We Asked NBA Stars to Rank the Top 5 Most Skilled Players Right Now

We caught up with Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tyrese Haliburton, Carmelo Anthony, and more NBA stars to name their top five most skilled players in the NBA right now.

Basketball player in a blue jersey with number 11 dribbles past a defender in white during a game
Ron Jenkins / Getty Images

When it comes to NBA discourse on the topic of skill, NBA fans' definition of skill varies because of the split between numerical production and the good ol' eye test as the basis of the argument. Some fans use scoring numbers as the primary talking point while other fans use the "biggest bag" debate. In our interview in November with Carmelo Anthony, he stated that was a big difference between the best players in the game and most skilled players in the game. 

"There are skilled guys in the NBA that are not the best players," Anthony says. "There's a big difference. The best player comes with different things. You know what I'm saying? There's a lot of that comes with being the best player in the NBA. You got to be one out of 400." 

You'll run into weekly debates on X, formerly known as Twitter, with fans bickering about the players with the most skill and criticizing players that "lack" skill to negate their impact. Every fan believes their words are the bible but what do the players think about this topic? We polled several stars & young players around the NBA on who they believed were the top five most skilled players in the league. As athletes who have trained and attempted to perfect their skills for over a decade, the players provide a different perspective than the average social media user devoted to protecting their favorite player's legacy. 

All-Stars Jayson Tatum, Tyrese Haliburton, Damian Lillard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were among the group that was polled individually. The two common names on almost every list were Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, which should be no surprise to NBA fans. The majority of the rest of the votes were split between Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, Paul George, and Steph Curry. 

With all that being said, here's the most skilled players in the NBA right now voted by the players. 

Basketball player in a blue jersey with number 11 dribbles past a defender in white during a game

Damian Lillard

Basketball player in Milwaukee jersey pointing, on court during a game

Tyrese Haliburton

Basketball player in Indiana Pacers jersey on the court

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Basketball player in uniform with a headband on the court looking focused

Jayson Tatum

Basketball player in a Boston jersey with the number 0 running on the court

The most skilled players in the NBA according to @jaytatum0 ๐Ÿ‘€

1. Jayson Tatum
2. Kyrie Irving
3. Kevin Durant
4. Paul George
5. Devin Booker pic.twitter.com/AthDamvqgS

— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) October 11, 2023
Twitter: @ComplexSports

Alperen Sengun

Houston Rockets basketball player in uniform on the court during a game

Khris Middleton

Interviewer with microphone speaks to basketball player in jersey number 22 on the court

Terry Rozier

Basketball player in white and red uniform focuses intently during a game

Scoot Henderson

Basketball player in Portland Trail Blazers uniform high-fiving a teammate on the court

Scoot Henderson lists his five most skilled players in the NBA ๐Ÿ‘€

1. Steph Curry
2. Nikola Jokic
3. LeBron James
4. Donovan Mitchell
5. Luka Doncic pic.twitter.com/61TRYcAYPO

— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) November 8, 2023
Twitter: @ComplexSports

Carmelo Anthony

Person smiling and taking a selfie, wearing a cap and sunglasses, casually dressed

Total Vote Count

Professional basketball players in All-Star jerseys sitting and chatting

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