There are so many young players in the NBA, from all around the world. The NBA has become a global game and the league is in great hands with the number of talented players that will take over the throne once LeBron James rides off in the sunset. When looking at the quality of players of all ages, it is safe to say the league is as talented as ever.
It is time to rank the best player in the league based on age, from the ripe age of 19 years old to the battle-hardened age of 40. Here are all the NBA’s best players, with an honorable mention, ranked from the youngest in the league until the oldest.
19 – LaMelo Ball
There is no doubt who the best 19-year old and the best rookie in the NBA is. LaMelo Ball has been on a tear in his first professional season, proving he is the best Ball brother and already the best player for the Hornets.
Ball is averaging 14.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 6.1 APG in his first season, and the future is looking bright for one of the most exciting prospects in recent memory.
Honorable Mention: Anthony Edwards
20 – Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson beats out RJ Barrett as the best 20-year old in the NBA. Zion is a massive young man who looks older than he really is, but his potential is bursting through the roof at 20 years old.
Zion has made his first All-Star Team in only his second season and is averaging 25.1 PPG. If Williamson continues his upward trajectory, we might be looking at one of the best power forwards ever when all is said and done.
Honorable Mention: RJ Barrett
21 – Luka Doncic
Unsurprisingly, Doncic is the best 21-year old in the league and already one of the top-10 players in the world. Luka has not helped Dallas win many games so far, but his numbers are MVP-caliber at 28.9 PPG and 9.2 APG.
Luka is already an unstoppable force in the NBA, but he has room to grow as a leader and in other areas of his game including defense. Ja Morant is the next-best 21-year old in the NBA and he is also a star player with great potential.
Honorable Mention: Ja Morant
22 – Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum is the best 22-year old ahead of Trae Young, and there is quite a distinction. Tatum’s skill level at only 22 is astonishing, and he has a chance to go down as one of the game’s greatest-ever scorers already.
Tatum is averaging 26.1 PPG this season and is only getting better. Tatum will soon start becoming one of the faces of the NBA and he is an experienced player with multiple playoff appearances despite his young age.
Honorable Mention: Trae Young
23 – Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram is doing it all for the New Orleans Pelicans, although he did not make an All-Star Team this season. Ingram is putting up 23.9 PPG this season which means he is slightly overshadowed by his teammate Zion Williamson.
Bam Adebayo is a very close honorable mention as well and has a case for usurping Ingram as well. Ingram is a better scorer so he manages to edge the All-Star center although it’s close.
Honorable Mention: Bam Adebayo
24 – Donovan Mitchell
There are so many great young players in the NBA right now, and Donovan Mitchell edges Devin Booker as the best 24-year old in the world right now. Mitchell is the best player for the best team in the NBA, and he should have a stronger case for the MVP Award this season.
The only knock against Mitchell is his subpar numbers compared to other MVP candidates but his impact has been arguably just as important.
Honorable Mention: Devin Booker
25 – Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine is an All-Star-caliber player at only 25 years old, and he has gotten better every single year. LaVine is averaging 28.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 5.1 APG for the Chicago Bulls who desperately need his scoring this season.
Karl-Anthony Towns is a special center who has a chance to be one of the game’s best centers of all-time, but he has not performed as well as LaVine has and is second place.
Honorable Mention: Karl-Anthony Towns
26 – Giannis Antetokounmpo
2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best 26-year old, beating out potential MVP favorite Nikola Jokic. Giannis is simply too dominant to not be the best at his age because he does everything well on the floor – except jump-shooting.
Once Giannis gets a consistent jumper, we might be looking at the best player in the world. As of now, he beats out Jokic as the greatest 26-year old in the world although the Serbian is not far behind.
Honorable Mention: Nikola Jokic
27 – Anthony Davis
At only 27 years of age, Anthony Davis is already on his way to a Hall of Fame career. Davis is a special player, because of his guard skills despite having the size of a center. Davis doesn’t have a single flaw in his game, and he has arguably been LeBron’s most talented teammate ever.
Davis scared Lakers Nation after injuring his Achilles, but it seems he will be out for the foreseeable future just for precaution. Davis has some competition from Bradley Beal, but he is still the best big man in the game.
Honorable Mention: Bradley Beal
28 – Kyrie Irving
At only 28 years of age, Kyrie Irving has had a very successful career already. Playing with LeBron James helped him win his first and only NBA title, and he has a shot to win his second this season with the Brooklyn Nets.
Irving is the best dribbler of all time and no player can pull off the array of ankle breakers that he possesses in his arsenal. Gobert is an All-Star this season as well, but Irving is undoubtedly the better player.
Honorable Mention: Rudy Gobert
29 – Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard was always known as the “baby” of the San Antonio Spurs earlier on in his career, and it is quite shocking to see that he is under 30 years old. Leonard is already one of the best 2-way forwards to have ever played, and he has plenty of time to add to his Hall of Fame resume.
Leonard does things on the court that no other player does, such as playing at an incredibly controlled pace and grabbing the ball in thin air with his large hands. Leonard beats out offensive star CJ McCollum here.
Honorable Mention: Paul George
30 – Damian Lillard
At 30 years old, there isn’t a better player at this age than Damian Lillard. Dame is one of the best knockdown shooters in NBA history and he is also a cold-blooded killer in the clutch. Lillard has no fear and is a major problem for opponents to prepare for because of his skill level.
Paul George doesn’t get enough credit for his bounce-back season after a down year in 2020, and many don’t realize that he suffered a catastrophic leg injury just a few years ago. But Lillard edges him as the best 30-year old in the world.
Honorable Mention: CJ McCollum
31 – James Harden
James Harden got his wish and made his way out of Houston after quitting on his team, and has a chance to be an NBA champion this year. Harden is still the best shooting guard in the NBA, despite competition from Bradley Beal, because he is such an incredible passer.
Harden has won everything there is to win in an NBA game besides an NBA title, so he is hungrier than ever. Jimmy Butler, the heart and soul of the Miami Heat, comes in at second.
Honorable Mention: Jimmy Butler
32 – Kevin Durant
There is no doubt that Kevin Durant is the best 32-year old in the NBA. In fact, he seems like he is older than that considering how long he has been dominating the NBA. Durant is a 4-time scoring champion and one of the greatest players to have ever played.
Durant edges Stephen Curry, a 2-time MVP, as the best 32-year old because he impacts the game in more areas. Durant is a unique talent and he has a legitimate shot to win his 3rd NBA title this season.
Honorable Mention: Stephen Curry
33 – Mike Conely Jr.
Conley Jr. has found his groove again after a very poor season in 2020. Conley is an excellent floor leader and defender who is very unselfish and the epitome of a team player. Conley is thriving next to Donovan Mitchell and he is one of the main reasons the Jazz are as good as they are.
Conley Jr. is not as good as he was with Memphis a few years ago, but he is a great on-ball defender who is thriving next to All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Honorable Mention: Danny Green
34 – Kyle Lowry
At 34 years old, Kyle Lowry is getting closer to the final few years of a great career. Lowry is one of the best Toronto Raptors to have ever played, and his 2019 NBA title is an achievement that will go down in history.
Lowry beats out Goran Dragic, who is very injury-prone at this stage of his career, as the best 34-year old in the league. This might also be the last season Lowry plays with the Raptors.
Honorable Mention: Goran Dragic
35 – Chris Paul
It is sad to realize that Chris Paul likely won’t be winning an NBA title before his career is up. He is the best 35-year old right now, and still one of the best point guards and floor generals in the NBA.
Chris Paul is helping Devin Booker grow into a bonafide All-Star in the NBA, and he deserves a lot of credit for making everyone around him better over his entire career. Paul beats out LaMarcus Aldridge as the best 35-year old in the NBA.
Honorable Mention: LaMarcus Aldridge
36 – LeBron James
Who else would appear on this list? Carmelo Anthony has done well to kickstart his career again, but LeBron James is still the best player in the world even at 36-years old.
James is the best player for the reigning NBA champions and he does everything well on the floor. His stat line sits at 25.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 8.1 APG which is astonishing for a player who has played 18 seasons.
Honorable Mention: Carmelo Anthony
37 – Andre Iguodala
3-time NBA champion and former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala is 37 years old this season, an astonishing age for a player that has had a long career. Iguodala is one of his generation’s best defensive players and he is the only 37-year old in the league in 2021.
40 – Udonis Haslem
The only 40-year-old in the NBA, Udonis Haslem impacts the Miami Heat even if he does not play a single minute for the remainder of the NBA season. Haslem is a Miami Heat legend, as he has remained with the franchise his entire career and won 3 NBA titles with them.
Haslem is the locker-room leader and veteran for a rather young Miami team, and the best 40-year old in the league right now.