#NBArank: Players Nos. 41-50

For the sixth season in a row, ESPN.com is ranking the top players in the NBA. Who will be the best player this season?

To get the final ranking, we asked our expert panel to vote on pairs of players.

LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry. Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant. Damian Lillard vs. Chris Paul.

We asked, "Which player will be better in 2016-17?" To decide, voters had to consider both the quality and the quantity of each player's contributions to his team's ability to win games.

We'll roll out our top 200 players over the next two weeks. If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along @ESPNNBA and on Facebook.

Here are Nos. 41-50.

#NBArank: 41-50

41. Dirk Nowitzki

Insider profile: While Nowitzki's eventual farewell will probably look more like Tim Duncan's quiet departure than Kobe Bryant's tour, there's no indication we need to plan for either scenario just yet. Nowitzki signed a two-year, $50 million deal this summer that includes a 2017-18 team option in case he wants to take another discount to facilitate the Mavericks creating additional cap space. Read more »

42. Nikola Jokic

Insider profile: Largely out of nowhere, Jokic surpassed Emmanuel Mudiay as the top rookie on the Nuggets, finishing third in the voting for Rookie of the Year and making the All-Rookie First Team. The No. 41 pick of the 2014 draft, Jokic spent one additional season overseas before coming to Denver and posting the best RPM of any rookie by a wide margin. At 21, Jokic looks like a future star, yet he will make just $4.3 million over the next three seasons on a bargain deal. Read more »

43. Eric Bledsoe

  • Suns | PG | @EBled2

  • Last year's rank: 37

  • 2016-17 projected RPM: 3.05

Insider profile: When Bledsoe suffered a torn left meniscus that required season-ending knee surgery on Dec. 26, the Suns were 12-19 and still thinking about turning their season around. He returns to a very different team that has now committed to rebuilding around young talent. At 26, Bledsoe can be part of that effort, but his knees are a concern. Bledsoe missed 39 games in 2013-14, his first year in Phoenix, due to a meniscus injury to his right knee, and he previously underwent surgery on the right knee while with the Los Angeles Clippers. Read more »

44. Nicolas Batum

Insider profile: The Hornets took a gamble last offseason, when they sent away lottery pick Noah Vonleh to Portland in a deal that brought Batum to Carolina for the last year of his contract. Batum's offensive role had been shrinking with the Blazers for years; his usage rate peaked in 2011-12 and declined each season before he reached the Hornets. Charlotte needed shot creation and shooting alike, and Batum seemed like the answer. While his contribution had been marginalized with Portland, his efficiency with Carolina had slipped to a career-worst true shooting percentage of .516 in 2015-16. But Hornets GM Rich Cho said Batum could do more and do it better. Read more »

45. Andrew Wiggins

Insider profile: If Ricky Rubio's a basketball fox, Wiggins might be the basketball hedgehog -- for now. Wiggins definitely knows how to score. In his second season, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick and 2014-15 Rookie of the Year averaged 20.7 points, making him the youngest player in the league's top 20 in scoring. Yet the rest of Wiggins' game hasn't developed as expected, making this a critical season to determine whether he's actually on track for superstardom. Read more »

46. Devin Booker

  • Suns | SG | @DevinBook

  • Last year's rank: 323

  • 2016-17 projected RPM: -4.40

Insider profile: Through December 2015, Booker was playing spot minutes off the bench, as you'd expect from a player who debuted at age 18 before celebrating his 19th birthday two days later. Then his role changed dramatically. Booker moved into the starting lineup after Bledsoe's injury and averaged 34.7 minutes and 17.9 points per game through the rest of the season, emerging as a go-to player due to injuries. The expanded role highlighted Booker's weak spots but might have accelerated his development. Read more »

47. Dwight Howard

Insider profile: After three up-and-down seasons in Houston, Howard signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal with the Hawks that returns him to his hometown. Howard was born in Atlanta and starred at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy before turning pro and becoming the top overall pick of the 2004 draft. He's not the same player he was as a prep standout, and he isn't the same franchise center who for a few years was a perennial MVP candidate. Read more »

48. Victor Oladipo

Insider profile: The Orlando Magic took Victor Oladipo second overall in the 2013 draft, and Magic GM Rob Hennigan was hoping to get a high-character athlete, one who would fit in at Hennigan's former organization, Oklahoma City. So it's no surprise Oladipo ended up with the Thunder as the centerpiece of the deal sending Serge Ibaka to Orlando. Read more »

49. Brook Lopez

Insider profile: Lopez enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2015-16 -- eight of the nine games he missed were healthy scratches with the team long out of playoff contention, and the other was due to illness. Now the question is whether that performance (and that health) might lead the Nets to sell high after new GM Sean Marks dealt away fellow frontcourt starter Thaddeus Young for a draft pick. Read more »

50. Myles Turner

Insider profile: The Texas product was a revelation as a rookie. He dropped to 11th in the 2015 draft after an up-and-down season at Texas amid concerns his odd gait would cause injury. While he still runs in a bit of an awkward shuffle, he has worked to strengthen his glutes, which has apparently alleviated the problem. He made it through his rookie year unscathed aside from a broken hand. Turner's short-area quickness is underrated, and he materializes out of nowhere to block shots with his massive 7-foot-4 wingspan. Read more »