Five foot, six foot, seven foot, arc! When it comes to the sport of basketball, size matters. On average, a basketball player is 6' 7" tall. Hypothetically, the taller you are the better your ability to block an opponent and the closer you are to the net, thus improving your shot accuracy. However, being on the shorter side has its advantages too, like speed and agility. Shorter guys can quickly move around their larger counterparts.
The 2016-2017 NBA rosters definitely don't have the tallest (Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan, 7'7") or the shortest (Muggsy Bogues, 5'3") men to ever play the sport, but they do have 42 players that are over 7 feet. The Mavericks and Hornets each have four players that are 7 feet or taller, which is the most per team in the league. The Clippers, Cavaliers, Pacers, Rockets and Hawks don't have any players on their team that reach 7 feet. Guess it's not hurting them all that much since the Clippers, Hawks and Cavs are currently leading their respective conferences.
Don't let size fool you, there have been short players (Spud Webb, 5'7") that have successfully dunked a basket and tall players who have never dunked in a game (Steve Novak, 6'10"). Without much ado, here are the current 8 tallest players and 7 shortest players in the NBA:
15 Timofey Mozgov - 7'1" (Los Angeles Lakers)
There are eleven players in the league right now that are 7'1" but not all eleven of these guys are making an impact. If the Lakers wanted a center that would benefit them on both offense and defense, they may have found a match in Mozgov. The Russian big man signed a four-year $64 million contract with the Lakers this season. He joined the team after winning a championship with the Cavaliers last year, becoming one of the first Russians to ever win an NBA title (the second Russian to win a title was his Cavs teammate Alexander Kaun.) Mozgov made his NBA debut with the New York Knicks in 2010 after a six-year stint in the European League. So far this season, he is averaging 8.9 points per game and 5.2 rebounds. He has also made almost 89 percent of his free throws. Not only does he have an NBA Championship under his belt, but he also has a bronze medal for team Russia from the 2012 Summer Olympics.
14 Rudy Gobert - 7'1" (Utah Jazz)
The Stifle Tower. The French Rejection. The Gobert Report. The French native has been proving his worth ($90 million, four-year contract) for the Jazz ever since they drafted him in 2013. He has been one of the top five shot-blockers in his last three seasons and actually led the league in block percentage in the 2014-2015 season. He's been averaging 9.6 points and 10.3 rebounds this season. Basketball runs in this center's family. His dad, Rudy Bourgarel, played for the French national team in the 1980s. Gobert was originally drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the 1st round of the 2013 NBA Draft but was quickly traded to the Jazz for Erick Green and cash. The 24-year-old seems to have found a home with the Jazz for now.
13 Marc Gasol - 7'1" (Memphis Grizzlies)
There's a lot to say and boast about when it comes to Spanish native Marc Gasol. Most recently, he went viral after hitting a game-winning three against the Clippers and subsequently doing the Conor McGregor strut to half court. He had every right to strut considering he not only made the game-winning shot but recorded a career high 26 points in the game. Drafted by the Lakers in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft, he went on to sign with the Grizzlies and was traded in a deal that involved his older brother Pau Gasol. In 2013, he was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year and is a two-time NBA All-Star. He also has two silver medals with the Spanish national team from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and three gold medals from the FIBA European Championship.
12 Roy Hibbert - 7'2" (Charlotts Hornets)
This Hoya to a Pacer is a two-time NBA All-Star and has been in the top ten for offensive rebounds in both the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. Despite sitting out a couple of games this season due to knee soreness, he is averaging 8 points and 3.8 rebounds in the five games he has played in. Both his offensive and defensive skills make him a crucial component of the Hornets, so he'll be one to watch when he is fully healthy. Just check out his performance in the Hornets' season opener: 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3-3 in free throws. Hibbert was born in Queens, New York, but has dual U.S. and Jamaican citizenship due to this father. His dual citizenship has allowed to him to also play for the Jamaican national team.
11 Alexis Ajinca - 7'2" (New Orleans Pelicans)
The second French-men to make the top eight tallest players of today list, Alexis Ajinca, was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 1st round of the 2008 NBA Draft where he started his professional career. He bounced around in their D-league for a while before spending a season with the Mavericks (2010-2011) and the Raptors (2011). From 2011-2013, he went overseas but eventually signed with the Pelicans. Last season, he recorded a career-high of 28 points and 15 rebounds in a single game. This season, Ajinca has played in 7 games and is averaging 3.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He also took some time out of his schedule and participated in the NBA Hoops for Troops week, where he played Xbox against active duty military members with teammate Solomon Hill.
10 Salah Mejri - 7'2" (Dallas Mavericks)
Mavericks center Salah Mejri made his NBA debut just last year. Hailing from Tunisia, he is also a member of the Tunisian national team. Before joining the NBA, he helped the Tunisian national team win a bronze medal in the 2009 FIBA Africa Championship. In 2011, they won the FIBA Africa Championship and he was named the MVP. Mejri also led the 2012 Summer Olympics in blocked shots (17). An injury to Dirk Nowitzki opened up more playing time for Mejri early on this season. In the 7 games he's played this season, he's averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds. Mavericks GM Mark Cuban has said that Mejri is an energetic player and plays hard every time he gets in. These are qualities he hopes are infectious throughout the rest of the team.
9 Boban Marjanovic - 7'3" (Detroit Pistons)
The Serbian giant made his NBA debut in October 2015. After playing in the Spurs D-league during the 2015-2016 season, he became a restricted free agent. Some folks claim the 76ers cost the Spurs from resigning Marjanovic and helped send him packing to the Pistons. Free-agency drama at its finest. In the five games he's played in this season, he's averaging 6.2 minutes, 3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. Teammate Andre Drummond's injury may lead to Marjanovic gaining more playing time as the season progresses. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy sees promise in Marjanovic and believes that the more time he plays, the better he will perform.
8 Kristaps Porzingis - 7'3" (New York Knicks)
Coming in at the top spot for tallest active player in the NBA today is the New York Knicks Kristaps Porzingis. With this being only his second year in the league, the 21-year-old is already making a huge impact for his team and quickly becoming a fan favorite. Porzingis was drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Knicks and now splits his time as a power forward and center. While he had a great rookie year, this season he has already scored a career-high 35 points and is averaging 20.3 points per game. Teammate Derrick Rose recently stated that the fact that he’s already putting up 30-point games- and is only in his second year- is scary. Meanwhile an opposing coach (Scott Brooks, Washington Wizards) mentioned how the big man has “point-guard moves.” Porzingis is not only one of the tallest players in the NBA but he’s also one of the most versatile and leading the Knicks to a bright future.
7 Chris Paul - 6’0” (Los Angeles Clippers)
Technically, there are 12 current players that measure up to 6’0” but to keep within the limits of the list, the top two were chosen, starting with Los Angeles Clippers point guard, Chris Paul. Paul is currently on fire for the Clippers and he may have his LASIK eye surgery to thank for that. He got the surgery in the summer and so far has been averaging 18.3 points per game with a 45% three-point percentage. If he stays on track with these numbers, this could be his best season to date. Paul was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in the 1st round of the 2005 NBA Draft. He’s a nine-time All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, former Rookie of the Year and was a McDonald’s All-American in high school. The Wake Forest alum brings in the rear of the top ten highest paid NBA athletes today.
6 Kyle Lowry - 6’0” (Toronto Raptors)
Kyle Lowry spent just two years playing college basketball at Villanova before he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2006 NBA Draft. As a freshman at Nova, he was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team and won the Philadelphia Big 5 Rookie of the Year award. As a professional, he’s a two-time NBA All-Star and won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Lowry is the only point guard to make the top 5 in rebounds per game in the last three seasons. He also holds the Raptors franchise record for assists, triple-doubles, and the most 3-point field goals made in a season (2015-2016). In 2016, he was named to the All-NBA Third Team becoming the third player in the Raptors franchise history to make the team, behind Vince Carter and Chris Bosh.
5 John Lucas III - 5’11” (Minnesota Timberwolves)
After playing in D-Leagues and overseas, John Lucas III made the cut for the 2016-2017 Minnesota Timberwolves roster. Lucas started his college career at Baylor University and later transferred to Oklahoma State University. In 2004, Lucas made the winning basket against St. Joseph’s University to send his team into the NCAA Final Four. The son of former NBA player and coach, John Lucas II, failed to get drafted by an NBA team and subsequently signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets in 2005. For someone that’s turning 34-years-old this month, he sure has bounced around the NBA a lot, spending time in the Rockets, Bulls, Raptors, Jazz and Pistons organizations before landing with the Timberwolves this year. He’s only played in three games so far but three’s better than nothing!
4 Ty Lawson - 5’11” (Sacramento Kings)
After winning an NCAA Championship with the University of North Carolina Tarheels in 2009, Lawson was drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and then traded to the Denver Nuggets. The 2013-2014 season with the Nuggets has been his best season with an average of 17.6 points and 8.8 assists per game. The veteran point guard from Clinton, MD took the final spot on the Sacramento Kings roster this season. Though it seems like a little bit of drama follows Lawson- DUIs, missed flights, claiming the team doesn’t take shootarounds seriously- Kings’ coach Dave Joerger and GM Vlade Divac don’t seem to have a problem with him. In the 12 games he’s played so far this season, he’s averaging 5.4 points and 5 assists per game.
3 Tyler Ulis - 5’10” (Phoenix Suns)
Rookie Tyler Ulis already got his first promotion from the Phoenix Suns to second unit. The McDonald’s All-American 2014 team member went on to play college basketball at the University of Kentucky. During his freshman year, he led the Wildcats in assists per game and made it to the NCAA Final Four after an undefeated regular season. From there, he was named the SEC Player of the Year following the 2015-2016 season and also won the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award. According to the Associated Press, Ulis was the shortest All-American since 1953. In his debut game with the Suns, he played for 14 minutes and made 1 assist, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot and put up 2 points. This could be the beginning of a promising professional career for Ulis.
2 Kay Felder - 5’9” (Cleveland Cavaliers)
After being heavily recruited in high school, Kay Felder decided to attend the University of Oakland for college. During his freshman year, he won the Horizon League's Freshman of the Year award and during his junior (and final) year with the Golden Grizzlies, he was the Horizon League Conference’s Player of the Year. He also set a league record for assists that year. Instead of playing a fourth year of college ball, he entered the NBA Draft and was chosen in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks but was traded to the Cavs for cash. Felder may be a rookie on the roster of the defending champions, but he is definitely a contender when it comes to getting it done on the court. He even has the endorsement of his teammate LeBron James.
1 Isaiah Thomas - 5’9” (Boston Celtics)
Coming in at the number one spot for shortest current NBA player is Isaiah Thomas. Like his fellow 5’9” competitor, Thomas decided to forgo his senior year of college at the University of Washington and enter the NBA Draft. The three-time Pac 10 all-conference selection was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 2nd round of the 2011 NBA Draft. Despite his size, Thomas is one of the best guards in the NBA. GQ called his recent 22-point fourth quarter “highlight porn for short dudes.” Already this season, he has accomplished the third-highest scoring game (37 points) of his Celtics career and is averaging 27.2 points and 6.6 assists per game. Isaiah Thomas is the reason you shouldn’t underestimate the short guy on the court.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!