notch ball-handler, and one of the craftiest ever.

Curry proved everybody wrong during his second MVP season. He showed that he could lead the league in scoring, but that he just had chosen to play a different role on the offense. He has a spot in the Hall of Fame waiting for him.

Runner-up: DeMarcus Cousins, Mike Conley

 

D – Kevin Durant

27.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.1 BPG

(via CBS Sports)

Once everything’s said and done, Kevin Durant is going to go down as one of the best players to ever lace them up. He’s the deadliest scorer in the league but he can also match up and check the other team’s best scorer on any given night.

Durant has the handles of a shooting guard, the size of a center and the shot of a small forward. He’s as dynamic as they come, and that’s why he was signed to a huge deal even though he was set to miss an entire season with an injury.

Runner-up: Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic

 

E – Joel Embiid

23.4 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.3 BPG

Credit: Getty Images

There are only two things holding Joel Embiid back from being one of the greatest centers ever: his work ethic and his constant injuries. The talent’s there, the body’s there, the environment is there. He’s got it all to be an all-time great.

Embiid proved his doubters wrong early on his career when he made his debut. His ballerina-like foot-work, ability to guard the paint or defend the perimeter and his competitive nature make him unstoppable.

Runner-up: Dante Exum, Wayne Ellington

 

F – De’Aaron Fox

20.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.4 SPG

(via Sports Illustrated)

People seem to be sleeping on De’Aaron Fox, but that’s likely because he’s playing for the Sacramento Kings, who haven’t been able to compete in a while. However, he’s by far one of the best young players in the whole Association.

Fox is as quick as you could tell by his name. He’s a solid backcourt defender and has already proven to be quite reliable in the clutch. Either if it is scoring or creating for others, he’s going to be great for a very long time.

Runner-up: Markelle Fultz, Evan Fournier

 

G – Paul George

21.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.3 SPG

Credit: USATSI

Paul George has put a lot of work on his craft and game to become one of the league’s biggest superstars. He’s vastly improved as a creator and ball-handler and his scoring ability and defense were never questioned whatsoever.

George has the tools to be the best two-way player in the league but has struggled a lot with injuries throughout his career. Also, he’s embraced a lesser role on his teams and proved that he’s mature enough to do whatever it takes to win.

Runner-up: Blake Griffin, Rudy Gobert

 

H – James Harden

34.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.7 SPG

(via NBA.com)

James Harden is the ultimate scorer. You may not like what he does and the way he plays the game, but truth to be told; he’s just found ways to bend the rules on his favor and that deserves a lot of credit. If not, why is he the only one doing it?

Harden is incredibly skilled. Everybody knows what he’s going to do, yet he finds the way to do it anyway. He’s going to score on you and there’s absolutely nothing you or anything in the world can do about it.

Runner-up: Jrue Holiday, Tobias Harris

 

I – Kyrie Irving

27.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.4 SPG

(via NetsDaily)

Kyrie Irving has arguably the best handles this game has ever seen. He’s by far one of the most skilled guards in NBA history, a guy that can break your ankles with his crossover and then shake off two defenders to finish below the rim.

Irving’s lone liability thus far in the league has been his personality, as he’s created some trouble everywhere he’s gone. Other than that, he’s arguably a perfect scorer, so hopefully, he’ll get back at full strength next season and prove what he’s capable of.

Runner-up: Brandon Ingram, Serge Ibaka

 

J – LeBron James

25.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 10.6 APG, 1.2 SPG

(via CBS Sports)

There’s little we could say about LeBron James that hadn’t been said before. We’re just running out of words to describe how impressive it is that he’s dominating the league at age 35, 17 seasons after he made his debut.

James is one of the greatest playmakers ever. His ability to read defenses is off the charts, as well as his drive and feel for the game. He’s an unstoppable scorer, especially in the clutch, but he thrives the most making everybody around him better. Top 3 player ever, without a doubt.

Runner-up: Nikola Jokic, Jaren Jackson Jr

 

K – Kyle Kuzma

12.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.3 APG

(via Lake Show Life)

Honestly, Kyle Kuzma has kind of regressed this year. However, it’s not entirely his fault. On one hand, he did spend a lot of time on the sidelines with an injury. On the other, he needs to be more involved in the offense to find his rhythm.

However, Kuzma has quietly embraced his role as a sixth man for the Lakers and is doing all the little things to help them win. His defense has vastly improved as well as his shooting stroke, so he’ll be just fine in no time, for sure.

Runner-up: Luke Kennard, Enes Kanter

 

L – Kawhi Leonard

26.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.8 SPG

Credit: AP Photo

Kawhi Leonard entered the league as a guy no one knew much about. Now, he’s got the most pages in the scouting report, as he’s become the most dominant two-way player in the league in a while, and arguably the best player in the world.

Leonard is poised to enter the GOAT conversation, especially if he leads the Los Angeles Clippers to their first Championship as he did with the Toronto Raptors. Hopefully, he’ll be at full strength come playoff time.

Runner-up: Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry

 

M – Donovan Mitchell

24.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.0 SPG

(via Sports Illustrated)

Donovan Mitchell has to be considered as one of the biggest steals of the decade. He was often overlooked by NBA scouts but it took him no time to take the league for assault and become the leader of a whole franchise.

Mitchell is just getting started in the league but he’s already one of the best scorers. He helped the Jazz turned the page and completely forget about Gordon Hayward, and his team will go as far as he’s able to take them in the playoffs.

Runner-up: Khris Middleton, CJ McCollum

 

N – Kendrick Nunn

15.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.4 APG

(via Diario AS)

Well, what can we say: Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley have done it again. Once again they’ve proven to be geniuses when it comes to finding and developing talent, as Kendrick Nunn made an immediate impact in the league despite being undrafted.

Nunn is not your average playmaking point guard. He’ll drive and take the ball to the rim every time he’ll have a chance of doing so, but he’s been one of the most reliable offensive contributors for the Heat’s surprising season.

Runner-up: Larry Nance Jr, Nerlens Noel

 

O – Victor Oladipo

13.8 PPG, 3,2 RPG, 3.0 APG

(via Deadspin)

Victor Oladipo was breaking out as one of the league’s young stars before suffering a gruesome and potentially career-altering injury. Now, he’s slowly working to get back to where he was prior to being sent to the sidelines.

Oladipo can play both guard spots as well as some small forward. More importantly, he can also take that kind of defensive assignments. He’s deadly on passing lanes, has quick hands and is a born leader. We hope to see him go back to his former self in no time.

Runner-up: Kelly Oubre Jr, Cedi Osman

 

P – Chris Paul

17.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG

(via Essentially Sports)

Father time? more like father prime. Nobody trusted Chris Paul to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to the playoffs at his age, yet he’s proving once again that he’s one of the greatest point guards to ever set foot on an NBA hardwood.

Paul has been incredibly clutch this season on both ends of the floor. Also, he’s doing an outstanding job at mentoring the Thunder’s youngsters. We’re definitely not giving him enough credit for what he’s doing this season.

Runner-up: Kristaps Porzingis, Norman Powell

 

R – D’Angelo Russell

23.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.4 SPG

(via Golden State Of Mind)

D’Angelo Russell’s career hasn’t started the way he wanted, for sure. He’s been on four teams already and hasn’t been able to develop the way he’d like. Still, when he was given the keys to the offense, he took the Nets to the playoffs and became an All-Star.

Now he’ll have the chance to play next to his great friend Karl-Anthony Towns and prove his doubters wrong. He’s got the talent, the drive, and the youth, but the Timberwolves must give them some help as soon as possible.

Runner-up: Derrick Rose, Julius Randle

 

S – Pascal Siakam

23.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.0 SPG

Pascal Siakam is an example of hard work and a desire to succeed. He went from the G-League to becoming the face of the defending champions, a guy that’s capable of dominating both sides of the game as if he’s been around for a decade.

Siakam has worked on his craft and it’s sure paid off. He’s getting more comfortable as the team’s go-to-guy and he’s also made great strides as a post defender. People talked about Kawhi Leonard, but he’s proving that last year was not a fluke.

Runner-up: Ben Simmons, Collin Sexton

 

T – Karl-Anthony Towns

26.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.2 BPG

(via CBS Sports)

Karl-Anthony Towns is as dominant as they come when we talk about owning the glass and scoring. However, he needs to make a better job as a defender. However, he’s got the physical tools to succeed in that regard of the game as well.

Towns has been questioned because of his lack of drive and character when the game is on the line but he’s still pretty young. He’s finally playing with his best friend now, so he’s running out of excuses. We expect a breakout year from him next season.

Runner-up: Jayson Tatum, Myles Turner

 

U – Jarrod Uthoff

3.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.7 APG

Honestly, there’s not much to say about Jarrod Uthoff. He’s only made 13 appearances in the NBA throughout his career and played a grand total of 129 minutes. He’s spent most of his career in the G-League and is unlikely to make an NBA roster again.

 

V – Fred VanVleet

17.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.9 SPG

Credit: USA Today

Fred VanVleet is the walking picture of the Toronto Raptors. He’s not about the big flashing lights or being a star. He’s all about working hard and doing whatever it takes to help your team win, and it has clearly paid off for them.

VanVleet took the responsibility of defending Stephen Curry in the Finals and did an outstanding job. Now, his offense and playmaking are catching up to his pesky and suffocating defense. He’s one of the best Sixth Men in the league.

Runner-up: Nikola Vucevic, Jonas Valanciunas

 

W – Russell Westbrook

27.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.7 SPG

(via YouTube)

You can love or hate Russell Westbrook but you just can’t disrespect his game. He’s got that killer instinct you rarely see, and he’ll always try to outplay you. I mean, he literally made history in back-to-back seasons and people act like it’s normal.

Obviously, he tends to make mistakes because of his self-confidence, but that’s also one of the things that make him great. Hopefully, he’ll prove his doubters wrong by leading the Rockets deep into the playoffs this year.

Runner-up: Kemba Walker, Zion Williamson

 

Y – Trae Young

29.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 9.3 APG, 1.1 SPG

Credit: Getty Images

Trae Young took Stephen Curry’s range and decided to take it even further. He’s money from all over the floor and is making shots this league had never seen before as if they were layups. The best part is: he’s just getting started and he keeps getting better.

Young is already one of the league’s most unstoppable scorers and playmakers. If he works on his defense or the Hawks find a way to hide him at that end of the floor, he could really be the face of a new young dynasty.

Runner-up: Thad Young

 

Z – Cody Zeller

11.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.5 APG

(via At The Hive)

Cody Zeller has made a name for himself because of his ability to do all the little things that help a team win even if they don’t exactly reflect on the stat sheet. He’s a hard-working hustler that won’t hesitate to put his body on the line.

Obviously, Zeller is never going to be a star, but he’s got the potential to be a game-changing big man coming off the bench for a contender. He’s smarter and better than most people give him credit for, just because he’s on the Hornets.

Runner-up: Ivica Zubac, Ante Zizic

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