OTG's Top 50 NBA Players: 10-1
10. Nikola Jokic
2018-19 Stats: 20.2 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 7.6 APG, 50/32/84
The Denver Channel
The Nuggets rise to genuine Western Conference contender has been off the back of the sublime talents of big man Nikola Jokic. Jokic is a wizard with the ball in his hands. He might even already be the best passing center in the history of the league. His defense is still shoddy but has made minor improvements. What he does on the offensive end more than makes up for it.
9. Kyrie Irving
2018-2019 Stats: 23.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 7.1 APG, 49/41/87
Yes, the Boston Celtics have failed to reached expectations and off the court Kyrie has done more bad than good. However, when he's on the floor no one can say Kyrie Irving has been disappointed. Irving has shown not just his ability to score at will, but his ability to be a playmaker as well. Along with some of the best efficiency we've seen from Kyrie he's proven to be a better defender than in years past. The Celtics would be worse off without Irving.
8. Joel Embiid
2018-19 Stats: 27.1 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 48/29/81
Embiid is the highest ranked center on this list, and with good reason. The physical dominance combined with the finesse is something completely out of the ordinary when we evaluate big men. His health will be a major factor in how the Eastern Conference postseason plays out.
7. Kawhi Leonard
2018-2019 Stats: 27.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 50/37/85
Kawhi Leonard marks the third Toronto Raptor in the top 30. This current roster is arguably the best the Raptors have had in the past decade with it's balance between defense and offense. Kawhi Leonard has proven that being in an offense where he's leaned on much heavier as a scorer is no issue. Kawhi is averaging career highs in points, rebounds and assists while remaining one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. Kawhi is slightly held back because of the way the Raptors have handled his rest.
6. Paul George
2018-19 Stats: 28.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 4.2 APG, 44/39/84
This MVP candidate has been a revelation this season. He’s not only in the MVP conversation but is a frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year. His two-way ability this season has been remarkable and has elevated him to the number one option on one of the Western Conference’s best teams.
5. LeBron James
2018-2019 Stats: 27.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 8.0 APG, 51/34/66
LeBron James not being top 3 on a list like this makes me feel dirty, but this is where we are. LeBron James is still putting up tremendous numbers at the age of 34 and he still has the ability to control a game. This was the first year that we saw LeBron suffer an injury which sidelined him for 13 games. A groin injury that more or less would push and eventually lead the Los Angeles Lakers to miss the playoffs. On top of that we saw LeBron struggle defensively more than any year prior. With LeBron James now likely resting more and already not playing back to backs it's likely he falls a few more spots by season end.
4. Kevin Durant
2018-19 Stats: 26.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.4 APG, 45/37/91
It seems wild to say that one of the game’s greatest forwards has been underrated these last few years. The consistency as a scorer and offensive guru combined with the improved defense make him one of the most well rounded players we’ve ever seen.
3. Stephen Curry
2018-2019 Stats: 27.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.2 APG, 47/43/91
The driving force behind the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry. There's no debate who the most impactful player on the Warriors is, the fear and pressure that Curry places on a defense is practically unmatched. Curry by the numbers is having one of his best years since his last MVP season and perhaps if he hadn't missed time he'd be a bigger name in the MVP race. Either way Curry continues to set three point records at a massively high pace and the Warriors remain prime candidates to win another title.
2. James Harden
2018-19 Stats: 36.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 7.6 APG, 44/36/88
James Harden has had an historic season. The scoring outbursts have been out of this world. Earlier in the season he single handedly dragged the Rockets out of the abyss back into true championship contention. While Giannis is the likely MVP, Harden’s performances this season make him an equally worth candidate.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
2018-2019 Stats: 27.5 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 6.0 APG, 58/25/73
Giannis Antetokounmpo aka "The Greek Freak" remains one of the best up and coming players in the game. Yes, I say up and coming because Giannis being just 24 years old still has much he can improve on. Through his first six years in the NBA, Antetokounmpo has gotten better in all of the following categories: points, rebounds, assists, shooting efficiency and three-point attempts. The one giant whole in his game remains his jumpshot, but Antetokounmpo has shown his work ethic can be compared to the greats and that will likely change. The MVP race is between him and Harden which may feel like it flips nightly, but with the Bucks holding the best record in the NBA and Antetokounmpo leading that charge with career highs. It's clear who the best player has been this season.