Top 20 Players Heading into the 2021-2022 NBA Seasonby John Devereaux September 26, 2021 0 comments
It is that time of the year, where every publication releases its top player lists. Everyone has different views on how players rank. Players are expected to take a leap forward, especially younger players who flashed excellence in the prior season. Considering every player in the NBA, the list is comprised of players who will start the season decently healthy.
Kawhi Leonard who is a top player in the NBA will not be listed here as he will miss the majority of the season. What went into the making of this list was the player’s previous season’s performance. If a player showed flashes, it should be expected that this upcoming season they improve. Here are the top 20 players in the NBA going into the 2021-2022 season.
20. Jaylen Brown | SG | Boston Celtics
The most underrated player in the NBA is the Boston Celtics starting small forward Jaylen Brown. Brown is capable of scoring 40 points in under 20 minutes while guarding the opposing team’s best player. The versatile wing has shown big improvements every season. After an All-Star caliber season last year, its expected that he will take another leap into possibly the All-NBA category. Brown will fight with Tatum for the best player on the Boston Celtics this season.
19. Bradley Beal | SG | Washington Wizards
Free Bradley Beal from his loyalty to the Washington Wizards. Beal is a tremendous shooter and playmaker. The team around him is very lackluster and dull of talent. The guard has been elite offensively and deserves to be on a team that will utilize his talents. Beal will go into this season firing up every shot possible, and with his shooting ability, the league could see a new face on many shooting records.
18. Kyrie Irving | PG | Brooklyn Nets
This will shock many, as Kyrie Irving is one of the league’s most entertaining players to watch. The guard has one of the best handles in the league and is a very talented shooter. However, his attitude and injury history hinders his placement on the list. A player should be communicating with his teammates at all times, and when Irving decides that he does not want to play for personal reasons, his team should be the first to know. Talent-wise Irving is in the top fifteen of the league. But with his terrible attitude and work effort attached to his recent injury history, the guard finds himself lower.
17. Chris Paul | PG | Phoenix Suns
The best true point guard in the league. Chris Paul is the smartest NBA player in the league. The way is capable of leading a team, and running an offense is incredible. He is quick to switch and call out offensive plays on defense and can rework a whole offense if something is slightly off. If the ball is in Paul’s hands, the chances of winning the game are significantly increased. Paul brings a winning record to every franchise he plays for. Phoenix became a championship-caliber team due to Paul’s influence.
16. Paul George | SG | Los Angeles Clippers
Paul George will be the new face of the Los Angeles Clippers. With Kyrie Leonard missing most of the season due to a knee injury, George will have to be the leader of the team. The forward has been struggling to stay consistent since joining the team in 2019. On his good days, he is nearly unstoppable and showing flashes of his MVP caliber days back in Oklahoma City and Indiana. He is a great defender and a tremendous shooter, and if given the keys for the season George could reignite his old ways.
15. Devin Booker | SG | Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker had a great season, as he and the Phoenix Suns dominated the regular season and reached the NBA Finals. Booker was the best offensive player on the team, as he led the team in scoring. The guard looked dominant throughout the season, and with the experience and taste of the playoffs and Finals, expect Booker to take even another step in offensive production.
14. Jimmy Butler | SF | Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler is the best leader in the NBA. Every team that he has been on the team drastically improves. His leadership to command a team is second to none, and adding his production both offensively and defensively makes him irreplaceable to a franchise. The forward’s confidence matches his production. With a more ball-dominant guard alongside him this season in Kyle Lowry, Butler will be able to freely move around not having to deal with setting up the play. Giving him more energy to focus defensively.
13. Donovan Mitchell | SG | Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell is on pace to be this generation’s, Dwayne Wade. A high flyer, that posterizes anyone in his way. A competitor to the end, Mitchell is a well-rounded player. A very underrated player in general, Mitchell is capable of leading a franchise to the best record in the NBA. The Utah Jazz has been a ridiculously great team in the regular season, due to Mitchell’s production.
12. Trae Young | PG | Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young came into the league with questions. Was he too skinny and small to make the NBA, his shooting could be too streaky to find meaningful minutes in the NBA. Well, after last season it is safe to say that Young will be the league’s next best offensive powerhouse. He is a mix of Curry and Harden, as he is shifty with the ball and flashy with his passing. A deadly shooter who not only dominates a game offensively but can demoralize a whole franchise.
11. Jayson Tatum | PF | Boston Celtics
Some might believe this is too high for Jayson Tatum. However, Tatum has been improving every single season. He was robbed of an All-NBA team last season. Tatum is capable of carrying a team solely on his offense. Is ranked as one of the best shooters from last season, especially with difficult and clutch shots. The forward will take another leap forward is will be a dark horse for the MVP if the Boston Celtics regain their stride.
10. Damian Lillard | PG | Portland Trailblazers
The most clutch player since Jordan and Reggie Miller. The fourth quarter belongs to Damian Lillard. To the point, where they should rename the fourth quarter to “Dame Time”. Lillard has been phenomenal and is very underrated as a defender. Although he might not have the numbers, he is guarding Curry and Paul throughout the game.
9. Luka Doncic | PG | Dallas Mavericks
At age 22, Luke Doncic is within the NBA’s top ten players. In his first three seasons, the guard averaged 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game. Those numbers are better than what LeBron James and Michael Jordan did in their first three seasons. Doncic has been in the MVP conversation since his first season in the league. What hinders him from being higher on the list is his lackluster season shooting the three-ball and his defensive effort.
8. Nikola Jokic | C | Denver Nuggets
The reigning MVP Nikola Jokic might be seemingly low. How can the MVP be number eight? Jokic is a triple-double machine, he is above average at every aspect of the game. However, he is not a top three or even five in most categories. Jokic is a great player and had a historic season last year. The NBA is just filled with very talented players.
7. Joel Embiid | C | Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid was the runner-up to the MVP last season. He was unguardable in the paint both offensively and defensively. A rare sight in this era of the NBA, as Embiid, thrives mostly in the paint. One of the strongest players in the league, with a soft touch with his jump shot. If Embiid was more consistent with his three-point attempts, and percentage his stock would be higher. With Ben Simmons possibly leaving the Philadelphia franchise, the league could see even more production from the best center in the league.
6. Anthony Davis | PF | Los Angles Lakers
Just like Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis deals with injuries nearly every season. When Davis is on the court, he is the most dominant power forward in the league. At 6’11, he is capable of playing on the ball like a guard, while still being able to play physically in the post. He has a shooting touch of a splash brother and the defense of wing. If not easily fragile, Davis is arguably the best player in the league.
5. James Harden | SG | Brooklyn Nets
James Harden has become a more sound player every season that he plays. Offensively Harden is unstoppable, as he is a threat with the ball from any point on the court. His playmaking has been steadily improving to the point where he finishes in the top ten for assists.
4. Stephen Curry | PG | Golden State Warriors
Everyone has witnessed what Stephen Curry did to the game. As he became one of the most influential players this league has ever seen. Curry’s shooting ability is not even close to another player from past to present. Curry with an injury-riddled roster, was able to lead his team to the play-in tournament. He is still the best shooter in the league, and with more talent around him, his overall play will return to his MVP days.
3. Kevin Durant | SF | Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant was unstoppable this season, the only thing stopping him is himself. As he was just an inch away from beating the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs. Offensively Durant is arguably the best to ever grace the court. Standing at nearly seven feet tall, and being able to move like a 6’1 point guard. Injuries will always hinder Durant’s ability to be the best player in the NBA
2. LeBron James | SF | Los Angles Lakers
James took a bit of a dive last season. Mostly due to injuries that he had to deal with throughout the season. Even though James had a bit of a decline in play, he still averaged great numbers. At age 36, the forward averaged 25 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game. The last time we saw James struggle was in 2018 during his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. The following year he would bounce back and win a championship with the team
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo | SF | Milwaukee Bucks
This should not come to many as a surprise, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the most dominant player in the league. The Greek Freak was the first player since Michael Jordan to win an MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award (DPOY). At the age of 26, Antetokounmpo has won a championship, won two MVPs, a DPoY, and a Most Improved Player award.
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