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10 fastest NBA players heading into the 2021-22 season

Russell Westbrook is one of the fastest players heading into the 2021-22 NBA season.
Russell Westbrook is one of the fastest players heading into the 2021-22 NBA season.

The pace with which the modern game is played has made speed a necessity in the NBA. A player as nifty as Kyrie Irving, who is also fast, is nearly unguardable, as he can hurt his opponent in many ways.

NBA players have learned to use their speed more, especially in clutch situations. Although the isolation game has not been entirely effective, guards call for screens and aim to use their speed against big men who don't move as quickly as other guards.

Whether it's driving through the lane, getting transition baskets or having quick feet to stay in front of defenders, speed has turned out to be a necessity rather than a luxury. While every NBA player moves up and down the court at an impressive pace, a few move a lot quicker than others.

As we approach the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, here are the ten fastest NBA players going into the new campaign:


#10 Dennis Schroder

Dennis Schroder (#17) of the Lakers
Dennis Schroder (#17) of the Lakers

Looking at Dennis Schroder, it is evident he can get on his bikes when he wants. His speed and ball-handling skills have made him a prime target in the NBA over the years.

The 6' 1" guard caught the eye of the LA Lakers, leading to his acquisition ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season. Although he was not a great fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, he had bursts of brilliance when both superstars were sidelined.

With his recent move to the Boston Celtics, it will be exciting to see how he utilizes his pace to help the C's compete in the 2021-22 NBA season.


#9 John Wall

John Wall (#1) of the Houston Rockets dribbles against Paul George (#13)
John Wall (#1) of the Houston Rockets dribbles against Paul George (#13)

John Wall deserves to be higher up on the list based on how explosive he is when he is healthy. However, injuries have kept him away from NBA action for almost two seasons now.

With his return to action, he could undoubtedly show a degree of the quickness that has got him up on this list. Although he has a decent three-point shot, breezing past defenders and attacking the rim is more his forte.


#8 Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker (#8) of the New York Knicks
Kemba Walker (#8) of the New York Knicks

Skill-wise, Kemba Walker comes closest to playing at the level Irving does, which is why he is rated as one of the best point guards in the NBA. Although injuries have affected his movement in recent years, he is getting back to playing at an elite level as was seen with the Boston Celtics during the 2019-20 season.

The New York Knicks will be one to keep an eye on Walker, as they have athletic point guards in Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley. However, Walker's combination of skill and speed might give him an edge.


#7 LeBron James

LeBron James (#23) of the LA Lakers drives to the basket.
LeBron James (#23) of the LA Lakers drives to the basket.

At 36, the things LeBron James does are astonishing. Although he has slowed down a bit and focuses more on playmaking, he is unstoppable when he puts his head down and attacks the rim.

Despite his enormous frame, LeBron James still does an immaculate job of running the floor.

His chase-down block against Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals will go down as the best example of a player reaching top speed. While Bron might not be as fast or willing to make such plays regularly, he still has a lot in the tank.

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#6 Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo (#34) of the Milwaukee Bucks goes up for a shot over (L-R) Chris Paul (#3), Deandre Ayton (#22) and Devin Booker (#1)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (#34) of the Milwaukee Bucks goes up for a shot over (L-R) Chris Paul (#3), Deandre Ayton (#22) and Devin Booker (#1)

Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best two-way players in the NBA right now. His timely scoring and stellar defense helped the Milwaukee Bucks clinch their first NBA title in fifty years.

For a big man, he gets up and down the floor at an incredible pace. Antetokounmpo is slowly building his game to be a power forward, as he brings the ball up the court on occasion.

His long legs make his job a tad easier, as he covers more ground in fewer steps. The Greek Freak is aware of the advantage he has, and uses it to punish the opposition. During the 2021 NBA Finals, he completed a clutch block reminiscent of LeBron James' on Iggy in the 2016 Finals.


#5 Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons (#25) of the Philadelphia 76ers drives against Danilo Gallinari (#8).
Ben Simmons (#25) of the Philadelphia 76ers drives against Danilo Gallinari (#8).

The Philadelphia 76ers have a gem in Ben Simmons, a point guard who can defend multiple positions in the NBA. Although his shooting is awful, there's nothing more you can ask of him in terms of athleticism and defensive prowess.

Simmons makes quick work of the opposition every night, causing turnovers and converting in offense. When he steals the ball or grabs a rebound, he puts his head down, and takes off to make a play at the other end of the floor.

You know a player is special when he outruns a guard even while in possession of the ball. Although it is unclear where he will play in the 2021-22 NBA season amid all the tension and trade rumors, Simmons could deliver transition buckets with high-level intensity wherever he lands up at.


#4 Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine (#8) of the Chicago Bulls dribbles past Alex Caruso (#4)
Zach LaVine (#8) of the Chicago Bulls dribbles past Alex Caruso (#4)

Zach LaVine is an absolute delight to watch on the break. Even considering how quickly he moves, he has great body control. The two-time NBA Slam Dunk champion leverages his athleticism to deliver intriguing performances night after night.

Watching the Chicago Bulls during the 2021-22 NBA season will be fun, as they have made additions capable of shaking things up in the East.

With less scoring pressure on LaVine, the 6' 5" guard should enjoy his game more. The presence of a top point guard like Lonzo Ball should result in LaVine utilizing his speed more by making cuts or running up the floor after a turnover or defensive rebound.

#3 Ja Morant

Ja Morant (#12) of the Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant (#12) of the Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant was the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year following impressive outings. He has livened things up at Memphis, helping the Grizzlies play a far more exciting game at a faster pace.

Standing at 6 3", Morant can win every foot race on and off the ball. When he's not handling the ball, he makes cuts at lightning speed that leaves him wide open at the rim.

While Ja Morant will likely work more on his shooting during the summer break, ferociously attacking the rim is the mainstay of his game. Defending against a guard who can pull up for shots and drives with such speed could be a tasking endeavor. So it will be fun to see how things play out in the 2021-22 NBA season.


#2 Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook (#4) of the Washington Wizards in action against the LA Lakers.
Russell Westbrook (#4) of the Washington Wizards in action against the LA Lakers.

Russell Westbrook is arguably the most passionate player in the NBA right now. He does it all on the court, and plays every game with the same energy and intensity.

Westbrook's explosiveness is unmatched in the NBA, as he makes sudden bursts that leave defenders trailing in his wake. Most of his highlight plays consist of him going coast to coast at lightning speed after grabbing a rebound or forcing a turnover.

Playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the 2021-22 NBA season might slow down his pace on occasion. However, his quick movement and running the court is something LeBron James would love to utilize on the fast breaks.


#1 De'Aaron Fox

De'Aaron Fox (#5) of the Sacramento Kings drives against Jrue Holiday (#21)
De'Aaron Fox (#5) of the Sacramento Kings drives against Jrue Holiday (#21)

The Sacramento Kings point guard clinches the No. 1 spot over Westbrook because youth is on his side. But that doesn't take away from how lethal Fox is in open play.

De'Aaron Fox does not shy away from contact, which makes him a lot more dangerous in fast-break situations. He is undoubtedly the fastest player in the NBA right now, with the ball in his hands.

Fox had a breakout campaign in the 2017-18 NBA season, and has since continued to stuff the stat sheet. The 2021-22 season could be no different as the speedster should continue to deliver stellar performances.

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Edited by Bhargav
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