The National Basketball Association is a professional basketball league in North America. The league comprises 30 teams and is one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. It is the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world.
You will agree with us that dribbling is an essential aspect of any sport, particularly basketball and football (soccer) – especially when a player tries to attack another player on the court. In fact, dribbling should be considered a fundamental component of both the offensive and defensive aspects of basketball.
As an illustration, a player must dribble his way through to advance the ball in the backcourt, cut loose from clogged defensive zones, and take a drive into the basket. This is necessary to create an effective offensive play.
Basketball is often considered to be the most exciting sport played all over the world. Some of the most amusing dribbling moves are the spin motion, delay, and in-and-out dribble.
So, tell me you’re not always thrilled to watch players use their fingers instead of their palms to control the basketball, coupled with the way they dribble the basketball below the opponent’s waist or knees.
And today, we shall be looking at the Top 10 Best NBA Dribblers. Talk about the best handler in the history of the NBA, swift ball throws, and accurate passes; these basketball players got it all. Without no further ado, let’s dive right into it!
1. Kyrie Irving
Saying Kyrie Irving was the reason this list even existed in the first place won’t be a wrong call.
He knows how to break down defenses with ease, in fact, one should always expect to see opponents get floored by this amazing player with his swift, precise dribbles.
He has won lots of awards, one of which is the USA basketball player of the year award.
Kyrie Andrew Irving (/ˈkaɪri/; Lakota: Ȟéla, lit. ’Little Mountain’; born March 23, 1992) is an American professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was named the Rookie of the Year after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. A seven-time All-Star and three-time member of the All-NBA Team, he won an NBA championship with the Cavaliers in 2016.
Irving played college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils before joining the Cavaliers in 2011. He won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the 2014 All-Star Game. In the 2016 NBA Finals, Irving made the championship-winning three-point field goal to complete the Cavaliers’ historic comeback over the Golden State Warriors. After another Finals appearance in 2017, Irving requested a trade and was dealt to the Boston Celtics. He played as a Celtic for two seasons, after which he signed with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent in 2019. He has also played for the United States national team, with which he won gold at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. In February 2020, he was elected vice-president of the National Basketball Players Association, replacing Pau Gasol.
He is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and is an active philanthropist to his Lakota people on the reservation.
He has written, directed and acted in a number of advertisements as the role of “Uncle Drew”, which became a feature film in 2018. He has starred as himself in Kickin’ It (2012) and has done voicework in We Bare Bears (2016) and Family Guy (2018).
The best showman, and the king of crossovers who knows how to leave his fans in awe with his behind-the-back dribbles, and his exceptional crossovers.
2. Jamal Crawford
Over the years, Jamal has improved excellently on his crossover moves, such that he has become a Marshall when it comes to cross over moves.
Aaron Jamal Crawford (born March 20, 1980) is an American former professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 2000 to 2020. He is regarded as one of the best ball handlers in NBA history, and along with Lou Williams, is the only three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner.
Among other distinctions, Crawford remains the NBA all-time leader in four-point plays. On April 9, 2019, he became not only the oldest player to score 50+ points in an NBA game, but also the first player to have 50-point outings with four franchises. The 51-point tally also reached the most points ever scored by a reserve. In NBA history, Crawford ranks 21st with four 50+ point games accrued (tied with 9 others, including George Mikan and Larry Bird) and 8th in career three-point field goals made (2,221). Crawford is the second player in NBA history to have scored 10,000+ career points off the bench. In 2021, he began providing commentary on NBA League Pass.
Jamal Crawford always leaves fans in a standing ovation, each time he displays his behind-the-back hop-step dribble to break down defenses, making it difficult for him to be guarded.
Hence, this list of best dribblers in NBA would have been incomplete, if he was not included.
3. Lance Stephenson
It’s always a joy to watch players handle the ball with skill, Lance is one of such players. You will agree with us that he deserves to be ranked high on the list of best dribblers in NBA.
Lance Stephenson Jr. (born September 5, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He attended Lincoln High School in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, where he was named Mr. New York Basketball after his senior year and appeared in the 2009 McDonald’s All-American Game. He later played college basketball for the Cincinnati Bearcats and was selected in the second round of the 2010 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers.
The way he uses his spin moves to floor his opponent is a sight to behold.
Lance has the ability to blend his speed, strength, and his spin moves leave him unguarded. Off the dribble, he good at creating openings for his teammates to run in.
4. Chris Paul
One cannot compile a list of best dribblers in NBA without including this volatile, thrilling player. When it comes to identifying offensive chances, and capitalizing on them, give it to Chris Paul.
He doesn’t allow his height to be a barrier to him, as he is amazing when it comes to making recoveries and breaking defenses, Chris is top-notch!
Christopher Emmanuel Paul (born May 6, 1985), nicknamed “CP3”, is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Paul is widely regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time. He has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists five times and steals a record six times. He has also been selected to twelve NBA All-Star teams, eleven All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams. In 2021, he was selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. He also served as the president of the National Basketball Players Association from August 2013 to August 2021. Among the highest-paid athletes in the world, he holds endorsement deals with companies such as Jordan Brand and State Farm.
Paul was a McDonald’s All-American in high school and attended Wake Forest University for two years of college basketball, where he helped the Demon Deacons achieve their first-ever number-one ranking. He was selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets, where he developed into one of the league’s best players, finishing second in NBA Most Valuable Player Award voting in 2008. During the 2011 off-season, the Hornets organized a deal to send Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, but the transaction was controversially voided by the NBA. He was instead dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers later that year. Led by Paul’s playmaking, the Clippers developed a reputation for their fast-paced offense and spectacular alley-oop dunks, earning them the nickname “Lob City.” In 2017, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he helped the team win a franchise-record 65 games in his debut season. He played one more season in Houston before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of a package for Russell Westbrook in 2019. With the Thunder looking to rebuild, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2020, where he reached the NBA Finals for the first time in his career in 2021. The following season, he helped the team win a franchise-record 64 games.
Chris has the ability to use his ball-handling, and dribbles to distract defense, drawing them out and creating space for his teammates so he can pass the ball for them to finish.
He is always calm on the ball, reads the game and controls the tempo of the game.
5. Kevin Durant
Kevin Wayne Durant (/dəˈrænt/; born September 29, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one season of college basketball for the Texas Longhorns, and was selected as the second overall pick by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA draft. He played nine seasons with the franchise, which became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, before signing with the Golden State Warriors in 2016, winning consecutive NBA championships in 2017 and 2018. After sustaining an Achilles injury in the 2019 finals, he joined the Nets as a free agent that summer. Durant is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
Durant was a heavily recruited high school prospect who was widely regarded as the second-best player in his class. In college, he won numerous year-end awards and became the first freshman to be named Naismith College Player of the Year. As a professional, he has won two NBA championships, an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two Finals MVP Awards, two NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, been named to ten All-NBA teams (including six First Teams), and selected 12 times as an NBA All-Star. In 2021, Durant was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. As a member of the U.S. men’s national team, Durant has won three gold medals in the Olympics (2012, 2016, and 2020) and is the leading scorer in Team USA’s men’s Olympic basketball history. He also won gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Off the court, Durant is one of the highest-earning basketball players in the world, due in part to endorsement deals with companies such as Foot Locker and Nike. He has developed a reputation for philanthropy and regularly leads the league in All-Star votes and jersey sales. In recent years, he has contributed to The Players’ Tribune as both a photographer and writer. In 2012, he ventured into acting, appearing in the film Thunderstruck.
It’s not surprising to see Durant make this list of top dribblers in basketball.
He has a high scoring prowess, coupled with his dribbling skills like; spin moves, jump-off dribble or step-through, which is a higher version of the rondo fake.
No one uses the cross over dribble like Durant, as he uses it effectively to make room for himself and put the ball in the basket.
6. Ty Lawson
One thing Ty is known for is his tricky hand, which helps him to advance and brake swiftly, earning him the respect he deserves from the opponent.
Tywon Ronell Lawson (born November 3, 1987) is an American professional basketball player who is currently a free agent. He played college basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels where he won the 2009 national championship his junior year.
Lawson was selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and was immediately traded to the Denver Nuggets. He played six seasons for the Nuggets and later played for the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and the Washington Wizards. Lawson played three seasons in the CBA for the Shandong Golden Stars and Fujian.
He is capable of capitalizing on unguarded lanes and seams in opponents’ defense and finish with his well-timed groovy lay-up around the rim.
Through his efficient application of waffling moves, with a fusion of in-and-out dribble, Ty brings his opponents to a halt. This amazing dribbling skill puts him in the list of best dribblers in NBA.
7. Derrick Rose
The Detroit Pistons number 25, who plays as a point guard, is one of the most talented dribblers in the NBA.
Derrick Martell Rose (born October 4, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one year of college basketball for the Memphis Tigers before being drafted first overall by his hometown Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA draft. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2009 and became the youngest player to win the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2011 at age 22.
Rose was born and raised in Chicago, and attended Simeon Career Academy. He was highly recruited by colleges, eventually choosing to join the University of Memphis under coach John Calipari. Rose led the Tigers to the most wins in NCAA history (a 38–2 record), their first number 1 ranking in 25 years, and an appearance in the NCAA championship game. In 2009, an NCAA investigation revealed that Rose’s SAT scores had been invalidated, and as a result, the NCAA vacated Memphis’ entire 2007–08 season.
Rose has struggled with significant knee injuries since his 2010–11 MVP season. In the first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose tore his ACL in his left knee. Rose required surgery and was subsequently sidelined for the entire 2012–13 season. Rose returned to play in 2013–14, but during in November 2013, Rose injured his right meniscus, causing him to miss the remainder of the season. He returned once again the following season, but knee injuries continued to impact his availability and his production.
In June 2016, Rose was traded to the Knicks, where he finished the final year of his contract. He signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a minimum salary for the 2017–18 season but was hobbled by ankle injuries, which led to him being traded to and subsequently waived by the Utah Jazz in February 2018. He signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves a month later on a rest-of-season contract; he stayed with the team through the following season and enjoyed a revived role as a sixth man off the bench despite missing 31 games due to injury management. For the 2019–20 season, the Detroit Pistons signed Rose to his first non-minimum salary contract since 2012, and he continued to be successful off the bench. The following season, he was reunited with his former coach Tom Thibodeau when the Knicks re-acquired him in a trade.
On isolation, Derrick is blood-curdling. This is as a result of his ability to fuse his speed and power into his dribbling.
When it comes to volatile crossovers, give it to Derrick Rose.
This volatile crossover helps him to get his first quick step and drives into the traffic and then finish with ease.
All these qualities make it difficult for him to be ruled out of the list of top best dribblers in NBA.
8. Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade, unlike most players who fumble with theirs, moves in the course of trying to dribble past opponents, attacks his opponent with his celerity.
Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. (/dwaɪn/; born January 17, 1982) is an American former professional basketball player. Wade spent the majority of his 16-year career playing for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and won three NBA championships, was a 13-time NBA All-Star, an 8-time member of the All-NBA Team, and a 3-time member of the All-Defensive Team. Wade is also Miami’s all-time leader in points, games, assists, steals, shots made, and shots taken. Wade is currently the host of the American adaptation of The Cube.
After a successful college basketball career with the Marquette Golden Eagles, including leading the team to the Final Four in 2003, Wade was drafted fifth overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the Heat. In his third season, Wade led the Heat to their first NBA Championship and was named the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wade led the United States men’s basketball team, commonly known as the “Redeem Team”, in scoring and helped them capture the gold medal. In the 2008–09 season, Wade led the league in both total points (2,386) and points per game (30.2), the latter stat earning him his sole NBA scoring title. Wade was selected as the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2010. With LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade helped guide Miami to four consecutive NBA Finals from 2011 to 2014, and won back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. Wade briefly left Miami to play for the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers throughout 2016–2018 before returning to Miami to finish his playing career and retire with the Heat in 2019. He purchased a minority ownership stake in the Utah Jazz in 2021. In October 2021, Wade was honored as one of the league’s greatest players of all-time by being named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
His dribbles, like the crossovers, appear to be dim-witted but make no mistake, they have knocked down opponents to the admiration of fans, particularly his abrupt slash, coupled with his unmatched speed makes him unguarded.
These miscellanea of dribbles, ranks Dwyane Wade as one of the best dribblers in NBA.
9. Ricky Rubio
If you have ever searched for the prevailing virtuoso in NBA, look no further than Ricky Rubio.
Painful it is that his amazing talents are just coming to the fore. Like Ronaldinho in football, who was known for using his dribbling skills to entertain fans, Rick Rubio is definitely the Ronaldinho of NBA, little wonder he is among the top best dribblers in NBA, currently.
Ricard Rubio Vives (born 21 October 1990) is a Spanish professional basketball player for the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Rubio became the youngest player ever to play in the Spanish ACB League on 15 October 2005, at age 14. He made his EuroLeague debut on 24 October 2006, at age 16. He is the seventh-youngest player to make their debut in the EuroLeague, since the year 2000.
On 25 June 2009, Rubio was drafted with the fifth pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, making him the first player born in the 1990s to be drafted by the NBA. The Timberwolves had an agreement in principle with his former Spanish team, DKV Joventut, to buy out his contract, but Rubio backed out of the deal. On 31 August 2009, Joventut traded the rights to Rubio to FC Barcelona, and Rubio signed a six-year contract with FC Barcelona the following day. In 2011, Rubio joined the Timberwolves, and spent six seasons in Minnesota before being traded to the Utah Jazz in June 2017. He signed with the Phoenix Suns in July 2019, before returning to Minnesota in 2020. Rubio was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in August 2021, but was dealt to the Pacers a month after suffering a season ending ACL injury in December.
Ricky Rubio, who won the 2019 FIBA World Cup Most Valuable Player, is greatly endowed with amazing and eye-catching dribbling skills which he uses to captivate his fans, some of these dribbles are; ankle-breaking crossovers, behind-the-back dribbles, no-look passes, (or blind passes as you may wish to call it), spin moves.
So if you want to get entertained by this top NBA dribbler, watch him play for the Phoenix Sun’s, the team he is currently playing for.
When you talk about an attacking catalyst, Walker is the man, to look out for.
Kemba Hudley Walker (born May 8, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Walker was picked ninth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2011 NBA draft. He grew up in The Bronx, New York City. After graduating from Rice High School in 2008, he played college basketball for the Connecticut Huskies. In their 2010–11 season, Walker was the nation’s second-leading scorer and was named consensus first-team All-American; he also led the Huskies to the 2011 NCAA championship and claimed the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. Walker is a four-time NBA All-Star.
He is very swift when it comes to ball handling. Walker’s ability to vary his speed, change his direction at different instances, coupled with his aggressiveness makes it difficult for any opponent to guard him.
All these add up to his dribbling prowess. His pinpoint passes have never gone unnoticed. Instinctively, he is terrorizing, particularly in the passing lanes.
Little wonder many opponents coaches always put in everything they have to deter him. Therefore it is not surprising that he makes the list of top 10 dribblers in NBA.
There will always be outstanding dribblers in the NBA, even though a ton of players in the league are capable of dribbling.
These players stand out not only because of their dribbling ability but also because of the other exceptional qualities they possess