SI.com TOP 100 NBA PLAYERS OF 2022

 
Post new topic    LakersGround.net Forum Index -> General Basketball Discussion Reply to topic
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
JUST-MING
Retired Number
Retired Number


Joined: 23 Jun 2005
Posts: 38859

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:36 am    Post subject: SI.com TOP 100 NBA PLAYERS OF 2022

100. Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz

(Previous rank: NR)
    The NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year is coming off a superb year where he averaged 18.4 points while leading the league in bench scoring. Clarkson’s production as a reserve played a big role in the Jazz earning the No. 1 seed in the West last season. He will be a key to Utah's title hopes again this season.
— Wilton Jackson


99. Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles Clippers

(Previous rank: NR)
    Outside of a three-point shot, Zubac checks every box necessary for a modern big. On offense, he's an expert offensive rebounder and a sturdy screener with soft hands as a roll man. On defense, he's smart as a rotating big and he won’t get bullied by the game’s biggest behemoths. Zubac is perhaps the least flashy player on our Top 100 list, but don’t let that detract from his value in Los Angeles.
— Michael Shapiro


98. Larry Nance Jr., Portland Trail Blazers

(Previous rank: NR)
    Sturdy forwards with quick hands, springy knees, shifty feet and the understanding of how to apply those physical traits into any defensive system are highly coveted throughout the NBA. Nance Jr. succeeded on that front with the Cavaliers last season. This season, the Blazers will appreciate him as much as, or more than, his former team did.
— Michael Pina


97. Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings

(Previous rank: NR)
    Haliburton’s rookie season deserved far more love than it received. His shot charts are impressive, even from the tougher areas. He shot well above 40% from the two midrange parts of the floor. The next progression in his game will be to make it to the line a bit more often, something that would make Haliburton—a 40.9% three-point shooter with a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio—even more efficient than he already is.
— Chris Herring


96. Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks

(Previous rank: NR)
    In his third season with the Mavs, Hardaway boasted his highest field goal percentage (.447), two-point percentage (.524) and points per game (16.6) in the 2020-21 campaign. He also notched the second-highest three-point percentage of his career. The Mavs will be looking for more from Hardaway after rewarding him with a four-year, $74 million contract this offseason.
— Wilton Jackson


95. Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic

(Previous rank: NR)
    A torn left ACL and meniscus in August 2020 caused Isaac to miss last season, but when available, he’s one of the league’s most disruptive defenders—able to alter shots, guard multiple positions and offer schematic versatility at 6' 11". The Magic hope a healthy Isaac will continue evolving as a scorer, with the size to shoot over defenders and skill to operate in different spots. His progress remains a key factor in Orlando’s rebuild.
— Jeremy Woo


94. Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves

(Previous rank: NR)
    Beasley leapt to 19.6 points per game in his fifth NBA season last year, showcasing an impressive scoring knack in Minnesota’s young core. He buried 39.9% of threes as his attempts nearly doubled compared to 2019-20, and he continues to be a dynamic athlete with a quick first step. Beasley’s explosion as a driver is critical in Minnesota.
— Michael Shapiro


93. Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs

(Previous rank: NR)
    White can do a little bit of everything and is dependable across the board, but drawing charges is the only skill he really excels at. Still, floor-raising production is always welcome, especially when it comes off a season when the subject’s three-point rate more than doubled from what it was two years ago. For now, White can make San Antonio’s rebuild less bumpy than it’d otherwise be, though his all-around trustworthy play could be even better used in a more competitive situation.
— Michael Pina


92. Norman Powell, Portland Trail Blazers

(Previous rank: NR)
    After developing into an integral part of Toronto's rotation, Powell was dealt to Portland mid-season last March. The 27-year-old versatile wing averaged 17 points in a career-high 34.4 minutes per game in 27 appearances with the Trail Blazers. How Portland's backcourt looks in upcoming seasons is certainly among the biggest questions in the NBA, but considering Powell inked a five-year, $90 million deal this offseason, he would figure to play a sizable role in their rotation.
— Ben Pickman


91. Evan Fournier, New York Knicks

(Previous rank: NR)
    Fournier averaged 17.1 points on 41.3% shooting for three last season in stints with the Magic and Celtics. Despite his offensive prowess, the 28-year-old guard was hunted by the Nets on defense in the postseason. Now with the Knicks, Fournier will look to have his slashing ability mesh with Kemba Walker, R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle and Derrick Rose and help New York reach its second straight postseason for the first time since the early 2010s.
— Ben Pickman


90. Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns

(Previous rank: NR)
    Every NBA team needs a player like Crowder—a veteran leader and defensive anchor who handles the small hustle plays that don’t always show up in the stat sheet to help teams win. Heading into his second season with the Suns, Crowder still has a lot to offer to a young team looking to get back to the Finals.
— Wilton Jackson


89. Derrick Rose, New York Knicks

(Previous rank: NR)
    Rose has reinvented himself as one of the league’s top reserves, providing a guiding hand and crafty scoring for a surprising Knicks team. While no longer lightning-quick, he’s one of the NBA’s top midrange scorers with his deep bag of runners and skillful finishing moves having endured. The 32-year-old Rose is also a legit catch-and-shoot threat, making a career-best 38% from three last season. Injuries scuttled his prime, but his resurgence as an elite role player has been remarkable.
— Jeremy Woo


88. Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors

(Previous rank: NR)
    Wiggins will never live up to the expectations of the No. 1 pick, but he continued to grow as an effective two-way wing with Golden State in 2020-21. Last season marked the most engaged defensive season of Wiggins’s career, and he paired his defensive excellence with a solid 48% from the field and 38% from three. While he isn’t exactly a perfect fit for the Warriors’ pristine ball movement, he’s become less of a black hole in the Bay Area, too.
— Michael Shapiro


87. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

(Previous year rank: 64)
    Jackson Jr. played in just 11 games for the Grizzlies last season after rehabbing a torn meniscus in his left knee and appeared to never get his shooting legs under him. He connected on a career-low 28.3% of his three-point looks, down from 39.4% the year before. Still, when healthy, Jackson Jr. remains one of the league’s most promising young bigs and an ideal pick-and-roll partner with Ja Morant. He’s shown flashes of star potential throughout his career, and at just 22 years old, he seems due for a breakout year sooner than later.
— Ben Pickman


86. Jonas Valančiūnas, New Orleans Pelicans

(Previous year rank: 97)
    The Pelicans big man might be the most punishing rebound force in the NBA. He’s coming off a career year in Memphis, where he made defenses pay for sliding over to stop Ja Morant by immediately tipping home the acrobatic guard’s short-range misses. The fit next to Williamson—good or bad—will go a long way toward determining how New Orleans does this season.
— Chris Herring


85. Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat

(Previous year rank: 99)
    Robinson’s mark from three dipped to 40.8% last season from a 44.6% mark in 2019-20, but the undrafted forward remains a key cog in Miami’s attack. Robinson is a technician as he curls into wing triples or fades into the corner. He’s becoming increasingly crafty when crowded by defenders, creating space with a single hard dribble. Robinson is a perfect complement to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo’s work inside the arc.
— Michael Shapiro


84. Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies

(Previous rank: NR)
    You’d be hard pressed to find someone who battles harder on defense than Brooks. For all the dividends that pays, though, it also has its drawbacks. Brooks logged five fouls or more a league-high 21 times last season. (The next closest guard or forward in the NBA did that just 13 times.) The next step in his progression is to have fewer wild swings from one game to the next. He’s too talented to be this inconsistent still.
— Chris Herring


83. Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers

(Previous rank: NR)
    It will be interesting to see how Allen, one of the game’s premier two-way centers, fits into Cleveland’s crowded frontcourt rotation this season. But Allen will presumably play a big role for the Cavaliers, considering they doled out a five-year, $100 million deal to him this offseason. Last year, Allen averaged career-highs in points (12.8 per game) and rebounds (10 per game) after coming over from the Nets and was among the league-leaders in field goal percentage and blocks as well.
— Ben Pickman


82. Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks

(Previous year rank: 72)
    By now, Milwaukee knows precisely what to expect out of Lopez each year: 12 points, about five boards, and a block or two per game, on a three-point percentage that ranges from the low-to-mid 30s. Between that and what he does as the anchor in Milwaukee’s drop coverage, it’s the stuff of champions. So was his incredible 33-point showing versus Atlanta in Game 5 of the conference finals, without an injured Giannis.
— Chris Herring


81. Seth Curry, Philadelphia 76ers

(Previous rank: NR)
    Curry is widely regarded for his three-point shooting prowess, but he also continues to assert himself as a solid playmaker for the Sixers. Last year, his 2.7 assists per game were tied for the highest mark in his career. While Ben Simmons’s future with Philadelphia has created some questions as to what the franchise’s backcourt will look like long-term, Curry would appear to be a seamless fit next to whoever else is on the court with him.
— Ben Pickman


80. Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers

(Previous year rank: 66)
    Portland’s forward sports arguably the best weak-side instincts in basketball as he enters his ninth NBA season. Covington is the king of sliding over in the lane and swatting shots as a help defender, and that skill translates on the perimeter as Covington racks up steals. He’s forced at least 2.5 turnovers per game since 2016-17, including an astounding 3.8 in a short stint in Houston in 2019-20. Add in a 37.9% mark from three last year, and Covington stands as one of the league’s top 3-and-D players.
— Michael Shapiro


79. Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings

(Previous year rank: 84)
    Hield sports one elite skill, something he’s used to punish defenses time and again in his first five NBA seasons. The Oklahoma product has canned 1,155 threes through five years, a mark passed by only Steph Curry, James Harden and Damian Lillard. Hield has never shot worse than 39.1% from three in a season. As Sacramento looks to snap a 15-year playoff drought in 2021-22, Hield’s marksmanship could swing its season.
— Michael Shapiro


78. Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets

(Previous rank: NR)
    Two years ago Rozier was an inefficient, cat-quick combo guard whose absolute pie-in-the-sky, best-case scenario was landing on someone’s Sixth Man of the Year ballot. He has exceeded those expectations and has a brand-new $97 million extension to show for it. If the three-point shooting continues (he’s made 39.6% of them on a very high volume in Charlotte), and he’s able to wreak as much havoc in the paint as he did last year, there won’t be 10 guards harder to corral on the perimeter than Rozier this season.
— Michael Pina


77. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

(Previous rank: NR)
    The 2020 No. 1 pick faced a predictably steep learning curve upon arrival but proved to be a quick learner. Boasting elite-level athletic gifts, Edwards averaged 23.8 points on 56.7% true shooting after the All-Star break (up from 14.9 points and 46.6% TS). If that newfound efficiency level holds constant, Edwards will be on the fast track as one of the league’s most prolific scorers. He has work to do defensively, where his attention span and effort wax and wane, in spite of quick feet and strong hands that could eventually make him a standout. Edwards could rocket up this list as his growth continues.
— Jeremy Woo


76. Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls

(Previous rank: NR)
    There’s always been some dissonance between Lonzo-as-concept and the role that best suits him, as he joins his third team in five seasons. Ball has made massive strides as a jump shooter, making a career-best 37.8% of threes on more than eight attempts per game last season. While still streaky, that threat allows him to play an unorthodox combo role: He’s limited playing off the dribble, but more dangerous functioning alongside ball-dominant creators. The Bulls are gambling that Ball will help unlock their new-look roster, where he’ll support Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, playing directly to his strengths.
— Jeremy Woo


75. Spencer Dinwiddie, Washington Wizards

(Previous year rank: 88)
    Dinwiddie logged just three games in 2020-21, but if healthy, Bradley Beal’s new co-star could mount a sneaky All-Star campaign this season. Dinwiddie is a mature point guard who excels at snaking around defenses in the pick-and-roll, patiently probing defenses. He can spend stretches with a touch of tunnel vision as a ball-handler, eschewing outside options as he works his way into a mid-range jumper. Yet for a Washington team aching for shot creation, Dinwiddie should add a much-needed boost.
— Michael Shapiro


74. Bojan Bogdanovic, Utah Jazz

(Previous year rank: 56)
    In May of 2020, season-ending surgery on Bogdanovic’s right wrist knocked the veteran forward out for Utah’s bubble run, proving a major loss for the Jazz. Last season, Bogdanovic returned and further proved his worth, serving as both a reliable shooter and more-than-capable on-ball creator. Toward the end of the regular season when Donovan Mitchell went down with an ankle injury, Bogdanovic thrived, averaging 22.8 points over the regular season’s final 16 games.
— Ben Pickman


73. Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs

(Previous year rank: 100)
    Murray’s first full season running Gregg Popovich’s offense was a modest success, full of enough subtle steps in the right direction that make it O.K. to be cautiously optimistic about his three-point shot—which has yet to tick up quite like his long twos and free throws have. Even without ideal range on his jumper, there still aren’t very many floor generals in the entire league who impact every aspect of the game quite like Murray does.
— Michael Pina


​​72. Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets

(Previous year rank: 86)
    One of the game’s premier long-range shooters, Harris led the NBA in three-point percentage for the second time in three seasons in 2021, converting on 47.5% of his attempts. Much of his success, though, was overshadowed by his struggles against the Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which saw him shoot just 24.2% from three in the series’ final five games. That cold streak aside, Harris is a marksman and poised for another stellar season alongside the Nets’ Big Three.
— Ben Pickman


71. Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers

(Previous rank: NR)
    Cleveland’s point guard is one of the NBA’s most polarizing players. A peek at Sexton’s counting stats suggests a star in the making, with the Alabama product averaging 24.3 points per game last season on 37.1 percent from three. Yet Sexton shot just 40.6% on all pull-up attempts last year, a mark that dipped to 31.3% from beyond the arc. Sexton is a strong scorer with impressive athletic ability. But ultimately, Sexton’s NBA destiny may be as a quality second option rather than a true leading man.
— Michael Shapiro


70. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

(Previous year rank: 60)
    Turner has an argument as the game’s premier shot blocker, leading all players in 2020-21 with 3.4 blocks per game. Offensively, he’s solid both as a spacer and a roll threat. Turner averaged a career-high 4.4 threes per game last season, and he’s shot a comfortable 35.4% from beyond the arc since his second season in 2016-17. There’s a high floor to Turner’s game, a bankable nightly box score.
— Michael Shapiro


69. Kemba Walker, New York Knicks

(Previous year rank: 31)
    While Walker played in only 43 games last season and has not played in a full 82-game season since the 2018-19 campaign, the Knicks could surely use his experience on offense as well as his ability to serve as a threat from the perimeter. Walker has averaged 19 points, more than four assists and three or more made three-pointers per game in each of his last five seasons.
— Wilton Jackson


68. Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz

(Previous year rank: 78)
    The Australian swingman produces far more than his 12.1 points and 4.7 assists per game game would suggest, serving as Utah’s secondary ball-handler, spot-up shooter and, prior to last season, resident iron man. Ingles shot a blistering 45.1 percent from three last season. He’s a nightmare for defenses off the bounce despite his underwhelming build, pinging passes to open shooters with ease off each hand.
— Michael Shapiro


67. Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings

(Previous year rank: 95)
    His scoring numbers are down some. And he flies far beneath the radar playing in Sacramento. But make no mistake: Barnes’s well-rounded game has only improved over the years. The 29-year-old is still a solid defender, and his effective field goal rate and true shooting percentage this past year were both career-bests. With his low usage, Barnes would help any contender, which is why his name constantly comes up in trade rumors.
— Chris Herring


66. Christian Wood, Houston Rockets

(Previous rank: NR)
    Wood averaged 21 points per game last season on a crisp 51.4% from the field and 37.4% from three. He is decisive and controlled off the bounce, able to dance past opposing centers who attempt to stay with him on the perimeter. Sag too far, and he can bury a triple from atop the key. Wood still isn’t an impact defender and he’ll never be confused with a facilitating forward. Yet the offensive talent is too great to ignore.
— Michael Shapiro


65. Jusuf Nurkić, Portland Trail Blazers

(Previous year rank: 44)
    The brilliant version of Nurkić we saw in the 2020 bubble wasn’t quite what the Blazers got last season, and a fractured wrist limited him to just 37 games. When fully healthy, Nurkić remains one of the better traditional centers in the league: He can physically dominate space with his heft, he’s a creative passer and dangerous screener, and he moves his feet well defensively for his size. He still doesn’t shoot threes. But at his best, he’s one of the more useful bigs around.
— Jeremy Woo


64. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks

(Previous year rank: 76)
    Bogdanovic is a swiss-army-knife piece who can fill any hole in Atlanta’s attack. He shot 45.5% from three after March 1, and he’s a crafty and physical attacker off the bounce when teams (rightfully) attempt to sprint him off the line. Bogdanovic placed a scare into the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, tallying 68 points in his final three games on 15-35 from three. The Hawks don’t necessarily have to be the Trae Young Show to win in the postseason. A hot stretch from his backcourt partner could very well swing a series next spring.
— Michael Shapiro


63. Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets

(Previous year rank: 61)
    Gordon found nirvana as a role player for the Nuggets. After his tenure with the Magic revealed his limitations as a leading man, Gordon was thriving playing off Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray. His athleticism lends itself well to random offense and strong perimeter defense. As long as Gordon isn’t being asked to do too much, he can provide serious value to any contender in the league.
— Rohan Nadkarni


62. Caris LeVert, Indiana Pacers

(Previous year rank: 62)
    Even if he’s slightly miscast as a true No. 1 option, LeVert is a talented player who can reliably create on offense. LeVert’s cancer scare disrupted what was a successful season for him on the court, where he averaged over 20 points for the first time in his career. Now 27 years old, LeVert should be firmly in the prime of his career.
— Rohan Nadkarni


61. D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves

(Previous year rank: 46)
    Russell has come down a bit from the high of his 2019 All-Star season with the Nets, particularly after injuries zapped much of his effectiveness in his most recent campaign with the Wolves. Russell’s partnership with Karl-Anthony Towns is very promising, but defense and efficiency remain question marks for him moving forward.
— Rohan Nadkarni


60. Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

(Previous year rank: 68 )
    Smart is often recognized as the Celtics’ heart and soul, a feisty, protean guard who shares the psychology of an outside linebacker. If the work is dirty, Smart won’t mind sticking his face in it. Now entering his prime with an outside shot that remains up and down from year to year, Smart’s physical tenacity (and relatively unnoticed playmaking chops) still endears him to teammates and coaches, even when he’s a bit too overzealous with the jumper.
— Michael Pina


59. OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors

(Previous year rank: 73)
    Anunoby is more than the person who claimed to introduce Serge Ibaka to scarves. He is the dream modern-day wing. He is rangy, can defend multiple positions, and he’s a career 37.5% shooter from three. With Kyle Lowry out of Toronto, Anunoby may be asked to take on a bigger role for the Raptors this season. So far, he’s delivered whenever given the opportunity.
— Rohan Nadkarni


58. Kristaps Porziņģis, Dallas Mavericks

(Previous year rank: 40)
    It’s almost too easy to overreact to Porziņģis’s postseason retreat. Porziņģis still averaged nearly 20 and 10 during the regular season and has enough size, length and touch to positively impact both sides of the ball. Even if he isn’t the ideal costar Dallas thought it was getting when it acquired him, he’s still one of the NBA’s most singular talents. And at 26, there’s still plenty of time for him to make another leap.
— Michael Pina


57. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

(Previous rank: NR)
    We know what a healthy Klay can do: Play elite defense, and rain napalm from three while barely taking a dribble. We don’t know what Klay can do after returning from two major injuries, a torn ACL suffered during the 2019 Finals, and a torn Achilles suffered during the ’20 offseason. Combine the uncertainty of his health with the uncertainty of his return date, and we’re hedging our bet on Thompson until he returns to an NBA floor.
— Rohan Nadkarni


56. De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks

(Previous rank: NR)
    Living up to his billing as a high-floor draft pick, the 23-year-old Hunter has rapidly emerged as a valuable supporting piece in Atlanta, capable of defending all over the perimeter and knocking down jumpers on the other end. He appeared in just 23 games last year due to a nagging knee issue, but looked like the Hawks’ second-best player preinjury, showing off vastly improved shot-creation skills. A proper, full-season jump in production could be on the table.
— Jeremy Woo


55. Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons

(Previous year rank: 79)
    Detroit made a big bet last year by paying Grant—who’d been a solid defender and fourth option in Denver—more like a No. 1 option. The gamble paid off, with Grant nearly doubling his scoring average to 22.3 per game. His efficiency took a hit with him having to create far more offense. But top pick Cade Cunningham should make life a bit easier for him.
— Chris Herring


54. John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

(Previous year rank: 59)
    Collins is one of just a few big men who live above the rim, confidently drill above-the-break threes and are willing to harness their athletic gifts in the trenches, setting screens and crashing the boards. As an all-around offensive exclamation point, an All-Star berth may be in Collins’s future, particularly if the Hawks continue on the track they found late last year.
— Michael Pina


53. Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns

(Previous rank: NR)
    If Merriam-Webster had a definition of 3 and D, a picture of Bridges—perhaps the league’s best role player—would appear next to it. His never-ending arms help make him an elite wing stopper. He’s drastically improved from deep, hitting 44.1% of his tries this past season. And his 76.3% mark from the restricted area ranked tenth in NBA among those with 100 attempts.
— Chris Herring


52. Michael Porter Jr, Denver Nuggets

(Previous rank: NR)
    MPJ is a nitrous oxide boost to the Nuggets’ well-tuned offensive engine. He’s capable of providing scoring in spades, and has an argument to be the best bucket getter on a team with the reigning MVP and Jamal Murray. While Porter Jr.’s defense and shot selection still need to catch up with his running mates, he would likely be a 20-point per night scorer on most teams.
— Rohan Nadkarni


51. LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

(Previous rank: NR)
    Ball’s play cut through the noise in short order, earning Rookie of the Year honors and positioning him as the centerpiece of Charlotte’s rebuild. He shot better than expected, and his gifts as a passer are obvious. The question now is to what level Ball can rise moving forward, with efficiency and consistency not yet hallmarks of his game (though his poor late-season shooting was hampered by a wrist injury). If he can lead the Hornets into the playoffs, that should speak for itself. But at age 20, we shouldn’t necessarily expect that from him, nor should it dampen the enthusiasm around his rising star.
— Jeremy Woo


50. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers

(Previous rank: 52)
    While Harris may have never delivered on the promise he flashed when he was briefly averaging 20 points per game with the Clippers, he remains a versatile forward who can create his own shot. Even if Harris won’t take a team too far as a No. 1 option, he would contribute more than just a 3-and-D guy in any starting lineup.
— Rohan Nadkarni


49. Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets

(Previous rank: 22)
    Murray's ranking here reflects the concerns surrounding his availability and recovery after he tore his ACL on April 12, but leaves the door open for a return before season’s end. He’s one of the league’s most dangerous scoring guards, particularly working in tandem with Nikola Jokić, and this rank will be far too conservative if he makes a full in-season recovery (for what it’s worth, Murray rated 22nd on last year’s Top 100). We’ll hope for that, but we can’t count on it just yet.
— Jeremy Woo


48. Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks

(Previous rank: 69)
    The Hawks center successfully reprised the gig he performed in Houston alongside James Harden, serving as a devastating lob finisher and a defensive backbone. His contributions on D—particularly without stud wing defender De’Andre Hunter—were widely overlooked. But Capela held opponents more than 10 percentage points beneath their averages when shooting around the rim.
— Chris Herring


47. Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers

(Previous rank: 54)
    Brogdon would make just about any team better. He’s someone who shouldn’t be your best player, necessarily. But he can create his own shot if needed, set the table for others and knock down an open look. He can play either guard spot and is a solid defender. Not quite as good as Jrue Holiday, who’s a more natural floor general and a superior hound on defense. Yet Brogdon is a taller, better-shooting, diet version of him. Who wouldn’t want that?
— Chris Herring


46. Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors

(Previous rank: 57)
    With Kyle Lowry in Miami, VanVleet will now be the primary ballhandler in Toronto. It’s a role he can handle. But it’ll be tougher with Pascal Siakam potentially missing the start of the season. One question facing the 6' 1" guard: Can he finish better at the cup? He drove almost 15 times per game last year, but shot just 38%
—the worst in the NBA among those who drove 10 times per game[/i][/list]—when he did. [/i][/list]— Chris Herring


45. Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets

(Previous rank: 53)
    Finally free of having to wonder where he sat in the pecking order, Hayward looked fully comfortable again last season, putting up borderline All-Star numbers for Charlotte alongside LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier. He suffered a foot sprain toward the end of the season that hindered the Hornets’ chances of winning a playoff spot. But when he’s healthy, Hayward still has undeniable playmaking ability.
— Chris Herring


44. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

(Previous rank: 30)
    His recent struggles aside, Siakam is a tantalizing wing player who should just be entering the prime of his career. He’s now averaged over 20 points in back-to-back seasons, and his size makes him the perfect piece for a modern NBA defense. Given a relatively normal season to play in, Siakam should thrive as he was before COVID-19 threw the league into chaos.
— Rohan Nadkarni


43. Mike Conley, Utah Jazz

(Previous rank: 50)
    After his first season with the Jazz, we wondered if Conley was in full decline. After watching him return to All-Star form and guide Utah to the top of the West, it was clear the 33-year-old guard had more in the tank, upping his shooting splits across the board (including a career-best 41% from three) and remaining one of the league’s most reliable floor leaders. It’s hard to win big at the Jazz’s plodding pace without making the most of each possession; Conley still takes care of the ball as well as anyone in the league.
— Jeremy Woo


42. DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

(Previous rank: 39)
    Perhaps the most impactful free agent who flew under the radar this offseason, the star wing heads to Chicago, a club that suddenly has an abundance of high-level ballhandling. Too many will focus on DeRozan’s refusal to take threes, without recognizing that in 2021 he assisted, got to the line and connected from midrange at a higher rate than he ever has. He’s a much better player than when he was in Toronto.
— Chris Herring


41. Julius Randle, New York Knicks

(Previous rank: NR)
    Randle was left off last season’s Top 100, so consider this a mea culpa after an undeniably impressive, career-defining campaign. He led the league in minutes played, made second-team All-NBA, got the Knicks back to the postseason and racked up double-doubles as the focal point of the team. For all Randle’s flaws—he’s not a shot-blocker, relies far too much on his strong hand, and was wholly erased by the Hawks in the playoffs—he’s come a long way. If he can replicate his shooting splits, another All-Star appearance is within reach.
— Jeremy Woo


40. Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat

(Previous rank: 28)
    Intentional or not, the Toronto favorite saved his best for last as a Raptor, dropping a 37-piece in his final performance for the Canadian club against the Lakers. Whether the 35-year-old has more like that left in his tank remains to be seen. He consistently plays hard, and led the NBA in charges taken this past year. If he can remain impactful on both ends in Miami, the Heat should be solidly in contention for the East.
— Chris Herring


39. Nikola Vučević, Chicago Bulls

(Previous rank: 43)
    This is the complete list of players who averaged at least 23 points and 11 rebounds per game last season, while also shooting above 38% from three on at least five attempts from deep a night: Nikola Vučević. Vooch is an underrated offensive big who should look even better playing off Zach Lavine for a full year.
— Rohan Nadkarni


38. CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

(Previous rank: 35)
    Before he broke his foot in mid-January, McCollum was hoisting a ridiculous 11 threes per game, up from the 7.3 attempts he took the previous season. One of the game’s most potent midrange assassins had expanded his range in ways that would’ve surely resulted in an All-Star appearance, had he been able to stay healthy.
— Michael Pina


37. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns

(Previous rank: 74)
    Ayton’s all-around evolution, particularly on the defensive side, earned him appropriate acclaim during the Suns’ Finals run. By sacrificing post touches and using his sheer size to influence the run of play, Ayton became more than simply the most physically gifted 7-footer in the sport. He’s one of the game’s best rebounders, a much-improved screener, and too mobile to scheme off the floor in the playoffs: in essence, why he was the No. 1 pick.
— Jeremy Woo


36. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers

(Previous rank: 55)
    Sabonis put up a career year in 2021, averaging bests in points (20.3) and assists (6.7) while also collecting a neat 12 rebounds a contest. Don’t let his slight frame fool you—Sabonis is happy to go blow for blow on the block, and he’s also an adept pick-and-roll partner for any guard.
— Rohan Nadkarni


35. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

(Previous rank: 34)
    Green is pretty easily the most limited scorer in this upper tier of players—yes, even more than Ben Simmons. But assuming Klay Thompson can get back and look like his old self, Green will have more space to work with as one of the league’s best passers. And he continues to be one of the league’s smartest and most valuable defenders, despite his height and lack of explosive athleticism.
— Chris Herring


34. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

(Previous rank: 25)
    Westbrook is always one of the hardest players to rank in an exercise like this. Seemingly through brute force, Russ is going to put up numbers. If there was ever a chance for Westbrook to own the narrative about his style of play, it will be this season playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
— Rohan Nadkarni


33. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

(Previous rank: 36)
    Two highly effective years in New Orleans have proven Ingram to be one of the more efficient volume shooters in the league, capable of creating his shot against anyone, and with a borderline unguardable jumper at his size. Still just 24, he’ll have to expand his game in other ways to get his team into the playoffs: he’s made progress as a playmaker, but hasn’t fully bought in on defense, where his length could be much more impactful. Regardless, Ingram is in the upper echelon of jumper-centric wing scorers, with room left to grow in all facets.
— Jeremy Woo


32. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

(Previous rank: 37)
    A player who, much like Trae Young and Devin Booker, will see his stock rise among the average fan the instant his team starts winning. At 32% in 2020–21, the blisteringly fast Fox still lacks a consistent three-point jumper. But even without one, he can get to the rim—where he shot 76.1%, per Basketball-Reference—whenever he wants.
— Chris Herring


31. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

(Previous rank: 21)
    Simmons is an All-NBA caliber defender who has yet to play for a team tailored to his strengths. Both he and the Sixers deserve blame for how his tenure in Philly went south. Only 25 years old, there isn’t only hope for Simmons moving forward. There’s an expectation he should thrive once he’s finally playing within the proper context. Until he proves himself somewhere else however, Simmons’s playoff failures will hang over him.
— Rohan Nadkarni


https://www.si.com/nba/2021/09/20/ranking-best-nba-players-top-100-2022
https://www.si.com/nba/2021/09/21/ranking-best-nba-players-top-100-2022-russell-westbrook-ben-simmons
_________________
“God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”

— Vanessa Bryant
https://youtu.be/SX3IZULkWx8


Last edited by JUST-MING on Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:46 am; edited 5 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Peppe89
Starting Rotation
Starting Rotation


Joined: 24 Jun 2018
Posts: 216
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:30 pm    Post subject:

First find a casino that still has free drinks for people at tables, pick a games that doesn't have odds stupidly in favor of the house, just a little in favor of the house. Bet and play small amounts very conservatively, collect as many drink and food coupons as you can from passing staff, if you end up with a very good hand change to a slightly more agressive bet not vastly pinupcasinoindir.com. Typically you end up coming out a bit ahead on drinks food and entertainment, very rarely lose more than you would have spent getting the same amount of food and drinks. Sadly the days of free/very cheap drinks are basically done. There's still a couple but according to old timers they were a dying need 15 years ago when. I was 21 and gambling semi regularly because it was close, now I know of two precovid and haven't checked since things opened back up.
_________________
Lakers Defense - ♿♿♿


Last edited by Peppe89 on Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
JUST-MING
Retired Number
Retired Number


Joined: 23 Jun 2005
Posts: 38859

PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:46 am    Post subject:

30. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

(Previous rank: 63)
    Gilgeous-Alexander played in only 35 games in 2021 but shined bright enough to be No. 30 on this list. His offensive profile would make an analytics nerd blush: Over 50% from the field, over 40% from three, and over six free-throw attempts a game. Only entering his fourth season, if SGA builds on his 2021 numbers the Thunder should seriously consider speeding up their rebuild.
— Rohan Nadkarni


29. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

(Previous rank: 75)
    The 26-year-old All-Star, coming off a season in which he set new career-highs in virtually every statistical category, now enters a campaign he’ll be flanked by more veteran talent than he’s ever had. His counting statistics are likely to come down some. But his efficiency—already fantastic a year ago—should soar to new heights with opposing defenses stretched thinner because Chicago’s bolstered talent.
— Chris Herring


28. Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks

(Previous rank: 26)
    Holiday is the very best at what he does, earning widespread acclaim from his peers as the league’s top perimeter defender, with the strength and fearlessness to trail taller wings and the instincts to hang with smaller guards. Also a capable secondary playmaker who can run offense in a pinch, he shot a career-best 39.2% from three in the regular season and proved highly effective as a third option. He turned out to be the missing piece in Milwaukee’s title run. While not quite a star in the glitzy sense, Holiday remains one of the most reliable, universally effective performers in the league.
— Jeremy Woo


27. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

(Previous rank: 38)
    There’s no way to know if Brown could handle the on-court responsibility typically shared by a number one option on a team that enters each season earnestly trying to win a championship. Since entering the league he’s never been one, and so long as Jayson Tatum is one of his teammates, it’s unlikely he’ll ever have to carry that type of weight. But for the purpose of this exercise, it’s not too difficult after watching the 24-year-old’s fifth and greatest season to convince yourself that he could do it, if pressed.

    Brown rode one of the NBA’s most confident jump shots to his first All-Star Game last year. He also took strides as a playmaker, which is critical for a Celtics team that can’t afford his all-around ascendence to cease anytime over the next few years.
— Michael Pina


26. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

(Previous rank: 27)
    If it took a Milwaukee championship for you to realize how dangerous a shot-maker Middleton has become, you weren’t watching closely enough. Working as the Bucks’s secondary option, he’s quietly been on the cusp of a vaunted 50-40-90 season for two years running, while supplying a pinch of secondary playmaking and demonstrable ability to hit big shots. His perimeter defense is merely sufficient at this point in his career. But his immaculate efficiency and bankable play can’t be undersold, particularly on a contending team.
— Jeremy Woo


25. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

(Previous rank: 41)
    Morant continues to ascend as one of the league’s genuinely breathtaking young talents, with a striking blend of speed, vertical explosion, and visionary passing that allow him to pressure defenses even without a reliable three-point shot. His 47-point performance in a playoff loss to Utah was demonstrably special. Moreover, Morant’s relentless mindset is tough to replicate. The total package here is unlike any other guard in the league, and it feels like a foregone conclusion the 22-year-old continues to improve. And if he adds a jumper, the calculus changes in a scary way.
— Jeremy Woo


24. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

(Previous rank: 23)
    There are nights when Mitchell is simply unstoppable offensively, particularly when he has his pull-up three working. The argument against placing him higher is how neatly he slots into a Jazz team that allows him to focus on offense and not his defensive shortcomings. Still, with the respect he commands from defenses, Mitchell should be in the top 25 of this list for years to come.
— Rohan Nadkarni


23. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

(Previous rank: 18)
    The past 18 months have been a living nightmare for Towns, who spent last summer getting in the best shape of his life while still grieving the death of his mother. On the court, Towns remains one of the sport’s most revolutionary figures: a wildly skilled seven-footer whose team’s offense is formidable every single year regardless of who’s around him. He can do pretty much anything on that end: pass, shoot, go off the bounce, post up, engineer pick-and-rolls, curl off screens, pop for threes, run fastbreaks...the list is endless.

    Defense is where he’ll be judged until winning happens, but in a vacuum it’s worth comparing the entirety of Towns’ impact with someone like the reigning MVP Nikola Jokić. Just as a thought exercise: if they swapped teams and situations how would each be appreciated? It’s all worth considering when trying to remember how great this 25-year-old is heading into his seventh season.
— Michael Pina


22. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

(Previous rank: 20)
    No ceiling. That’s how Erik Spoelstra likes to describe Adebayo, who is arguably the most versatile and effective defensive big man in the NBA. Adebayo’s absurd defensive skills alone make him top-25 worthy. When you add in his growing offensive repertoire as both an initiator and scorer, he becomes someone that every single coach in the league covets. If Bam develops into a more confident and consistent scorer, he will take another leap up this list.
— Rohan Nadkarni


21. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

(Previous rank: 16)
    Gobert remains the only player in the NBA capable of anchoring a playoff-caliber defense no matter who else is on the floor alongside him. His greatness as a rim protector and space-eater is why Utah’s scheme works. As we’ve seen, this value conversation is more difficult in the postseason, where Gobert’s free throw issues, lack of mobility in space, and limited offensive skills become much more glaring in a seven-game series. But there’s something to be said for the Jazz’s sustained success, and of course, his role in it. For as long as Gobert can prolong his physical prime, he’ll remain a difference-maker.
— Jeremy Woo


20. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

(Previous rank: 32)
    If there’s one player on this list who’s powerful enough to make its compilers look foolish for an entire calendar year it’s Williamson, a wonderfully anomalous wrecking ball who proved in his second season that an ideal supporting cast isn’t necessary for him to demolish layers of NBA defense that are designed to restrict access from the aptly named restricted area. Zion thundered into it at will, attempting 13.4 shots while no other player even cracked double digits (Giannis Antetokounmpo was at 9.0). On top of that, Williamson’s initial dalliance with the point guard position was virtual reality. Problematic defense aside, if/when he’s surrounded by actual shooters it’s unclear what every other team can do, except pray.
— Michael Pina


19. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

(Previous rank: 19)
    Yes, his availability is often a question. And yes, he’s generally going to be his team’s third option. But it’s not often you see a 50/40/90 season from a scorer who also has Michelangelo-level skill as a ballhandler. Irving averaged 26.9 points and six assists on 50.6% shooting, 40.2% from three and 92.2% from the line. If not for his stepping on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s foot in the conference semifinals, the Nets might very well be NBA champions. And if he and one of Kevin Durant and James Harden stay healthy, Brooklyn will be expected to claim that crown this time around.
— Chris Herring


18. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns

(Previous rank: 14)
    Chris Paul didn’t just revive the Suns and quarterback a Finals run at age 36: he also put together one of the most efficient seasons of his career, posting his best field goal percentage (49.9%) since 2009, shooting nearly 40% from three and a league-best 93% from the line. He’s staved off any serious physical decline thus with irrepressible acuity and competitive fire. He certainly doesn’t look ready to enter a late-career role player phase anytime soon. While younger stars, including running mate Devin Booker, have started to surpass him on our list, Paul’s all-around impact can still be every bit as massive on a given night. He is, after all, one of the best point guards ever.
— Jeremy Woo


17. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

(Previous rank: 29)
    Young’s leap—from No. 29 last year—is about what you’d expect for someone like the diminutive guard, who already had one of the best offensive games in the league, having ranked among the NBA’s top five in scoring and assist average in 2020. With the league cracking down on foul-seeking efforts, Young will have to pick his spots a bit more. Still, he’ll remain one of the hardest scorers for defenders to stop.
— Chris Herring


16. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

(Previous rank: 24)
    Booker’s supernova scoring talent finally coincided with winning in 2021, as he helped lead the Suns to the NBA Finals. Booker is a three-level scorer who makes up for his slightly less deadly three-point game with a killer bucket-getting prowess inside the arc. He’s adept at using his body to create space in the lane before burying you with off-balance shots. And when his pull-up is working, he can easily go for 40, as he did back-to-back times in the Finals. Individual defense will always be a slight question mark for Booker, though he did prove during Phoenix’s run to the championship round he can absolutely contribute to a great team defensive effort. Book definitely received a healthy bump on this list because of the team success he finally experienced for really the first time in his career. His next challenge will be to prove the Suns can sustain that level moving forward.
— Rohan Nadkarni


15. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

(Previous rank: 15)
    Beal is an offensive assassin who has averaged over 30 points in back-to-back seasons despite playing for a Wizards roster that is essentially daring opposing defenses to overload their coverages to slow him down. Beal entered the league as a three-point specialist and has since morphed into somebody with an avenue to score from anywhere on the floor. Beal shot 65% from the restricted area last season while also connecting on 47.4% of his midrange attempts. His three-point prowess has opened up the entire halfcourt for his offensive repertoire, and Beal can take advantage of defenses overeager to take away his outside shot. There’s a reason Beal pops up every season in trade rumors for teams trying to get over the hump as contenders: He’s a star in waiting, and the only thing holding him back from competing for a championship is his own loyalty to Washington.
— Rohan Nadkarni


14. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

(Previous rank: 11)
    Butler is a blunt force who hammers opposing defenses over the head with effectiveness. The Heat’s ornery stare makes up for his unreliable jumper by consistently fighting his way to the free-throw stripe. Butler averaged eight freebies a night in 2021 after 9.1 attempts in 2020. He’s also excelled as a playmaker since joining Miami two seasons ago. Jimmy posted a career-best 7.1 assists per game last year, and he’s become one of the best table setters in the league. Whether he is operating out of the post or the pick-and-roll, Butler is fully committed to the Heat’s egalitarian offensive system. He leverages the attention defenses give to stop him from getting to the rim to spray the ball to shooters or run handoffs with quick-moving wings.

    And defensively, Butler is still one of the best on the perimeter. He’s good for two steals a game and can credibly slow down any wing in the league on any given possession. Butler is an on-ball menace who rarely freelances lest he mess up a team effort. Ultimately, though Butler’s inconsistent shot prevents him from being placed higher on the Top 100, he’s still one of the strongest two-way forces in the world.
— Rohan Nadkarni


13. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

(Previous rank: 17)
    Tatum has spent the past couple years flaunting his scoring genius: The mesmerizing footwork that’ll make an art appraiser’s eyelashes flutter, mixed with shoulder feints, head fakes and gorgeous dribble combinations that were regularly unleashed on wing defenders.

    The frustration tends to go both ways, though, meaning Tatum really needs to streamline his arsenal. (Less driver, more three wood.) The crowd-pleasing aesthetics have been established, and now it’s time he upped the efficiency with a less glamorous shot diet. That means more trips to the free-throw line and fewer unnecessarily difficult mid-range jumpers (one out of every five of Tatum’s shots last year was a pull-up two and he only made 35.1%, which was worse than Westbrook and Antetokounmpo).

    If he can do all that, a bid at the scoring title and maybe even some MVP chatter won’t be far behind.
— Michael Pina


12. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

(Previous rank: 13)
    After receiving major criticism for his 2020 playoff performance, Paul Geroge delivered one of the finest seasons of his career in 2021. After putting up a 23/7/5 line during the regular season, he improved to a 27/10/5 line during the playoffs, nearly leading the Clippers to the Finals without Kawhi Leonard by his side for the second half of the postseason run. George is one of the best volume three-point shooters in the league who can also run a spread pick-and roll attack and find shots for others. When Leonard went down and Ty Lue put more on George’s plate, he delivered.

    In spite of the times he’s come up short, George is exactly the kind of player every team wants when the stakes are highest. He can shoot, he can get his way to the line, he can play make for others, and he’s a realistic option to defend the best offensive players in the world on the most important possessions. There are no glaring weaknesses in George’s game, only the nights when he’s not quite as great as the other No. 1 options on this list above him, the rest of whom approach one-man offense territory. George may never be the best player on a championship team. If he’s your No. 2 however, that means your team is definitely stacked.
— Rohan Nadkarni


11. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

(Previous rank: 12)
    There’s a reason Lillard has become central to the league’s grating, want-away-star discourse: he’s one of a scant few backcourt players truly dominant enough to swing the league’s balance of power. His elite production has been steady; Dame Time can feel inevitable. There’s a lot of discussion about whether the Trail Blazers will ever contend, but not enough credence given to the fact Portland hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2012-13—Lillard’s rookie year. His upward trajectory has been more or less constant ever since. At this point, we know pretty much exactly what we’ll see from him, if not what he’ll decide about his future. Don’t take the deep threes and compelling moments for granted.
— Jeremy Woo


10. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

(Previous rank: 3)
    If 100% healthy heading into this season instead of nursing a torn ACL, Kawhi Leonard would’ve likely finished top three on this list. Before he churned through another robotically superb stretch of playoff basketball (during which he led the entire field with a 30.6 PER and, with the Clippers’ backs against the wall, turned out an iconic 45-point showpiece in Game 6 against the Mavericks), Leonard was his typically efficient self, barely missing entry into the 50/40/90 club by a hair.

    When healthy, his general adaptability is such a convenience. Leonard neatly fits in any lineup, playing any position, filling any role. It’d be wise to give him the ball and let him dictate every offensive possession, but he doesn’t need it in his hands to impact the game positively. He rebounds. He defends (extraordinarily well, still). He reigns over every square inch his wingspan allows him to with as much ferocity as anyone in the sport.

    Alas, Leonard may not play a minute this season, which complicates his placement on a list like this. But so long as he’s included, it doesn’t make much sense to drop anyone who soared as high as Leonard recently did out of the top 10.
— Michael Pina


9. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

(Previous rank: 7)
    Davis fulfilled his potential in the bubble in 2020 with a dominant run that resulted in his first championship. He averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, with a silly 66.5 true shooting percentage that, when combined with his versatility on defense, made him as valuable as any player on the planet. (The Lakers outscored opponents by 11.6 points per 100 possessions with Davis on the floor and were outscored by 8.9 points per 100 possessions when he sat, the widest differential on the team.)

    If he followed that stretch up with an entire season’s worth of similar production, Davis would in all likelihood rank No. 1 on this list. Instead, he had the most disappointing year of his career, with a statistical chasm unseen since his rookie year. Injuries played a role, as did an unprecedentedly brief offseason.

    His mid-range shot was inconsistent, albeit relied upon more than any other time since he was drafted. He took fewer shots at the rim and didn’t aggressively seek trips to the free throw line as frequently as someone so physically imposing probably should. The thing is: A down Davis year is still better than 99% of his contemporaries’ best. At only 28 years old, there’s no reason why he won’t bounce back. Generational talents tend not to lick their wounds for very long.
— Michael Pina


8. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

(Previous rank: 10)
    When he is at his best, there is nobody in the league who can match up with Embiid. His combination of size, strength, power and touch is the antidote to the spacey style of modern basketball. Embiid is a dominant low force presence in a league continuously less familiar with those types of players. And in addition to his prowess on the block, last season Embiid turned in a stellar performance as a midrange shooter. The increase in efficiency from the midrange plus excising lazy threes led to the best scoring average and field-goal percentage of Embiid’s career.

    On the other end of the floor, Embiid’s presence in the paint all but guarantees a top-flight defense. Even if he’s not the type to switch onto guards, Embiid is still more than capable of sticking with smaller lineups—particularly when he’s in great shape. If there’s anything holding Embiid back from winning more individual accolades—and a higher spot on this list—it’s his health. Injuries are a persistent problem for Embiid, even if he was willing to battle through a torn meniscus during the Sixers’ most recent playoff run.

    On any given night, Embiid can be the best basketball player in the world. He’s a unique two-way force, and there’s still room for more once he finally plays on a roster optimized for him.
— Rohan Nadkarni


7. James Harden, Brooklyn Nets

(Previous rank: 4)
    Harden, when accounting for injuries and level of responsibility, is perhaps the most consistent volume scorer of his era. Even in 2021, when Harden averaged his fewest points since 2012, he remained one of the most feared scorers in the world. There is nuance to the way Harden collects his points despite his never ending quest for threes, layups and free throws. He’s deeply knowledgeable at using his body and leveraging his physicality to create space. Harden’s herky jerky movements are calculated, all part of a delicate dance to put his defender off balance. Harden’s footwork is so precise the moment he senses vulnerability he can pull into his shooting motion.

    Harden’s methods are undeniably effective. And in Brooklyn, he showed he didn’t have to rely on his scoring prowess to be effective. Harden earnestly took on the role of point guard for the Nets, and he delivered by racking up nearly 11 assists a night. Harden was a willing passer and table setter for a team that could let him isolate more comfortably than any one before it.

    If there’s a hole in Harden’s game, it’s on the defensive end, where he’s never been confused for a stopper. Still, his shortcomings there are a small price to pay for what else he brings to the table. Harden may never get a chance to prove he’s the proverbial “best guy on a championship team.” But if you pair him with anybody else in the top 20, you instantly have a contender.
— Rohan Nadkarni


6. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks

(Previous rank: 9)
    It stands to reason the 22-year-old Dončić may one day inherit the top spot on this list, as he continues on an all-time great trajectory. He’s prolific in every facet as a full-time offensive engine, with the size and pace to create mismatches in lieu of elite quickness, preternatural scoring know-how, and ingenious passing and processing speed. It’s not a bad bet that he may eventually average a triple-double … and he’s only been in the league for three seasons.

    The Mavericks are still working to build a championship-caliber core around Dončić, and there are some areas of individual improvement to watch for in the interim. Despite taking a lot of difficult shots, he upped his three-point clip to a respectable 35% last season, which should trend up over time. He’s capable of better than 73% from the foul line, and he gets there plenty. Upping his efficiency along those margins, coupled with any reduction in turnovers (which are a byproduct of how often he has the ball) will take him to the stratosphere, statistically speaking. It seems foregone Dončić will eventually win an MVP regardless. The fact that nothing said here is exaggeration tells the story. He’s going to be here a long time.
— Jeremy Woo


5. Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets

(Previous rank: 8)
    For all the talk of the unicorn era in the NBA that never quite was, what exactly are you supposed to call Jokić? Who was the last MVP who simply loved to pass and scored almost reluctantly all while flummoxing great players with his distinct lack of athleticism? Jokić is singular, and watching him play is one of the most fulfilling experiences for fans of fun basketball.

    Jokić is a threat to get a triple double every night. He’s got brilliant touch as a shooter, allowing him to pop for threes on pick-and-rolls or pull up for little midrange Js near the elbow. Jokić doesn’t bulldoze people in the post. Instead, he prefers to attack with a flurry of moves before finding the perfect angle on the backboard while uncorking a shot from a comically awkward position. Of course, he’s a much better passer, keeping the Nuggets’ offense humming and constantly throwing players into open spots on the floor. Jokić’s passing isn’t only aesthetically pleasing or some kind of nerd cred test; it’s genuinely a boon to Denver’s attack, allowing them to pick up buckets most other teams can’t.

    For years now, Jokić has been one of the most impactful offensive beings in the NBA. His defense will never be elite, though a decent enough one can be built around him. What matters more is that Jokić’s rare set of skills not only continue to raise his own game to new heights, it raises those around him as well.
— Rohan Nadkarni


4. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

(Previous rank: 5)
    No matter what happens next, Curry is going down as the most prolific shooter ever. He’s on pace to pass Ray Allen for the top spot on the career threes leaderboard, and sits a hair above Steve Nash for the best free throw percentage of all time. And he just put together the highest scoring average of his career, posting 32 points per game at age 32, while playing through injury. There’s essentially no assailing what Curry has accomplished, and his ubiquitous style of play has aged gracefully. Nobody else bends defenses as blatantly, and whether or not the ball happens to be in his hands is not the problem. The three-point revolution already happened, and the copycats are still coming—a direct product of Golden State’s championships—but no guard will ever do exactly what Curry does, or replicate the style with which he does it.

    The Warriors did fall short in the play-in round, and it’s now been two seasons since they made the playoffs. Provided Curry can maintain optimal health, it’s hard to think that streak will last. His effortless range, clever finishes and discerning IQ are as sharp as ever, and there’s a strong argument for him as the most individually skilled player in the whole league. He’ll require additional defensive insulation as he enters his mid-30s. But Curry will always be the guy you want shooting the ball when it counts, and looks poised to extend his run atop the league’s guard hierarchy for as long as his body can handle it.
— Jeremy Woo


3. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

(Previous rank: 1)
    Someday LeBron, the most important, imposing and intelligent player of his (and possibly every other) generation, won’t crack this list’s top three. Even after a massively disappointing first-round dismissal (the first of his career) in which despite averaging 23.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 8.0 assists the 36-year-old actually looked mortal, that day isn’t this one.

    James doesn’t have the same athletic advantage he once did. And even though he’s a step slower, with the physical authority to control every square inch of the floor finally starting to fade, he’s still LeBron. Nobody anticipates live action more succinctly. Nobody analyzes whatever’s happening in their peripheral vision quicker, or makes a fast, ever complicated game look so elementary whether the ball is in their hands or not, on offense or the other end.

    Bet against him at your own peril. If and when healthy (a more significant caveat every year) James is still a paragon of basketball expertise.
— Michael Pina


2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

(Previous rank: 2)
    Antetokounmpo, a reigning NBA champion and winner of two out of the last three league MVPs, presents the strongest case for No. 1 outside of Durant.

    Giannis isn’t the most fluid scorer. But who else can give you nearly 30 a night—and 50 in a Finals clincher—while setting up teammates a half dozen times per game, while also scorching opponents in transition and playing some of the best, most versatile help defense in the league at 7 feet tall? No one but Giannis does that. And he’s done it while staying relatively healthy for a superstar.

    His ability to quickly bounce back from one of the uglier knee hyperextensions you’ll ever see changed the course of basketball history, and earned the Bucks a title. That shouldn’t be taken for granted.
— Chris Herring


1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

(Previous rank: 6)
    After he spent the entire 2019-20 season recovering from a torn Achilles, Durant’s peak ability was called into question for the first time in his career. At 32 years old, would the four-time scoring champion bounce back and look exactly like he did when we saw him last—which is to ask, could he again be one of the world’s two or three best players?

    Durant’s regular season was disrupted by a strained left hamstring and left thigh contusion, then overshadowed by a blockbuster trade for James Harden. But in the 35 games he did play, KD looked like the same guy, with a statistical profile that either matched or exceeded most of his career averages.

    Then the playoffs happened. In them, Durant submitted the most impressive series of his career, averaging a hyper-efficient 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists against the Bucks, eventual world champs that had zero answer for his excellence. It was pantheon worthy, and made debate over if we’ve ever seen a more ruthless iteration completely justifiable.

    When the dust settled, his place at the top became a universal truth. Anyone who wants to lobby for another candidate can just ask Giannis Antetokounmpo. Standing on the court after he just eliminated Durant’s Nets in their own gym, the two-time MVP called his opponent “the best player in the world.” Who are we to argue?
— Michael Pina


https://www.si.com/nba/2021/09/22/ranking-best-nba-players-top-100-2022-damian-lillard-paul-george-jayson-tatum
https://www.si.com/nba/2021/09/23/ranking-best-nba-players-top-100-2022-kevin-durant-giannis-antetokounmpo-lebron-james
_________________
“God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”

— Vanessa Bryant
https://youtu.be/SX3IZULkWx8
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Aeneas Hunter
Retired Number
Retired Number


Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 25499

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 8:51 am    Post subject:

Holy copyright infringement, Batman.
_________________
Internet Argument Resolved
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Chronicle
Retired Number
Retired Number


Joined: 21 Jul 2012
Posts: 31384
Location: Manhattan

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 4:43 pm    Post subject:

all the former lakers
_________________
Kobe
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Black20Ice
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 1523

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:45 am    Post subject:

Thanks for this JUST-MING. I can't really argue with the placement on this list. The only change I would make is ranking Anthony-Towns lower than Donovan Mitchell and Ja Morant but all in all, I agree.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
lakers0505
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 23 Jun 2005
Posts: 10672

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:31 pm    Post subject:

As much as I love KD, this seems overthinking #1 spot.

Didn't writer see the NBA playoffs, greek freak put his stamp on best player in the world.

fiddy in a close out game. Has every major award over the last 3 years and has no durability issues (not that its KD's fault he's had some breakdowns).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
audioaxes
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 12435

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:03 pm    Post subject:

as much as I despise Harden I do not see Jokic or Luca being considered a better overall player than him. I think he is clearly in the same God level tier as Lebron-Giannis-Durant-Curry. Jokic and Luka a tier lower for now.
_________________
(bleep) Kawhi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
slavavov
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 03 Oct 2003
Posts: 6299
Location: Santa Monica

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:07 pm    Post subject:

audioaxes wrote:
as much as I despise Harden I do not see Jokic or Luca being considered a better overall player than him. I think he is clearly in the same God level tier as Lebron-Giannis-Durant-Curry. Jokic and Luka a tier lower for now.

Luka seems to be a better player in big games and big moments than Harden.

As great as Harden is, he has the reputation of a choker, at least up to this point of his career.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
jonnybravo
Retired Number
Retired Number


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 28248

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:27 am    Post subject:

slavavov wrote:
audioaxes wrote:
as much as I despise Harden I do not see Jokic or Luca being considered a better overall player than him. I think he is clearly in the same God level tier as Lebron-Giannis-Durant-Curry. Jokic and Luka a tier lower for now.

Luka seems to be a better player in big games and big moments than Harden.

As great as Harden is, he has the reputation of a choker, at least up to this point of his career.


That and he's the greatest flopper Western Civilization has ever known.
_________________
KOBE
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
danzag
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 28 Apr 2013
Posts: 19448
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:50 am    Post subject:

Crazy not having Giannis as #1 after winning a championship
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
venturalakersfan
Retired Number
Retired Number


Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 138753
Location: The Gold Coast

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:44 am    Post subject:

danzag wrote:
Crazy not having Giannis as #1 after winning a championship


The Bucks won a championship, Giannis was one of the players on the team. Separating players from teams is vital in lists like these.
_________________
If you could choose between dating a supermodel or going fishing, would it be saltwater or freshwater?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic    LakersGround.net Forum Index -> General Basketball Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1
Jump to:  

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum






Graphics by uberzev
© 1995-2018 LakersGround.net. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Terms of Use.
LakersGround is an unofficial news source serving the fan community since 1995.
We are in no way associated with the Los Angeles Lakers or the National Basketball Association.


Powered by phpBB