National Basketball Association

Herd Hierarchy: Cowherd's top five NBA players to build around

March 31

There's no shortage of talent in the NBA, but which players offer the best skill sets to build around?

On "The Herd," Colin Cowherd tried his hand at a list of the top five players he would build around, with NBA veterans and youngsters alike making the cut.

As far as caveats go, Cowherd had just one: His list is contingent on projecting these players for the next five years — but not beyond that — while taking into consideration their value off the court, too.

With that in mind, here are the top five NBA stars Cowherd would build around. 

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5. Jimmy Butler

Age: 31

2021 stats: 21.5 PPG, 7.3 APG, 5.6 RPG

Colin's thoughts: "[Jimmy Butler]'s the third-best defensive player behind Rudy Gobert and LeBron. He does it on both ends. He's a culture-changer. He got a Miami team with a bunch of kids to the Finals last year."

4. LeBron James

Age: 36

2021 stats: 25.4 PPG, 7.9 APG, 7.9 RPG

Colin's thoughts: "If you look at [LeBron James], it's very simple. The Lakers are plus-281 when he's on the floor this year and minus-61 when he's off it. ... He's still the most dominant player in the league, and again, if he's healthy when the playoffs start, who's favored? The Lakers because of LeBron."

3. Nikola Jokic

Age: 26

2021 stats: 26.9 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 8.5 APG

Colin's thoughts: "First of all, dude's getting better. ... [Nikola Jokic] is the only guy in the league going 25, 10 and eight. ... This guy, offensively, is a machine. ... Jokic is fantastic."

2. Luka Doncic

Age: 22

2021 stats: 28.5 PPG, 9.0 APG, 8.1 RPG

Colin's thoughts: "Barring an injury, [Luka Doncic] will be a top-three scorer in league history. He's 22 years old. If he plays to 38 years old, just do the numbers. He will rival Kareem [for] most points in NBA history."

1. Zion Williamson

Age: 20

2021 stats: 26.4 PPG, 7.1 APG, 3.5 APG

Colin's thoughts: "As an owner, I get the merchandising. As a GM, I get the efficiency. As a coach, I get the relatability and likability. ... He's a totally transformational marketing player. The smile, the game, the strength, the volume – [Zion Williamson] is everything."

For Cowherd's full breakdown, check out the video below:

Colin Cowherd list the Top 5 NBA players that he would build around in this edition of Herd Hierarchy. Hear which players Colin thinks are talented enough to carry a franchise.

For more up-to-date news on all things NBA, click here to register for alerts on the FOX Sports app!


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