In the NBA, speed is a prize and virtue for the large, and an absolute necessity for the small. This list, while less than completely scientific, adheres largely to that truth. A more quantified ranking — where we compile 40-yard dash times, or something of the like — would probably be a boring collection of point guards, some of whom you’ve never heard of and have no reason to hear of. Forwards have made our list, though, which takes into consideration the effect of a player’s speed on the game, how they use it, and whether it makes them any better.
This isn’t empirical, it’s a compilation relying almost exclusively on the eye test. Who scoots past defenders with relative ease? Who is never chased down to get blocked from behind? You get the idea. There are going to be some omissions and some guys that make you scratch your head. So here are the 15 fastest players in the NBA right now, ranked. As always, please let us know who you think should have been included, and who we should take off this list.
15. Tyler Ulis
As an incoming rookie for the Phoenix Suns, Ulis has to earn a higher spot. But the 5-foot-9 Kentucky alum made a lot of front offices slap their foreheads in dismay at Summer League, darting around the court with hyper-intelligent conviction, while disrupting opponents and making plays before anyone else saw them develop. The second-round draft pick’s career could be a symposium in just how many size disadvantages can be made up for with speed.
14. Avery Bradley
Bradley’s ceaseless hustle on defense is a huge part of what makes his Boston Celtics such a groan-inducing matchup for opponents. He’s extremely hard to get away from, and also helps his team push the ball back to the other end in exhausting fashion. He’ll often guard a guy full court, a tactic hardly ever employed during the grind of an 82-game regular season. He’s quick enough to get away with it, though, and fast enough to recover if he does get beat.