The NBA, the most elite basketball league in the world, is home to the most talented and finest basketball players on the planet.
Each season these stars, in their numbers, up the stakes of what is considered the best form and class in basketball. And the 2021/22 season is no different.
From stars who have held on to the forte of excellent basketball prowess for over a decade to stars who have quickly adapted to the rigors and challenges of the fiercely competitive league, few players have made the mark for being the most athletic NBA players.
But arriving at the apex 10 of such players is quite a difficult task.
We present the top 10 most athletic players in the NBA, based on accrued stats, records broken, team performance, worthy social media hype, and of course, the ingenious performance these stars put up week in and week out.
The Most Athletic NBA Players Right Now
10. James Harden
- Team: Philadelphia 76ers
- Position: Shooting Guard
Few players bounce back on solid grounds after forcing their way from two franchises in two seasons, with the latest occurring mid-season.
But for James Harden, that does nothing to impact his fine form. Though the star struggled at the onset of his 2021/22 campaign, he has since regained his traction.
The star, who earned his 10th successive NBA All-Star selection at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, put up an impressive show-stopping performance in successive victories against the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers in December 2021.
After forcing his way off to the Philadelphia 76ers in February 2022, the talented shooting guard became the first NBA player to register more than 25 points and ten plus assists in just two games for a new team.
He further established himself as a formidable player in the Philadelphia 76ers ranks after securing his 2,561st career three-pointer.
That thus moved him up to become the 3rd player in NBA history with the most three-pointers.
With his current form of securing double-doubles in successive Games, it’s not a hard task to guess that Harden is striving hard to secure his first NBA Championship title.
9. Ja Morant
- Team: Memphis Grizzlies
- Position: Point Guard
Right from his debut season in the NBA, it was obvious that Ja Morant is a force to reckon with and a star in the making with huge potential.
The 2019/20 NBA Rookie of the Year has continued to win fan love with his impressive dribble abilities, creativity, and superior playstyle.
Morant’s impressive form in the 2021/22 season has seen him record a career-high of 46 points in a game.
The impressive number set a new record for the most points in a single game for a Memphis Grizzlies player.
His consistent fine form not only earned him a new franchise record but his first-ever All-star selection in the league.
The top-rated point guard also led the Memphis Grizzlies to the first-ever Southwest Division title, tying the franchise record for most wins.
Now into the playoffs, fans are solidly looking for the budding star who can take the Memphis Grizzlies far enough to earn NBA glory or well-deserved platitudes.
8. Jimmy Butler
- Team: Miami Heats
- Position: Small Forward
Since his move to the Miami Heats in 2019, Jimmy Butler has unlocked a new level in his career.
From his debut season with the Heats, Butler had already shown great promise and potent it, which is currently playing out.
He had a remarkable run in his first season with the Hests, leading them to the NBA Finals, where he matched the prowess of NBA great LeBron.
However, that wasn’t good enough to lead the star to his first-ever NBA Championship.
But the disappointment of the 2020 NBA Finals has done little to dwindle the shiny line of Jimmy Butler.
After signing a contract extension with the Heats, Butler has continued in impeccable form.
In January 2022, Jimmy Butler surpassed former Miami Heats player LeBron James’ record for the all-time triple-doubles for a Miami Heats player.
The Heats star was named a reserve to the 2022 NBA All-star game, his sixth career All-star selection.
With much more prospects and optimism surrounding the Heats squad, fans hope the incredible athleticism of Butler can lead the franchise to another NBA Finals.
7. Joel Embiid
- Team: Philadelphia 76ers
- Position: Center / Power Forward
As far as NBA hype regarding who may be MVP in the 2021/22 season, no player has much hype as the Cameroonian star.
Embiid began his campaign this season with a four-year-long multimillion-dollar deal.
That proved to be enough impetus for the star who has been the frontman for the Philadelphia 76ers as they go into the playoffs.
His athleticism this season has been the best for any Philadelphia 76ers player.
Joel Embiid earned the title of being the first Philadelphia 76ers player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 to earn a 40-point-triple-double.
He further stretches his honor list by becoming the fifth player in the league to record not less than 40 points and 20 rebounds while shooting more than 80% on the court.
The records place him on an enviable list occupied by NBA greats Bob Petit, Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley, and John Drew.
At the conclusion of the regular NBA 2021/22 season, Joel Embiid again made headlines by becoming the first Sixer and foreign player to emerge as the league scoring champion since Allen Iverson in 2005.
He also emerged as the first center since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 to emerge as league scoring champion.
Embiid defeated LeBron Janes and Milwaukee wonder boy Giannis Antetokounmpo to claim the title.
6. Luka Doncic
- Team: Dallas Mavericks
- Position: Point Guard / Small Forward
The 2021/22 season kickstarted for Luka Doncic with a five-year rookie extension deal worth $207 million, the most lucrative in the history of the NBA.
Doncic, who has already been in amazing form in the past season for the Mavericks, had just the right motivation to up his game. And he didn’t disappoint.
Doncic’s fine form earned him a place on the reserve team for the 2022 NBA All-star game, which is a testament to his excellent form and athleticism.
But Doncic’s performance wasn’t about earning successive season-high stats but rather smashing and creating NBA records.
In February 2022, Doncic emerged as the fourth player in league history to record several 45-points, 15-rebounds, and 5-assists games in a month.
That month, Doncic became the first NBA player since the 1980 three-point era to record an average of 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists while shooting at least 40 points from a three-point range in a single month.
5. LeBron James
- Team: Los Angeles Lakers
- Position: Small Forward
“King James,” as LeBron is fondly called, is hailed as one of the Greatest Players of all time.
In fact, deciding who deserves the ultimate NBA GOAT title is a constant debacle among fans and pundits.
While fans push the gospel of LeBron’s excellence, he fails to show just how much talent and athleticism he possesses.
The four-time NBA Champion started out his 2021/22 campaign in a formidable fashion.
That same month, LeBron joined NBA GOAT, Michael Jordan, becoming the second player to register 40 points and nil turnovers while aged 35 or more.
In January 2022, despite a bad outing by the Los Angeles Lakers, fans could take consolation in LeBron’s stunning form.
He thus became the first NBA player to record more than 30,000 career points, 10,000 rebounds, and 9,000 assists.
February 2022 didn’t pass without LeBron stamping his name in the history records book once more.
He surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record for most points earned in the regular season and playoffs.
March 2022 would have ended a fantastic month for LeBron had him not closely missed out on emerging as the league scoring champion thanks to an ankle injury.
LeBron’s season ended on a rather disappointing note despite his exceptional form after the Lakers missed out on the playoffs.
4. Nikola Jokic
- Team: Denver Nuggets
- Position: Center
Currently, in probably what may be said to be the best form of his career so far, Nikola Kokic is riding high on the steroids of his last season’s accomplishments.
The 2020/21 season MVP would not mind replicating his previous season’s success once more.
Like every player on this most athletic NBA players list, Jolie began his season campaign on an inspiring note.
In December 2021, Jokic emerged as the first player since Charles Barkley in 1988 to record more than 25 points, 20 rebounds, and more than five assists in successive games.
The next month Jokic created headlines by emerging as the only player since 1980 to record multiple games with 25 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Still, in January 2022, Jokic became the only NBA player to register 5000 rebounds and 300 assists in the first 500 games of his career.
After earning his fourth successive NBA All-star appearance, Jokic received his third Western Conference Player of the Month honor of his career.
With 516 appearances, Jokic created a new record for being the second-fastest player to register 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, and 3,000 assists.
At the end of regular season play, Jokic’s impressive play saw him lead the league in total rebounds, double-doubles, and triple-doubles.
3. Stephen Curry
- Team: Golden State Warriors
- Position: Point Guard
Three-time NBA Champion Stephen Curry is no doubt one of the league’s most consistent, finest, and athletic stars.
Curry has continually proved to nay-sayers how much talent he possesses in successive seasons.
His unique shooting ability has earned him the title of the best in the league and a contender for the most excellent shooter in league history.
The most publicized Curry season highlight so far came in December 2021. After surpassing Ray Allen, the star made headlines to become the league’s all-time three-pointer leader.
At the 2022 All-star game, Curry’s superior shooting ability took center stage once again after he led his Team LeBron to victory.
However, after emerging the 49th NBA player to record 20,000 career points, Curry’s season took an ugly turn.
He suffered a sprained ligament which saw him miss out on the remainder of the regular season action.
Fans are eagerly anticipating his return to the playoffs with high hopes of leading the Warriors to another NBA Championship glory.
2. Kevin Durant
- Team: Brooklyn Nets
- Position: Small Forward/Power Forward
Among the most publicized contract extensions that rocked the beginning of the 2021/22 season, Durant’s was perhaps the most publicized.
A strong contender for the MVP glory, Durant, who has battled injury bouts, is the leading star of the Nets campaign.
Considering that he’s without the support of Kyrie Irving and Harden, who forced a move out of the franchise, Durant has been doing an incredible job in keeping the Nets in top form.
In the first few months of the season, Durant proved to be in exceptional form, earning multiple career triple-doubles.
His consistent run was blighted by a left knee injury which saw him out of action for weeks.
Following his return, he wasted no time establishing his presence. Two days after making his return to the league, Durant became the 23rd NBA player to record 25,000 career points.
In March 2022, Durant moved up to the 21st spot in the all-time NBA career scoring list. He rounded off the 2021/22 regular season with the 16th triple-double of his career.
Durant is the leading figure in the Brooklyn Nets Championship quest in the ongoing playoffs.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Team: Milwaukee Bucks
- Position: Power Forward
The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on fire this season and he is the most athletic player in the NBA right now.
Coming off his incredible success in the 2020/21 season, Giannis would no doubt be willing to defend his NBA Championship title.
The star, who has been in formidable form, reminded fans of just how highly efficient he is in a game against the Golden State Warrior, where he recorded multiple 30 Pom units triple-double in 30 minutes. Giannis is the first player in the NBA to achieve the feat.
In February 2022, Giannis further showed his incredible abilities in a last-minute game-deciding block on fellow MVP contender Joel Embiid in a game against the Sixers.
In March, he made headlines when he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabber to become the Milwaukee Buck’s career leading scorer.
Guan concluded his regular-season campaign on an inspirational note.
He set an NBA record by becoming the first player to record an average of more than 25 points, 10 rebounds, and more than 5 assists in four different seasons.
With the playoff in full swing, Giannis is the frontman who much depends on if the Bucks would earn a successive NBA Championship glory.
Among the vast majority of highly efficient and most athletic NBA players, no star has had much impact on team players and had fans talking as much as these 10.
With most of these players in playoff actions, it is only a matter of time we see who claims the MVP and Championship glory they ardently desire.
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons