The 2021-2022 NBA season is complete and we are looking ahead to the playoffs where the best teams will go into action against each other. We have some contenders such as the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat firmly looking towards the Finals, while teams such as the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping to shock the world.
But which individual players have stood out most during the regular season? It is time to rank the top-25 players in the game over the past year, taking into account individual performances and also their impact on their teams. It is important to note that only players with at least 50% of the season played will be considered (41 games), which means guys like Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Paul George, and Bradley Beal were not available enough to be ranked.
25. Brandon Ingram
2021-22 Season Statistics: 22.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.6 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG
It is hard to pass up on the likes of Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Dejounte Murray, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges; but Brandon Ingram grabs the 25th spot on this list. Since he made the playoffs and did it averaging nearly 23-6-5, Ingram deserves his just due.
The talented swingman has had to endure distractions with the unavailability of Zion Williamson, and yet somehow got the young Pelicans into the playoffs as the team’s best player. At age 24, there could be plenty more to come from the talented forward.
24. LaMelo Ball
2021-22 Season Statistics: 20.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 7.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG
LaMelo Ball is an absolute baller, as his father LaVar promised years ago. The point guard is a terrific passer and brings a ton of style points to the court as well. The franchise cornerstone is one of the key players for a budding Charlotte Hornets squad.
Ball missed out on a chance to make the playoffs, but he was a top-25 player in the game for the majority of the season. He has elite handles and an improving outside jumper, meaning he could become a superstar in very short order.
23. Pascal Siakam
2021-22 Season Statistics: 22.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Pascal Siakam has begun earning back the love from his fans and from the media due to his impactful play for the Toronto Raptors. The big man is very athletic, but also extremely skilled.
Siakam has guided the Toronto Raptors to an impressive 5th seed in the East, and his championship experience has shown itself on the court. The big man does a ton of things well on the court and deserves his top-25 spot.
22. Khris Middleton
2021-22 Season Statistics: 20.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Khris Middleton is the sidekick from heaven for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Khris is absolute money from deep and is one of the best defensive wings in the game. Shooting 37.3% from three, the reigning NBA champion certainly deserved his All-Star berth.
Middleton will be critical for the Milwaukee Bucks repeating this season because his floor-spacing and defensive leadership are undoubtedly great. There is no doubt Middleton is a top-25 player in the game right now.
21. Jaylen Brown
2021-22 Season Statistics: 23.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG
It has been great to watch Jaylen Brown’s evolution into an All-Star and a top-25 player in the game. The talented player has become an elite scorer around the basket and from the perimeter, while also adding excellent defense as well.
Brown and Jayson Tatum have formed one of the best duos in the league, and time is still on their side as they continue to add playoff experience. Jaylen Brown is an All-Star player for the Celtics and that won’t change anytime soon.
20. Zach LaVine
2021-22 Season Statistics: 24.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Alongside DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine has brought some excitement back to the city of Chicago for the first time since the prime Derrick Rose days. An elite shooter and scorer, LaVine is one of the most exciting players in the world.
Taking away his team’s record, LaVine is one of the most impactful players in the league. He is the perfect complement to DeRozan because he can space the floor from way downtown and also attack the rim with force and explosiveness.
19. Rudy Gobert
2021-22 Season Statistics: 15.6 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 2.1 BPG
The Frenchman is a terrific defensive player because he combines insane length and size with a very high basketball IQ. Thanks to Gobert’s presence inside, the Utah Jazz feel they have a contending roster.
Rudy is not the most stylish player to watch nor the most offensively talented, but he is certainly an impact player with 3 Defensive Player of the Year awards to his name. An elite shot blocker and the league’s rebound leader, Gobert is a top center in the league.
18. Karl-Anthony Towns
2021-22 Season Statistics: 24.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Karl-Anthony Towns is a special talent at the center position because he brings guard-like skills to the game along with some of the best shooting ever. After winning the 3-Point Contest, Towns is already one of the best shooting bigs ever.
But Towns can do more than just shoot, as his numbers clearly indicate. He is a perfect modern-day big man who can run the floor, rebound, and also pass the ball to his shooters. It will be very interesting to see how Towns performs in the postseason this year.
17. James Harden
2021-22 Season Statistics: 22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 10.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG
This hasn’t been James Harden’s best season by any means, and the shooting guard will be the first to admit it. The Beard is averaging putrid shooting percentages (40.2% FG, 32.6% 3-PT FG) and has seemingly lost a step in his athleticism.
But even with all these things remaining true, Harden is an incredible talent at the guard position. The Beard is one of the best passers in the game and can still get to the line almost whenever he wants. The former MVP just needs to get back into his usual form to once again be considered a top-10 player in the world, he just hasn’t shown it this season.
16. Bam Adebayo
2021-22 Season Statistics: 19.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG
One of the contenders for Defensive Player of the Year, Bam Adebayo has been a stalwart for the Miami Heat all season long. The active center is slightly undersized, but his impact is enormous.
Bam is a very smart basketball player because he can pass, rebound, shoot, and also score around the rim. For years, Erik Spoelstra was high on the big man and it has paid off. There is no doubt Bam is a top-20 player in the game right now.
15. Donovan Mitchell
2021-22 Season Statistics: 25.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG
The shooting guard has had his critics, whether it is down to his lack of passing to Rudy Gobert or failing to lead the Jazz in games where his team has big leads.
But there is no denying that Donovan Mitchell is an All-Star guard with a very bright future. He is improving as a scorer and a leader, with the next steps being his growth as a passer and lockdown defender. Mitchell can replicate Dwyane Wade’s game, he just needs to show it.
14. DeMar DeRozan
2021-22 Season Statistics: 27.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Things aren’t looking too great for the Chicago Bulls this season, because they have fallen into the 7th seed. That means the Bulls have to take on reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks without Lonzo Ball.
But that shouldn’t take away from DeMar DeRozan’s greatness as a talent, because he put forth his best season yet. A clutch performer and unstoppable mid-range scorer, DeMar will rightfully make an All-NBA Team this year.
13. Trae Young
2021-22 Season Statistics: 28.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 9.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Trae Young’s efficiency is often questioned, but his numbers are out of this world. Despite being a miniature guard, Young is absolutely unstoppable with the ball in his hands. That means his relatively high turnover rate (4.0 TOV) can be overlooked considering what he brings to the table offensively.
Young has somehow carried the Atlanta Hawks into the postseason after the team struggled on both ends of the court all year. Young is the next version of Stephen Curry because teams have to scramble to stop him as soon as he crosses half-court.
12. Chris Paul
2021-22 Season Statistics: 14.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 10.8 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
At his age, Chris Paul likely won’t put up the numbers he used to average with the Hornets many years ago. But he doesn’t have to. All Paul needs to do is win games, and very few do it better than he does. After all, the point guard was the catalyst behind the Phoenix Suns squad that made the Finals last year.
CP3 will finish the season as the assist leader, and no player has been more consistent in making his teammates better than the future Hall of Famer. If he wins the chip this year, Paul’s legacy will take a huge jump.
11. Jayson Tatum
2021-22 Season Statistics: 26.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG
After a poor start to the season for Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics, things are looking bright for one of the most storied franchises. The forward is having an amazing season offensively, putting up monster numbers on the court and carrying the Celtics to the postseason.
Tatum has grown bigger and stronger, and will soon be one of the best players in the world. As of right now, he is not quite in the top-10 but should be in the conversation as early as next year. His offensive game has taken leaps and so has his playmaking, which means he is becoming an all-around star before our eyes.
10. Ja Morant
2021-22 Season Statistics: 27.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG
The point guard has become a superstar before our very eyes, and it is hard to argue against that. Much like a young Allen Iverson, Morant blows by defenders anytime he wants and has elite finishing ability. Is there a more exciting player in the game right now?
But Ja is showing something rare for such a young player: leadership. The explosive guard has made the Memphis Grizzlies believe they can win it all, and that is why the roster is built on hard work and a desire to win.
9. Jimmy Butler
2021-22 Season Statistics: 21.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Jimmy Butler does not always make it look attractive, but he is a player who helps you win games. His elite defense cannot be understated, and his all-around impact has taken the Miami Heat to the best record in the East.
An All-Star caliber offensive player, Butler brings two-way dynamics to the court that can only be rivaled or usurped by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Kawhi Leonard (when healthy). If Jimmy can prove his on-court spat with Erik Spoelstra is water under the bridge by making the Finals again, he can regain some of the lost respect from fans and media who believe he is a difficult locker-room character.
8. Devin Booker
2021-22 Season Statistics: 26.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG
His teammate, Chris Paul, receives the bulk of the credit for the terrific season by the Phoenix Suns because he essentially changed the culture of the franchise. Perhaps no player has benefited more from that than All-Star Devin Booker.
The shooting guard has begun raising MVP chatter about his consistent play because he is one of the most unstoppable players in the league right now. An elite scorer from anywhere on the court, Booker is officially a top-10 player.
7. LeBron James
2021-22 Season Statistics: 30.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Nobody could have predicted that LeBron James would be this good at age 37, let alone come close to winning a scoring title. The King could have easily won the scoring title if he played a couple of meaningless games, but the Lakers were bounced from the playoffs.
Rather, James will be watching the postseason at home. At age 37 and going on 38, James is still a top-10 player in the world and his scoring numbers have actually improved as he has aged this year.
6. Luka Doncic
2021-22 Season Statistics: 28.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Luka Doncic is doing magical things with the Dallas Mavericks because he is having a similar impact that a young LeBron James had with the Cleveland Cavaliers many years ago. In terms of a triple-double impact, few do it better than Luka because it is actually leading to wins.
While it is far too soon to compare Luka with LeBron, the Slovenian is simply a top-10 player in the game. He can pass or score the ball with ease, and must be double-teamed to stop him from taking over games at the young age of 23 years old.
5. Stephen Curry
2021-22 Season Statistics: 25.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG
The greatest point guard in the world is dealing with injury issues, but he is an impact player for a title-contending Golden State Warriors squad. Not to mention, he might be the most popular NBA player in the world right now.
The greatest three-point shooter ever should be healthy in due time, and once he hits the court, he will go back to winning games on the account of his unstoppable range. There is some pressure on Stephen Curry this year because critics want him to make the Finals and win his first Finals MVP award before the end of his career.
4. Joel Embiid
2021-22 Season Statistics: 30.6 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.5 BPG
Easily a top-2 center in the game and a top-5 player in the world, Joel Embiid is having his best season yet. The big man is averaging a career-high in APG, as he begins to show new aspects of his game.
Joel needs his teammates to help him in the playoffs because he has the talent to lead them to the Finals with enough support. He is the most elite offensive big man in terms of scoring, and only one center is ahead of him in the NBA right now.
3. Nikola Jokic
2021-22 Season Statistics: 27.1 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 7.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.9 BPG
Nikola Jokic does not earn a lot of style points from his peers or even the fans, but he is a top-3 player in the world right now. Everything he does, he does it to impact winning for his injury-ridden team.
Without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr, Jokic has carried the Denver Nuggets into the playoffs yet again. The Serbian is the best passer at the center position that we have ever seen and could be the frontrunner for the MVP award.
2. Kevin Durant
2021-22 Season Statistics: 29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 6.4 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG
Still the most unstoppable scorer from anywhere on the court, Kevin Durant is a top-two talent in the league when he is healthy. Of course, this season has been a difficult one for him and the Brooklyn Nets. Despite injury struggles and constant team distractions, KD has been outstanding on the court.
But KD is healthy and ready to do the unthinkable by trying to reach the Eastern Conference Finals as a play-in side. Durant is so great, that he has the capabilities to take the Nets there. So far this season, Durant has been his usual unstoppable self through 55 games.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
2021-22 Season Statistics: 29.9 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.4 BPG
There is no doubt the Greek Freak is the king of the NBA right now because he is one of the favorites for the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards after winning the NBA championship last year.
An elite two-way superstar with the ability to dominate on the glass or with his playmaking as well, no player checks all the boxes as Giannis does. The rest of the league must watch out because Antetokounmpo is coming for the NBA title again.