The game of basketball has always been a big boys’ game. Taller players usually thrived more compared to the shorter ones. However, over the course of its history, some players have managed to establish lengthy and successful careers despite being devoid of the height. Players such as Muggsy Bogues, Spud Webb, Nate Robinson, and even Allen Iverson to an extent, are just some of the names that pop up to mind when identifying the great little men in the history over the NBA.
With the current game changing over these past few years, shorter players have thrived and provided significant impact for their teams. With that said, let’s get to know the shortest players in the NBA today.
Two players share the title of the shortest player in the league: Chris Clemons and Isaiah Thomas, both of whom stand at 5-foot-9, per NBA.com. However, with IT currently a free agent, that technically leaves Clemons of the Houston Rockets as the sole owner of that claim.
Clemons went undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft, but found himself on the Rockets summer league team. Prior to the start of the season, Houston signed him to a two-way deal. However, the rookie point guard has not seen significant playing time for the Rockets this season, playing just 8.7 a game in 29 appearances.
Thomas, meanwhile, had a solid role for the Washington Wizards through the first half of the 2019-20 season. However, the Wizards parted ways with the former 60th overall pick at the All-Star break and dealt him to the Los Angeles Clippers. Unfortunately, Thomas never suited up for L.A., and was subsequently waived a few days later. Now, the 2-time All-Star finds himself without a home in the NBA for the time being.
Now, let’s move into the 5-foot-10 territory. Currently, per NBA.com, two players stand as such, namely Tremont Waters of the Boston Celtics and J.J. Barea of the Dallas Mavericks.
Waters was Boston’s second round selection, picked 51st in the 2019 NBA draft. The LSU standout is on a two-way contract with the Celtics and has played mostly in the G-League with Maine Red Claws. He has only appeared in 10 games for Boston so far.
Barea, on the one hand, has seen a reduced role for the Mavericks. After suffering a torn Achilles last season, the 35-year old has successfully made the recovery and is still playing some minutes in the games he has appeared in this season. In 26 games this year, the Puetro Rican point guard is averaging 7.5 points and 3.8 assists in 15 minutes per contest.
Moving into the 5-foot-11 group, five players stand at that height. These include D.J. Augustin of the Orlando Magic, Carsen Edwards of the Celtics, Jordan McLaughlin of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Chris Chiozza of the Brooklyn Nets, and Frank Mason of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Out of the five mentioned, Augustin has the most established NBA career. Now a 12-year vet, Augustin is still seeing solid minutes as Orlando’s backup point guard. On the season, the 32-year old point guard is averaging 10.4 points and 4.6 assists while playing nearly 25 minutes per game.
Jordan McLaughlin has seen increased opportunities with the Timberwolves through the latter half of the season. In 30 appearances, the undrafted guard averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 assists in nearly 20 minutes a game for Minnesota. His best game in the NBA so far is a 24-point, 11-assist (both career-highs) outing in a February 8th game against the L.A. Clippers.
Carsen Edwards, Boston’s 33rd overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, has appeared in 35 games for the Green and White. While his minutes and games played have been scarce, Edwards still finds some opportunities from coach Brad Stevens from time to time. Edwards went off in a preseason game for the Celtics, scoring 30 points and knocking down nine triples in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He scored 26 points and made eight 3-pointers in the third quarter alone.
There are plenty of other short players in the NBA and quite a handful fall within the 6-foot to 6-foot-1 range. Arguably the best player within that bunch is Atlanta Hawks All-Star Trae Young (6-foot-1). Young had one of the best sophomore seasons in NBA history with averages of 29.6 points (3rd in the NBA) and 9.3 assists (2nd in the NBA) this season. Others include All-Stars Kemba Walker (6-foot-1) of the Boston Celtics, Kyle Lowry (6-foot) of the defending champion Toronto Raptors, and 34-year old Point God Chris Paul (6-foot-1) of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Certainly, the saying “height is might” isn’t necessarily true in the NBA anymore with little guys providing sizable impacts for their respective teams.