NBA Top 100 Players: 100-71

The NBA is almost here.

ESPN recently released its top 100 NBA players list.

While I agree with some of their rankings, there are many with which I disagree. Here is the first part of my own top 100 players ranking heading into this season.

Notable players I didn’t include due to injury: Kevin Durant, John Wall, and Jusuf Nurkic.

Also, I wrestled with the idea in my head but ultimately decided not to include Klay Thompson. Here’s why: ESPN ranked him 49th, which is 36 spots below C.J. McCollum because they were accommodating for him missing a large part of the season. That is ridiculous because when healthy, Klay is easily a top 20 player, so I figured I’d sooner not try to project how many games he’ll play and avoid giving him a low ranking. 

100. Landry Shamet, Los Angeles Clippers

One of eight second-year players who appears on this top 100 list, Shamet is a sharpshooter and will play a key role in the Clippers’ championship run. Shamet led all rookies in shooting 42.2% from behind the arc last season. 

99. Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs

Murray was a candidate for a breakout year before a torn ACL he suffered in the preseason cost him the entire 2018-19 campaign. Now that Murray is fully healthy, it will be fun to watch the Spurs backcourt of him and Derrick White.   

98. Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs

Rudy Gay is nowhere near as athletic as he once was, but he’s an underrated piece for this Spurs team. His best moment from last season was this buzzer-beater to down the Phoenix Suns.  

97. Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic

My pick to be the runner-up for this year’s Most Improved Player is Jonathan Isaac, who played much better in his sophomore season after an injury-riddled rookie campaign. Isaac is a great athlete, a mobile defender, and has lots of room to grow as a scorer. 

96. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves

By the analytics, Wiggins’ OBPM, BPM, and VORP were all at career lows last season. Theoretically, trading away Jimmy Butler should have created more opportunities for Wiggins, but he only seemed to play worse as the season went on. 

95. Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings

Traded from Dallas to Sacramento mid-season (mid-game, actually), Harrison Barnes provides shooting and playoff experience to an otherwise young Sacramento team with hopes of making the playoffs. 

94. Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz

Jinglin’ Joe definitely will be a key member of a strong Utah team. However, ESPN’s placing of Ingles at 62 is a bit too high. While still a good shooter, Ingles’ three-point numbers did drop last season, and he doesn’t provide much else offensively as a scorer. 

93.Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons

Now in Detroit, Rose will likely be the sixth man and for everyone’s sake, let’s hope he plays a full season without injury. His 50-point game last season was truly a pleasure to watch:

92. Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs

Following the injury to Dejounte Murray, Derrick White stepped up big time and helped the Spurs make the playoffs after playing just 18 games in his rookie season. White is a good defender and has room to improve as a facilitator and scorer.

91. Justise Winslow, Miami Heat

Underwhelming the first three seasons of his career, Winslow began to thrive last season after being moved into the point guard role. However, he may regress a little bit this season with Goran Dragic fully healthy and Jimmy Butler likely to run the offense through him.  

90. Deandre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets

Signed with the Mavericks and traded to the Knicks last season, Deandre Jordan went through some regression in his age 30 campaign. Now with the Nets, Jordan and Jarrett Allen will both play center. While Allen makes highlight plays on defense, his interior defense is lacking, and that showed when guarding Joel Embiid in the playoffs. For now, Jordan is the better and more experienced option.    

89. Otto Porter Jr., Chicago Bulls

In 15 games with Chicago after being traded from Washington last season, Porter put up 17.5 points per game, a would-be career-high if he did it for a full season. 

88. Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets

Joe Harris: a player better than Steph Curry. Okay, not really, but Harris did beat him in last year’s three-point contest. 

87. Ricky Rubio, Phoenix Suns

After being replaced by Mike Conley via trade in the offseason, Rubio signed a three-year, $51 million deal to be the Suns’ starting point guard. The Suns cycled through several different point guards last season, none of them effective, so Rubio fits a need for the lackluster Phoenix team.    

86. Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder

Yes, this rating may seem low for Steven Adams. However, he regressed a lot during the playoffs last season and that hurt the Thunder. With that in mind, I do think he will be better this season. Russell Westbrook’s selfishness definitely impacted Steven Adams. 

85. P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets

Offensively, Tucker’s role is to stand in the corner and shoot threes when the opportunity arises, and he does it well, having shot 39.6% from that spot last season. Defensively, Tucker is a very aggressive and active on-ball defender, and he fits in perfectly for the Rockets’ system.   

84. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

One of two rookies on the list, Ja Morant came out of nowhere last season at Murray State. Now the Grizzlies’ point guard of the future, Morant is a freak athlete and explosive while driving to the rim. He put up a triple-double in the NCAA tournament last season to beat Marquette:

83. J.J. Redick, New Orleans Pelicans

Still a sharpshooter heading into his age 35 season, J.J. Redick signed a two-year, $26.5 million contract to join the Pelicans after putting up a career-high in points last season. He has never missed the playoffs in his career, so maybe his veteran leadership can rub off on the younger Pelicans’ players.  

82. Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans

On the one hand, he’s already an above-average defender and good playmaker. On the other hand, he has had trouble staying on the court and shot 41.7% from the foul line last season. Now in a new place, it will be interesting to see how much Ball improves. Before I criticize his shooting mechanics, here’s a video of his new shot form. It does look better.

81. Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

If Lou Williams didn’t have such an incredible year, Spencer Dinwiddie likely would have won Sixth Man of the Year last season. His playing time may dwindle a tad having to play behind Kyrie Irving, but he’s still a reliable option off the bench.  

80. Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets

Gordon signed a four-year, $75.6 million extension in September and the Rockets will rely on Gordon to provide three-point shooting and spacing this upcoming season. 

79. Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks

A player who hit just three threes his first eight seasons in the NBA, Brook Lopez has evolved into one of the best shooting big men in the NBA.  

78. Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics

Last season was disappointing for Hayward as he never found a rhythm coming off a gruesome leg injury. Now, with Irving gone, the Celtics need Hayward to improve if they want a chance at making the Eastern Conference Finals.   

77. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

I’ve talked about him before, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be due for significant improvements in year two now that he’s in OKC. Here are some of Gilgeous-Alexander’s best plays from last season with the Clippers.   

76. Danny Green, Los Angeles Lakers

To be completely honest, I’m shocked ESPN left Danny Green off of their top 100. One of the best three-point shooters in the NBA and a two-way player, Green was a vital member of the Raptors’ championship team last year. 

75. Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City Thunder

Gallinari bounced back and had a big year after several injury-riddled seasons. A key piece in the Paul George trade, the Thunder can rely on Gallinari to shoot the three and create his shot off the dribble. 

74. Josh Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers 

If Josh Richardson can improve upon last season, it will be a massive bonus for the Sixers this season. While the Sixers lose some shooting without J.J. Redick, Richardson adds to them defensively as a two-way guy, making the Sixers’ defense one of the best in the NBA.  

73. Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets

Millsap, who will be heading into his age 34 season, is still an outstanding defender and consistent around the rim. Not only that, but he’s improved yearly as a shooter as well.   

72. Patrick Beverley, Los Angeles Clippers

Beverley put up fewer points per game last season than almost anyone on this list with just 7.6 a night. However, his defensive energy and ability to get into opponents’ heads contribute to his team in ways the stat sheet can’t show.   

71. Jaren Jackson, Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

Jackson quickly earned the starting role and was a crucial piece for the Grizzlies during his rookie season. His best moment from last season was this 36-point performance that helped send this game to overtime against the Nets.

NBA Sixth (6th) Man Horizontal Line

Stay tuned for part two in the upcoming days.

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7 Responses

  1. Solid List! I think 3J and Ja could both be higher, but good thoughts on Rose, Redick, and Dinwiddie especially

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