The 2021-2022 NBA season ended with the Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, beating the Boston Celtics in 6 games. Stephen Curry had accomplished everything in his career, except win a Finals MVP award which caused many debates about Curry being a top-ten player in NBA history. With this win, including a 47-point game four to switch the momentum for Golden State, has solidified Curry as a top ten player ever. However, that doesn't mean that he is the best player in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Lebron James, and Luka Doncic are just a few of the players that have an argument to be in the number one slot. We'll break it down for you below!
Giannis has started to get the Lebron treatment if we're being honest. For the past four seasons you could make the case that he should have won MVP in each one. Not only is he the most dominant player in the game, he's also the best defensive player in the league. With Khris Middleton back healthy, look for the Bucks to reach the Finals this season.
Jokic single-handedly carried the Nuggets all season long, and he did so without Jamal Murray AND Michael Porter Jr. It's pretty easy to see why he's so high on the list, since he is the back to back MVP. With the Nuggets healthy we wouldn't be surprised if Jokic is in the running for his third MVP in three years.
Lebron has been the unanimous best player in the league for over a decade, starting around 2009 and stretching all the way to 2021. That's 12 years of dominance! But, we're entering a new era of the NBA, and Lebron will be 38 this December. Although he just averaged 30 points per game this past season, The King has finally relinquished the title as the best after the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo. But to be 37 and a top-3 player in the league is unheard of. James looks to become the all-time leading scorer in NBA history this season.
Steph had a pretty good year, if you want to put it in simple terms. All Star Game MVP and Finals MVP in the same season is a feat that Stephen Curry now can claim on his resume. The Warriors star dominated the NBA Playoffs, taking out up and coming superstars Ja Morant, Luka Doncic, and Jayson Tatum on the way to his fourth championship. Steph has firmly cemented himself as the best point guard in the league.
Luka Doncic is special. heading into his fifth NBA season, he has been First Team All-NBA every season but his rookie season. By the way, his rookie season he still managed to win Rookie of the Year. It's clear that once the Mavericks build a formidable team around Doncic and find him a co-star, the league is in trouble. With Jalen Brunson gone to the Knicks, expect Luka to have a MVP caliber season.
Joel Embiid arguably should've been the MVP last season, he led the league in scoring and was as dominant as the MVP winner: Nikola Jokic. With the whole Ben Simmons saga happening, Embiid put the team on his back and willed them to the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Probably the most skilled Center since Hakeem Olajuwon, Embiid is set to headline the Sixers with healthy Co-Star: James Harden.
Kevin Durant is quite simply the best scorer in basketball. Although the Nets got swept by the Finals-bound Boston Celtics, it took a village from the league's top-rated defense to slow KD down. There was uncertainty surrounding the future of Durant and the Nets after he requested a trade in June, but it seems that both sides have mended and KD and the Nets are on the same page. Look for Durant to remind everyone why he's been a perennial top-two player for over a decade.
Jayson Tatum ascended into the top-ten rankings this season. The Celtics had the toughest road to the finals; the Nets, Bucks, and Heat were the toughest teams the East had to offer, and Tatum rose to the occasion every time (with help from Jaylen Brown). Tatum led the playoffs in points and assists, while leading the Celtics to the NBA Finals.
Jimmy Butler has quietly become the most underrated player in the league. He's led the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals and Eastern Conference Finals in two out of three years being a Heatle. In the regular season his numbers don't pop out at you like a Luka, but he'll do anything it takes to win. In the playoffs Jimmy goes from All-Star to MVP level superstar, and he's done it multiple years now. Look for the Heat led by Jimmy, to be hungry after losing in seven games to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Kawhi is only this low because of an ACL injury causing him to miss the entire 2021-2022 NBA season. When healthy, Leonard was arguably the best player in the league. Kawhi has shown that he can lead a team to the promised land as their leading scorer and their best perimeter defender, a la Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. With Leonard healthy, look for the Clippers to be a top-three seed in the Western Conference this year.