Top 100 NBA Players: 70-41

Here’s part two of a multi-part series ranking the NBA’s top 100 players.

70. Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets

After a great 2017-18 season, Harris took a step back last season despite major improvements by the Nuggets. His scoring numbers were his worst since 2015-16, and his three-point percentage dropped from 39.6% to 33.9%. 

69. Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

I’ve written about Robinson before on this site, but I truly believe he has what it takes to be a First Team All-Defensive Player. Playing just 20.6 minutes per game last season, Robinson was second in the league in blocks, with 2.4 per game. 

68. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Don’t get me wrong, Brown still has a high ceiling, but last year was concerning as his numbers and shooting percentages were down across the board from the 2017-18 season. In his defense, he has caught the same body three different times: MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

67. Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Randle was one of the best signings from the 2018 offseason as he put up a career-high in points per game last season with New Orleans. Unfortunately for him, Randle will always be remembered as the guy the Knicks signed instead of Kevin Durant. 

66. Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers

Just as Landry Shamet and Mitchell Robinson balled out last season despite not being lottery picks, Kuzma easily appears to be the steal of the 2017 NBA draft. The Lakers like him so much, they kept him over Lonzo Ball, the guy they took second in that draft. Kuzma will play a key role in the Lakers’ championship run. 

65. Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers

For as salty as I’ve been towards Brogdon for stealing the Rookie of the Year award from Joel Embiid and Dario Saric in 2016, he has turned into one of the league’s best shooters and was a huge loss for the Bucks this offseason.   

64. Eric Bledsoe, Milwaukee Bucks

After several injury-riddled seasons with the Suns, Bledsoe had an excellent season last year and was rewarded with a four-year, $70 million extension. Also, Bledsoe has an absolute cannon. Watch this: 

63. Robert Covington, Minnesota Timberwolves

A key piece of the Sixers-Timberwolves Jimmy Butler trade, RoCo was playing the best basketball of his career before a knee injury cut his season short after just 35 games. When healthy, Covington is an elite defender who can guard opponents’ best player.

62. Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings

The fourth-best second-year player on this list, Bagley III came alive in the second half of his rookie season after early struggles and injuries. After the All-star break, Bagley III put up 18.5 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game while connecting on 48.7% and 39% from beyond the arc. He and De’Aaron Fox make the Kings an interesting playoff contender in the loaded Western Conference. 

61. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers

Without big seasons from Lou Williams and Pascal Siakam, Sabonis would have been in the running for both Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player last season. Now with Thaddeus Young (No. 101 on my list) on the Bulls, Sabonis will be the Pacers’ starting power forward this season. 

60. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

Ingram may never live up to the high expectations put on him as an NBA prospect, but he’s turned into a solid player. Hopefully, the health condition that cost him the end of last season is okay because Ingram and the Pelicans will be fun to watch this season. 

59.Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

ESPN’s ranking of Marcus Smart at 87 is both bad and disrespectful. Smart is an elite defensive guard and much improved as a shooter. I understand upside plays a factor, but ESPN’s listing Smart 36 spots below Jaylen Brown does not make any sense to me. 

58.Clint Capela, Houston Rockets

Capela’s lack of mobility and shooting hurt the Rockets in the playoffs last season. Just as he did to Steven Adams, I think Russell Westbrook and his stat-padding ways could hurt Clint Capela’s production as well this season. 

57. Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings

Hield had the best season of his career last year, putting up 20.7 PPG on 42.7% shooting from three. His best moment from last season was this buzzer-beater to put away the Pistons. 

56. Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

Gordon is someone who, when going into each of his last two seasons, I’ve expected to make significant strides, but has often disappointed me. While he’s a good player, he isn’t quite at an All-Star level just yet. 

55. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Don’t get me wrong, Trae Young has the potential to be an elite scorer and All-Star, but come on, ESPN, how could you possibly put Trae Young all the way up at 28? Young didn’t come alive as a scorer until after the All-Star break, and he was also the worst defender in the NBA last season; his -4.78 DRPM rating ranked 514th out of 514 eligible players.  

54. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns

Ah, the consistently above-average yet unattractive rookie that no one talks about. Ayton receives almost no attention based on the fact he plays in Phoenix and isn’t a very flashy player. However, Ayton led all rookies with 10.3 RPG and 39 double-doubles last season. 

53. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers

Now at the age of 31, Love is well past the prime of his career. The Cavaliers will likely trade Love to a contender at some point this season.  

52. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

As the first pick in the draft, Zion is the type of NBA prospect we’ve never quite seen before. Williamson has Hall of Fame potential written all over him as long as he can stay healthy. Here are some of his best moments from when he was at Duke. 

51. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

In Year 2, Tatum did not improve as much as some NBA fans were hoping to see. However, now in Year 3, and with Kyrie Irving out of the picture, Tatum will have the opportunity to become the Celtics’ face of the future. 

50. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

Last season was a huge one for Turner as he not only added a three-point shot but also led the NBA in blocks per game, averaging 2.7 a contest. 

49. Zach Lavine, Chicago Bulls

On a terrible Bulls team, Zach Lavine showed vast improvement last season with career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and shooting percentage. A full season from Lavine and Lauri Markkanen, mixed in with improvements from Wendell Carter, Jr., could earn the Bulls a back-end playoff spot in a weak Eastern Conference. Lavine also hit a game-winner to beat the 76ers last season.

48. Bojan Bogdanovic, Utah Jazz

After Victor Oladipo got hurt last season, Bogdanovic was Indiana’s best player. Bogdanovic is going to be a huge part of a Utah team with aspirations of making the NBA finals. 

47. Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls

Markkanen showed he is a perennial All-Star during February of last season, when he put up 26.0 PPG and 12.2 RPG during that 10-game stretch. The Timberwolves may regret trading him as part of the first Jimmy Butler trade. 

46. Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptors

While past his prime, Gasol is still an elite interior defender, and that showed when he shut down Embiid and helped to contain Giannis during the 2019 playoffs. 

45. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Lowry’s scoring numbers did drop last season, but a lot of that is due to Kawhi Leonard’s being the center of the offense. With Leonard gone, the Raptors need Lowry and Pascal Siakam to play their best basketball if they want to make another deep playoff run. 

44. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons

For the third time in the last four seasons, Andre Drummond led the NBA in rebounds, averaging 15.6 per game last season. Still, my lasting memory of Drummond is him shushing the 76ers’ crowd after hitting a free throw with his team down 30. Joel Embiid also blatantly flopped to get him ejected from a game last season.

43. Demar Derozan, San Antonio Spurs

Despite hitting just seven threes all of last season, his lowest total since the 2010-11 campaign, Derozan quietly had an exceptional season. The Spurs’ unsexy basketball doesn’t attract much attention, so people often forget about Derozan, but he’s still an elite shot creator. 

42. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

Vucevic had his best season last year, earning his first All-Star appearance. However, he completely disappeared during the playoffs, which hurt the Magic and may have cost himself a max contract.     

41. Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans

After a lost season for the Pelicans, New Orleans will rely on Jrue Holiday to be the veteran on a young team with playoff hopes. Now a shooting guard at this point in his career, Holiday will provide offense from the backcourt alongside Lonzo Ball, a defensive stopper. 

 

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