With the season slowly approaching, we at Def Pen decided to rank the top 50 NBA players based on the following criteria:

  • This is a list of the best players right now, not rankings of the players we’d most like to have going forward.
    • As for what “best player” means, that’s subjective; each voter has his own definition.
  • No rookies, because we haven’t seen them in NBA action yet (no, Summer League doesn’t count).

This list was voted on by six of our writers: Myself (David Morrow), Austin Hutchinson, Andrew Bernucca, Saahil Pawar, Daniel Richardson and Zack Geoghegan. There were two incidences of ties in the voting, and those ties were broken by JD Shaw. Without further ado, here are the top 50 NBA Players, as voted by Def Pen.

With each player, you’ll see the total ranking, the highest and lowest ranks any of our writers voted them in at, and their positional rank.

Players Receiving at Least One Vote, Who Didn’t Make the List: Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Danilo Gallinari, Harrison Barnes, Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio, Andre Iguodala, Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague. 

 

50. Otto Porter Jr.

Highest Ranking: 43

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 9

Top 50 NBA Players
How the (sort of) mighty have fallen; Andre Drummond barely cracks our top 50 list and isn’t voted as a top-10 center (Photo: Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)

 

49. Andre Drummond

Highest Ranking: 39

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Center 11

48. Brook Lopez

Highest Ranking: 43

Lowest Ranking: 50

Positional Ranking: Center 10

47. George Hill

Highest Ranking: 43

Lowest Ranking: 47

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 14

46. Andrew Wiggins

Highest Ranking: 39

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 8

45. Jrue Holiday

Highest Ranking: 40

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 13

44. Avery Bradley

Highest Ranking: 41

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Shooting Guard 8

43. LaMarcus Aldridge

Highest Ranking: 38

Lowest Ranking: 49

Positional Ranking: Power Forward 7

42. Goran Dragic

Highest Ranking: 36

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 12

41. Myles Turner

Highest Ranking: 40

Lowest Ranking: 45

Positional Ranking: Center 10

40. Hassan Whiteside

Highest Ranking: 37

Lowest Ranking: 50

Positional Ranking: Center 9

Top 50 NBA Players
There was a lot of disparity among our writers on where to rank Melo (Photo: Hector Amezcua / Tribune News Service)

39. Carmelo Anthony

Highest Ranking: 21

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 7

38. Khris Middleton

Highest Ranking: 32

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Shooting Guard 7

37. Eric Bledsoe

Highest Ranking: 34

Lowest Ranking: 46

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 11

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is our 10th best point guard… man, this position is loaded (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

36. Kemba Walker

Highest Ranking: 31

Lowest Ranking: Unranked

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 10

35. Kristaps Porzingis

Highest Ranking: 28

Lowest Ranking: 39

Positional Ranking: Power Forward 6

34. Al Horford

Highest Ranking: 30

Lowest Ranking: 43

Positional Ranking: Center 8

33. DeAndre Jordan

Highest Ranking: 27

Lowest Ranking: 36

Positional Ranking: Center 7

32. Kevin Love

Highest Ranking: 30

Lowest Ranking: 37

Positional Ranking: Power Forward 5

31. Bradley Beal

Highest Ranking: 29

Lowest Ranking: 44

Positional Ranking: Shooting Guard 6

Top 50 NBA Players
Joel Embiid, who was absolutely brilliant for a very short period of time, is tough to rank. We have him at 30 (Photo: (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

30. Joel Embiid

Highest Ranking: 23

Lowest Ranking: 37

Positional Ranking: Center 6

29. CJ McCollum

Highest Ranking: 23

Lowest Ranking: 36

Positional Ranking: Shooting Guard 5

28. DeMar DeRozan

Highest Ranking: 21

Lowest Ranking: 35

Positional Ranking: Shooting Guard 4

27. Mike Conley

Highest Ranking: 22

Lowest Ranking: 33

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 9

26. Paul Millsap

Highest Ranking: 20

Lowest Ranking: 32

Positional Ranking: Power Forward 4

25. Blake Griffin

Highest Ranking: 18

Lowest Ranking: 28

Positional Ranking: Power Forward 3

24. Gordon Hayward

Highest Ranking: 18

Lowest Ranking: 34

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 6

23. Kyle Lowry

Highest Ranking: 17

Lowest Ranking: 28

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 8

22. Isaiah Thomas

Highest Ranking: 19

Lowest Ranking: 28

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 7

21. Marc Gasol

Highest Ranking: 16

Lowest Ranking: 26

Positional Ranking: Center 5

20. Nikola Jokic

Highest Ranking: 12

Lowest Ranking: 32

Positional Ranking: Center 4

Top 50 NBA Players
Is Damian Lillard a top-five point guard? Not quite. (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

19. Damian Lillard

Highest Ranking: 16

Lowest Ranking: 26

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 6

18. Klay Thompson

Highest Ranking: 13

Lowest Ranking: 25

Positional Ranking: Shooting Guard 3

17. Rudy Gobert

Highest Ranking: 15

Lowest Ranking: 22

Positional Ranking: Center 3

16. Karl-Anthony Towns

Highest Ranking: 13

Lowest Ranking: 27

Positional Ranking: Center 2

15. Kyrie Irving

Highest Ranking: 14

Lowest Ranking: 20

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 5

Top 50 NBA Players
DeMarcus Cousins is our top-ranked center (Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

14. DeMarcus Cousins

Highest Ranking: 12

Lowest Ranking: 18

Positional Ranking: Center 1

13. Draymond Green

Highest Ranking: 8

Lowest Ranking: 17

Positional Ranking: Power Forward 2

12. Paul George

Highest Ranking: 10

Lowest Ranking: 16

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 5

11. Jimmy Butler

Highest Ranking: 8

Lowest Ranking: 15

Positional Ranking: Shooting Guard 2

10. John Wall

Highest Ranking: 8

Lowest Ranking: 12

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 4

9. Chris Paul

Highest Ranking: 6

Lowest Ranking: 14

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 3

8. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Highest Ranking: 7

Lowest Ranking: 11

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 4

7. Anthony Davis

Highest Ranking: 7

Lowest Ranking: 9

Positional Ranking: Power Forward 1

Top 50 NBA Players
Russell Westbrook didn’t quite make the top five (Photo: Torrey Purvey/Getty Images)

6. Russell Westbrook

Highest Ranking: 4

Lowest Ranking: 7

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 2

5. James Harden

Highest Ranking: 5

Lowest Ranking: 6

Positional Ranking: Shooting Guard 1

4. Kawhi Leonard

Highest Ranking: 2

Lowest Ranking: 5

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 3

3. Stephen Curry

Highest Ranking: 2

Lowest Ranking: 4

Positional Ranking: Point Guard 1

2. Kevin Durant

Highest Ranking: 2

Lowest Ranking: 3

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 2

Top 50 NBA Players
LeBron James is Def Pen’s unanimous pick for best player in the NBA (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

1. LeBron James

Highest Ranking: 1

Lowest Ranking: 1

Positional Ranking: Small Forward 1

 

The only teams without a player in the top 50: Mavericks, Bulls, Nets, Hawks, Magic. Of those, only the Mavs and Bulls had a player(s) receiving a vote.

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