THERE will be no ranking system that satisfies every NBA fan. Someone will always disagree with a players placement and after viewing ESPN’s most recent Top 100 rank, I have my own complaints. Sometimes it’s tough to gauge how the second half of the top 100 will take shape with injuries, trades and other personnel change often dictating how well some guys perform. Looking at ESPN’s #NBARank for season 2017-18 though, there are some glaring problems.
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Missing From The Top 100
INJURIES have plagued the likes of Zach LaVine and Rudy Gay’s chances of cracking the top 100 this season. There are a few other players who are fringe top 100 contenders that I feel were ‘dogged’ by not being picked over the likes of Greg Monroe and Gorgui Dieng to name a few. Here are a few candidates of those unlucky to not be included.
Marcin Gortat, Jordan Clarkson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kent Bazemore, Nikola Vucevic
Image from foxsports.com
Ranked Too Low
93. James Johnson, Miami Heat
LAST season no one may have rejuvenated their career the way that Johnson did in Miami. After bouncing around the league for years, he found a home at the Heat where he was able to post career-best numbers across the board and help them rebound and defend much better than a season ago. He deserves to be much higher than this and don’t be surprised if another good season pushes Johnson closer to the top 60.
64. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
DON’T even get me started. I am well aware that Melo is past his prime, but ranking him 64th is just flat out disrespectful. There are not 63 players better than him in the NBA and someone deserves to lose their job for this bonehead decision. I just hope he goes on a crusade to prove everyone wrong.
60. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
THE future of the NBA was on full display on the 24th of March in Boston. Say what you will about Booker being ‘hungry’ or ‘selfish’, he still became one of just six players to score 70 in an NBA game on that date. Booker also joined elite company with Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as the only 20-year-olds to score over 20 PPG in a single season. Despite his defensive shortcomings, Booker is top 50 material at worst.
40. Al Horford, Boston Celtics
AL Horford may have the highest basketball IQ of any NBA player today. While his per game numbers don’t scream All-Star his unselfishness sharing the ball (averaging a career-high five assists a game last season) and ability to defend the post one-on-one makes him one of the best big men in the entire league. As a result, he deserves a higher ranking.
25. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
SLIPPING 10 spots from a season ago is a little disrespectful to the new Boston Celtic. There is no doubt that in a one-on-one position he is virtually unguardable and he may very well be the most gifted offensive player in the league. It’s tough to see a scenario where he doesn’t at least match his 25 PPG average from a season ago and it wouldn’t surprise me if he made a run at the scoring title. For that reason alone I have him placed higher than the likes of Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry.
Ranked Too High
99. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
NO disrespect to future HOFer Manu Ginobili, but he is no longer a top 100 player in the NBA. Ginobili posted career-low numbers for minutes (18.7), field goal percentage (39%) and PPG (7.5) a season ago and will return for his 16th season this year. You can’t put a price tag on the leadership and experience he can share with younger players, but gone are the days of Manu’s nightly on-court heroics.
88. Nikola Mirotic, Free Agent
THERE is a reason that Nikola Mirotic remains unsigned as the regular season nears. He seemed like the perfect stretch four ready to slot into the Bulls lineup and give them a ‘Ryan Anderson’ type of player when Chicago drafted him. Instead, Mirotic has struggled to play consistently and as a result is yet to sign a contract for 2017-18. Call me crazy but the 88th highest ranked player shouldn’t be struggling to find a team.
58. Harrison Barnes, Dallas Mavericks
EVEN though Barnes put up a career-high 19.2 points a night last year, the majority of his other stats remained the same. However, just because he scores a lot of points it doesn’t mean that he is a fantastic player, with Barnes struggling to impact the game on defense and offering very little else on offense. He needs to improve in both categories before I’m happy with his ranking.
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38. Jae Crowder, Cleveland Cavaliers
NEWSFLASH, Jae Crowder is not the 38th best player entering this season, no matter what stats or numbers you look at. He has proved to be a great wing defender and solid spot up shooter, but Crowder can’t be placed so high just based on those attributes. His small skill set allows him to excel in those areas, but no offense to Crowder, he should not be ranked ahead of the likes of DeMar DeRozan and Otto Porter Jr.
13. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
HEAR me out. George is a transcendent star in today’s NBA, there’s no denying that. However, pairing up with Russell Westbrook this year, we aren’t sure how they will co-exist and what kind of a hit George’s numbers will take. Because of his defensive versatility, he will be called upon to help roam the perimeter with Andrew Roberson. The win column will be where the most important numbers for the Thunder this season are recorded and in the stacked West, it might be tough for the OKC wing to live up to his 13th best ranking.
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