Left-handers are a rare breed. Only 10% of the world are left-handed, so that means that only a handful of players enter the league as a southpaw. In the basketball world, only 34 of the 400-plus players in the NBA were lefties. Along with those stats, it found that lefties were also winners, finishing with half a victory more than right-handed players.
If you look at last year’s All-Star Game, more than half of the list made the All-Star team, while eight of the 10 players have made at least one appearance. Here is a look at the 10 best left-handed players in the NBA for this season.
10. Goran Dragic
Dragic made his debut in the basketball world when he was 17 years old in the EuroLeague. Since then, Dragic has been a complementary point guard for each team he has been a part of in his career. Dragic owns one All-Star appearance, 2018, while he is the 2014 Most Improved Player of the Year.
After joining the Miami Heat in 2015, he became a fan favorite in town for his toughness. Dragic was a productive piece when the team made the NBA Finals in 2020. Dragic converts a high percentage of shots in the lane, which is where he typically lives on the court. His reputation as a playmaker speaks for itself, while his bread and butter is in transition.
9. D’Angelo Russell
A former All-American, Russell has yet to find his footing as a starter or bench player in the league. He is a former All-Star with 20-point per the game potential. Despite it feeling like he has been in the league for years, Russell is only 25 years old, making him a longtime veteran of the league.
Russell is an instinctive playmaker that has bulked up his size. His court vision has improved over the years. While his handles do not get the recognition they deserve, he pushes the ball well, is hard to guard, and distributes at a high rate. He remains a lackluster defender in the league, but his offensive upside is what keeps him on the court at high volumes.
8. RJ Barrett
Barrett enters his third season in the league with a lot of promise. After averaging over 17 points per game last year, while shooting over 40% from three-point range, Barrett looks to lead the Knicks back to the playoffs. Barrett is an efficient shooter that brings a defensive upside onto the court. Look at Barrett like a left-handed Luol Deng with a higher ceiling.
For Barrett to move up the list, he will need to prove that he is an All-Star caliber player in this league. At 21 years old, Barrett has had to grow up very fast. He can finish in the paint and score from outside, but you never hear his name when it comes to finishing games because of the surrounding personnel. Barrett is one year away from a contract year, so this will be the year that we see the best out of him.
7. De’Aaron Fox
Despite not even making an All-Star team, the Kings shelled out max contract money to Fox. With that said, Fox is a pretty darn good basketball player that would likely be a multi-All-Star if he was on another team. Fox is potentially the fastest player in the league. In transition, it’s very difficult to stop him.
When Fox first entered the league, some of his comparisons were being drawn to John Wall and Dennis Schroder. As a scorer, Fox reigns supreme after averaging 25.2 points per game. His outside shooting needs work, but he makes up for it in playmaking. Fox is a natural shooting guard but has averaged over six assists the last four seasons. With a true point guard in town in Tyrese Haliburton, maybe Fox could score 30 points per game one day.
6. Domantas Sabonis
Sabonis is a double-double machine, ranking in the top-5 last year. He is also known to secure the occasional triple-double as well. Needless to say, when the Pacers traded Paul George to the Thunder, the Pacers got the better long-term option at the end of that deal. Simply put, with that Sabonis displays at 6-foot-11, he is a great value Nikola Jokic at times.
As a rebounder, Sabonis makes a case as the best. He averages the most rebounds out of the entire lefty crew. As a passer, he could make a good argument for the top too. The way he sees the cutters almost feels like he is a point forward. Sabonis needs to prove he can lead a team himself before he moves up the rankings though. As of now, his playoff resume is very bleak.
5. Mike Conley Jr.
Conley gets the nod at No. 5 because Conley has done quite a bit in his stellar career. Conley left the Memphis Grizzlies as the all-time leader in scoring. He also holds franchise records for assists and steals. Conley is a pretty solid shooter, showing that in the Three-Point Contest where he narrowly lost to Steph Curry 28-27 in the finals last year. Altogether, Conley is a true package at point guard.
On the floor, Conley had one of the best first steps when he first came out of Ohio State. Many forget that Conely is a former 2007 No. 4 overall pick. He’s made an All-Defensive Team as well and has been given the Sportsmanship Award three times. Conley has made it as far as the Conference Finals in 2013. He looks to make his first NBA Finals this year with the Jazz.
4. Julius Randle
Despite a first-round playoff loss last year, Randle did so much to help lift the Knicks franchise from the gutter that we can look past it. Randle won Most Improved Player of the Year last season. From 2014-2020, Randle never averaged more than 3.6 assists per game. Last year, he jumped that total up to 6.0. That also included his three-point shooting percentage up to 40%.
Despite being listed as a power forward, Randle averaged a line of 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and shot 41% from three-point range. Randle saw that the league was evolving so he evolved his game as well. He can shoot, pass, and rebound. Sometimes, he will run the floor. The fans in New York haven’t been this excited about a big game since the days of Patrick Ewing.
3. Ben Simmons
Saw what you want about the outside shooting of Ben Simmons, but he is a three-time All-Star for a reason. Simmons owns a career average of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists. While these are not exactly triple-double numbers, they are pretty dang close. He is the best rebounding point guard in the league. He is a fantastic passer, almost too good, which is why he passes up wide-open shots.
His career 14.7% shooting from three is a major concern. With that said, Simmons was the runner-up in Defensive Player of the Year last year. He does a lot, which is why he has the second-most All-Star nods compared to anyone on this list. If he is so bad, then why was he selected? There is more to the game than shooting threes. He needs to develop that shot, no question, but we should remember that he is a top player in this league regardless.
2. Zion Williamson
In his first full season, Williamson averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and shot 61.1% from the field. Since his rookie season, a name that has floated around is Charles Barkley when you think of comparisons to Williamson’s game. It appears that Williamson could be a better version, especially after what he has shown at the young age of 21 years old.
In transition, Williamson looks like he can use both hands, but his force is very hard to stop. He has a high basketball IQ, his defense can look lockdown at times, while his overall athleticism is his greatest trait. Imagine stopping Shaq or Barkley back in the day. You remember how great their right hand was. It’s nearly the same, but just on the other hand.
1. James Harden
Harden is one of the best left-handed basketball players we have ever seen, period. With an MVP, three scoring titles, and a trophy case full of other individual awards, Harden is a walking triple-double on a nightly basis when he is healthy. Harden believes that his left hand is why he is the player he is today. If guarding left-handed players wasn't hard enough, Harden took it up a notch with his play.
Harden once averaged 36.1 points per game, in a stretch that featured three straight years of at least 30.0 points per game or more. He is also a dynamic playmaker, averaging double-digit assists twice in his career. He is one of the best to ever do it. He’s not the best, as Bill Russell has that title wrapped up. When it comes to the modern era, Harden is in a league of his own. If he can win a championship, he could make his way towards a spot near Russell though.