The NBA offseason is coming to a close, which means it’s time to post a Top 100 NBA players list, a snapshot of the league’s landscape heading into next season.
After ranking players by position over the last six weeks, there were clear positives and negatives with regard to my previous method. By using a formula generated from the inclusion of objective data, the method itself became so objective that preconceived notions were almost entirely eliminated. While that sounds good on face value, it gave players bumps they didn’t deserve and penalized players unfairly. Tyreke Evans was the 7th ranked shooting guard. DeAndre Jordan was the 38th ranked center. Those two deserved to be far closer to each other than the numbers indicated. Still, there were proper placements as well. Khris Middleton and Otto Porter were top 5 small forwards, as they should be given changes in position to stars like LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Top 50 players of 2017-18 by position
Since going through that exercise, I decided to tweak my methodology. 354 total players qualified for my top position lists. I decided to use the same methodology to pair that list down to around 150 players. In order to do that, I ranked the 354 players based on eight different categories:
- Point creation
- Assist creation
- Total production
- Net Rating impact
- Advanced Metrics
- Minute load
I went from 354 players down to 148 qualifying players with the formula, and then re-ranked those 148 players myself, using the results of the formula as a reference point. Here’s how it turned out:
- Trevor Ariza
- OG Anunoby
- Nicolas Batum
- Reggie Bullock
- Justise Winslow
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
- Harrison Barnes
- Jordan Bell
- Trey Lyles
- Carmelo Anthony
And now, the list:
100. Spencer Dinwiddie - Brooklyn Nets
Dinwiddie is the best point guard in Brooklyn right now but are his numbers - 11th in assist score, 52nd in metrics score - sustainable for another season?
99. Taurean Prince - Atlanta Hawks
14 points per game, 2.5 assists per game, and a 38.5 3-point percentage are highly encouraging for a wing. Expect Prince to expand his game next season.
98. Al-Farouq Aminu - Portland Trail Blazers
Aminu’s value is entirely tied to defense. His offensive game is closer to Andre Roberson than a prototypical 3 & D forward.
97. John Collins - Atlanta Hawks
Incredibly productive and efficient as a rookie. 80th in production, 39th in efficiency. Like Prince, his role should expand next season.
96. Domantas Sabonis - Indiana Pacers
Sabonis broke out as a primary member of Indiana’s bench last year. He was an efficient scorer in the playoffs as well.
95. Kent Bazemore - Atlanta Hawks
Kent Bazemore is the prototypical 3&D bench wing for a contender, providing efficiency and production even when team’s focused in on him. Unfortunately, he’s on a team racing back to the lottery.
94. Kyle Anderson - Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies stole Kyle Anderson from the Spurs this offseason. Anderson will be their starting small forward, slide to power forward in small ball lineups, and provide a little bit of everything.
93. Dejounte Murray - San Antonio Spurs
It wouldn’t surprise me if Murray appeared much higher next season. He was a big reason why San Antonio’s defense remained in the top five in defensive rating despite the absence of Kawhi Leonard.
92. Enes Kanter - New York Knicks
Kanter’s efficiency and production as an inside scorer and rebounder make him a good player to help a bad team go from 30 to 40 wins. His defensive shortcomings probably limit a team from moving up from 40 to 50 wins.
91. Danny Green - Toronto Raptors
Green is still a solid team defender but his shooting has fallen off in recent years and he doesn’t do anything else to justify a higher spot.
90. Nikola Vucevic - Orlando Magic
Vucevic’s advanced numbers stand out in Orlando as he’s better than the situation he finds himself in. Much like Kanter, his role in the league seems to be helping a bad team be less bad.
89. Andre Iguodala - Golden State Warriors
Iguodala is still one of the best bench players in the NBA but his efficiency, playing time, and individual defense during the season have continued to drop.
88. Terry Rozier - Boston Celtics
Rozier proved during the playoffs that he deserves to be on this list in some capacity. He has his issues but his metrics score ranked 81st among all qualified players.
87. Kyle Korver - Cleveland Cavaliers
Korver was the third best player on the Cavs last season behind LeBron James and Kevin Love. His presence on the bench helped the offense remain afloat and his shooting kept the Cavaliers alive in the postseason.
86. Andrew Wiggins - Minnesota Timberwolves
Like him or hate him, Wiggins would start on the wing for about 15 teams today. His skill set provides hope that there’s more to his game than he’s shown thus far, and his HEAVY minute load and age give him time to prove himself.
85. Lonzo Ball - Los Angeles Lakers
Ball was arguably the best player on the Lakers last season with quality marks as a facilitator and defender. Playing with LeBron James will elevate his game. If he improves his jumper, he should be in the top 50 next year.
84. Fred VanVleet - Toronto Raptors
VanVleet was the best bench point guard in the NBA last season and the Raptors were statistically better with VanVleet running the bench unit. That holds merit here.
83. Evan Fournier - Orlando Magic
Fournier was the only outside creator on the Magic last season. On a playoff contender, he’s probably the fourth best player/scorer. On the Magic, he’s often stuck as option 1A next to Aaron Gordon.
82. Marcus Smart - Boston Celtics
Surprisingly, Smart ranks 41st in the NBA in team impact score. His defense contributes to winning and while he’s a terrible outside shooter, he gets hot at the right time and usually makes good decisions with the ball in his hands.
81. Serge Ibaka - Toronto Raptors
Ibaka isn’t the player he once was and I think Pascal Siakam will be coming for his spot in the starting lineup very soon. Still, he’s good enough on defense and as a scorer to warrant this placement for now.
80. James Johnson - Miami Heat
Johnson’s versatility allows him to oscillate between starting and coming off of the bench. He rated above average in each category and his “production” ranked 42nd in the NBA.
79. Andre Roberson - Oklahoma City Thunder
So much of this ranking comes down to Roberson’s health after he injured his patellar tendon last January. When he’s healthy, he’s the best perimeter defender in the NBA.
78. Jeff Teague - Minnesota Timberwolves
Teague was an important member of the Timberwolves last year as an above average facilitator for Towns and Butler. He was average everywhere else.
77. Hassan Whiteside - Miami Heat
Whiteside wasn’t even the best center on Miami’s roster by the end of the season. As talented as he can be on both ends, he’s a black hole on offense which lead to a low team impact score.
76. Thaddeus Young - Indiana Pacers
Young was solid last season. He was one of the core members of Indiana’s defense and he served as the third or fourth scorer on most nights.
75. Jonas Valanciunas - Toronto Raptors
Valanciunas received the ninth best efficiency score in the entire NBA, sandwiched between Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s imperfect and a dinosaur defensively but that scoring has value.
74. Taj Gibson - Minnesota Timberwolves
Speaking of dinosaurs, Gibson was once thought to be a dying breed as a traditional power forward. He’s revitalized his role next to a modern center in Karl-Anthony Towns. Gibson held things together defensively for Minnesota, even though their team defense was bad overall.
73. Kelly Olynyk - Miami Heat
Olynyk became Miami’s go-to option at center last year because the team played much better when he was on the floor. His defense will always be subpar but he spaced the floor, passed the ball, and jolted Miami’s offense into action.
72. Will Barton - Denver Nuggets
Will the Thrill was 17th in the NBA in total minutes last year while scoring much more efficiently than people realize. He’s also productive as a rebounder and as a passer.
71. Dwight Howard - Washington Wizards
Howard has made four straight teams worse. However, outside of Steve Nash in his last NBA season, he hasn’t played with a point guard passer that hits the roll man quite like John Wall (including James Harden). Let’s see if Howard’s an upgrade over Marcin Gortat.
70. Darren Collison - Indiana Pacers
His efficiency - 66th best in my ranking - helps everyone around him, especially Victor Oladipo.
69. Brandon Ingram - Los Angeles Lakers
He was one of just seven wing players to average 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game last season. A jump is likely coming.
68. Aaron Gordon - Orlando Magic
Gordon got a sizable contract from the Magic this offseason and while he was productive as a scorer, his team impact left a lot to be desired.
67. Myles Turner - Indiana Pacers
Turner was hyped to be Indiana’s second star before last season. He’s still young, but expectations might have lowered a bit to ‘just remain a solid starter.’
66. Derrick Favors - Utah Jazz
Favors held down the fort while Rudy Gobert was injured. Even though he wasn’t perfect, he had the 15th best defense score in the NBA.
65. Ricky Rubio - Utah Jazz
Rubio turned his player profile around and became more than just a passer. Will he maintain his outside shooting touch or was last year a fluke?
64. Julius Randle - New Orleans Pelicans
Randle came in at 5th on the statistical power forward rankings. He has his shortcomings but there’s a lot to like about his scoring production and efficiency.
63. DeAndre Jordan - Los Angeles Clippers
Jordan lost a lot defensively last season. How much of that can be attributed to not playing with Chris Paul?
62. Dario Saric - Philadelphia 76ers
Saric was solid as a complementary option to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. His role should increase this year after the departure of Ersan Ilyasova.
61. J.J. Redick - Philadelphia 76ers
Redick was also a solid complementary piece to Simmons and Embiid. High efficiency, point production off-ball, and team impact in an elite Sixers starting unit places him here.
60. Eric Gordon - Houston Rockets
Gordon’s scoring and efficiency in a high volume bench role contributed to an excellent performance for the Rockets. He was their 4th most valuable player last season.
59. Tyreke Evans - Memphis Grizzlies
Speaking of high volume bench roles, Evans’ scoring was even better than Gordon’s. He wasn’t as impactful to his team winning as Gordon but he did more with the ball.
58. Jusuf Nurkic - Portland Trail Blazers
Nurkic remains a solid defensive anchor. His post play, however, leaves a lot to be desired.
57. Nikola Mirotic - New Orleans Pelicans
Mirotic exposed Nurkic in the playoffs last year. His spacing and mobility proved to be more valuable than Nurkic’s physicality and rim protection.
56. Tobias Harris - Los Angeles Clippers
Harris is unheralded as a scorer but he’s pretty awesome at creating shots for himself and others on high minute volume.
55. Josh Richardson - Miami Heat
Richardson played heavy minutes in Miami and was one of the best defensive wings in the NBA. Watch for him to jump this year.
54. Jamal Murray - Denver Nuggets
Murray made a massive leap following his rookie season thanks to improved efficiency and team impact. Another leap of that size and he will become a borderline All-Star, even in the West.
53. Joe Ingles - Utah Jazz
Most stats don’t do Ingles justice, but one does: he was the fifth best three-point shooter in the NBA last season while providing above average defense.
52. Jaylen Brown - Boston Celtics
Brown is insulated by a great support system but even when Boston’s stars were off the floor, Brown’s impact and efficiency remained steady.
51. Eric Bledsoe - Milwaukee Bucks
Most remember Bledsoe for a poor performance against Terry Rozier in the playoffs, but Bledsoe is one of the better two-way point guards in the NBA.
Did you agree with my Nuggets takes? What about the rest of this section of the list? Comment below with thoughts and questions on the list, or find me on Twitter (@NBABlackburn) to continue the banter.
Players ranked 50-1 will be released tomorrow at the same time.
Which Nuggets player outside the top 100 has the best chance to join the top 100 after this coming season?
This poll is closed
Michael Porter Jr.
Other (comment below)