There has not been an overabundance of left-handed shooters throughout the history of the NBA. But some of the greatest players the league has seen have been lefties, such as Wilt Chamberlain and David Robinson to name a few.
Left-handers make unique NBA players since there have been so few relatively speaking.Generally speaking, lefties have the prettiest of shots and they have the ability to make passes right-hander can’t.
The following is my list of the top-10 players currently playing in the NBA.Atlanta Hawks small forward Kent Bazemore and New Orleans Pelicans Josh Smith just missed the list. Smith would have been on the list had he not sat out last season and was only signed because the Pelicans are dealing with a plethora of injuries.
Others that were under consideration was David Lee, Beno Udrih, Brandon Jennings, Terrence Jones, Shabazz Muhammad, C.J. Miles and Josh McRoberts. Lee and Udrih are currently free agents while Jennings and Jones are playing overseas. In the meantime, Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson started out as a left-handed shooter but has since switched shooting hands.
The stats listed in bold are the player’s career numbers.
Honorable Mention: Ben Simmons, Sixers
18.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 8.2 APG, 51.6% FG, 58.8% FT
Simmons is immensely talented and is off to a fantastic start to his rookie campaign. He is excellent in transition and is a tremendous finisher around the rim. He also has a nice short game. The 6-10 point guard is always a fantastic ball-handler and distributor. Simmons does need to work on his shooting overall, particularly from long-range.
Simmons has posted six double-doubles and two triple-doubles so far. He also has a solid 2.39 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Top 10 Best Left-Handers In The NBA Today
10. Ed Davis, Blazers
6.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 56.0 FG%
Davis could be seen as a disappointment since being selected with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 draft. However, the truth of the matter is that the 6-10 athletic big man has been a solid role player off the bench during his eight-year career. Davis does an excellent job on the boards and is a quality rim-protector.
Offensively, Davis is very limited though he is very efficient due to the fact he takes quality shots and gets to the line at a high frequency. The 28-year-old has basically done all of his work around the rim the last four seasons as over 71% of his shots have come within three feet of the basket. Davis, who is a very good offensive rebounder, has ranked in the top-10 in the league in offensive rebound percentage two of the last three years.
Defensively, Davis’ athleticism allows him to make up for fundamental mistakes. Davis is a physical defender who likes to bang. He is also an above average defensive rebounder.
Davis has produced one double-double this season and has four double-digit rebounding games. He is having an outstanding season, which he could turn into a career year. The best number that tells Davis’ value is his +4.9 plus-minus rating.
9. Thaddeus Young, Pacers
13.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.4 STLs, 50.0 FG%, 32.8 PT%, 62.5 FT%
Young is not flashy, but he is a quality starter who plays hard all the time. He does a lot of the little things that help his team win games.
Offensively, the 6-8 stretch-4 does his best work around the rim, but he has shown the ability to consistently knock down shots from 16-to-20 feet. Young does not take a ton of three-point shots though he has increased his rate to 29.0% this season, making 1.2 triples a game at a 32.4% clip through the first nine games. If Young keeps up the current three-point rate it marks just the second time that he has taken 20% or more of his shots from the three-point line in his 11-year career. He also does not turn the ball over.
It is on the defensive end where Young thrives. The 29-year-old is an average rebounder though he is better on the defensive boards as he doesn’t possess elite athleticism. He is a physical defender who is long and moves well laterally, which aids him in getting a lot of steals.
His numbers are on par with his career average in 2017-18 thus far. Young, who has produced one double-double, has seven double-digit scoring games and six games of at least five rebounds. He has picked up one or more steals in a game eight times, finishing with four thefts twice. Young is also a +2.7 in plus-minus ratings, which would be a career-best.
8. Goran Dragic, Heat
13.4 PPG, 4.8 APG, 2.9 RPG, 47.2 FG%, 36.3% 3PT
Dragic has carved out a nice career for himself. He is not a star but he is a very good scorer who also is a good ball-handler. He is a great shooter as well.
Dragic is on pace to tally at least 20 points and shoot over 40% from beyond the arc for the third time ever. He doesn’t take a lot of three-point attempts, but he has made over one triple a game for his career. The 6-3 point guard gets into the lane a lot and normally finishes as he has a plethora of tricks. Dragic is a slightly above average facilitator.
Defense is an issue for Dragic. Among lead guards, he has ranked near the bottom of defensive real plus-minus rating the last three seasons. He also doesn’t get a lot steals.
7. Manu Ginobili, Spurs
13.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, 44.6% FG, 36.9 3PT%, 82.6% FT
Ginobili would be No. 2 on this list if it was based on past achievement as he is the second most decorated player — behind No. 1 James Harden. As it stands, the 40-year-old is way past his prime and will likely retire after this season. That does not mean, he is no longer a valuable piece to the Spurs because he certainly is.
The four-time NBA champion has been selected to two all-star appearances and has been an All-NBA Third Team selection twice as well. He ranks in the top-50 in NBA history in three field goal mades, steals percentage and true shooting percentage.
The 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year is very versatile, playing four positions throughout his career, and can get it done on both ends of the floor. He has the ability t score a variety of ways though he is most effective at the rim and beyond the arc. Ginobili is an excellent passer, but he struggles with turnovers and doesn’t get to the line as much as he used to.
Ginobili has struggled with his shot so far in 2017-18. He is shooting just 31.3% from the field and 19.2% from beyond the arc. He has scored in double-figures twice through his first eight games of the campaign.
6. Greg Monroe, Bucks
14.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 48.5% FG, 70.5% FT
Monroe has been pretty productive during his seven-year NBA career. The biggest criticism is that the 27-year-old has remained stagnant in his development after making a slight jump following his rookie season in 2010-11.
Monroe is one of the best offensive centers in the league. He has excellent footwork and some nice low-post moves. He also has worked hard on improving his range, and now his jumper is reliable out to 16 feet though he is most effective in the paint.Monroe is an okay passer, however, he does have trouble with turnovers.
What Monroe does best is rebound. Monroe is generally among the league leaders in second-chance points. He has the seventh highest offensive rebounding percentage (11.2) among active players and has finished in the top-10 of the league in offensive rebounds three times.
Monroe is slightly above average on the defensive end. He is slow-footed and sometimes gets lazy at the end of the floor. Monroe is a very good defensive rebounder and can be an effective rim-protector.
Monroe has struggled so far this season, racking up just one double-digit scoring performance in the first five games. He is currently dealing with a calf injury and is expected to be out until the second week of November.
5. Zach Randolph, Kings
16.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 47.2% FG, 36.3% 3PT, 76.3% FT
Randolph would be rated higher on this list if it was based on career accomplishment, as he is well decorated. But the 36-year-old’s career is slowly winding down. Randolph, a two-time all-star, earned the league Most Improved Award (2003-04) and was selected to the All-NBA Third Team in 2010-11.
Randolph has been a fabulous offensive player throughout his career as he can score with his back-to-basket as well as when facing up. He is an elite offensive rebounder and an excellent rebounder overall.
Randolph has led the league in offensive rebounds twice (2009-10 and 2012-13) and ranks third among active players in offensive rebounds. The 6-9 big man is also fourth among active players in defensive rebounds. In addition, he ranks 63rd all-time in field goals made and 75th in points.
The defense has never been Z-Bo’s strong suit. He has improved in that area, however, and is now only slightly below average. Randolph has never been a rim-protector or has come up with a lot of steals.
Randolph, who has posted 480 career double-doubles, is off to a slow start in his first year with Sacramento.
4. Mike Conley, Grizzlies
14.3 PPG, 5.7 APG, 2.9 RPG, 44.2% FG, 37.7% 3PT
Conley is a borderline all-star and a top-10 point guard.The 30-year-old has been slowed by injuries recently, having not appeared in at least 80 games since 2012-13.
Conley is a very talented offensive player. He is a fabulous scorer who can score on all three levels. He finishes well at the rim though he takes the majority of his shots from beyond the arc. Conley also possesses excellent handles and is a good passer.
Conley is a below average defender. His biggest weaknesses are rebounding and shot-blocker because he is not an elite athlete. Conley does come up with a good number of steals.
Conley is off to a decent start to the season despite not shooting the ball well. He has scored in double-figures in seven of his first eight games, including four 20-point games. Conley is shooting 38.1% from the field and 29.1% from beyond the arc.
3. Isaiah Thomas, Cavs
28.9 PPG, 5.9 APG, 2.7 RPG, 44.3% FG, 36.7% 3PT
Thomas has really stepped up his game the last two years. Thomas, a two-time all-star, was named All-League for the first time last season after compiling a career-high 28.9 points while shooting 46.3% from the field and 37.9% from the floor as well as 90.9% from the free throw line — all personal bests.
The 5-9 diminutive guard excels in the in the open court and finishes well at the rim. He is a very good shooter and a good ball-handler. Thomas, who finished third in scoring in 2016-17, also gets to the free throw line quite a bit.
He does have trouble on the defensive end. Thomas has finished in the lower half of the league in defensive real-plus minus, including dead last in 2016-17.
Thomas is not expected to make his 2017-18 debut until January as he is recovering from a labral tear in his right hip.
2. DeAndre Jordan, Clippers
9.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 67.5 FG, 59.3% FT
Jordan, who was selected to the All-Star game for the first time last year, has been one of the top centers in the NBA the last four seasons. He is a monster on the boards, an unbelievable rim-protector and an elite finisher at the rim.
The 2015-16 All-NBA First Team selection has led the league in rebounding twice and field goal percentage five times. He ranks first among all active players in field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage. Jordan also ranks in the top-5 among active players in rebounds per game, blocks per game, offensive rebound percentage, defensive rebound percentage, total rebound percentage and block percentage.
The 29-year-old has averaged double-doubles in each of the last four years. He has also twice earned All-NBA Defensive First Team honors.
Jordan does have a few limitations. He does not have range on his jumper outside of 10 feet. He is also not a good passer and doesn’t get many steals.
Jordan is off to a good start to the 2017-18 season though he has only made 58.2% of his shots, which would be a career low. However, he is hauling in 14.6 caroms a game including 5.1 on the offensive end.
1. James Harden, Rockets
22.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, 44.2% FG, 36.4% 3PT
After three seasons of being a key role player for the Thunder, Harden became a superstar with the Rockets. The perennial all-star and All-League performer has finished runner-up in MVP voting twice and in the top-10 of the voting in each of the last five years.
Harden is a magician with the ball in his hands and there is nothing he can’t do on the offensive end. He can basically score from anywhere on the floor with his only weak spot being on shots from 3-to-10 feet. He has developed into a world-class distributor though he still turns the ball over a ton.
Harden has increased his scoring average, assists, rebounds and three-points made from the previous season every year of his career. The 28-year-old, who has averaged at least 20 points in each of the last five seasons, has compiled 132 double-doubles and 32 triple-doubles for his career.
Harden has gotten crucified for his lackluster defense, which is well deserved at times. However, he is not terrible at that end of the floor. Yes, he is below average but he does rebound the ball and comes up with some steals.
Harden already has four double-doubles and a triple-double in 2017-18. He has also put up 20 points in each of the first 10 games though he is also turning the ball over five times a contest.