Ranking The 10 Must-See NBA Players To Watch This Season

The 10 Must-See NBA Players

There are players on every NBA team that make it worth watching every night. That’s the great thing about having a league full of top-notch, highly interesting players right now.

But who are the must-see players this season? That’s what I’m here to find out.

There will be a lot of bias here. It can’t be avoided. The viewer’s experience can be interpreted differently, and people like different styles. This list of 10 players is just one person’s view. There is no way to get rid of opinions with a set of clear rules.

Generally, though, I’m focusing on the “WTF did we just watch?!!” factor—the players who are events in and of themselves, doing incomprehensible things whenever, wherever, and without fail, whose feats and styles make people remember them and give you permanent FOMO if you’re not watching every night in real-time.

Funny things that happen by accident will not be on this list. This means that no one from the Washington Wizards makes the team. Most importantly, keep in mind that this is not a list of the best and most important players ever. It’s a ranking of how watchable each name is meant to bring out the most intriguing (and silly) reasons for each name.

10(t). LaMelo Ball, De'Aaron Fox and LeBron James

I am not picking. I’m not sorry, either.

The Charlotte Hornets can be challenging to understand, but LaMelo Ball is always fun to watch. Even simple moves like corner flings, lobs, and pocket plays look fancy when he does them. He is still the First Team All-Most Likely to Throw an Alley-Oop Dime from 35 Feet or More.

His runs to the basket are a fairly new part of the LaMelo Ball Experience. Not only are they sometimes disorganized and ineffective, but they are often hypnotic no matter how they end.

There’s never been a better time to see De’Aaron Fox. During the time he was out with a sprained ankle, the Sacramento Kings’ attack could have been faster and more fun. All of his settings are set to 11 this season on both ends.

Watching him hit the ball hard is almost more interesting than seeing his upper and lower body move in different directions at different speeds during shots. 

There is no question that watching LeBron James makes you feel something. Fans of the other team get angry when they see so many clips of him in every game, even when their team loses. But the fact that he can randomly press the “turbo” button on his drives makes him a must-see and an important part of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Of course, it’s a cliché to be amazed when LeBron does a chase-down block in his 39th season. On the other hand, we should be glad that LeBron is still able to make chase-down blocks at age 39.

Soon, we can only watch more of his work like this if we go down the rabbit hole of career highlights. Enjoy the new times while you still can.

9. Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets

League Pass fans have loved Alperen Sengun for a long time because of his risky passes and creative, almost wild, choices. This year that draw comes with a bigger part. And he hasn’t let us down.

Change makes the English passing experience more enjoyable. This person doesn’t need to screen people or work in hand-off settings in order to get things done. He can destroy from a standing start, with players on his hips, to lead the break from down low and anywhere else.

He’ll do strange things with the ball. They don’t always work, either. But they work most of the time. 

Sengun has stepped up how hard he scores goals, which makes him look better. Even though his shots don’t always look like the behind-the-back dream from above, there is a very Nikola Jokic-like way that he throws around players who are just as big and sometimes stronger with his shoulders and flips up shots from closer range at different angles.

Join the Alperen Sengun crowd before it’s too late. When it comes to the Houston Rockets, he is the main reason why they are off to such a great start.

8. Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

Tyrese Maxey always makes for good TV because of how fast he moves. However, his warp drive changes more often this season.

He changes his rhythm more often and feels more at ease accepting contact going downhill. This makes his drives more unpredictable and a lot of fun. The way he steps back on his step-back jumper can be Prime Like James Harden. Besides that, he’s a living highlight-reel threat on defense.

He also accelerates when he has the ball and passes more creatively when going to the basket. All of this is sick as hell. It shapes and improves the way the Philadelphia 76ers play this season for long periods. And it’s one of the best ways to watch something.

7. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is different from your typical League Pass soulmate. He’s not interesting to watch because of his blow-by speed (though he can bust it out) or above-the-rim flickers.

His job is to destroy things in a planned way. And business is great.

He is naturally good at throwing off defenses. They don’t know how to handle his runs to the basket because they keep changing speed, direction, footwork, and, ultimately, conclusion.

I’ve always had a terrible step-back in SGA’s stock. But this year, it’s a reply that’s almost an awkward and humiliating default. Every night is great to watch SGA if you like seeing people flying around and the league’s best in-and-out dribble.

6. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

Anthony Edwards has all the usual League Pass bad behavior. NASA should study his 0–100 mph speed. He doesn’t have a shot filter to block the dribble, and he responds to what’s going on with a megawatt smile that can also be a knifing grin.

Also, he’s always one item away from the next best-selling picture. His defensive stops when the ball is in play are more constant and can’t be missed.

Edwards moves into the top-five fringe thanks to better playmaking. Edwards is making better choices now that he’s back on his feet, but he’s also probing more often and more skillfully until chances that he didn’t see coming up. The content of flash meetings is always interesting. Both of them came to the Minnesota Timberwolves because of Edwards.

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Many people don’t think much about Giannis Antetokounmpo because he has been around for so long and is still at the top of his game. How do you feel and think about the place where normal and unusual meet? It shows how crazy Giannis is that he even plays; we expect him to get us up from our seats. Some people still think that his attacking game needs more skill or depth, but his way of moving through traffic is a work of art in and of itself. His defense is exciting for both basketball fans who like details that don’t show up in the stats and fans who love watching highlights.

Even though you don’t like the shots he takes from the perimeter (which, by the way, has been a useful defense this season), you have to admire his unwavering desire to try new things. Giannis is still working hard after all these years. He’s like the saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” And it’s just as fun to watch now as it was when he was a League Pass joke or not very well known.

4. Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

When Victor Wembanyama is new, it always makes him more interesting to watch. People are more interested in “What will he do next?!” than Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Edwards, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and many others because it’s hard to predict what he will do next.

Still, coming in at number four isn’t a sign of how unique he is. It’s a recognition of the wide range of practical feats he’s already done and the ones he still needs to learn.

What will happen next? Putting the ball down from three-point range? Notching a five-times-double? Making threes from Stephen Curry’s range?

You can’t stress how efficient and consistent you are if you need to. But Wembanyama is making his mark only through experimenting (and, to be honest, strong defense). The moments we’ve seen so far result from a generational prospect trying to figure it out.

Just think of what we’ll see that will make us lose it when he does.

3. Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

Tyrese Haliburton is as easy to talk to as famous people get. There is something fun for every fan to watch him do on offense.

However, people who are good at doing more than one thing at a time may need help understanding him. His style demands that you pay full attention to him.

You might have seen Haliburton do something else before you looked back up. He could have thrown a perfect hit ahead, a laser to the corner, an off-the-dribble three with what might be the most pronounced wrist flick in league history, a perfectly placed lob on the run, a live-dribble bounce pass into the pocket, a jump-pass that would have destroyed the defense. The list goes on and on and will never end.

All this and more that Haliburton does with almost perfect balance and control do strange things to the brain. Someone with 15 assists and no turnover should not be a regular because they are so exciting and sexually suggestive. It turns out to be just that and so much more.

2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry might have the best individual show in NBA history. He’s 35 years old, but he’s still as interesting as ever—like a human pinball whose presence wears down and throws off whole defenses.

It’s still possible to be brave from long range, and it makes you smile. Unless you’re the other team’s defense, in which case you can only shrug and maybe smile too.

Defenders can’t keep him away from the ball, so you have to keep your eyes on him at all times. The handles, live-dribble footwork, and ending show controlled chaos in its most unpredictable and useful form. Curry is looking from the sidelines because his right knee is sprained. The injury isn’t thought to be too bad, but every game they miss means we miss seeing someone play with crazy joy.

1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Is the NBA’s best player also possible to be its most-watched player? It makes sense.

When it comes to scoring, Nikola Jokic can do everything except run around the outside at lightning speed like Stephen Curry and explode to the basket in 1.75 steps from half-court like Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Adding more standard big-man moves to his game helps define it. His inside movement is top-notch.

In every way you can think of, Jokic breaks down defenses. What he does has no answer. He can’t be solved from anywhere, even on his worst nights. This includes transition, the block, going downhill, stopping, above the break, and everywhere else. Even after all this time, he still does two to 57 crazy things every game that makes you wonder why anyone else spends time playing them.

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