If Butler’s injury issues resurface, though, he will be headed for a tumble in next year’s rankings. The result? In the West finals, Capela’s unique combination of length, agility and activity made him surprisingly resilient against the Warriors. Encouraging as it was for DeRozan to venture beyond the arc in the regular season, he bailed on the notion of even attempting a three-pointer in the playoffs—after missing 13 straight. His steal rate was the highest among bigs precisely because he understands how to play the space between show and recover. There is never a question of whether he’s game to compete, ready for the moment, or adequately prepared. Teams can play Barnes at the three (as seems to be his preference) or the four without much compromise. Jan 4, 2019 7:53 AM ET . Rankings by Ben Golliver. An incredible number of plays will always be in his reach. His overall efficiency, however, was well below the league average and his juiced-up numbers felt somewhat like a product of Charlotte’s lack of surrounding talent. Kyrie Irving might be a better and more exciting ball-handler than Lillard, but he’s had consistent health problems and likely wouldn’t fare much better when surrounded by lineups with two or three holes. Defensively, he can switch seamlessly through multiple positions and handle lead assignments thanks to his quickness and length. Or take DeAndre Jordan’s place with the Mavericks? Injuries and injury risks are an inevitable component of this judgment. And when his scoring game stalls, DeRozan—who doesn’t really cut and doesn’t trust his own three-point shooting—has no real way to contribute. At this point, Ibaka is essentially a replacement-level starter whose primary offensive value derives from his three-point shooting because his once-impressive finishing has tapered off. Olynyk (11.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.7 APG) is about as far from the driving prototype as NBA players come; he isn’t especially quick, or explosive, or creative with the ball. Covington (12.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.7 SPG) warps around the court like a podcast played at double speed, he relishes contact like a middle linebacker, and he shadows scorers feint-for-feint like a professional dancer. After 17 games, he is averaging 30.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in 34.0 minutes per game. Although under-qualified to be an alpha scorer due to his limited playmaking for others, Harris would add value to any team hoping to modernize its offense. Holiday is a universal complement. His is the bargain a team can live with. Harris (18.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.4 APG) has played for four teams in seven seasons, but he’s developed into far more than a journeyman as he’s entered his prime. To understand how Nowitzki clings to this list past his 40th birthday, one need only watch how defenses regard him. Perhaps RAPTOR is not the advanced stat you prefer. He’ll be great for the Celtics because he’d be great pretty much anywhere. In those minutes, Charlotte outscored their opponents by 3.5 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com—a comparable margin to that of the 55-27 Celtics. He won’t be able to bully his way to the hoop against NBA-caliber defenders like he did in college and high school? The 26-year-old scoring guard displayed numerous improvements following a trade from Oklahoma City to Indiana: he shot the three at a career-high rate, he worked in a more reliable off-the-dribble jumper, he attacked the rim with greater purpose, and he committed to becoming a disruptive defender on a nightly basis. He might re-assert himself as the best player in the league or succumb, as everyone eventually does, to … Every year, Beal’s handle gets a little tighter. And it’s all because Westbrook, for better or worse, only knows one way to play. — BG. We have tools and resources that can help you use sports data. While Murray is generally unselfish and a willing passer, he’s not adept enough in the two-man game to function as a lead distributor. He also shot 73 percent at the rim -- equal to Giannis Antetokounmpo and better than LeBron James -- despite a lack of elite burst or length. His methods work—to a point. The real payoff for that strength comes on offense, where the Thunder grabbed 31.6% of their own misses with Adams on the floor last season, per NBA.com. By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. He can sky for posters, but he shrinks on the glass. No matter the approach, Favors is the kind of big you can trust to execute it. Relative to the alternatives, Aminu’s streaky jumper is the kind of attempt a defense can stomach. The promising and polarizing rookie has a chance to swing Atlanta's future. He’ll get there. Andre Roberson is similarly unidirectional, albeit on the opposite track; the only time a defense even pays attention to Roberson’s movement is when he’s headed toward the rim. Still, the Pelicans’ young wing may have made the single greatest shooting improvement in NBA history, which helped clarify several important long-term questions for the team in a pivotal contract year for Ingram. He has a natural aptitude for rotation, which involves reading the floor and timing out plays as they progress. If healthy, Cousins would have placed in the top 25, but SI’s Top 100 is a one-year exercise, and this ranking assumes Cousins will miss roughly half the season, play reduced minutes upon his return, and perform at roughly 60% of his capabilities due to his age and the serious nature of his injury. At this point, Westbrook’s massive offensive role comes packaged with major compromises in consistency and discipline on the other end. — BG. — RM. His game has drawn endless comparisons to Dwyane Wade and his marketability is straight from the Damian Lillard playbook, but the recent star that Mitchell (20.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.7 APG) most embodied down the stretch was a young Derrick Rose. By record and point differential, the 2017-18 Knicks were a playoff bubble team with the Latvian big man on the court. Before last season, Oladipo (23.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.3 APG) barely needed a trophy case: the 2013 No. During two-plus seasons in Denver, the Bosnian 7-footer couldn’t finish, couldn’t protect the ball, couldn’t handle big minutes, couldn’t stay healthy, couldn’t serve as a functional backline defender, and couldn’t get along with his coach. He is a more explosive offensive player with career-highs of 25.6 points and 5.5 assists per game in 2018-19. It’s no surprise that he’s caught the eye of so many teams around the league, all of which would be thrilled to have a stake in Brown’s future. His game is deeply agreeable. A full and fair review of the Rockets’ 2018 postseason would note that they breezed through the Timberwolves and Jazz as Harden, who had three 40-point games in the postseason, and Chris Paul took turns wreaking havoc. Embiid (22.9 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.2 APG) is a sponge. Cutting off his access to the basket is easier said than done; even last season’s Rockets, who switched as capably as any team in the league, couldn’t entirely deny Gobert’s rolls, cuts, and put-backs. Davis' exit from New Orleans was a mess, so the focus understandably shifted away from hoops to trade speculation. Development is rarely linear. Not so for centers, who are asked to make split-second decisions and cover tons of ground with no safety net. He was one of the most important players in the entire league last season, and this ranking reflects that. Taken together, these burgeoning concerns beg the question: Is Wiggins, the Ironman, also a Tin Man? Ranking the NBA's top 100 players is a thankless task steeped in self-loathing and instant regret. In the past year, Harris (17.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.9 APG) proved that he can not only produce within an offense but give it structure. Dončić went from promising young player and fringe All Star to MVP candidate and undisputed centerpiece of the most efficient regular-season offense in NBA history.
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