There is nothing more exciting than to see the NBA’s top stars in the middle of a hot streak. When the best players in the world get hot, it is must-see TV. High scoring numbers and dominating performances have become the norm in today’s NBA, thanks to a league-wide initiative to allow freedom of movement that favors offensive players. As a result, we have witnessed some of the most iconic offensive moments in recent memory.
With so many sharpshooters and offensive superstars in the league, a select few stand out as the very best in the world. Here are the Top 10 most dangerous players when they are on fire.
10. Paul George
While Paul George is known as a fantastic two-way player, he can be virtually unstoppable when he is on fire. He can drain shots with ease, even with a hand in his face. To make matters worse, he has it all on offense. He is deadly with his jump shot and can attack the basket with a mix of finesse and power.
George can especially get hot from three, draining shots from anywhere on the court. In the past season, PG put up his season-high 47 points with an array of offensive moves. He also dropped a season-high 10 3-pointers, showcasing his long-range prowess.
Even though George can probably lock you up on defense, he is a nightmare to defend when he is on a hot streak.
9. Russel Westbrook
George’s former teammate, Russel Westbrook, is possibly the most unstoppable player in the league at attacking the basket. He is tremendously explosive, with a lightning first step and a vertical that matches the best guards in the game. He is also relentless and looks for any moment to finish with power. No matter if a big defender is on him, he will find a way to finish at the rim.
Even though he had a terrible season shooting the basketball, he can be deadly when he is hot. Again, Russel is unstoppable at attacking the rim. There is nobody that can stop him when he wants to get to the rim, and his jumper will even start falling when he is in the zone.
In the past season, he drained 6 3-pointers in a single game and then exploded for a 44- point performance vs Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. We are only 2 years removed from his iconic 58-point explosion, and we can probably expect a similar hot-streak from Russel again this season. When Russel gets going, there is not much you can do to stop him.
8. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving, despite his disappointing run with the Celtics, is a fantastic offensive player. He possibly has the best handles in the league and is a fantastic shooter from the perimeter. He is also a champion, with a clutch gene that helped lead the Cavaliers to their first-ever championship.
When Kyrie gets going, he is simply unstoppable. He has quick dribble moves that create space for him, and he can pretty much get open whenever he wants. When a player has this ability, you cannot stop him when he is in the zone. Kyrie can explode for 40 points pretty much at will and can put up a show for fans all over the world.
Last season, Kyrie dropped 43 points as his season-high thanks to his innate ability to free up space and drain jumpers all over the court. He also drained 40% from the 3-point line for the season, and is a bonafide marksman when left open or even with a hand in his face. Brooklyn fans will be in for some enjoyment watching Kyrie go off on defenders in 2019-2020.
7. LeBron James
LeBron James will be returning to prove that he is still the best player in the league. While this past season was a disaster for the Lakers, LeBron held his own by dropping 51 points as high season-high. LeBron is still a wrecking ball when he attacks the rim, and now has a deadly jumper. In the past, defenders could sag off slightly to prevent LeBron from attacking the rim each and every time. But LeBron has improved his jumper to the point that now makes him almost unstoppable.
LeBron’s continued dominance across the league for over a decade has cemented him as one of the best offensive players when he gets on fire. His raw strength, physicality, and scoring experience make him an extreme threat when he is on fire. He can finish at the rim, back you down, and even drain step-back three’s on a consistent basis. LeBron James is as deadly as any player in the league, even when he is approaching the ripe age of 35.
6. Devin Booker
While the Suns have been an atrocity in recent years, Devin Booker has been the shining light for the entire franchise. When Booker gets on fire, he is extremely deadly. Remember, we are only two years removed from his 70-point outburst vs the Celtics. His scoring outburst was the 7th highest scoring point total in NBA history. Not bad for a then-20-year-old.
Booker is the definition of a marksman. He is very accurate from the perimeter and can be deadly from mid-range and from three.
In this past season, Booker dropped 59 points and showcased his offensive repertoire including mid-range fadeaways, three-point prowess, and improved ability to pull up or drive. Booker has the entire package offensively, and will only get better. In the meantime, he has to settle for “only” the sixth most deadly player when he is on fire.
5. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard might be the most clutch player in the NBA. After all, he has been the demise of many franchises including the Rockets and the Thunder. In fact, he might be the one responsible for the failed Dwight Howard experiment in Houston and the break-up of contender Oklahoma City Thunder with Westbrook and George. His deep three to send Oklahoma City home in this year’s Playoffs was iconic, and teams are on high alert when Lillard has the ball in his hands with the clock winding down.
Besides his clutch performances, Lillard is a fantastic offensive player. He is a deadly shooter from everywhere past half court and can navigate in the paint to finish at the rim. He has all the tools you need and can attack or shoot at will. When Lillard is on fire, he practically cannot miss from the perimeter. He will drain shots with a hand (or two) in his face and will create space to make getting buckets second nature to him. His pairing with C.J. McCollum is one of the best backcourts in the league, and Lillard is the shining star when he is on a hot streak.
4. Kevin Durant
Before his injury, Durant was making a name for himself as the best player in the world. He improved defensively and is one of the best defenders in the league at his position. Yet, his true value is in his perfect offensive repertoire. Durant is 7-feet tall with long arms that make shooting over defenders second-nature to him. He can see over most defenders, and get buckets whenever he feels like it. He is a phenomenal shooter from everywhere on the court. He can drain threes with hands in his face, drive and finish with power or finesse, and create space with unbelievable dribble crossovers. Durant is the complete package on offense.
The only knock on Durant is his slight frame, so he cannot back down most defenders in the league. But having his soft shooting touch and nasty handles counters this weakness effectively. When Durant is on fire, he can be unstoppable. A four-time scoring champion, Durant will go down as one of the best offensive players of all time.
Durant got hot earlier this season when he dropped 51 points as effortlessly as possible in a dominating performance. Nobody can make getting 30 points at his position look as easy as Kevin Durant.
3. James Harden
What more can be said about James Harden? He is possibly the most lethal offensive player in today's NBA, thanks to his ability to draw fouls and hit three-pointers effortlessly. Harden is the epitome of a perfect analytics-based superstar and is the perfect player for the Rockets system.
When he gets on fire, all defenders will hear is the ball swishing through the net. His patented step-back three-pointer is unguardable since defenders cannot get close to him or risk the possibility for a foul call. And nobody is better at drawing fouls than James Harden. When he is in the zone, he will drain one three-pointer after another. Harden is also deadly when attacking the rim, as he has a mix of strength and speed that makes him an absolute nightmare for even the very best defenders in the world. His quick first-step is the reason why Harden can heat up so quickly.
When Harden gets going, he can take over a game by himself similar to how Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan used to do. He dropped a whopping 61 points earlier this season and had countless high-scoring performances thanks to his ability to get hot. When James Harden is on fire, most likely his team will be the one taking home the W. If it wasn’t for a certain sweet-shooting backcourt, Harden would be the most lethal offensive player in the world when he is on fire.
2. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is the greatest all-around shooter of all time. His ability to drain shots all over the court with his consistency is unrivaled. I do not believe we will see another shooter like Steph Curry again. He is just almost perfection shooting the basketball, from anywhere and at any time. Defenders have to pick him up at half-court, or else Stephen will get hot from three.
When Stephen gets hot from three, he can single-handedly turn a game in his team’s favor. He has that unique ability to win games on his own thanks to his shooting. Curry dropped 51 points this season, with a season-high 11 3-pointers. Remember, Curry also broke the (then-record, Klay has it now) record for most three-pointers in a game by nailing 13 3-pointers almost effortlessly. When Curry gets hot, he breaks records. And he does it all the time. Curry is setting himself to easily cement himself as the best three-point shooter in NBA history, by making more three-pointers than Hall-of-Famers Reggie Miller and Ray Allen.
Curry is almost a cheat code on offense, especially in today’s NBA, as evident by his team’s dominance over the league. Much of their success can be attributed to Stephen Curry and his running mate Klay Thompson.
1. Klay Thompson
While Stephen Curry is the best overall shooter in NBA history, Klay takes the cake for the most lethal player when he is hot. Klay is simply unstoppable when he is hot and can destroy opposing teams in a matter of minutes. Klay can go through moments when he just does not miss. Period. He has a perfect release and has developed a solid back-to-the-basket game that only adds to his shooting repertoire.
Nothing is more evident of Klay’s hot-streak than his recent NBA performances. He hit his first 10 3-pointers for a 44-point outburst vs the Los Angeles Lakers while breaking the NBA record for 3-pointers in a game with 14 vs the Chicago Bulls. He also iconically dropped 60 (!) points in three quarters, just by getting a rhythm on his jump shot. When Klay gets hot, he can shatter NBA records at an alarming rate. And we have seen this so many times from him. Klay is always the priority for defenders because nothing on this Earth can slow him down when he starts heating up.
What separates Klay from the rest is the fact that he can go through stretches without missing. He will hit shot after shot and will leave opponents in the dust with his shooting. Let’s hope Klay can return from his ACL injury and break some more records with his unbelievable sharpshooting.