Brandon Wheeland has compiled his NBA top 100 list of players for the 2017-2018 NBA season. This list was created using a variety of factors and there is no concrete formula. However, this list can be considered both factual and completely accurate.
Players 40-21 feature key role players, established veterans, and future faces of franchises. To the list…
40 – Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City Thunder: Melo was one of the hardest players to rank. He’s a past-his-prime volume scorer who I worry stalls out an offense far more than he helps it. However, the Thunder’s big three has never won a ring and are hungry to make it work. If the Thunder end up with Olympic Carmelo, look out.
39 – Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks: Parker isn’t likely to make his season debut until around February of this year, but I’m confident enough in his talents to still give him a top 40 spot. Hopefully he can prove himself worthy in limited action, or at least stay healthy enough to have the chance to do so.
38 – Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards: If the Wizards could somehow acquire DeMarcus Cousins from New Orleans, I would really love the Wizards. As they stand currently, I think Beal is in the conversation for most underrated players in the league.
37 – C.J. McCollum, Portland Trailblazers: Christian James makes opponents look silly on the court with his ball handling ability, and I’m expecting a continued trend upward in his fifth NBA season. The Blazers still feel like they are one player away.
36 – Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers: Offensively, he’s still pretty nice. On defense, more often than not he will be where he needs to be. I’m not a huge fan of moving him to center and I think he’s going to get exposed there a lot this season.
“We have guys that are smart basketball players.”
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) October 11, 2017
35 – Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: I haven’t always been super high on Middleton, but his run at the tail end of last season after returning from injury has me excited to see what he can accomplish this year.
34 – Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry really loves the Toronto Raptors, and the Toronto Raptors, particularly the fans, really love Kyle Lowry. He was a solid player in Houston and provides a good running mate for DeMar.
33 – Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets: Millsap is a model of consistency and should have a big impact in Denver this season after leaving the Atlanta Hawks. The Nuggets are building around Jokic and signing Millsap will help solidify that foundation as he provides a veteran presence.
32 – Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies: He saw huge improvements last season as well as the edition of a three-point shot. Zach Randolph is gone and Chandler Parsons is probably hurt and I just haven’t read about it yet, so Gasol is going to be really important.
31 – Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: Booker can get hot and absolutely bury you on the scoreboard before you know what happened. The problem is he can let you back in the game almost as fast due to his defense. I expect an improvement this season.
30 – Avery Bradley, Detroit Pistons: A strong season from Bradley could help that team from blowing everything up. I’ve always loved Bradley’s game and think he can play for any team in the NBA and easiliy make them better.
29 – Deandre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers: Jordan’s importance will be highlighted now with the absence of Chris Paul. Losing that vision on the offensive side to help find the easy shots is tough, but Jordan acting as a rebound machine will certainly buy you a few extra possessions.
28 – Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves: Paired with KAT and Butler, I feel like I’m getting the Wiggins that I wanted in Cleveland but never got to see. He hasn’t played quite up to his hype, but his hype was also through the roof coming into the NBA. His deserved attention will soon come around. Expecting a big jump from Wiggins this year.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) October 11, 2017
27 – Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics: Truthfully I’ve never been super high on Hayward. I think he does a lot of things right and that warrants his spot on the list, but I’m never really blown away by anything he does. The positive is that the Celtics’ offense looks like it’s going to be a blast to watch this season, and that could change my opinion on Hayward.
26 – Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers: Embiid just got mega-paid providing he can stay healthy, which will be a big challenge for the big man. If I’m the Sixers, I continue to trust the process and play him sparingly. I’ll take 15-20 minutes of Embiid a night rather than try to push it and always think about what could have been. His ceiling for his career is best player in the NBA. His floor is not making it to December of 2017.
25 – Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz: Gobert can do a little bit of everything for you on the box score. With Gordon Hayward gone, Gobert is without a doubt the Alpha of the roster and I think he’s going to have a strong year.
24 – Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers: They lost a lot at the top, but I feel like the Clippers could end up being a better overall team after their offseason. Blake being the man in LA is intriguing, even if Doc Rivers still has the ability to hold him back with horrible coaching.
23 – Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland Cavaliers: Cleveland may end up holding IT out until January or February while he gets healthy. In the East, they should play it on the safe side. Get in the playoffs and prepare for Boston. That should be an exciting series if somehow, miraculously, the Cavs stay healthy that long.
Isaiah Thomas may never forgive Danny Ainge for trading him. pic.twitter.com/tssYUhGcCw
— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 11, 2017
22 – Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: A lot will be expected of Jokic, but he’s already made it clear he’s not concerned with the expectations of others. He’s a walking double double and Denver’s best player.
21 – DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors: The Raptors are looking at more shots and a faster offense this season, and DeRozan will certainly see the benefits in his stat line.
Check out the rest of the list below:
100-81: Features Rookie Jayson Tatum, vets Dirk and Wade
80-61: Features Big Baller Lonzo Ball, Sixers’ Ben Simmons
60-41: NBA Top 100: 60-41 has Harrison Barnes, Dion Waiters
40-21: Features Carmelo, Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin
20-1: Features Durant, Lebron, Harden & more