Top 10 NBA Players List 2021
Who will be the NBA’s best players in the 2020–21 season? Webbspy‘s Top 10 list of best NBA players in 2021 returns, which aims at answering that question.
As always, with a host of eligible individuals, this is a wide-ranging exercise. There is an abundance of available knowledge and analytical tools for assessing players. Again, the rankings were holistically calculated by a mixture of data and subjective assessment, aimed at taking players out of their team contexts and looking in a vacuum at their abilities and results. These rankings are solely for the upcoming season, and the long-term futures or career arcs of players past 2020-21 are not taken into account.
Based on performance history and the influence of a player’s age, it is better to look at these rankings as short-term estimates. Some improvement can be expected from younger players, and a degree of possible regression from older veterans. This is not a measure of the trade or market value of a player and does not account for the effect of his salary in relation to his performance. The ranking seeks to account for the full effect of a player on offense, safety, systemic, and otherwise and appears to reward those with the most malleable skill sets.
Top 10 Best NBA Players in the World 2021
Here are the top 10 NBA Players right now in 2021:
- Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets
- James Harden – Houston Rockets
- Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
- Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
- Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets
- Kawhi Leonard – Los Angeles Clippers
- Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks
- Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
- Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers
- LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers
10. Nikola Jokic
Previous rank: 7
2020-21 projected RPM: 4.3*
Nikola Jokic is one of the Top 10 Best NBA Players in the World 2021. When Jokic turned up trim for the seeding games and helped guide the Nuggets to their first conference finals since 2009, a slow start to the season was a distant remembrance. Jokic explained along the way how he supports his team in many ways. Jokic averaged 26.3 points against the Utah Jazz, who had tried to make him a scorer. Against the LA Clippers, that was down to 24.4, but Jokic dominated the glass (13.4 rebounds) and averaged 6.6 assists. While foul trouble limited Jokic against the eventual champion Lakers, in an effective sequence, he still made 58 percent of his 2-point attempts.
*Real plus-minus (RPM) is the approximate on-court effect of a player on team results, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions.
9. James Harden
Previous rank: 4
2020-21 projected RPM: 6.8
After back-to-back top-four finishes, Harden tumbled five spots in the rankings, and it’s hard to tell how much that represents his uncertain future in Houston after a brief training-camp holdout and a trade offer. There’s no question during the regular season that Harden was much more valuable than ninth in the league, completing five of the past six seasons in the top three in MVP voting. Clearly, our panel put more weight on the inconsistent postseason performances of Harden. Even so, if and when they trade Harden, the Rockets would rightfully expect a prime package of players and picks. James Harden is definitely one of the Top 10 NBA Players in the World 2021.
8. Stephen Curry
Previous rank: 6
2020-21 projected RPM: 6.0
This is the lowest Curry ranked since breaking out in the 2013 postseason as a star. As a broken bone in Curry’s right hand restricted him to five games last season and he missed a combined 44 games in the previous two campaigns, the problem is availability. If he can remain fit, after Klay Thompson’s Achilles injury ended his season before it started, we can find the floor for a Curry-led offense missing a second plus scorer. The Warriors would be more reliant on Curry for shot creation than ever without Thompson and Kevin Durant.
Stephen Curry deserves to be on the list of the Top 10 NBA Players in the World 2021.
7. Damian Lillard
Previous rank: 9
2020-21 projected RPM: 3.4
For the Blazers, Lillard’s scoring prowess saved what seemed like a season lost to injuries. In late January into February, he put together one of the great streaks in NBA history, averaging 48.8 points and 8.2 3-pointers per game on 57 percent shooting as Portland knocked off four playoff teams. In the bubble, Lillard was just as strong, winning Player of the Seeding Games for his 37.6 points and 9.6 assists as the eighth seed claimed by the Blazers. Portland hopes not to rely too heavily on Lillard again in 2020-21, with a healthier roster improved this offseason, but he has proven ready to carry the load. Damian Lillard is among the Top 10 NBA Players in the World 2021.
6. Kevin Durant
Previous rank: NR (injured)
2020-21 projected RPM: 2.4
One of this season’s swing issues is just how healthy Durant is 18 months after suffering an Achilles rupture during his final game with the Warriors. Players coming off the same injury were significantly less successful than expected upon their return, and in his early 30s, KD was already likely to undergo some decline. At the same time, when we last saw Durant completely healthy in the first two rounds of the 2019 playoffs, he was making a case as the most dominant individual force in the league, and there were positive reports from players who played with him during recovery. Kevin is definitely one of the Top 10 NBA Players in the World 2021.
ALSO READ: Top 10 best Dancers in the world
5. Kawhi Leonard
Previous rank: 2
2020-21 projected RPM: 4.1
In Los Angeles, Leonard’s first season (and the Orlando bubble) did not have the same kind of storybook ending in Toronto as in 2019. In the second round, after maintaining a 3-1 series lead over the Nuggets, the Clippers, trendy picks to win the championship, were stunned. Leonard was guilty, as in the deciding Game 7, he shot 6-of-22. Still, Leonard is able to exceed his No. 5 rankings. In spite of his loud— whoops, injury—management, he finished fifth in MVP voting and finished second on a per-game basis in my wins over replacement player (WARP) metric in the playoffs.
4. Luka Doncic
Previous rank: 16
2020-21 projected RPM: 3.4
In his second season, the next great superstar served notice to the league, becoming the youngest player to ever win All-NBA First Team honors based on age as of opening night. In his playoff debut against the LA Clippers, Doncic impressed, knocking down a 28-foot, step-back winner in overtime and scoring 31.0 points in the six-game series, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists. Next for Doncic: For the first time since their 2011 title, leading the Mavs to a series victory. That’s a matter of when, not if, based on what we have seen from Doncic.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Previous rank: 1
2020-21 projected RPM: 7.5
In preparation for Giannis’ potential unrestricted free agency next summer, there’s a reason why most of the league spent this offseason hoarding cap room. Since winning back-to-back MVPs and Defensive Player of the Year before the age of 26, he has little left to prove in the regular season, all while guiding the Bucks to the best record in both seasons of the NBA. Yet Giannis didn’t have the same impact in the playoffs against the Miami Heat until his series was prematurely terminated by an ankle reinjury. Antetokounmpo must increase his scoring against defenses aimed at keeping him out of the paint in order to return to No. 1. Giannis is one person on the Top 10 NBA Players in the World 2021 that should be watched out for.
2. Anthony Davis
Previous rank: 5
2020-21 projected RPM: 4.0
In the 10-year history of NBArank, teammates finished 1-2 for the first time. It is a testament to how well AD played in the championship run of the Lakers that he created controversy over who could win the MVP of the Finals. It was Davis who hit the playoffs’ biggest shot, a 3-pointer to win the finals of the Western Conference Game 2. And in the playoffs, the Lakers performed better with Davis alone on the court (plus-5.0 points per 100 possessions, via NBA Advanced Stats) than with LeBron James alone (plus-0.5) — a regular-season turnaround. Anthony Davis is one of the Top 10 NBA Players in the World 2021.
1. LeBron James
Previous rank: 3
2020-21 projected RPM: 6.1
“To quote “The Wire,” “The King stay the King.” LeBron regained the NBArank throne after controversially relinquishing the No. 1 spot to Giannis in the aftermath of his injury-marred first season in Los Angeles, he kept nine of the past 10 years by earning his fourth title and final MVP at age 35. James is also developing, leading the league in assists while ceding Davis some scoring. With the quick turnaround until opening night, James is unlikely to equal the 67 (of 71) games played last season. However, there’s still no one you’d rather launch your team with than LeBron, come playoff time. Lebron James is the Best NBA Player in the World 2021.