It’s the dawn of a new era in the first edition of Nick Wright’s ranking of the best players in the NBA this year.
For the first time since the host of “First Things First” made his pyramid of players, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is not at the top.
However, as you will read shortly, it is difficult to argue against the usurper.
Here’s how Wright ranks the biggest stars in the NBA, along with some key stats and commentary. Plus, discover the favorite to win the NBA regular season MVP award in each of Wright’s levels, with odds via FOX Bet.
HIGH LEVEL: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Best MVP odds: Antetokounmpo +700 (bet $ 10 to win $ 80 total on FOX Bet)
Key statistic: Antetokounmpo is one of two players to win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and Finals MVP during a three-year span in NBA history, joining Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-95 ), via StatMuse.
Wright’s thoughts: “He’s arguably the best defenseman in the league, and he just scored 50 to win the title. So he has to supplant LeBron… as the best basketball player.”
SECOND LEVEL: LeBron James, Kevin Durant
Best MVP odds: Durant +700 (bet $ 10 to win $ 80 total on FOX Bet)
Key statistic: James’ next triple-double will be the 100th of his career. He would be the fifth player to cross this milestone.
Wright’s thoughts: “I don’t think there is a lot of argument that they are among the top three players in the league.”
THIRD LEVEL: Luka Doncić, Stephen Curry, James Harden
Best MVP odds: Dončić +350 (bet $ 10 to win $ 45 total on FOX Bet)
Key statistic: Curry needs 142 3 points to pass Ray Allen (2,973) for the top 3 points in NBA history. Since the 2012-13 season, he has hit over 200 3s in every season, with the exception of his injury-shortened 2019-20 season.
Wright’s thoughts: “I argued, I freaked out, I flopped. I ended up saying… I would rather Luka, Steph and Harden than Embiid or Jokić.”
FOURTH LEVEL: Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokić, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard
Best MVP odds: Embiid +650 (bet $ 10 to win $ 75 total on FOX Bet)
Key statistic: The Sixers have won 67.5% of the games Embiid and disgruntled Ben Simmons have played together, including the playoffs. When one plays without the other, this winning percentage drops to 49%, via StatMuse.
Wright’s thoughts: “Kawhi has to be in the top four. He has to be a top 10 player. He’s obviously injured, so [it’s] hard to put it higher than that. “
FIFTH LEVEL: Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker
Best MVP odds: Youth +1600 (bet $ 10 to win $ 170 total on FOX Bet)
Key statistic: Paul is 22 points from 20,000 for his career. He would be the 47th player in NBA history to reach the mark.
Wright’s thoughts: “Trae, Mitchell, Booker – three guys [who] really leveraged their pyramid stock by outstanding performance in the playoffs. “
To see Wright’s breakdown of his pyramid, including the full list of the 55 players involved, watch the video below:
The NBA season is approaching and Nick Wright reveals his 55 best players in the league. Watch to see where players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, and LeBron James end up on Nick’s pyramid.
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