NBA Top Guns: Players to Watch in the 2020-21 Season

NBA players at the the hoops during a game
via Nicholas LA / CC-BY-2.0

We’re in the midst of an exciting NBA season, which, despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing many delays, postponements, and restructuring, seems set to go full steam ahead. So who are the top NBA players to keep an eye on in the 2020-2021 season?

It’s a hard list to make, with so many promising stars rising through each team’s ranks. With players like Giannis Antetokounmpo contending for a place as the top NBA player at the moment in a contest with the legendary Lebron James, to the impact Luka Dončić’s average of 30-10-10 has had on the Mavericks, it’s sure to be a close one.

Let’s take a look at the top guns in the NBA right now, in no particular order.

LeBron James – The Los Angeles Lakers

He might be 36 years old, but James is still at the very top of his game. In his 17th season, he averaged a career-high of 10.2 assists, only further serving to prove that we still have a good few years left of James in all his glory. His defense seems a bit weaker as he’s gotten older, but he is still a formidable player and at the top of the NBA players list nonetheless. It is even said that LeBron James is one of the top two players of all time in the NBA, alongside Michael Jordan. James has also just nabbed the NBA Finals MVP award in 2020, for the fourth time in his career.

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

Two-time reigning MVP, Antetokounmpo, was in the top five for almost all the major statistical categories, including total rebound rate, win shares, defensive win shares, scoring, rebounds, and PER this past season. He may need to work on his shooting a bit, but there is evidence he is aware of this and is working on it. If Antetokounmpo keeps up his efforts and continues to improve, he could be set to have his name down in the NBA hall of fame as one of the greatest players of all time one day.

Luka Dončić – Dallas Mavericks

He may be young, at just 21, but Dončićis one of the NBA’s top rising stars. Averaging almost a 30-10-10 in his second year alone, Dončić is doing things for the Mavericks that haven’t been seen since LeBron James played for them! Although he needs to improve his 3-point shooting, Dončić has shown that he can hit treys from almost any range and gives the Mavericks hope that they will make many deep playoff runs in the future.

Kawhi Leonard – Los Angeles Clippers

Touted as one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders, Leonard is a two-time NBA Finals MVP and continues to improve on every facet of his game. He has averaged career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists and steadily impresses in the postseasons. He has a lot to prove in the playoffs but seems set to do just that.

Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors

Although 32-year-old Curry has been out of action recently due to a broken hand, his ability on the court throughout his career makes him an NBA top gun to watch. He commands the respect of defenders with his limitless range and could definitely have some tricks up his sleeve for the 2020-21 season.

Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers

night game at a basketball stadium
via Jake Spurlock / CC-BY-2.0

If Davis’ numbers keep improving each year, as they have been since he was first pick back in 2012, the 27-year-old could find himself in the NBA Hall of Fame. After an average of 27.7 points in the playoffs en route to the Lakers winning their first championship in 10 years, coupled with playing alongside LeBron, it seems that Davis’s impeccable game is only set to improve and impress even more. 

Jimmy Butler – Miami Heat

Miami Heat may be the third team he’s played for in as many years, but Butler seems to have finally found his home team. Leading the team with a score of 19.9, 6.0 assists, 1.8 steals, and 9.1 free-throw attempts per game last season, Butler seems to have really caught onto the Heat’s reputation for winning. Butler can also be credited for leading the team to an NBA Finals appearance.

Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets

At a staggering 6-foot-11, Durant is intimidating, to say the least. The 32-year-old is also an excellent defensive player thanks to his impressive height, and averages more than a block per game in distance. Unfortunately, Durant is known for off-court feuds, and suffered an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals, but should hopefully still bring his A-game this season and find a way to coexist with fellow hot-headed star and teammate, Kyrie Irving.

James Harden, Houston Rockets

Called one of the most dangerous and successful offensive players in the NBA, Harden seems to find new and innovative ways to get the ball in the basket each season. Keep an eye on him to see if he continues to go for those crowd-pleasing 60-point triple-doubles in the 2020-21 season.

Keep an eye on all the exciting NBA action

With players like these gracing the courts and teams hungrier than ever to get back out there and make up for lost time and haphazard schedules, it seems like the 2020-21 NBA season will be one of the most exciting ones yet!