The Los Angeles Lakers were crowned 2019-20 NBA Champions less than two months ago, and yet the start of the next season is nearly upon us. The 2020-21 NBA season kicks off on December 22, ushering in a slightly abridged 72-game season.

While there is still a shred of doubt on where some superstars will play in the new season (EX: James Harden reportedly wants to force his way to the Brooklyn Nets), we pretty much know which teams the league’s top players will call home in 2020-21.

As the new season approaches, it’s only appropriate to count down and rank the league’s top players according to their abilities and impact on the outcome of their team’s games.

Does LeBron James still run the league at 35 years old? Or could Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Leonard, Harden, or Curry make a case as the league’s best player? Is it even fair to rank Durant and Curry coming off injuries? Where does Jimmy Butler rank after willing the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals? Is Russell Westbrook still a Top 10 player?

Methodology

When ranking the league’s best players, I’ll consider some guiding questions: Who would I most want on my team? Who increases my chances of winning the most? Inevitably, these players would also rank highly in terms of Most Valuable Player resumes.

I won’t consider position scarcity. For example, when building a team, you could miss out on LeBron James at forward and still land Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or Kawhi Leonard. But if you miss out on Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic, there’s a huge talent dropoff at the center position. Again, I will not be considering position in these rankings, just the order in which players add value to their teams.

Key metrics I’ll use to compare players include traditional averages (points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game), efficiency (shooting percentages, per 36 minute averages when applicable), and some advanced metrics (usually just Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Win Shares.)

Honorable Mentions

  • Nikola Jokic, Center, Denver Nuggets: The 25-year-old Serbian center has one of the most unique skillsets in the game. He’s only the second 7-footer ever to average 7.0 assists or more per game, doing so in the last two seasons. He’s also more likely to earn steal (1.2 per game) than block a shot (0.6 per game), and is good for 1.1 three-pointers per game. Jokic is one of the most valuable and irreplaceable players in the league.
  • Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers: Embiid is the best pure center in the league, using his 7-foot, 280-pound stature to bully defenses while tallying 23.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game last season. Injuries can plague Embiid’s ability to play full seasons, but when he’s on the court, he’s a dominant two-way center.
  • Kyrie Irving, Guard, Brooklyn Nets: When healthy, Kyrie Irving is a player you want on your team. From handling the ball, to draining cold-blooded, championship-sealing three-pointers, Irving has killer offensive instinct. His availability issues, as well as his defense to an extent, are liabilities however.
  • Devin Booker, Guard, Phoenix Suns: While Booker didn’t improve his year-to-year scoring average (26.6 PPG), he did improve his efficiency: shooting a career-high 48.9% from the field and 91.9% at the free throw line. At 24 years old, he’s one of the league’s premiere offensive players and could have many years of point scoring ahead of him.
  • Donavan Mitchell, Guard, Utah Jazz: The explosive 24-year-old guard is on the cusp of NBA stardom. Last season, he averaged 24.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 44.9% from the field. These were career-highs in each category mentioned. Mitchell posted an 18.8 PER.

10. Russell Westbrook, Guard, Washington Wizards

Source: NBA.com

While the Houston Rocket failed to make a deep playoff run in 2020, the Russell Westbrook experiment was far from a failure. The Rockets finished 44-28, fourth in the Western Conference, while scoring 117.8 points per game, the second-highest average in the NBA. Over 57 games, Westbrook averaged 27.2 points per game, his highest mark since leading the league in scoring in 2016-17 with 31.6 points per game.

For the first time in three seasons, Westbook didn’t average a triple double. He had just eight triple doubles, down from 34 last season. Of course, Westbrook had the ball in his hands a little less with James Harden as his teammate. Somehow, I think Westbrook’s three-year streak of averaging a triple double goes underappreciated.

Westbrook still posted 7.0 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game last season, while also grabbing 1.6 steals and blocking 0.4 shots per game. He also shot a career-high 47.2% from the field, but with a less stellar 25.8% three-point success rate. He posted a 21.0 PER with 4.2 win shares.

Common knocks on Westbrook include defensive lapses, a high turnover rate (4.5 in 2019-20), and inability to lead a team to a deep playoff run.

But Westbrook is one of the most well-rounded players in the league, can score in a variety of ways, and is still explosive at 32 years old. Any team would be better with Westbrook’s services.

UPDATE: Any team would indeed be better with Westbrook’s services, and the Washington Wizards will show us how true that is in the 2020-21 NBA season. Washington acquired the star point guard in exchange for John Wall and a first round pick.

9. Jimmy Butler, Forward/Guard, Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler was born to play for the Miami Heat.
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

With Jimmy Butler bouncing between four teams since 2017, it’s been easy to forget just how good the small forward/shooting guard is. He was the best player on the Chicago Bulls, instantly made the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers better teams, and currently plays the role of the best player on the Miami Heat.

His scoring average (19.9 points per game) might not jump off the page, but Butler does it while shooting a solid 45.5% from the field. Butler averaged 6.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game last season, and turned the ball over 2.2 per games for a decent 2.72 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Butler’s most impressive accomplishment as of late was, of course, leading the Heat to the NBA Finals in the 2020 bubble. Once there, Butler played his heart out, leading an injury-depleted Miami team and forcing six games against the Los Angeles Lakers.

On defense, Butler is no pushover, and he averaged 1.8 steals and 0.6 blocks per game last season. If your best player is an athletic wing guard/forward, he’ll have to go toe-to-toe with Butler in order to score.

Butler finished the regular season with a 23.6 PER and 9.0 win shares.

8. Damian Lillard, Guard, Portland Trailblazers

Damian Lillard has evolved from an underrated, playmaking point guard to an undeniable Top 10 talent by the end of his eighth season in the NBA. Lillard has been producing at an elite level since 2015-16, where he put up 25.1 points, 6.8 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game at 25 years old. Since then, he’s averaged at least those numbers every year in points and rebounds, and outperformed himself in assists in two of the following four seasons.

Last season, the point guard delivered a career-high 30.0 pointsper game, career-high 8.0 assists per game, and shot career-highs in field goal percentage (.463) and three-point percentage (.401.) Lillard added 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game for a well-rounded stat sheet in the 2019-20 season.

The Portland Trailblazers did make the playoffs last season, qualifying as the eighth seed and dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in a #8-#9 seed play-in situation. To truly be considered one of the best players in today’s NBA, superstars are expected to put the team on their back and achieve a winning record. While Portland finished the season 35-39, they were an even 33-33 with Lillard on the court (2-6 in games he didn’t play.)

Then again, in the prior 2018-19 season, Portland earned the third seed in the West with a 53-29 record and even reached the Western Conference Finals. The Trailblazers will look for a stronger finish in the 2020-21 season, with a healthy Lillard and the new addition of Robert Covington.

As far as true guards (not hybrids like the next player on this list,) Lillard ranks third in the NBA. While the Russell Westbrook-Damian Lillard debate has been a hot one for a few years, I think we’re finally at the point where Lillard is clearly above Westbrook.

Lillard posted an elite 26.9 PER last season, earning 11.6 win shares in 66 games played.

7. Luka Doncic, Guard/Forward, Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic may be even better for Dallas Mavericks in 2020-21 season
Photo: Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

Luka Doncic won Rookie of the Year in the 2018-19 NBA season, putting up 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game over 72 games. In his second season, entering at just 20 years old, the Dallas Mavericks guard (his true listing, but he plays more like a LeBron James-type point forward) took a huge leap, with 28.0 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game. In just his second season, he became an All-Star and easily one of the league’s top talents. Last year, Doncic finished fourth in NBA MVP voting, and now, at 21 years old, he’s the betting favorite to win 2020-21 NBA MVP.

The 6-foot 7-inch Slovenian can do a little bit of everything on the court. Being compared to the great LeBron James is an honor few players actually deserve: but Doncic is one of them. To have such court awareness, playmaking ability, and basketball IQ at just 20-21 years old is uncanny. Doncic posted 17 triple-doubles in 61 games last season. James has a career-high of 18 triple-doubles in one season, but besides that, doesn’t have any seasons with more than 13. In his second season, also at 20 years old, James averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game.

Look, there is no “next LeBron James.” But the point is, Doncic’s early career path is statistically on roughly the same trajectory as the greatest basektball player of all-time (or second, if you will, but that’s a debate for another time.)

Doncic is already one of the best ten players in the league after just two seasons. Even if he doesn’t get any better, he’ll be a force for the Mavericks and a serious MVP candidate. If Doncic gets even a little better in 2020-21? The Mavericks could be title contenders, and Doncic could rise in to the Top Five and then some.

Doncic posted a 27.6 PER and 8.8 win shares last season with Dallas. His super high player efficiency rating was third in the NBA, behind only James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. While young players have lit up the league before, Luka is in rare air doing it at such an efficient rate.

6. James Harden, Guard, Houston Rockets

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Erik Williams/USA Today Sports

Let’s be clear: the fact James Harden is only the sixth-best player in the league today is a testament to the league’s unprecedented talent pool.

In other words, putting up 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game, while shooting 44% with a 29.1 PER, would make Harden a Top Five player, if not perhaps in the running for best player, in years of NBA past. But right now, there are five superstars better than Harden, which is crazy to think about.

Yes, despite putting him sixth on this list, I’m pretty high on Harden as a player. I think he gets a lot of bad rep for his playing style, but at the end of the day, many of the qualms don’t hold up. “He doesn’t pass:” yet, he led the league in assists with 11.2 per game in 2016-17. Even last season, he averaged 7.5 assists per game despite having Russell Westbrook dish out 7.0 assists per night himself from the true point guard position. “He’s not an efficient shooter:” Harden has uncannily shot 44% from the field in five of the last six seasons (with one slight deviation to 45%.) While his three-point percentage does leave a little to be desired at 36% as of last season, it’s certainly not bad. It’s the volume that critics don’t like (4.4 makes and 12.4 attempts per game) but in today’s NBA, the three-pointer is king.

The biggest critiques of Harden are his reliance on free throws and “cheap” fouls and/or flopping, as well as his lack of sustained playoff success. To the first issue, all I can say is, a point is a point. Harden plays within the NBA’s rules and gets to the line 11.8 times per game, sinking 10.2 of those shots. His 87% free throw percentage is among the deadliest in the NBA, especially for a star player (with just a couple players on this list better than him at converting foul shots.

This season, the Houston Rockets have swapped out Westbrook for former Washington Wizards guard John Wall. How will this affect Harden’s value? Probably not much, but if anything, Harden could see even more shots come his way without the trigger-happy Westbrook at his side.

The Rockets finished 44-28 last season, fourth in the Western Conference, and were dispatched by LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs. Harden’s 29.1 PER was second in the NBA, and his 13.1 win shares led the league. He finished third in NBA MVP voting.

5. Stephen Curry, Guard, Golden State Warriors

The case of Steph Curry is a little bit of a wildcard, but not nearly as much as the upcoming Kevin Durant ranking. This is both because both players missed all or the majority the 2019-20 NBA season due to injury. But in Curry’s case, the point guard returned to the court albeit briefly, and his injury isn’t anticipated to be career-altering. A major leg injury for Durant, on the other hand, leaves major mystery as to how he’ll play in his new tenure with the Brooklyn Nets.

With Curry, I’m confident enough to project his 2020-21 season based on his 2018-19 production. Curry does effectively lose a year of his prime, a bummer as Golden State looked to continue an NBA Finals streak and Curry looked to continue climbing the all-time leaderboards. Perhaps the most important thing to consider about Curry is that, like LeBron James, he has willed his team to the NBA Finals routinely when healthy. The Golden State Warriors made five straight trips from 2015-2019, going 3-2 in the NBA Finals. While the Warriors streak of reaching the Championship ended in 2020, Curry still has a chance to keep his personal streak up in 2021.

In a star-studded lineup including Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, Curry averaged 27.3 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game in his last full season (69 games.) He shot 47% from the field, a 44% from three-point territory, and a deadly 92% from the free throw line. The Warriors reached the NBA Finals, falling to the Toronto Raptors in six games, but with injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson hampering Golden State’s chances.

Curry was one of the best players in the game and perhaps the most feared offensive player in the league when healthy. His ability to change the outcome of a game with his lethal, seemingly boundary-less range is unparalled, and Curry while likely go down as one of the best scorers, and in turn, players, in NBA history.

Curry could definitely see a resurgence in his offensive load after the departure of Durant and with Thompson out yet again. Curry led the league with 30.1 points per game in 2015-16, and I think 30 points per game is a reasonable target for the 32-year old point guard in 2020-21.

4. Anthony Davis, Forward/Center, Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers announce new deals for Davis, LeBron | NBA.com
Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

In many ways, Anthony Davis was the best player on the Championship-winning 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers team. He outpaced LeBron James in points per game (26.1), rebounds per game (9.3), player efficiency rating (27.4), win shares (9.8), defensive win shares (4.4), and field goal percentage (50.3%.) Honestly, I’ve dug myself quite a hole for explaining why James should be ranked higher, but we’ll get to that later.

After starring as a dominant force with the New Orleans Pelicans foe seven seasons, Davis transitioned with ease in to a co-star role with James. Davis was an offensive powerhouse (again, 26.1 points per game, 50% field goal percentage) and a defensive monster (2.3 blocks per game, 1.5 steals per game, second in the NBA in defensive win shares.) Davis finished sixth in MVP voting and second in defensive player of the year voting.

With elite defense becoming a dying breed in the NBA, Davis shines as one of the league’s top rim protectors. With just his defense alone, he’d be an All-Star worthy player, but coupled with his offensive skills, he’s a unicorn in today’s league.

Davis will be 28 by the next NBA playoffs, and still has years of elite basketball ahead of him. And Davis absolutely has the chance to rise on this list with another strong year in 2020-21. As James inevitably fights Father Time, the Los Angeles Lakers will likely become Davis’ team over the course of the next few seasons. For now, he and James represent the best duo in the league today and one of the deadliest one-two punches in NBA history.

With one championship under their belt, Davis, James, and the Lakers will be hungry for more when the NBA season resumes on December 22.

3. Kawhi Leonard, Forward, Los Angeles Clippers

LA Clippers: Has Kawhi Leonard become underrated?
Photo: Christian Peterson/Getty Images

The league’s quietest superstar quietly improved his numbers across the board the last season. Kawhi Leonard wasn’t able to instantly push the Los Angeles Clippers to the NBA Finals like he was able to do in one season with the Toronto Raptors, but Leonard did improve in almost every major category.

He increased his points per game (26.6 to 27.1), assists per game (3.3 to 4.9), blocks per game (0.4 to 0.6) and slightly increased his shooting averages, with his field goal percentage up to 47%, three-point percentage up to 38%, and free throw connection rate up to 87%. Leonard did all this while playing a couple minutes less per game than the previous season.

With these next four* players, they all represent the same thing to an NBA franchise: a two-way forward who can come on to any team and instantly change their fortunes, making them title contenders. Leonard was great with the San Antonio Spurs, but really rose to NBA superstardom by instantly turning the Raptors in to NBA Finals winners.

Leonard still looks to take the Clippers to the Promised Land, joining LeBron James in winning three Finals (and potentially three Finals MVP’s) with three different franchises.

Leonard, long-known for being a defensive ace, has been blooming on offense, when healthy, over the past four seasons. His defensive numbers are still great (1.8 steals, 0.6 blocks per game, 12th in defensive win shares) even if they’re just a tad below the peak of his defensive prowess.

At 29 years old, Leonard still has the ability to etch his spot in the NBA history books. With another championship, he could be hailed as one of the most dominant players to ever take the court. He still has the potential to become the best player in the league if he continues to grow, and the throne becomes available for the taking. Or, Leonard could slowly fade out, losing Top Ten status over time as he cedes some of the spotlight to Paul George. Only time will tell, but the pen to write the story is in Leonard’s hands.

Leonard had a 26.6 player efficiency rating last season (sixth in the NBA) and added 8.7 win shares to the second-seeded, 49-23 Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers were upset by the Denver Nuggets in seven games in the second round of the playoffs.

2A. Kevin Durant, Forward, Brooklyn Nets*

Brooklyn Nets injury updates: Tracking latest injury news for Nets during  2020 NBA Playoffs - DraftKings Nation
Photo: Bob Donan/USA Today Sports

Many basketball fans would argue Kevin Durant was the best player in the world the last time he was healthy on the court. His last three seasons resulted in three NBA Finals appearances, with two wins and one loss (with Durant tearing his ACL in the process.) In 2020, it doesn’t feel fair to rank Durant among current players. He hasn’t played a game since June 2019, approaching 18 months. A variety of factors will impact his play in his return to the court: a year and a half away from full-speed action, recovering from a potentially career-altering injury, and also being a year and a half older. At 32 years old, Durant still should have years left in the tank, but it’s just one of many variables to consider as Durant returns to the NBA.

Another wildcard factor? Durant will be playing with a new team, the Brooklyn Nets. Assuming Kyrie Irving stays healthy and available, he and Durant should combine to create a dynamic duo, perhaps reminiscent of Irving’s pairing with LeBron James in Cleveland. While Brooklyn is building a talented roster, it’s obviously not the same level of talent Durant had on a star-studded Golden State Warriors team. But Durant is instant offense, and I don’t think he’ll take any kind of step back just because he doesn’t have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green at his side. If anything, Durant may see more offensive opportunities with the Nets.

Durant averaged 16.5, 18.0, and 17.7 shots per game over three seasons with Golden State. While his offensive load did increase after his first season with the Warriors, it never reached the heights od his shot-taking with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant took 20.3 shots per game in 2009-10, leading the league in scoring with 30.1 points per game. Durant led the league in scoring for three consecutive years, as well as a fourth time in 2013-14. Overall, he took 19.1 shots per game as a member of the Thunder/Supersonics franchise, scoring 27.4 points per game. In three seasons with the Warriors, Durant attempted 17.5 shots per game and scored 25.8 points per game.

While Durant may need to ease back into the game in the early season, if and when he’s fully healthy, I would expect to see a more Oklahoma City-style of play from Durant. After all, Durant did play alongside a trigger-happy Russell Westbrook on the Thunder. Even if Irving also chucks up 20 shots a game, it’s a formula that could potentially work for Brooklyn.

At best, Durant still has a chance to be the best player in the NBA with an incredible bounce back season. Realistically, Durant should be a Top Five player, falling somewhere in the middle of the Kawhu-LeBron-Giannis mix. At worst, Durant could have lost a step of explosiveness, and while he would still be a deadly shooter, any decline in athleticism could hamper his ability to get to the basket.

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Forward, Milwaukee Bucks

The two-time reigning Most Valuable Player of the NBA certainly has a case to be the league’s best player. While there’s a great argument for Giannis Antetokounmpo at the top of this list, you can try to convince me on Twitter if you really want. But for Giannis’ entry in the Top Ten, I won’t focus on why he’s not the number one player on my list, but rather, rant and rave about how great the Milwaukee Bucks forward.

While James, Leonard, Durant, Curry, and Harden still have a couple years of prime basketball left in their tanks, Antetokounmpo just turned 26, and could have as much as a decade of elite-level basketball ahead of him. In his third season, at 21 years old, Antetokounmpo was averaging pedestrian but respectable numbers: 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists per game. After winning the league’s Most Improved Player award in 2016-17, the Greek Freak hasn’t looked back.

In 2019-20, over 63 games, Antetokounmpo averaged a career-high 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, while adding 5.6 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game as well. Antetokounmpo did this on 55% shooting, slightly down from his 58% clip in his first MVP season, but still an outrageously high rate considering his 19.7 shots per game. Antetokounmpo is still working on his three-point shot (30%) and free throw percentage (63%), and if he irons out those problems, the league could be in even more trouble.

Despite being the league’s most efficient offensive player and winning MVP in a landslide over James, Antetokounmpo also took home the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award with ease over Anthony Davis as the closest contender. His 5.0 defensive win shares were marginally higher than Davis’ 4.4 win shares.

The Bucks finished with the league’s best regular season record for the second straight season, and Antetokounmpo is tasked with carrying an even bigger load than players like James, Harden, and Leonard. Of course, with such great regular season success, Milwaukee would like at least an NBA Finals appearance to show for it, but that hasn’t happened just yet. Lack of playoff success isn’t enough to hold back Antetokounmpo too much on this list, but it’s probably one of the biggest factors in ranking him behind the top player on this list.

Again, Antetokounmpo’s 31.9 PER last season easily led the league, with Harden (29.1) a distant second. He had 11.1 win shares, which was actually behind that of Lillard and Harden (13.1, the league’s leader.)

1. LeBron James, Forward, Los Angeles Lakers

lakers-title.jpg
Photo: Kim Clement via CBS Sports

At 35 years old (and basically 36 years old for the upcoming season), LeBron James is still the most valuable and impactful player in the NBA. While he’s not the league’s top scorer, most efficient scorer, nor the league leader in PER or win shares, the impact James leaves on his team on and off the court is unparalleled.

Consider James’ NBA Finals streak: if you leave out his injury-shortened campaign in his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers, James has made the NBA Finals in each of the last nine seasons that he’s played, winning four championships across three different franchises in that time. While this list attempts to rank players in the moment right now, it’s impossible to ignore it: if LeBron James is on your team and not injured, your team is going to the NBA Finals.

James is the most influential player in the league, and exudes a winning culture that rubs off on his teammates even when he’s not on the court. Sure, adding Anthony Davis to the mix made things a little easier for James this season, and Davis even shouldered a little bit more of the offensive load. Yet, the Lakers remained James’ team, as he led his squad on and off the court.

Over 67 regular season games last year, James averaged 25.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, alongside 10.2 assists per game, a number that represents both his career-high and his first time leading the league in assists. James has always been a facilitator (7.4 assists per game over his career), but the new high could be a sign of things to come in the twilight of the superstar’s career.

James shot a solid 49% from the field, 35% from three, and 70% from the free throw line, while posting a 25.5 PER (ninth in the NBA) and 9.8 win shares (seventh in the NBA.) Yes, by the metrics I’ve been mainly using to compare players within the Top 10, James actually lags in some major categories. But it doesn’t matter, as James has proved time and time again he’s the league’s true most valuable player, regardless of which player takes home the actual award.

Team success is the other side of the coin in this debate, and again, James takes the cake in this category. Besides nine straight NBA Finals appearances (when finishing the season healthy), James led the Lakers to a 52-19 record last season. Of course, the Lakers would roll through the Western Conference playoffs and down the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for James’ fourth career championship.

Is James playing the best basketball of his career? Perhaps not, and yet, he’s still the top player in the league in my opinion. If I’m building a team to win in 2020-21, I’m picking LeBron James first without hesitation. His leadership abilities, basketball IQ, and of course, skill and talent levels make him the most dominant force in the league. James doesn’t lead the league in scoring, but he certainly could if he wanted to. Instead, the Lakers offense flows through James, and his league-leading effort in assists could be a sign of things to come.

Using some other advanced statistics to show James’ worth, the “point-forward” finished fifth in the league with a +8.4 court rating, and third in the league with a 6.1 Value over Replacement Player (VORP.) While many would like to see James use his talents more on defense, he still finished tenth in the league in defensive win shares (3.6.)

Durant, Curry and Harden may be better scorers, Leonard, Antetokounmpo and Davis may be more elite defenders, but in terms of total package, James is the league’s top offering. Antetokounmpo and Durant are the only players I see challenging James for the top spot in 2020-21. James’ time as the league’s best player, which has been at least a decade if not longer, will probably come to an end sooner than later. But until then, the reigning NBA Finals MVP is the league’s best player yet again.

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