10 Best Active NBA Players Who Deserve A Ring

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10 Best Active NBA Players Who Deserve A Ring

In today’s NBA world, you could earn the regular season MVP 10 years in a row and it still wouldn’t matter enough if you didn’t win an NBA championship ring to pair with it. The whole mentality that championships are everything has been a mentality among analysts for years. It has been used to diminish careers that should go down as legendary.

In the past, we have seen players like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Patrick Ewing lose stock in their legacy because they never won an NBA championship. Flash forward to the present, we are starting to see that strain on some of our current superstars.

Some of the best players indeed need that championship bling to climb the all-time rankings list. Just ask LeBron James how that feels each year. However, there are some players in the league that has put in the same amount of blood, sweat, and tears trying to win a championship.

For that, these 10 players deserve to win a ring.


Honorable Mention


Paul George

Stats: 20.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Jalen Rose Says Paul George Is Not A Superstar- "He's Not Even The Best Player On His Team."

Teams: Indiana Pacers (2010-2016), Oklahoma City Thunder (2017-2018), Los Angeles Clippers (2019-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 0

Playoffs Record:

2011 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2012 - Lost 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

2013 - Lost 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals

2014 - Lost 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals

2016 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2017 - Lost 4-0 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2018 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2019 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2020 - Lost 4-3 in the Western Conference Semifinals

When George was an up-and-coming superstar with the Indiana Pacers, he helped the team make the Eastern Conference Finals two straight seasons in 2013 and 2014. The combination of Roy Hibbert, David West, and George was a formidable defensive unit. The problem was that the Pacers couldn’t take down the three-headed monster that was the Miami Heat with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

Since then, George has been a first-round playoff fallout with the exception of last season’s second-round appearance with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are in a fight with the Utah Jazz for the rights to the Conference Finals. Can George finally make his way back on top?


10. DeMar DeRozan

Stats: 20.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG

(via Bleacher Report)

(via Bleacher Report)

Teams: Toronto Raptors (2009-2017), San Antonio Spurs (2018-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 0

Playoffs Record:

2014 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2015 - Lost 4-0 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2016 - Lost 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals

2017 - Lost 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

2018 - Lost 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

2019 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2021 - Lost in the Western Conference Playoffs Play-In Game

DeRozan is one of the best 20-point scorers in the league to never have made the NBA Finals. When DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were together in Toronto, the Raptors were playing some of their best basketball in team history, even making the Conference Finals in 2016.

DeRozan deserves a championship because he was the crown jewel in the 2018 trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto, which blossomed into the franchise’s first NBA championship. After years of DeRozan losing to LeBron James in the playoffs, we could see a potential partnership this year. DeRozan is a free agent, LeBron has two years left with the Lakers, and DeRozan is from Los Angeles. Sounds like a match made for each other.


9. Nikola Jokic

Stats: 18.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Nikola Jokic

Teams: Denver Nuggets (2015-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 0

Playoffs Record:

2019 - Lost 4-3 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2020 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals

2021 - Lost 4-0 in the Western Conference Semifinals

The 2021 MVP just didn’t have enough of a supporting cast to even get a win in the 2021 playoffs. The Denver Nuggets were just swept by the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, but you can’t hang a lot of the blame on Jokic. Without Jamal Murray, the Nuggets were banged up offensively and Jokic did everything in his power to get the team over the hump.

Jokic, a former second-round pick, has battled every type of adversity from being overlooked to carrying the Nuggets franchise to playoff contention each year. He’s one of the most skilled big men we have ever seen, and the reigning MVP, so of course we would love to see him win a ring.


8. Jimmy Butler

Stats: 17,4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Jimmy Butler

Teams: Chicago Bulls (2011-2016), Minnesota Timberwolves (2017-2018), Philadelphia 76ers (2018), Miami Heat (2019-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 1 (2020)

Playoffs Record:

2012 - Lost 0-3 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2013 - Lost 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

2014 - Lost 4-1 in the first round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2015 - Lost 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

2017 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2018 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2019 - Lost 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

2020 - Lost 4-2 in the NBA Finals

2021 - Lost 4-0 in the First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs

Butler has led three different NBA franchises to the playoffs with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Miami Heat. It’s honestly a great debate in determining which is more impressive: helping Minnesota make the playoffs for the first time in 14 years or carrying an underrated Heat team to the NBA Finals last year.

Butler gives everything he has on the court on both sides. He is one of the best leaders in the game. He has a “Chris Paul effect” on his team. Hopefully, he doesn’t have to wait as long as CP3.


7. Carmelo Anthony

Stats: 23.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Carmelo Anthony Gives Inspiring Post-Game Speech After Cracking The NBA's Top-10 Scoring List

Teams: Denver Nuggets (2003-2010), New York Knicks (2010-2016), Oklahoma City Thunder (2017), Houston Rockets (2018), Portland Trail Blazers (2019-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 0

Playoffs Record:

2004 - Lost 3-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2005 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2006 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2007 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2008 - Lost 4-0 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2009 - Lost 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals

2010 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2011 - Lost 4-0 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2012 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2013 - Lost 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

2018 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2020 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2021 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs

At 37 years old, Anthony’s time is running out. He was written off a year ago before making a comeback with the Trail Blazers. He is nowhere near the elite scorer he used to be, but can still contribute at a high level off the bench.

Anthony nearly made the NBA Finals when he was a member of the Denver Nuggets, but lost to the Lakers in 2009. Since then, he has made the second round only one time. Given all the work Anthony has put into his long NBA career, it appears that he is close to joining the likes of Barkley, Malone, and Ewing.


6. Derrick Rose

Stats:18.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.5 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Derrick Rose Responds After Leading Knicks To Playoff Win- "I’m Just Very Blessed And Fortunate To Be In This Situation.”

Teams: Chicago Bulls (2008-2015), New York Knicks (2016), Cleveland Cavaliers (2017), Minnesota Timberwolves (2017-2018), Detroit Pistons (2019-2021), New York Knicks (2021-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 0

Playoffs Record:

2009 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2010 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2011 - Lost 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals

2012 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2015 - Lost 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

2018 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs

2021 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs

Everyone wants to see Derrick Rose win an NBA championship. How can you not cheer for this guy? Two major surgeries altered the shape of his career, yet Rose battled back and was the main offensive weapon for the New York Knicks this past season.

Many believe that the Bulls would have won a championship had Rose not suffered his ACL injury in 2012. At just 22 years old, Rose won the MVP and helped the Bulls make the Conference Finals before losing to the Miami Heat’s Big 3 of Lebron, Bosh, and Wade. Rose is just 32 years old with what appears to be a healthy body. Some contender needs to sign for his services.


5. Russell Westbrook

Stats: 23.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 8.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Credit: USATSI

Credit: USATSI

Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-2018), Houston Rockets (2019), Washington Wizards (2020-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 1 (2012)

Playoffs Record:

2010 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs

2011 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals

2012 - Lost 4-1 in the NBA Finals

2013 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2014 - Lost 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals

2016 - Lost 4-3 in the Western Conference Finals

2017 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2018 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2019 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2020 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2021 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

Westbrook couldn’t bring Oklahoma City that exclusive championship. In 2012, a young trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Westbrook made the NBA Finals but was defeated by LeBron, Wade, and Bosh to give LeBron his first-ever championship. Since then, Westbrook was so close to making it back.

Even when Durant bolted for the Golden State Warriors to form a superteam, Westbrook won an MVP and averaged a triple-double in his first year without Durant. There is no debate about Westbrook’s hustle on the court. His hard work should be rewarded with a championship.


4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Stats: 20.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.3 BPG

Giannis Antetokounmpo 2017

Teams: Milwaukee Bucks (2013-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 0

Playoffs Record:

2015 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2017 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2018 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of Eastern Conference Playoffs

2019 - Lost 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals

2020 - Lost 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals

Giannis is the only active two-time MVP to not have a championship. In the last 20 years, only Allen Iverson, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Nikola Jokic have won an MVP but not an NBA championship.

Since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left the Bucks in 1975, the city hasn’t seen a player of his caliber since Giannis arrived. Currently, the Bucks are tied with the Brooklyn Nets for a spot in the Conference Finals. If Giannis can take down this superteam of Kevin Durant, Harden, and Kyrie Irving, it would be a great accomplishment, but he would still need one more series to make his first-ever NBA Finals appearance. It’s about time the MVP gets that chance.


3. James Harden

Stats: 25.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 PG

Charles Barkley On James Harden- "He's The Best One-On-One Player I May Have Ever Seen."

Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder (2009-2012), Houston Rockets (2012-2020), Brooklyn Nets (2020-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 1 (2012)

Playoffs Record:

2010 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2011 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals

2012 - Lost 4-1 in the NBA Finals

2013 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2014 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2015 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals

2016 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2017 - Lost 4-2 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2018 - Lost 4-3 in the Western Conference Finals

2019 - Lost 4-2 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2020 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals

When Harden left Oklahoma City, he wanted to be the number one option for a team. In Houston, he was exactly that. He won an MVP, led the league in scoring three consecutive years, and had the Rockets as a yearly contender for the playoffs. Harden’s beard was an international hit, but he was unable to make a single NBA Finals appearance.

Harden lost to the Golden State Warriors in 2015 and was one game away from taking down the Warriors in 2018. Some say that Harden was 'one Chris Paul injured shoulder away' from taking down the 2018 NBA champions. Instead, Harden owns every possible award out there besides an NBA ring.


2. Damian Lillard

Stats: 24.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG

(via @trailblazers)

(via @trailblazers)

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers (2012-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 0

Playoffs Record:

2014 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2015 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2016 - Lost 4-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2017 - Lost 4-0 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2018 - Lost 4-0 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2019 - Lost 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals

2020 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2021 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

For traditional NBA fans, Lillard is a fan favorite. Since the movement towards forming superteams, Lillard has stayed true to the city of Portland. He could have left to join the likes of Dallas or Los Angeles in the past, but elected to stay loyal to the team that originally drafted him.

Lillard has consistently helped Portland make the playoffs, including a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2019. However, there are questions regarding Lillard’s future now that his only coach in his career, Terry Stotts, was removed from his position. Lillard is about one year away from breaking Clyde Drexler’s all-time points record. Will he continue to stay loyal to Portland, or is it time that Lillard finds a new team at the age of 30?


1. Chris Paul

Stats: 18.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.4 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG

(via NBA.com)

(via NBA.com)

Teams: New Orleans Pelicans (2005-2010), Los Angeles Clippers (2011-2016), Houston Rockets (2017-2018), Oklahoma City Thunder (2019), Phoenix Suns (2020-Present)

NBA Finals Appearances: 0

Playoffs Record:

2008 - Lost 4-3 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2009 - Lost 4-1 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2011 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2012 - Lost 4-0 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2013 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2014 - Lost 4-2 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2015 - Lost 4-3 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2016 - Lost 4-2 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2017 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

2018 - Lost 4-3 in the Western Conference Finals

2019 - Lost 4-2 in the Western Conference Semifinals

2020 - Lost 4-3 in the First Round of Western Conference Playoffs

Only a few players have faced more scrutiny than Chris Paul. When Paul left New Orleans, he was considered a sellout. When he played in Los Angeles, he was considered a bust because “lob city” couldn’t even make it to the Conference Finals. In 2018, Paul and Harden were one game away from taking down the Golden State Warriors dynasty, but an injured shoulder had him play one of his worst games.

Over the last few years, Paul has proven that he is the best leader in the league. In 2020, Paul helped lead a rebuilding OKC team that had just shipped Russell Westbrook to make the playoffs and stretch a series with the Rockets to seven games. This year, Paul helped the Suns, a non-qualifying playoff team last year, record the No. 2 overall records in the Western Conference.

Paul just helped the Suns sweep the Nuggets on Sunday with one of his best games in the last two years with 37 points. The Suns are in the Western Conference Finals for only the second time in Paul’s career. After the rollercoaster ride to get to this moment, will the basketball Gods finally let Paul win a championship?