The motivation to construct our lists of the top 50 NBA players derives from ESPN’s top 100 NBA players list which will be linked here for those who have not viewed it already.

In this list, ESPN has some, well, very bold takes on the players ranked and both of us have differing opinions from those at ESPN.

Nonetheless we will start with Mark’s list of his top 50 NBA players:

1.LeBron James
2.Anthony Davis
3.Giannis Antetokounmpo
4.Kawhi Leonard
5.Kevin Durant
6.Luka Doncic
7.James Harden
8.Stephen Curry
9.Damian Lillard
10.Nikola Jokic
11.Jimmy Butler
12.Joel Embiid
13.Jayson Tatum
14.Paul George
15.Chris Paul
16.Russell Westbrook
17.Kyrie Irving
18.Bradley Beal
19.Devin Booker
20.Karl-Anthony Towns
21.Bam Adebayo
22.Ben Simmons
23.Donovan Mitchell
24.Trae Young
25.Jamal Murray
26.Rudy Gobert
27.Pascal Siakam
28.Zion Williamson
29.Brandon Ingram
30.Jaylen Brown
31.Khris Middleton
32.Kristaps Porzingis
33.Ja Morant
34.Kyle Lowry
35.Kemba Walker
36.De’Aaron Fox
37.Jrue Holiday
38.CJ McCollum
39.Zach LaVine
40.DeMar DeRozan
41.Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
42.Victor Oladipo
43.LaMarcus Aldridge
44.D’Angelo Russell
45.Domantas Sabonis
46.Malcolm Brogdon
47.Fred VanVleet
48.Nikola Vucevic
49.Andre Drummond
50.Danilo Gallinari

Here is my list of my top 50 NBA players:

1.LeBron James
2.Kawhi Leonard
3.Giannis Antetokounmpo
4.Anthony Davis
5.Kevin Durant
6.Luka Doncic
7.Stephen Curry
8.James Harden
9.Nikola Jokic
10.Damian Lillard
11.Jimmy Butler
12.Jayson Tatum
13.Joel Embiid
14.Ben Simmons
15.Paul George
16.Chris Paul
17.Russell Westbrook
18.Karl-Anthony Towns
19.Kyrie Irving
20.Bradley Beal
21.Donovan Mitchell
22.Devin Booker
23.Bam Adebayo
24.Pascal Siakam
25.Jamal Murray
26.Trae Young
27.Zion Williamson
28.Brandon Ingram
29.Kyle Lowry
30.Khris Middleton
31.Rudy Gobert
32.Jrue Holiday
33.Jaylen Brown
34.CJ McCollum
35.Ja Morant
36.De’Aaron Fox
37.Kristaps Porzingis
38.Domantas Sabonis
39.Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
40.Malcolm Brogdon
41.DeMar DeRozan
42.Fred VanVleet
43.Jusuf Nurkic
44.Nikola Vucevic
45.Jaren Jackson Jr.
46.Zach LaVine
47.Kemba Walker
48.D’Angelo Russell
49.Deandre Ayton
50.Caris LeVert

I will provide some commentary regarding my list.

I have struggled to rank KAT, Westbrook, Kyrie, and Beal in their ranking, and it reasonably is the players I have spent the most time thinking about on their order. You can say that Beal should be above each of the other players, that Kyrie is a top talent, etc. I know if I spend more time looking at these rankings, I could change them numerous times.

To me, Zion is not a top 20 player in the NBA but could reach that mark at the season’s end. I have him ranked at 27 because of the small sample size we have seen him play. He has undoubtedly looked fantastic when on the court, besides his defense, but we need to see him play for a longer tenure before I feel comfortable putting him in the top 20.

Paul George at 15 may seem a little high to some, but I still hold onto the fact that he was voted top 3 in MVP two seasons ago and that he is always a great regular season player. In the playoffs, well, he drops off another level, as we have seen during these past playoffs, and if people want to rank him lower than 15, I understand. Just don’t have Zion ranked above him. PG still plays excellent defense.

Sabonis at 38 might be a little high, but he is coming off a season where he was an all-star and is reasonably the team’s best player. At least you can make an argument for that. I can see Sabonis averaging 22-13-5, and that is worthy of being a top 40 player in my eyes. Hopefully, he increases that 3-point percentage as well.

As a note, if Porzingis is entirely healthy, his ranking skyrockets in my list, but of course, injuries have been a common theme in his career, so hopefully, he can stay healthy going into the season.

By the way, DeRozan is a top 50 NBA player and not the 82nd best player in the league.

I also talked to Mark about Middleton vs. Lowry. I have Lowry over Middleton because of his tenure success in the playoffs as Middleton can be shaky during that time. If you also argue Middleton should be above Lowry, like Mark has, I would not necessarily argue because I understand he’s efficient and is a well-rounded player.

Jrue Holiday above Jaylen Brown and CJ McCollum could raise some eyebrows. However, Jrue is a good scorer. He can average 19 or 20. He played point guard for a significant part of his career and passes well. Plus, as we are well fond of, Jrue is one of the best defensive guards in the league. Jaylen is a good scorer and defender, but not near a great passer as Jrue and defender. CJ is a better shooter and scorer, but Jrue does everything else better.

You probably notice that Nurkic is also ranked on this list. When healthy, I believe Nurkic is a top 6 center in the league because he has a great inside game, can shoot mid-ranges, get you, boards, pass a little bit, and get some steals and blocks. Vucevic is a better shooter than Nurkic, but I would much rather have Nurkic as my starting center. Nurkic also plays some decent defense, which Vucevic does as well, and Vucevic gets steals and blocks. Vucevic was an all-star for a reason. I happen to believe Nurkic is better.

The last thing I will discuss is having Kawhi ranked at 2. People will rank him lower because of his performance against the Nuggets recently, but he still had a career year in the regular season. I expect Kawhi to perform better in the regular season and playoffs when the time comes, as he has in the past.

I don’t believe I need to discuss any more of my picks at this moment. However, if you would like to discuss the lists below in the comments or who your top 50 NBA players are, I welcome that.

Feel free to check out the last post I made regarding five books you can purchase for Christmas, although it may be a little late to buy them in time for Christmas.

Stay safe and enjoy the holidays.

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