finest participant. Stars of the future. finest coach. Results of a poll of retired NBA players are in: About LeBron, Giannis, Steph, the rules, and more

Basketball players who have played in the NBA are experts at the sport. The people who have actually participated in the sport are the best people to ask about its changes.

The Athletic polled 118 former NBA players prior to the 2021–2022 season to find out their opinions on the current state of the sport. Who is the top player at the moment? In five years, who will be the best player? Which current coach would they have preferred to be on the team with? Which regulations should the league amend? Has the sport benefited or suffered from the increased focus on the 3-point shot? Which team, in a best-of-seven series, would have prevailed over one of the best teams of the 1980s and the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in 2020–21?

Members of the National Basketball Retired Players Association received the survey. The questions were created by The Athletic without NBRPA approval. Respondents could choose to stay anonymous and just reveal the years they played, or they could share their names to be featured in this story. (For former athletes who requested anonymity, we are merely generally summarizing the duration of their careers.) Because we rounded to the closest tenth of a point, almost all of the results are given as percentages. If the percentages don’t exactly add up to 100.

In the past, the wise men have always had something to say about the NBA players of today.

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