16 Must-Have Players for your NBA Top Shot Collection
by Jordan Kligman
Every NBA player leaves behind a legacy, no matter how big or how small, good or bad: something is left behind to remember. The players that fans connect with most are the ones they’ll run to first when starting their collection of Moments on NBA Top Shot.
Some of the youngest players in the league are carving their legacy right now. And for some of the Hall of Famers at the end of their careers, the clock is ticking on their opportunity to create Moments. Every legacy is different, and with that, each is unique, separated by tier.
Today, we’ll be looking at 16 must-own NBA players on Top Shot and the legacy they’ve created, or the legacy they’ve left behind.
Note: Excluded here are the players who only have Run It Back Moments as of the end of Series 2 on Top Shot. There are many historic players and Moments in the Series 1 Run It Back set, like Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.
The Young Guns on NBA Top Shot
LaMelo Ball is already arguably the most electric passer in the NBA. Instantaneously, he’s made the Hornets one of the most exciting teams to watch and a Play-In team at only 19 years old. Ball’s grown up in front of us, blowing up as a freshman in high school, but on every stage, he’s performed. He looks to be the future for the Hornets, and you can own Ball’s first NBA points for $75.
Zion Williamson is an unstoppable force. His sheer ability to score in the paint is outstanding to watch. I mean, he did average the most points in the NBA in the paint — around 20 points per game — a feat we haven’t seen since Shaq. Dunk after dunk, you can’t help but fall in love with his game, and once he develops a consistent enough three-point shot, the league better watch out.
Speaking about dunking, just look at this clip from Morant below. This dude can throw down with authority.
Morant, the No. 2 pick after Williamson in 2019, has turned the Memphis Grizzlies into a playoff team in his second season, and boy did he show up when it mattered most. In five games against the Utah Jazz in the playoffs, Morant averaged 30 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. This is just the start for Morant and the Grizzlies, with Jaren Jackson Jr. looking closer to full strength as each day passes.
When you watch Shai Gilgeous-Alexander play, you notice one thing in particular: his pace for the game. He can slow things down and pick apart defenses through isos and create his own shot; or he can beat you with his first step off a pick and put in a crafty finish at the rim all while. SGA’s bag runs deep.
Before his 2021 season ended with a tear in his plantar fascia, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 24 points, five rebounds, and six assists on 41 percent shooting from three. Plus, he’s only 23 years old. Just look at him stop on a dime and put Josh Okogie on skates in his Holo Icon Moment — it’s a thing of beauty.
The opposite of slowing down is De’Aaron Fox. At 23 years old, Fox is lightning quick with the ball in his hands, up there with players like Russell Westbrook and John Wall with his baseline-to-baseline speed.
The only issue with Fox has nothing to do with him, but for the team he plays for: the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have an exciting young roster brewing for this season — but youth doesn’t always yield wins. Sacramento does hold the longest current playoff drought, going on 15 consecutive seasons without making the playoffs, but Fox and co. have a chance to turn things around.
Certified Studs on NBA Top Shot
The Matador, El Matador, Luka Magic, the Don — whatever you want to call him: Dončic’s game is pure bliss to witness. He creates nearly every shot for himself, and when he’s not doing that, Dončic opens the floor for others, finding seams in the defense like it’s nothing.
The best thing about Dončic is that he always saves his best performances for the Playoffs. When Dončic played his ninth playoff game and surpassed 300 points, he joined a club of only two other greats: Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. Not bad company.
Nearly all of his Moments are ‘can’t miss,’ but one of my favorites is this cheeky assist you can get for under $60.
As a Sixers fan, this one stings, but Jayson Tatum’s game is elegant. This season, he arguably had the best performance in a regular-season game against the Spurs on April 30. Tatum dropped 60 points in a marvelous 32-point comeback. The 60 points tied Larry Bird’s franchise record, and the comeback was the third-largest at any point over the last 25 seasons.
Just amazing. And that’s just a small sliver of Tatum’s star performances, not to mention back-to-back All-Star appearances. Did I mention he’s only 23, too? On Top Shot, you can get a Moment from his 60-point game for only $7.
Another player that definitely doesn’t hurt to write about as a Sixers fan is Trae Young. Young showed what he was really made of this season, leading the Atlanta Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals, eventually falling to the future NBA champion Bucks in six games.
Young’s got limitless range and infinite confidence, which makes him pretty hard to stop. In Young’s 16 playoff games this season, he averaged 29 points, three boards, and 9.5 assists per game. Oh yeah, and he’s got a shimmy Moment on Top Shot.
At the end of the 2019-20 season in the bubble, Donovan Mitchell exploded, showing that he was a true franchise player. In the 2020-21 season, he carried that weight all the way through, leading the Utah Jazz to the No. 1 seed, despite getting injured late in the season. Mitchell is just a flat-out winner.
In all four of his NBA seasons, Mitchell’s taken the Jazz to the playoffs. Don’t expect that to stop anytime soon, either. With the solid foundation in place with their Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, the Jazz will likely be in the Playoffs for years to come. Speaking of Mitchell’s performance in the playoffs, you can own a sleek buzzer-beater from the Playoffs for only $10, seen above.
Despite losing in the Finals, Devin Booker has a promising career ahead. I don’t expect this to be Booker’s last time in the Finals, either. Booker is a scoring machine, and he’s a pure scorer. He proved he’s a real No. 1 scoring option for a championship-contending team and is breaking records doing so.
Not only is he the youngest player to score 70 points, but this season making his first playoff appearance, he broke the record for the most points with 601 in total. The Suns and Booker are no joke. You can find the buzzer-beater Moment from Booker’s win in the Western Conference Finals for $264 in the And Then There Were Four set.
NBA Hall of Famers on NBA Top Shot
We might as well start with the most recent Finals MVP and champion: Giannis Antetokounmpo. At only 26, he’s a:
- 2x MVP
- 1x NBA Champion and Finals MVP
- 1x Defensive Player of the Year
- 5x All-Star
- 5x All-NBA
- 4x All-Defense
Is there that much more to say? Antetokounmpo is undoubtedly a generational talent — it’s that simple. He did what people thought was impossible and brought an NBA championship to Milwaukee for the first time since 1974. Appreciate his greatness at this early stage.
Like Dončić, nearly every Moment of Antetokounmpo’s is stunning. And he has more Moments than any other player on Top Shot, so you’ll have plenty of selection.
Unlike Giannis, Vince Carter only has one Moment (in two editions) on Top Shot. Carter may be half-man, half-amazing, but Carter’s Top Shot Moment is pure bliss and basketball history.
It’s hard to find a more historic Moment on Top Shot than Carter’s singular Moment. The final basket from the man with the longest NBA career ever. The Moment is just spectacular, and the reaction from Trae Young just caps it all off. If you’re a fan of Carter, this Moment is a must-have.
The King: LeBron James — a must for any Top Shot collector. Whether you love him or hate him, you’re witnessing arguably the best player to ever step on the hardwood. There’s a reason the top four purchases on Top Shot are all James, including two purchases over $200,000.
Watching James is watching basketball history at its finest. By far, LeBron has the largest legacy on this list, despite some added drama added along the way. Without doubt, on Top Shot, owning any Moment of James is owning greatness.
For some it might be a little early to put Nikola Jokić on the Hall of Fame tier, but no MVP to date has ever missed the Hall of Fame. Although, Derrick Rose might be the first to change that. However, barring a catastrophic injury to Jokić, nothing will be able to prevent him from having his name enshrined in the Hall of Fame — and that makes his Moments worth holding onto.
People really forget Jokić was just shy of averaging a triple-double for the season, just missing the mark, averaging eight assists a game. That’s unheard of from a center, let alone averaging 26 points and eleven rebounds to go along with it. Jokić has handles, vision, and a high basketball IQ. When you mix all those together, you get beautiful Moments, like the one above.
Owner of the most elusive Top Shot debut Moment, Kevin Durant’s game is unmatched. He’s a seven-footer who can handle the ball as well and play the point. It’s unfair. And on the court, Durant certainly makes it look unfair.
He can score from anywhere, and his four scoring titles back that up. He might be the best scorer in NBA history, due to his size and ability to shoot over nearly every defender guarding him. Watch out for Durant to add to his trophy cabinet next season with the Brooklyn Nets.
Last but not least, one of the most revolutionary players in NBA history. Steph Curry was once an overlooked recruit at Davidson, but now he’s a household name who’s forever changed the game of basketball. Curry’s 3-point shooting and his handles just make his game that much smoother — he’s moved the game forward.
Curry’s one of the most enjoyable players in the game to watch and it never gets old watching him hit long-distance bombs. Basketball is an art and the slow mo Moment from Steph above shows the game’s true beauty, including a fun celebration.
More Hall of Famers on NBA Top Shot
For the sake of completing this Hall of Fame list, let’s also list the other likely (or sure-fire) NBA Hall of Famers that have Moments on NBA Top Shot. The players will be listed with their Hall of Famer probability as of the time of publishing, per Basketball Reference.
- Chris Paul (100 percent)
- James Harden (99.9 percent)
- Russell Westbrook (99.9 percent)
- Dwight Howard (99.7 percent)
- Anthony Davis (98.5 percent)
- Carmelo Anthony (98.5 percent)
- Damian Lillard (90.6 percent)
- Kyle Lowry (85.7 percent)
- Paul George (84.1 percent)
- Kyrie Irving (83.7 percent)
The Best of the NBA on NBA Top Shot
With so much basketball history already on NBA Top Shot (and more to come), there are many more significant NBA players that are great additions to any Top Shot collection. If you’re an NBA fan, let me know who you’d add to the list of your must-own players on Top Shot.