The average height in the NBA hovers around 6′ 6″. Even at 6′ tall, you stand at a 6″ disadvantage to the field. So when you look at the shortest players in the NBA, the underlying story is one of triumph against the odds.
Granted, these guys are all point guards, and point guards tend to be shorter than average. Still, considering what they’re up against, their achievements are incredible. They are competing at the highest level against .
So these are the shortest NBA players in the league today. Now, a few of the shortest guys on this list are really at the fringes of the league, playing on contracts that may or may not get them playing time this season. But you will notice an impressive string of players sitting right at 6′ who are very much fixtures in the NBA.
Let’s get to it…
The Shortest NBA Players in the 2023-2024 season
Markquis Nowell (5′ 8″)
Markquis Nowell went undrafted in 2023, but he picked up a 2-way contract with the Raptors in July and had a great showing at Summer League. This seems to have secured him a deep roster spot for now.
Listed at 5’8″ 163 lbs, and coming out of Kansas State, Nowell has yet to make his first official regular season NBA appearance. When he does, he joins the list of the shortest players of all time.
Jacob Gilyard (5′ 9″)
At 5’9″ 160 lbs, Gilyard is just about the same size as Nowell, but he has perhaps a slightly stronger claim on being the shortest player in the NBA, as he did play in 1 game for the Grizzlies in April of 2023. Furthermore, he played a solid 41 minutes, scoring 3 points off of 3 attempts from deep.
Gilyard is not much of a shooter as it stands, not from the field at least. However, he locked down the NCAA all-time steals record with the Richmond Spiders, so he’s got that going for him. Interceptions are a big part of how the littlest dudes get to and stay in the league.
Jordan Walker (5′ 11″)
Jordan “Jelly” Walker is Joining the Mavs this season, coming off a career with the Seton Hall Pirates. After going undrafted, he landed a contract with the Mavericks in mid-August after showing out in 4 of the Mavs Summer League games.
Apparently the “Jelly” moniker comes from Jordan’s involvement in a little cultural side plot referred to as Jelly Fam. Back in 2016, a couple of New York hoopers, Isaiah Washington and Ja’Quaye James posted claim on a move they called the ‘Jelly’. It’s a dunk that turns into a finger roll. Check the video below for clarification.
From the move, a group evolved. The move, and the group of young players associated with it, became a symbol of New York hooper youth culture, making the rounds on social media. It ultimately evolved into something of a brand, which Nike did their best to co-op, with a shoe model and gear, to the displeasure of those close to the movement.
Jordan Mclaughlin (5′ 11″)
Another Jordan, Mclaughlin logged some playoff minutes in the T-Wolves 2023 loss to the Nuggets. Not a lot of minutes, but minutes nonetheless.
The thing with Mclaughlin though, I’ve seen him listed at both 5’11” and 6′. This leaves Jordan Mclaughlin in a strange liminal world. He may or may not be the shortest NBA player at any given time, given that he stands on firmer ground in the league than any of his short competition.
Chris Paul (6′)
Chris Paul is one of the shortest NBA players in the league today. Seriously, consensus Hall-Of-Famer Chris Paul is 6 feet tall. It’s a little bit amazing, really.
And he’s kinda known as a Napoleonic figure in the league. Cliché perhaps, but the list of guys who have complained about his bossiness is impressive. And yet, it’s tough to argue with a dude who has done this much with this little.
It was big news in the off-season when Paul was ported over to Golden State. A truly inspired second option at the PG puts a new twist on the Warriors. As of this writing, we’ve yet to determine what this will mean for a dominant dynasty that was looking last season to be on the decline.
Fred VanVleet (6′)
Fred’s also been around for a spell. He recently made a hop from the Raptors, the team that gave him his start after going undrafted in 2016, to the Rockets, where he brings a whole lot to a starving Houston team.
I don’t wanna limit the guy, but VanVleet’s biggest moment would have to be in the 2019 NBA finals when the Raptors faced the Warriors. With KD and Klay sidelined to injury, Toronto went with an unconventional box-and-1 defense to isolate Curry.
The ‘and 1’ was Fred VanVleet hounding Steph Curry for the majority of the series. And it definitely worked. The Raptors picked up their one and only title off of one of the most dramatic and obvious tactical choices in the modern NBA.
Jose Alvarado (6′)
Jose has been shaping up to be a fantastic asset for the Pelicans. One could make the argument that he is a more valuable asset than Zion Williamson who has played 25 fewer games in the past 2 years and is consistently hinting at more downside than upside.
Left on the table following the 2021 draft, Alvarado was picked up on a 2-way. As a welcome backup to CJ McCollum, he’s more than returned on that investment. Headed into year 3, Alvarado is often cited as one of the more promising developing point guards in the league.
Tyus Jones (6′)
Another solid option at the point guard position, Tyus slipped from the Grizzlies to the Wizards towards the end of the 2023 season as part of the 3-team Porziņģis package.
Mostly a bench guard, Tyus Jones is another player whoose stock is seemingly on an upswing. His 9th season last year was among the better showings of his career. With the floundering but revamped Wizards, he’s looking to start alongside Jordan Poole this year. There’s a slight chance that could get interesting.
Kyle Lowry (6′)
Caked up legend, Kyle Lowry just came real close to taking down another title with Spo in the 2023 finals. He’s a whole package: a solid connector, his outside shooting was a threat in the 2023 run, and even at 6-foot, he can back fools down on that massive hump.
Not to mention, at 37, Kyle Lowry is one of the oldest players in the league. Short and old and still kicking with all that, that’s not something to be taken lightly.
Patty Mills (6′)
Australian legend, Patty Mills has been something of a fixture on NBA courts for a long while. He’s not the flashiest or most recognizable in this hemisphere, but he’s such a solid role player. Mills has made plenty of impressive playoffs appearances and he’s always a star on the Australian Boomers Men’s international team.
An interesting 2023 summer for Patty. He quietly slid from the Brooklyn Nets to the Atlanta Hawks in July. In August, he joined the Boomers on a disappointing World Cup run. A great pickup for the floundering Hawks though. I like his brand next to Trae.
Trevor Hudgins (6′)
Currently on a 2-way with the rockets, Hudgins may end up being a benefactor of the KPJ debacle. In 2023, he picked up some minutes when KPJ and Jalen Green slipped out of the lineup.
With the Rockets picking up VanVleet and drafting Amen Thompson, there’s probably not a lot of call for bringing Hudgins up from his spot on the Vipers, the Rockets’ G-League affiliate. Still, he’s got a shot at seeing NBA court time this year.
Carlik Jones (6′)
Jones had a great summer 2023, qualifying for the Olympics with the South-Sudanese team. Jones was born in Cincinnati, but has South-Sudanese heritage. Founded in 2011, South-Sudan is currently the youngest nation on the planet and their Olympic basketball berth is a major boon for the young nation.
It’s also interesting to stumble upon a South-Sudanese Ohioan on the list of the shortest NBA players, considering that one of the tallest NBA players of all time, Manute Bol, was discovered in the region currently known as South-Sudan and naturalized through Ohio.
Davion Mitchell (6′)
Selected 9th overall by the Kings in 2021, Davion is headed into his 3rd season with the Kings. He should get plenty of court time as the second option to De’Aaron Fox. And the Kings are one of the more interesting young squads in the league this year.
9 out of these 13 players are 6′ tall. These are the shortest active players in the NBA, and most of them are 6′. That just speaks to how important height is in basketball, particularly at the highest levels.
The average American male is 5′ 9″. So even the shortest of the 450 or so players currently in the league are just around average or above it. Still, even at the PG position, it’s a slog to prove your value consistently over those with a clear advantage. Every one of these guys has had to work that much harder and smarter to get and remain competitive.
That’s why I think this list is important. The shortest players in the NBA are often the players with the most heart and commitment to the game.