The Updated Top 50 Players in the NBA

Solely because Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo only did 40.

1.) Giannis Antetokounmpo

50 points in an NBA Finals closeout game gets you the top spot.

2.) Kevin Durant

Imagine having the worst injury possible for your profession, sitting out for a full year, then coming back like nothing happened and you’re still the fucking man. Durant is somehow better now than he ever was with a fully functioning achilles tendon.

3.) LeBron James

Yea man, it’s LeBron.

4.) Nikola Jokic

He’s a seven-foot bag of gravy who is somehow more coordinated than 99.9 percent of all other beings on the planet.

5.) Joel Embiid

Embiid is like if Shaq and Hakeem Olajuwon had a son and he was 92 percent as good as them.

6.) Luka Doncic

Everyone fell asleep and let a Slovenian Fuckboy take over the NBA.

7.) Kawhi Leonard

The Terminator went full T2 this season. He’s bruised, battered, and maybe got passed up by some young stars, but beat the hell out of the newer models in the end.

8.) Steph Curry

Steph almost dragged Andrew Wiggins to the playoffs.

9.) James Harden

Got fat and quit on Houston, but somehow turned into Magic Johnson?

10.) Damian Lillard

There is no scarier player to have to match up against on the perimeter.

11.) Anthony Davis

Had a bit of a championship hangover, and got injured, but is till one of the most dominant big men in the game and forced his way into Space Jam 2.

12.) Chris Paul

Cliff Paul finally left him alone so he can concentrate on his fucking job instead of insurance fraud and this is the result.

13.) Jayson Tatum

Tatum and the next three guys are basically in the same boat. They’re young, dumb, and full of endless potential and will probably beat the shit out of each other in the playoffs for the next 10 years.

14.) Trae Young

Became a superstar and supervillain in one playoff series.

15.) Devin Booker

Got hit by the Kardashian curse.

16.) Donovan Mitchell

Way too cool for Salt Lake City.

17.) Zion Williamson

Zion is like those great white sharks in South Africa that jump out of the water to bite the shit out of those poor seals.

18.) Kyrie Irving

There’s no way he’s vaccinated.

19.) Jimmy Butler

Can’t shoot but is still the man.

20.) Paul George

Can shoot and isn’t the man.

21.) Bradley Beal

Almost led the league in scoring and will still probably be the biggest trade target this offseason, as he’s been for like three years now. Dude must really like Washington D.C.

22.) Rudy Gobert

The Stifle Tower got dismantled by the Clippers.

23.) Bam Adebayo

Must love playing with Jimmy Butler.

24.) Julius Randle

The Knicks are going to overpay him for one great season and blow the offseason once again.

25.) Khris Middleton

24./6.3/5.3 in the NBA Finals does wonders for a man’s reputation.

26.) Deandre Ayton

27.) Karl-Anthony Towns

The ultimate great stats, terrible team guy. Thank god he has Anthony Edwards to drag him to the playoffs next year like a nice/respectful Jimmy Butler.

28.) Ben Simmons

Just going to forget that game 7 happened.

29.) Jrue Holliday

Those Finals didn’t help his stock much.

30.) Klay Thompson* (Didn’t play in 2020-21)

Dude’s just out living his best life while he recovers from his ACL injury.

31.) Jaylen Brown

Brown and Middleton are two of the best two-way guys in the league. Perfect second or third options on a championship team.

32.) Ja Morant

Probably top five in terms of being really fucking cool. Even his name is cool. Ja, it’s just fun to shout into the void. (Ja is only second on the cool names to yell list, behind Monica obviously.)

33.) Russell Westbrook

Somehow got an MVP vote from some guy named Max Haupt.

34.) Brandon Ingram

Riding in Zion’s girthy shadow but still one of the best scoring wings in the NBA.

35.) Jamal Murray

Would be higher had he not torn his ACL before the playoffs.

36.) Domantas Sabonis

If he grows up to be his dad, he’s going to be in for a hell of a career.

37.) Zach Lavine

The Bulls aren’t back but Zach LaVine is finally a star in the NBA.

38.) De’Aaron Fox

God damn Kings are going to ruin Swiper’s career.

39.) CJ McCollum

He’s either going to get traded or the Blazers are going to be terrible because Damian Lillard is going to get traded.

If we were just counting the playoffs Ayton would be top 10.

40.) Kyle Lowry

Welcome to the Lakers Kyle.

41.) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

SGA is going to be the next De’Aaron Fox, borderline great player on a perennially horrendous team.

42.) Nikola Vucevic

Might finally get some recognition now that he’s out of Orlando.

43.) Tobias Harris


44.) Draymond Green

See Steph Curry, also almost dragged Andrew Wiggins to the playoffs.

45.) Gordon Hayward

Did anyone actually think he’d be good in Charlotte?

46.) Pascal Siakam

Is going to be in every trade proposal this offseason.

47.) Mike Conley

Conley and DeRozan are the oldies who most people would be surprised are still competing at an elite level.

48.) DeMar DeRozan

Still going strong.

49.) Michael Porter Jr.

If his back doesn’t go he could be a superstar.

50.) LaMelo Ball

Probably going to be top 30 next year.

The NBA’s Talent Pool is the Deepest it’s ever been

Looking around the league, especially as the playoffs get knocked into 12th gear, it’s impossible not to notice that every team has at least one or two star players. There are legitimately 30+ players who fans would be comfortably calling their “franchise” player. You’ve got the all time greats in LeBron, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant. The established superstars like Damian Lillard, Giannis, and Nikola Jokic. And then you have the young guns with Zion, Luka, and Trae Young leading the vanguard of the next generation with LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards nipping at their heals.

This type of breadth of talent has never happened before in the 75 year history of the NBA. There are currently 10 sure fire hall of famers playing at or near their peak (LeBron, KD, Steph, Harden, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Giannis, and Lillard), with another five who need another couple of elite season to become locks for HOF induction (Jokic, Embiid, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Kyrie). When you account for the guys who are too young to be HOF locks but are well on their way towards enshrinement (Doncic, Zion, Trae Young, and Jayson Tatum), that’s now nearly 20 player who are potential hall of famers playing at the same time. This already leaves out young multi-time All-Stars like Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Ben Simmons, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Breadley Beal who could still put together a great career.

The ’60s were dominated by Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and Oscar Robertson. Top line talent that could compete with any era. But the NBA only had a third of the amount of teams as it does now. The ’70s gave us Kareem, Dr. J, and a healthy group of stars, but with the advent of the ABA, the talent level plummeted. Then the NBA revitalization began in the ’80s with Magic, Bird, Jordan, Moses and Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Isiah Thomas, and Scottie Pippen. The only other period that could rival the current state of the league is the 1990s. During the mid-to-late ’90s NBA fans got to watch Jordan/Pippen/and Rodman dominate the league. Patrick Ewing made the Knicks relevant. Gary Payton, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, and Clyde Drexler were all privileged enough to lose to the Bulls in the finals. Reggie Miller was doing his thing. Young Shaq, Olajuwon, and David Robinson were dominating the paint. Grant Hill was the next chosen one before is injuries. And then the next generation of superstars: Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber were on the rise. The caveat to the ’90s argument is that this was over the course of the entire decade. At any given year during the decade only probably half of these immortals were actually at their peaks at the same time. This is different. Every single year there seems to be another 2-5 stars who are poised to take over the league down the road. The last three drafts alone have netted Luka and Trae in 2018, Zion and Ja in 2019, and Ball and Edwards in 2020 with Cunningham, Mobley, Suggs, Green, and Kuminga waiting in the wings in 2021.

So why 2021? Why is this arbitrary year the unofficial deepest year in the 75 year history of the NBA? The answer is two fold. First, the players are just better. Basketball is far more popular today than it was 40 years ago, and there are more and better athletes in the league today. Donovan Mitchell is a better basketball player than Bob Cousy. It’s just the natural progression of athletic and technological advances. Secondly, players play longer than ever before. LeBron James just finished his 18th season. Chris Paul might win his first championship in year 16. And Durant is only 32 years old and in his 14th season. This level of dominance for two decades was nearly unheard of previously. It’s only a matter of time until we’re talking about Giannis or Zion or Trae Young the same way we talk about Tom Brady in the NFL, playing at an elite level well into their 40’s.

This is the deepest the league has ever been and if the playoffs have proven anything it’s that the league is in good hands when LeBron and co. inevitably do retire, however many years in that future that turns out to be.