With the NBA season returning, it is shaping up to be yet another exciting year for the league. The dynamics have changed over the summer with some major moves across the NBA - from LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers to the exchange between Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. As usual, fans are already debating the top players in the league with a number of players taking a step forward, while others are showing hints of regression early on.
When it comes to comparisons between NBA players, there are usually a number of decisive factors that determine which players are superior overall, including their advanced statistics. While some fans may be quick to judge players based on their points per game, there are plenty of stats that demonstrate a player's impact on the game more than meets the eye.
Some players may also have the advantage of being in a better situation at the moment, allowing them to play to their full potential thanks to the surrounding players and coaching staff, as opposed to those who have been stuck on losing teams. Another year, another exciting season is underway - pick the better NBA player and we'll guess your favorite team!
1LeBron James or Kevin Durant?
For the past decade, LeBron James and Kevin Durant have established themselves as two of the best players in the league with outstanding performances over the years. They have also entered the history books through personal accomplishments, with the former appearing on 14 All-NBA teams while the latter has been named to 8.
2Stephen Curry or James Harden?
The two best guards in the league have had some wonderful battles in recent years. While James Harden has fell short of his quest to win a championship thus far, Stephen Curry has already added three rings to his impressive resume. Given the choice to build a team around one player, fans may be split in regarding this battle.
3Kawhi Leonard or Giannis Antetokounmpo?
With Kawhi Leonard having missed action the past year, Giannis Antetokounmpo has certainly gained some ground on him through his transformation into an elite player. Both are immensely talented two-way players who are leading their respective teams of Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks to the top of the Eastern Conference.
4Anthony Davis or Joel Embiid?
While the NBA has been leaning towards guard oriented in the past two years, there are still many big men who continue to dominate the court. Among them are Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid, both of whom are generally considered to be top 10 players in the NBA by the media and fans alike.
5Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook?
There aren't many point guards who have been nearly as great as Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook have in the 2000s. As they continue to demonstrate their elite status with consistent performances, the only thing left for both players is to win a championship as they have fallen short of their mission thus far.
6Jimmy Butler or Paul George?
Jimmy Butler and Paul George have been often compared in recent years as both happen to be two-guard players who play shooting guard as well as small forward. Neither has been able to lead their team to major success in the Playoffs although fans agree that they are among the best players in the league today.
7Kyle Lowry or Kyrie Irving?
With the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics competing for a Finals appearance this year, it may come down to their two point guards in Kyle Lowry and Kyrie Irving. While the latter may be flashier and a better scorer, Lowry is undoubtedly the better all-around player thanks to his defense and rebounding efforts.
8Nikola Jokic or Karl-Anthony Towns?
While Karl-Anthony Towns generated much more hype coming into the league as the number one pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, while Nikola Jokic was selected with the 41st pick of the 2014 Draft - many would argue that the latter has recently surpassed him with his impressive performances for the Denver Nuggets.
9Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge?
This debate has been ongoing for years when Blake Griffin was a still a member of the Los Angeles Clippers while LaMarcus Aldridge played for the Portland Trail Blazers. Now that both players have carried their performances to their new teams, only one of these forwards can take this round.
10DeMar DeRozan or Victor Oladipo?
Prior to last season, DeMar DeRozan would have likely been chosen by the majority of voters as he had established himself as an NBA All-Star. Since then, Victor Oladipo has morphed into an elite player as well with a case for being the second best shooting guard after James Harden.
11Damian Lillard or Kemba Walker?
Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker have been among the top point guards in recent years, although both All-Stars have managed to step up their game this season. The former has had more Playoff success as the Blazers have constantly featured in the postseason, while Walker's Hornets have only had minor success.
12DeMarcus Cousins or Kristaps Porzingis?
Two players who were making their mark among the very best in the league, although they have spent the past year battling health problems. When healthy, their All-Star play have made them among the premiere big men in the league as they fill up the stats sheet in every possible way.
13Klay Thompson or Bradley Beal?
Klay Thompson has obviously had much more success than Bradley Beal in their journeys thur far, but the former has been fortunate to be apart of a dominant Golden State Warriors team, while the latter has been a member of the inconsistent Washington Wizards. As far as talent, they are equal in the aspect.
14Andre Drummond or Marc Gasol?
There are very few big men who can still impact the game through rebounding and defense - two qualities that have made Andre Drummond and Marc Gasol become All-Star players in the league. Despite their similarities as far as stats go, they are vastly different on the court with each possessing a unique presence.
15Devin Booker or Jayson Tatum?
Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum are two of the brightest young talents in the NBA. The former announced himself to the world thanks to a 70 point game, while the latter earned praise following some impressive performances in the Playoffs, helping the Boston Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
16Dwyane Wade or Carmelo Anthony?
Two of the top 5 picks from the iconic 2003 NBA Draft - Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony are now nearing the end of their journey. When it comes to all-time ranking, most would give Wade the edge thanks to his three championships with the Miami Heat. But it is certainly debatable in present day.
17John Wall or Jrue Holiday?
John Wall has been considered among the top guards as of the past few years, but the Washington Wizards' disappointing Playoff showings have affected his reputation. As for Jrue Holiday, he continues to be overlooked by fans as one of the most underrated players today with massive impact on both ends of the floor.
18Tim Hardaway Jr. or Zach LaVine?
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Zach LaVine both recently received contract extensions that were deemed as questionable by fans. And while their overall impact left some to be desired in previous years, it appears like they may have turned around a new page with the new NBA season to prove their worth.
19Khris Middleton or Tobias Harris?
Khris Middleton and Tobias Harris remain underappreciated despite their consistent performances in recent years. They are similar players when it comes to their play and have comparable impact on the floor. Both are also set to be free agents next summer and are rumored to be generating plenty of interest among teams.
20Lou Williams or JJ Redick?
Lou Williams and JJ Redick have had similar paths with both serving as role players who provide a scoring spark thanks to their remarkable three point shooting. They share some similar flaws in their game as well, and while they may not be All-Star players, they are among the best role players around.
21DeAndre Jordan or Hassan Whiteside?
With the league moving towards smaller lineups, there are still a number of traditional big men who are still able to impact the game in more ways than one, among them are DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside. They have had a similar rise as neither were particularly hyped as prospects, and had to work hard to earn a spot in the league.
22Luke Doncic or Trae Young?
Trae Young and Luka Doncic will be among the top names competing for the Rookie of the Year award. Early in their NBA journey, it's safe to say that the hype has been warranted as they have already managed to dazzle with their performances. Being from the same class, it's likely that they will be compared for many years to come.
23Gordon Hayward or CJ McCollum?
Gordon Hayward is coming off a surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2017-18 season, although he is eager to re-establish himself as a top player in the NBA. CJ McCollum has been one of the best scoring guards in the league for the past few years, forming an exciting duo with Damian Lillard.
24Draymond Green or Rudy Gobert?
Arguably the two best defenders in the NBA today, Draymond Green was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 while Rudy Gobert earned the award in 2018. Green has been a crucial part of the Golden State Warriors' success, playing a significant role in their three championships. Meanwhile, Gobert has led the Utah Jazz back to relevancy with strong performances on both ends.
25Ben Simmons or Donovan Mitchell?
Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell had an exciting race for the Rookie of the Year award in 2018, although the former ended up earning the edge. Many fans felt that Mitchell deserved the honor as he is a superior scorer at the moment, while others believed that Simmons had greater all-around impact and a higher ceiling as a player.
26Mike Conley or Goran Dragic?
For the past few years, Mike Conley and Goran Dragic have been quietly among the most consistent point guards in the league despite not earning heaps of praise like some of their peers. Both are known for giving full effort at any given time as they have shown a winning mentality.
27Kevin Love or Al Horford?
There aren't many big men in the league who been equally as great as Al Horford and Kevin Love have been in the past decade. The former is a superior defensive player while the latter is a better all-around scorer, making it a tough comparison to choose for many fans.
28Dwight Howard or Paul Millsap?
There was a time when Dwight Howard was not only considered a top five player in the league, but also an MVP candidate. Paul Millsap has been a four-time NBA All-Star who contributes greatly to every time he is apart of. In an all-time ranking, Howard would certainly earn the nod but it's very debatable in present time.
29Josh Richardson or Caris LeVert?
Josh Richardson and Caris LeVert have shown flashes of brilliance since entering the league, but they have completely stepped up their game to a new level this season. Based on their current productivity, they may be able to book All-Star spots in the future as they are on pace to have breakout years.
30Brandon Ingram or Jaylen Brown?
Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown are among the better young prospects in the league who could turn into All-Stars in the near future. Ingram is already showing his worth for the Los Angeles Lakers, while Brown has had impressive performances for the Boston Celtics in the regular season and Playoffs.
31Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray?
When the Sacramento Kings traded away DeMarcus Cousins, they were keen on getting Buddy Hield in the exchange as they believed he had potential to be a great player in the league. Jamal Murray has already been a game change for the Denver Nuggets and recently had 48 points against the Boston Celtics.
32Aaron Gordon or Clint Capela?
Their game may be completely different with Aaron Gordon having huge responsibility as the main scorer for the Orlando Magic. Meanwhile, Clint Capela is the third option on the Houston Rockets with duties that mostly include defensive stops and rebounding. Both players were drafted in 2014 with Gordon being selected with the fourth pick while Capela went 25th.
33Kyle Kuzma or De'Aaron Fox?
Kyle Kuzma and De'Aaron Fox are both products of the 2017 Draft and are living up to the hype in their young journeys. They are averaging similar numbers this season with Fox having the edge in assists and steals - although he does play a bigger role for the Sacramento Kings.
34Andrew Wiggins or Julius Randle?
The 2014 NBA Draft generated major buzz among fans with some believing that it would produce the best prospects in a decade. Andrew Wiggins was drafted first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves although he has yet to live up to the hype surrounding him. As for Julius Randle, he was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the very same draft and has had some good seasons thus far.
35Derrick Rose or Gary Harris?
There is no doubt that prime Derrick Rose is a superior player to Gary Harris as he was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA in 2011. But in present time, it is debatable as to which player is more productive as they are having very similar seasons thus far.