Speed is one of the most indispensable assets of a basketball player. Whether it's attacking the rim in transition, getting past a defender or defending an opponent, speed plays a crucial role in the success of a player at the highest level.
Accordingly, the game of basketball has changed a great deal in the last 20 years or so, with players putting their emphasis on developing their physical skills even more as they strive to become faster and stronger. The game has also seen a shift of powers from the big men who dominated the game in the 80s and 90s to teams employing quicker small-ball lineups in the contemporary scenario. As a result, the pace of the game has increased to a significant degree.
Quite evidently, some of the best athletes in the world play in the NBA, most of whom possess transcendental speed and leaping ability. The players on this list are the fastest of the lot. These 'speed demons' have set a benchmark with the athleticism and the raw speed they possess often dominating their opponents with their speed alone. So, let us look at the ten fastest NBA players right now:
Honorable mention: Kyrie Irving
Let us start this list with the flashiest player in the league.
No one in the NBA uses the change of speed and direction quite like Kyrie Irving. Employed with an arsenal of quick moves, Irving can turn on the afterburners at will. Combine this with the best ball handling skills in the game, Irving is virtually unstoppable one on one.
However, the 27-year-old guard prefers to beat his defenders with shifty moves and deceiving quickness. Additionally, thanks to his ability to switch hands and adjust mid-air with impeccable timing, Irving is one of the best finishers at the rim. Irving misses the cut because of the hefty competition on this list.
#10 Ish Smith
Ish Smith has made a career out of clowning the defenders, using his raw quickness and straight-line speed. One of the quickest guards in the league, the Pistons guard makes use of a wide range of moves to get past his defenders.
The six-feet-tall point guard comes off the bench for the Detroit Pistons and is known for his instant production on offense. He's also good at setting up his teammates for easy buckets, thanks to his court vision.
An undrafted player out of Wake Forest University, Smith has never had a stable NBA career despite showing that he belongs in the league. Due to this, he has bounced around the league quite often. Now in his tenth year in the league, Smith seems to have finally found a role in Detroit where he plays as the backup point guard to Reggie Jackson.
#9 Dennis Schroder
Thanks to his slender frame and light weight, Dennis Schroder has one of the quickest first steps in the NBA which allows him to blow past his defenders at will. Standing at 6'1, the German native also possesses excellent ball-handling skills which he uses to create shots for himself and his teammates.
Schroder is also known to be a master of the pick and roll, often connecting with the team's big men for easy points. Additionally, Schroder is adept at penetrating the defenses at a blazing speed which allows him to give an outlet pass resulting in an open shot. Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, Schroder played under coach Mike Budenholzer and starting point guard Jeff Teague.
After Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap left the Hawks via either trade or free agency, Schroder assumed the role of the starting point guard. He subsequently went on to average career-high numbers across the board in the 2017-18 NBA season. Last season he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder where he assumed the role of a sixth man.