“A Glimpse into Greatness: The 30 Best NBA Players of the Future (2023-24)”

It’s time to revisit one of basketball’s most contentious annual debates: Who are the best players in the NBA? Our list has been dominated by common names at the top over the years, like as Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but there is a new king of the NBA this year, and it isn’t arguable. For the first time since we began compiling this list, LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant are not ranked in the top three.

While the NBA is still dominated by the aforementioned senior superstars, the torch is undoubtedly being passed to players who are still in or nearing the prime of their careers. From Nikola Jokic to Devin Booker, it feels like we’re entering a new age of basketball after being so accustomed to the same names at the forefront.

Young players such as Anthony Edwards and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have risen dramatically in our ranks since last year. Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges are two talents who have slipped onto the list after being absolutely unranked for the previous several seasons.

Paolo Banchero, Demar Derozan, Zach LaVine, Brad Beal, Pascal Siakam, Tyrese Haliburton, and Domantas Sabonis were significant absences from our list who were on the verge of entering the top 30. With that said, here are our picks for the top 30 players in the league for the 2023-24 season.

Anthony Davis

Is there a player right now who is scrutinised more for what he isn’t than for how dominant he is? Anthony Davis averaged 25.9 points and 12.5 rebounds in the regular season before leading the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals. Davis, maybe the best defensive player on the planet and a dominant paint finisher, is unquestionably one of the top players in the NBA now and an all-time great. Injuries have hampered him, but they have also affected a few of the top 10 players. No, he did not turn into the best player in the world as many predicted, but Davis is among the best. And for the Lakers, that’s not a bad ceiling for a club that has everything it takes to win it all again.

Anthony Edwards

This could soon be Anthony Edwards’ league. He’s progressed every year he’s been in the league, and with another step this season, Ant Man might be in line for an All-NBA season. Year over year, Edwards has improved in practically every single statistic. He has improved his points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, steals per game, and blocks per game totals. As the Timberwolves’ official No. 1 option, he’ll be expected to maintain that improvement and lead the team to a deeper playoff run.

Bam Adebayo

Many individuals have questioned if Bam Adebayo was a legitimate “star” in recent years. After missing out on the NBA Finals last season, it’s difficult to argue that Bam isn’t a star. Yes, the Heat had other role players step up, such as Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin, but Bam was the defensive anchor and a lot of the offence ran through him. There aren’t many bigs like Bam who can bring the ball up and initiate your offence while also scoring 20 points and defending well.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard will face great expectations for the first time in his career. There are no longer any excuses for not having adequate talent or attempting to carry a franchise. The Bucks will be expected to play in June as an exceptional No. 2 option. Individually, Dame is coming off his best season in the league. He averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game, including a historic 71-point effort on 13 three-pointers. Although the Bucks’ window is narrow, Dame could be at his prime in terms of output.

De’Aaron Fox

Those who thought De’Aaron Fox was already one of the NBA’s top players before last season were proven correct. Fox was selected NBA Clutch Player of the Year in 2023 after leading the Kings to a top-three seed in the Western Conference and a playoff appearance. Fox, arguably the league’s fastest player right now, is a relentless rim attacker who also has a dangerous mid-range game that makes him nearly unguardable. With only 25 years old and plenty of room to grow, the sky is the limit for Fox. He’s one of the top point guards in the NBA and will likely remain such for the foreseeable future.

Devin Booker

If this list was solely based on postseason performance, Devin Booker would have been ranked in the top three after going on a two-round tear that rivalled Michael Jordan at the pinnacle of his powers. Booker is the top shooting guard in the NBA right now, as well as one of the league’s best and most proficient scorers and hardest opponents. The Suns’ transformation into a contender in recent years has finally placed him in the conversation with the best players in the world, where he rightfully belongs.

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell is one of only two players on this list to have a 70-point game. When discussing Mitchell’s legacy, that game gets pushed under the rug. Mitchell had a rare terrible playoff showing last year, but he’s normally a fantastic playoff performer. Despite his playoff struggles last season, Mitchell had probably his best season as a pro, averaging a career-high 28 points per game on 48-87-38 splits.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis’ previous season concluded in a devastating first-round loss to the Miami Heat. Whether he wants to admit it or not, the Bucks as a whole failed that season. Despite missing some time due to injuries, Giannis had perhaps the best season of his career. He averaged a career-high 31.1 points per game while remaining an excellent defensive presence. This season, Giannis has an excellent sidekick and someone to steal his attention away from him, so we’ll see if he and Damian Lillard can bring home the Bucks’ second title in four years.

Ja Morant

We’re not as insane as some to put Ja Morant in the 30s. This ranking does not take into account off-court firearms concerns. If we’re just talking basketball, Ja Morant is a legitimate MVP candidate in this league. Unfortunately, he will miss a number of games to begin the season and will not be qualified to substantiate that claim, but he is still one of the best performers and athletes in the game. This was the player who dropped 45 points on the Lakers on the road in Game 3 while suffering from a shooting hand ailment. If Ja does not get hurt in the next two postseasons, the narrative on his ranking may change for everyone.

Jalen Brunson

Many fans and commentators mocked the Knicks for signing Jalen Brunson to a lucrative contract while Julius Randle and RJ Barrett were still under contract. They were instantly dubbed the “Mid 3,” but those jokes were quickly forgotten, especially when playoff time arrived. While Julius Randle was an All-Star and was dubbed the Knicks’ star, Jalen Brunson was the genuine star of the team. The success of the Knicks was dependent on their point guard. He consistently produced when the stakes were highest, including the first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Until further notice, Brunson is the best player in New York.

Jamal Murray

Murray may be the most difficult player to rank in the NBA right now. He has yet to earn any individual honours, such as All-Star or All-NBA honours, but he is clearly one of the best playoff performances in modern NBA history. Murray’s production has grown while becoming more efficient across three separate postseason trips. It’s realistic to assume that if the Nuggets are once again elite this season, Murray will finally receive his due in terms of individual praise. And if the Nuggets go on another deep playoff run, he might make his current ranking look silly.

James Harden

Due to his contract dispute with the Sixers, there is no telling when James Harden will play this season. It certainly doesn’t help his public image that he’s attempting to force his way off his third team in four seasons. Despite being a flight risk and not being the same dominant scorer he once was in his peak, Harden has converted himself into one of the best point guards in the NBA, averaging 21 points and 10.7 assists per game last season. He was also instrumental in the Sixers’ second-round victories over the Celtics, scoring 40 points in both games. He can’t carry an offence on his own these days, but he can certainly help boost one as one of its key cogs. And that is still valuable.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

People seem to forget that Jaren Jackson Jr. is only 24 years old and has lots of time to grow and improve as a basketball player. Yes, he has fouling issues and sometimes makes terrible shot selection, but he is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year for a reason. How many elite shot blockers in the world can provide 19 points per game as a flexible defender, be a lob threat, and spread the floor? Anthony Davis is the only other big man in the NBA who can do it. Allow JJJ time to achieve his peak.

Jaylen Brown

Wings who can generate their own offence and average more over 25 points per game don’t sprout on trees, but you’d never know it from watching the Celtics. Brown is the second member of the Celtics’ two-headed star wing duo, and he can be the most dominant scorer on the court on any given night. The final two holes in Brown’s game to fill are tightening his handle and increasing his propensity to distribute the ball, and based on his rapid development into one of the league’s greatest wings, there’s no reason to assume he won’t finish out his game.

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum and the Celtics, as the franchise player for a perennial contender, continue to make it deep into the playoffs but fall just short each season. Will he eventually put it all together and get the Celtics over the hump in 2023? Bostonians certainly hope so. Tatum, one of the smartest and most talented young superstars to enter the league in recent years, can do it all on the court, and when he’s on, he’s often the greatest player on the floor. Consistency is the final hurdle he must overcome, and if he does, nothing can stop him.

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler is a top-5 player in the NBA in the postseason, and he’s no slouch in the regular season after another All-NBA season. The Heat fell short on a spectacular run to the NBA Finals as the No. 8 seed, but only because of Jimmy’s heroics. Even if Butler slowed down as the postseason progressed, no one will forget his 56-point effort against the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the series. He followed that up with a 42-point performance to send them packing. He’s continually demonstrated that he can raise his game when the stakes are highest.

Joel Embiid

With Joel Embiid, it’s really straightforward. He averages 30 points per game, is an excellent rebounder, an above-average passer for a centre, and can anchor at least a good defence with his rim protection. Following two runner-up finishes in the MVP race, Embiid eventually broke through and won the award in the 2022-2023 season, securing his place in NBA history. The next stage for him is to transfer his regular-season domination into a strong postseason performance to finally get the 76ers to the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond. It remains to be seen whether his health will allow him to do so, but there is no disputing his skill.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns struggled to find a rhythm last season after missing the most of the season due to injuries. Despite having a terrible year last season, KAT averaged 20-8-5 in the games he participated. A bad year for him is nonetheless a good year for others. KAT is now the No. 2 person in Minnesota behind Anthony Edwards, therefore it may be difficult for him to give up being “The Guy” in Minnesota this year.

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard, like Zion Williamson, is a top 10 player when healthy, but we haven’t seen much of him on the court since his arrival in Los Angeles. We were reminded of his greatness in the postseason last year when he had the injury-plagued Clippers going toe-to-toe with the Suns, but that only lasted two games before he was ruled out with a knee injury. If Kawhi Leonard is unable to play this season, the Clippers will have to make a decision.

Kevin Durant

The debate these days revolves around Kevin Durant. He gets chastised for playing on stacked rosters, chastised for failing to return to the NBA Finals after departing the Golden State Warriors in 2019, and is constantly reminded of who he is purportedly inferior to. When you look at his numbers, he’s a walking 30-point danger with a 50/40/90 shooting percentage. Say what you want about the man, but his skill set is unquestionable, and every team he plays for is automatically a contender when he’s on the court. He is one of the best athletes in sports history, and he continues to perform at a near-unstoppable level.

Kyrie Irving

You can ask Kyrie Irving the same thing we just asked Trae Young. Is Kyrie Irving still underappreciated? He’s averaged 27 points a game over the last four seasons, including a 50-40-90 season. When it comes to pure skill, there are few, if any, players who can compete with Kyrie Irving. He has no offensive flaws and is one of the best bucket takers the game has ever seen. Despite his numbers, Kyrie-led teams have had dismal seasons, whether it was the Brooklyn Nets being swept by the Boston Celtics two years ago or the Dallas Mavericks missing the playoffs after trading for Irving last year. With a pair like Kyrie and Luka at the head, Kyrie and the Mavericks will undoubtedly be in the spotlight this season.

LeBron James

Seeing LeBron outside of the top five players in the world on this list may seem sacrilegious to some, and believe me, typing it feels strange. But don’t take this as a slight; rather, consider it a testimonial to his greatness that, at 37 years old, he has fallen out of the top five. Last playoffs, James battled through a foot tendon injury to help lead the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals, but even before that, he looked the part of one of the finest this game has to offer. This ranking could be too low by the end of the season. After all, James has defied the odds numerous times throughout his career. Even if he is only one of the top ten players in the world, that is still new territory for a player in their 21st season.

Luka Doncic

One might argue that Luka Doncic encountered actual adversity for the first time in his NBA career last season. The Mavericks missed the play-in game after reaching the Western Conference Finals the year before, and Doncic’s lustre may have begun to wear slightly. But when you look at the stats, he averaged 32 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists while being named to his third consecutive All-NBA First-Team. Missing the playoffs in your prime is never a good look, and Doncic must make a significant comeback this season. But don’t be fooled; he’s still pretty damn excellent.

Mikal Bridges

Mikal Bridges is on the verge of becoming a celebrity. After being acquired by the Nets at the trade deadline last season, he showed All-Star potential in his first 27 games in Brooklyn. As the No. 1 option throughout that time, he averaged an efficient 26 points a game. He carried that form into the FIBA World Cup, where he was perhaps the second best player on a squad that included several All-Stars. If Mikal can do it for an entire season, he’ll undoubtedly solidify himself as one of the best wings in the NBA, if he isn’t already on your radar.

Nikola Jokic

This was perhaps the simplest choice on the list. There’s really no disputing Jokic’s status as the best player in the world right now. After many questioned his MVP seasons due to the Nuggets’ postseason performances, such accusations were debunked last year when Denver utterly dominated the NBA on the back of the two-time MVP. There is no way to stop Jokic. There’s almost nothing you can do. He’s a 7-footer who can score from all three levels and averages a triple double.

Paul George

Before being injured after colliding with Lu Dort, Paul George was having another All-Star season. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to watch him with Kawhi in the playoffs, but that has been a recurring issue with the Clippers’ postseason struggles. There’s no questioning PG13’s potential as one of the game’s smoothest three-level scorers, but in order for him to eventually reach the Finals, he and Kawhi must stay on the court.


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The NBA media is high on SGA, as proven by his first-team All-NBA selection last season and his near unanimous placement among the league’s top ten players by numerous sites. While his output is apparent and his potential is obvious, we are taking a wait-and-see attitude before elevating him to the ranks of the best of the best. If he can lead a terrific Thunder team to a playoff place in the loaded Western Conference while maintaining his brilliant play on the biggest stage this season, there will be no denying him a top ten spot.

Steph Curry

Think again if you expected Steph Curry to decline soon. While his long-time teammates may not be the same versions of themselves, Steph remains a game-changing player. His 50-ball against the Kings in Game 7 of the first round on the road in a noisy environment demonstrated this. Steph had his third-highest scoring average of his career, averaging 29.4 points per game as the Warriors advanced to the second round. Steph’s availability will be more important than ever for the Warriors’ success.

Trae Young

Is Trae Young becoming underappreciated? You can criticise his defensive ability and whether or not he is the easiest player to play alongside owing to his playing style. However, the outcomes speak for themselves. If he stays healthy, he will be one of the top ten scorers in the NBA and one of the top five or six playmakers. All he does is fill up the stat sheet and bring the Hawks to the playoffs year after year, but he never makes an All-Star or All-NBA team. Whether you like him or not, Young deserves more respect than he has recently received. Perhaps he should just take it rather than ask for it.

Zion Williamson

If Zion Williamson stays healthy, he’ll be a top-10 player in the world. You can make all the physique jokes, off-the-court issue jokes, and availability jokes you want, but he’s special on the court. He’s simply missed far too much time for us to elevate him on this ranking, but if he does play the bulk of the season, he’ll swiftly jump back up. We can’t dismiss someone who has averaged 26 points per game while shooting 60% from the field in his first several seasons in the league. That is unusual, especially coming straight out of college.

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