Ranking of the 15 best ISO players in the NBA currently

Ranking of the 15 best ISO players in the NBA currently

What is an ISO score in the NBA? ISO players are sometimes referred to as hero basketballers as they take on the opponent's side without help from their teammates. The best ISO players in the NBA reserve exclusive bragging rights and notoriety for their talent.

Best ISO players in the NBA currently
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Source: UGC

So, which players have the most ISO scores and efficiency in the NBA? Dig in here to discover who the king of ISO in the NBA is and their statistics.

What does ISO stand for?

ISO refers to an isolation play strategy in basketball. This team strategy usually takes place near the end of a game during the fourth and final quarter of the game. The best basketballer in a team takes the offensive stance against the opponent's defenders without any screens from his team.

We have used NBA stats for the 2021/22 season to summarise the NBA's best ISO players. So, let us now look at 15 of the best basketballers in isolation.

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Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots the ball against Grant Williams of the Boston Celtics in May 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Adam Glanzman.
Source: Getty Images

NBA 2021-22 regular season

BasketballerTeam Games Possession Points per possessionFrequency
Luka DoncicDallas Mavericks656.31.1121.4%
Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderOklahoma City Thunder566.81.0327.7%
DeMar DeRozanChicago Bulls 764.31.1316.5%
James HardenPhiladelphia 76ers447.61.0631.8%
Pascal Siakam Toronto Raptors685.40.9023.6%
Trae YoungAtlanta Hawks764.40.9816.2%
Jayson TatumBoston Celtics764.70.9118.1%
Kevin DurantBrooklyn Nets555.21.1019.5%
Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee Bucks674.80.9617.9%
Julius RandleNew York Knicks724.90.8621.0%
Joel EmbiidPhiladelphia 76ers684.40.9515.9%
Russell WestbrookLos Angeles Lakers783.80.9117.2%
Anthony EdwardsMinnesota Timberwolves723.90.9118.1%
LeBron JamesLos Angeles Lakers564.31.0315.5%
Karl-Anthony TownsMinnesota Timberwolves742.71.1312.5%

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NBA 2021-22 playoffs

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Mavericks' Luka Doncic dribbles against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors in May 2022 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw.
Source: Getty Images
BasketballerTeamGames Possession Points per possessionFrequency
Luka DoncicDallas Mavericks158.50.9027.1%
Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee Bucks128.40.8625.4%
Jayson TatumBoston Celtics244.80.7517.7%
James HardenPhiladelphia 76ers128.10.8740.2%
Jalen BrunsonNew York Knicks184.11.0720.1%
Spencer DinwiddieDallas Mavericks184.30.9531.2%
Stephen CurryGolden State Warriors222.91.1311.6%
Jaylen BrownBoston Celtics242.71.0311.7%
Jimmy ButlerMiami Heat173.01.0412.7%
Joel EmbiidPhiladelphia 76ers106.00.8726.0%
Ja MorantMemphis Grizzlies93.41.2912.1%
Jordan PooleGolden State Warriors221.51.1510.1%
Pascal Siakam Toronto Raptors63.41.2927.2%
Chris PaulPhoenix Suns131.81.5011.9%
Anthony EdwardsMinnesota Timberwolves66.30.9527.0%

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The top 5 best ISO players in the NBA of all time

Kyrie Irving

One of the best ISO players right now is Lakers' point guard, Kyrie Irving. During his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he distinguished himself as one of the best isolation scorers. In an interview with The Ringer, his former teammate, LeBron James, said,

"The kid (Kyrie) was born to play one-on-one. You have those great one-on-one players in our league history and he’s up there."

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq is undoubtedly the most unstoppable basketballer in NBA history. While he had the advantage of size and strength, his talent and scoring skills also gave him an edge against defenders.

Giannis Adentokuonmpo

Is the Greek Freak the best player in the NBA? Not only is he a two-time MVP, but also a top 1-on-1 basketballer who was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. In addition, with his speed, scoring, and ball handling skills, he has carved out a spot in the top ISO scorers in the 2021-22 NBA season.

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James Harden

James Harden, the reigning king of isolation, comes in at third position. So, is Harden the best ISO player ever? According to NBA's isolation stats, Harden has dominated the lists of top isolation scorers in the league for the seventh season in a row.

Kobe Bryant

Was Kobe efficient as an isolation player? Critics would disagree, but at his peak, Kobe's ISO scores averaged 30 - 40%.

In an interview with The Athletic, another all-time top isolation scorer, Kevin Durant, remarked that he studied and learned his skills from watching Kobe. He said,

"Kobe, MJ (Michael Jordan) and Kyrie. Just the way they move, especially Jordan and Kobe."
Who is the best ISO player in the NBA history?
Michael Jordan (front) and Kobe Bryant in action during an NBA All-Star game at the Madison Square Garden, New York, in February 1998. Photo by Paul Bereswill/Newsda.
Source: Getty Images

Michael Jordan

So, who is the best ISO player in the history of the NBA? Jordan was also an ISO player and dominated the court whenever he took on the opponent's defense. In addition, since his exit, no other basketballer has scored anything close to his 37.1% points per game.

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Who has the most ISO plays in the NBA?

Who has the most ISO points in the NBA? Undoubtedly, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the most career points (38,887) and the most points scored in isolation per possession (15621.2 possessions). Currently, Harden ranks higher than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokuonmpo with the most isolation plays in the NBA.

Why Kareem is the greatest of all-time
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the 'WE Day Vancouver' at the Rogers Arena in November 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. Photo by Andrew Chin.
Source: Getty Images

Here is a summary of James Harden's stats, according to an NBA analysis of the highest ISO scores. 8.3% points per game for isolation and an average of 1.11 points per ISO possession.

The best ISO players in the NBA by position

Steph CurryPoint guard
Chris PaulPoint guard
Damian LillardPoint guard
James Harden Shooting guard
Lou Williams Shooting guard
DeMar DeRozan Shooting guard
Kevin DurantSmall forward
LeBron JamesSmall forward
Jimmy ButlerSmall forward
Blake GriffinPower forward
Giannis Antetokounmpo Power forward
Nikola JokicCenter

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Each team prides itself on having some of the best ISO players in the NBA. Not only does the team showcase individual basketballer talents, but they entertain fans with unbelievable moves such as Kobe Bryant's signature moves.

READ ALSO: Ranking the top 20 players with the most points in an NBA game

Recently, Sportsbrief published an article about all the unbeatable NBA legends with the most points. The article covers the top 20 NBA basketballers with over 60 points. Read on to discover their teams, individual scores, and positions.

Click on the link above to discover more.

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Source: SportsBrief.com