Top 100 Players to Finish the Season 50-26

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To the surprise of no one, the NBA is trying very hard to finish it’s season. Players and owners alike have a watchful eye on dropping revenue, and will do their damndest to mitigate the financial losses that COVID-19 has subjected to their sector. Naturally, there’s a lot left to figure out before anything pops off and based on testing, personnel, quarantine and the possible complications of anything going sideways, it’s going to be a very large amount of work. However, the NBA seems determined to get to the finish line – so I’ve decided to rank the top 100 players to finish the season.

I’ve familiarized myself with every player on this list by watching games, film, and doing stat and play-type research to try and round out any blindspots. If you disagree with any of the rankings that’s all well and good, and you can even say I’m dumb if you so choose. It’s hard to rank 100 players, and I just hope the write-ups are accurate to the player, entertaining, and worthwhile. Thanks for reading.

Before we begin:

  • If a player hasn’t played prior to the season’s suspension, they are not considered for the list. Ex. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, John Wall.
  • This list is made with the assumption that the teams would finish the 82 game season. That isn’t a likely outcome, but the list was made with that in mind. 
  • If a player has an existing injury that is expected to keep them out going forward, they are not considered for the list. Ex. Kyrie Irving, Clint Capela. 
  • There is an aspect of momentum to these rankings. If a player was coming on particularly strong at the end of the season (Christian Wood, Malik Beasley) their finish is rated higher than their start. 
  • I have guest blurbs on a few players from writers I admire and their names will appear next to their blurbs. 
  • Thank you to resources that make these things much easier: Bball IndexBasketball-ReferenceNBA.com/stats, and Cleaning the Glass

You can read the previous instalments here and here.

 

John Collins – Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta’s double-double machine has stacked a 40-percent three-point stroke on-top of his already elite rim-running. John Collins incorporates some of the most destructive and powerful finishes at the rim league wide into his game, and through continued growth he’s become a marvel to watch on the offensive end. Next to the curly-haired phenom Trae Young, Collins has reached new heights of efficiency – a 66-percent true shooting mark, and 77-percent at the rim. He’s top-3 in possessions used as a roll-man, and miles ahead in efficiency of anyone else in a top-15 that includes the likes of Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Nikola Jokic. The framework of his offensive attack is clean-cut and easy to work with. He’s still lacking on the defensive end (a lot of young bigs do on bad teams) but there’s so much to like with Collins, especially since Atlanta seems to be forming an offensive juggernaut. 

Jonas Valanciunas – Memphis Grizzlies

After being miscast a couple different times in Toronto, Jonas Valanciunas found a consistent place to flourish in Memphis. With a lot of young players and moving parts, the Grizzlies asked Valanciunas to play reliable drop defense and hold together the back end of their defense. Luckily, despite what you might have heard, Valanciunas has always been a really good drop defender and he’s profiled as the Grizzlies best defender this year on the back of those talents. Valanciunas hasn’t been granted as many possessions offensively as he did last year with the Grizzlies or the Raptors bench units, but he’s been a good roll man, a sufficient release valve in the post, and a consistent source of pressure on the offensive glass. Most importantly though, he’s been a major cog in bringing the Grizzlies to the 8th seed and by proxy, helping the Grizzlies provide the oh so valuable playoff (Disney tournament, whatever) minutes to Ja Morant and co. He’s a bit of a throwback who is still limited by how much time he spends on the court, but he’s been uber-valuable to the Grizzlies.

Marc Gasol – Toronto Raptors

An elastic and brilliant big man. Half of the Raptors defensive chatterbox (the other being Kyle Lowry), with a preternatural sense of when to rotate, stunt, or swipe. Marc Gasol, if healthy all year, would have had a real shot at an All-Defensive team. He’s been that good. Not to mention that he unlocks countless offensive packages for the Raptors: Corner offense, DHO’s, Split-Action etc. He’s a velvety smooth pivot who averages more assists per game than shot attempts inside the arc, and he’s an exceptionally good improvisational offensive player, who fits very well next to Pascal Siakam, Lowry etc. The aforementioned offensive packages unlock heaps of opportunities for Norman Powell, Terence Davis II, and Fred VanVleet. Plus, he’s shooting 40+ percent from downtown. Basically, the Raptors have been able to plug in a wonderful tertiary option offensively, and an always competent, often dominant defensive big. Gasol is basking in the glow of the Raptors Championship and it’s made the twilight of his career incredible to watch.

Fred VanVleet – Toronto Raptors

If you veto the players who made the Rookie to Sophomore jump, Fred VanVleet likely took one of the biggest steps in the league this year. There were significant playmaking and shot-creation holes in his game leading up to this season, holes that he’s done his best to cover. He’s still not a great pick n’ roll creator, but he’s improved markedly – nash-ing the pick n’ roll to keep passing lanes open, or to drag a big out of the paint. He’s never been a good finisher at the rim (but, improving) and his size creates difficult situations for him constantly, like not being able to take advantage of switches on big men (although his extended range has helped with that). However (comma) those are the holes in his game. The positives are fantastic. VanVleet is a dynamite defender who can wriggle around screens and track some of the best shooters in the game off-ball (see Curry, Steph). He remains one of the league’s best catch and shoot options, and his improving floor game has allowed the Raptors to survive games sans Lowry (10-2). He’s vaulted himself into the conversation next to pseudo All-stars.

Zach Lavine – Chicago Bulls

One of the NBA’s most elegant and explosive players, Zach Lavine is putting up huge numbers in Chicago. Despite Lavine providing massive offensive output, Chicago (and Lavine) haven’t been able to translate that into winning with any regularity. The bulk of his attempts are coming from the pick n’ roll, isolation, and transition, which is good. He’s still trying to hammer out the finer details of the pick n’ roll, but he’s grown as a passer in that play-type and he remains a reliable finisher at the rim. Most importantly though, this year Lavine cut away a lot of his mid-range attempts in favour of looks from beyond-the-arc. He’s launching from downtown over 8 times a game, and what makes that especially dangerous is that over half of those are coming off of pull-ups, of which he’s hitting nearly 37-percent. Those numbers make him a really potent threat and they’re inextricably tied to some of Chicago’s most successful offensive stretches. However, some people might claim that Lavine’s robust 25-5-4 splits are somewhat “empty calories” and they can rightfully highlight a poor defensive resume – which is fair. Lavine has a lot to figure out if he wants to have a truly impressive floor game (on both ends) and the Bulls will need that to happen if they ever want to make the jump to the top half of the Eastern Conference. For now, Lavine profiles as a very impressive volume scorer, which sneaks him into the top-50 in my book. 

Malcolm Brogdon – Indiana Pacers

Malcolm Brogdon might be the one that got away for Milwaukee. After a sterling 50/40/90 season slotting in next to the fantastic Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brogdon joined the Pacers in the offseason to take on a bigger role, more money, and to live in a city that wasn’t Milwaukee (his words, not mine). He’s been mostly a pick n’ roll guard with Indiana and has paired especially well with Domantas Sabonis and TJ Warren. His stout and principled defense is, of course, welcome in Nate McMillan’s squad. And while the Pacers run a lot of actions through Sabonis, Brogdon is still the chief decision maker on his team sans Victor Oladipo. With the burden of creation getting much larger since leaving an MVP candidate, Brogdon’s ability to get to the rim and finish efficiently there has taken a dive. His spot-up opportunities have dried up, too – 84% assisted in 18-19, 40% assisted in 19-20, and over 50% of his shots are pull-ups – and that’s resulted in a steep drop off in how accurate he’s been from downtown (42-percent down to 31-percent). Despite all those adjustments having to be made, Brogdon (in tandem with Sabonis and a good defense) led the Pacers to wins night after night without Oladipo. Winning isn’t easy in the NBA (see, Zach Lavine and the Bulls) and Brogdon has great control over the game as a decision maker. He’ll shine as a tertiary option once Oladipo bounces all the way back, but he’s shown a lot of impressive stuff as a lead guard this year. 

Tobias Harris – Philadelphia 76ers

With the 76ers building around the talented duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons they’ve been obliged to slide a 3-point shooter in next to them and after a mid-season trade last year, that has been Tobias Harris. The 76ers are really reliant on his outside shooting, but he’s constantly chipping in elsewhere offensively – Harris can do a bit of everything: work off-ball, spot-up, handle in the pick n’ roll occasionally, post-up and drop a baby hook, and snag the occasional offensive board. In the playoffs, switches can get a bit hairy, but Harris is rarely costing the 76ers on defense in the regular season. While he’s not generally rated as a good defender, he has lots of size at his position and eats up space in the 76ers very large defensive starting lineup.

Eric Bledsoe – Milwaukee Bucks

Eric Bledsoe is a hellish on-ball defender who consistently qualifies for All-defensive teams, and a terror in transition. He’s an invaluable cog in the Bucks defense as their point of attack and an excellent motivator to funnel opponents towards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. Bledsoe can shadow some of the league’s best offensive options off-ball, and his extremely physical brand of 1-on-1 defense makes him one of the best guard stoppers in the NBA. Outside of Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe is the Bucks main driver in transition as he mixes his immensely muscular frame and hyper-athletic gifts to jet to the rim – where he finishes over 70-percent of his shots. He’s done well to increase his viability from 3-point range this year, which could be particularly meaningful in the postseason. 

Victor Oladipo – Indiana Pacers

At his peak, Victor Oladipo can launch himself into contention for top-12 status in the league. Unfortunately, he’s had to deal with a severe injury to his quadriceps and it’s been a long road back to health – especially when you consider how big a role explosion plays in his game. He’s an on-ball terror defensively with a good nose for sniffing out lazy passes. Oladipo is a terror going downhill and paired his extreme bursts of speed with a legitimate pull-up game that breathed new life into every action he runs. He splits a hedging big like he’s shot out of a cannon as his head almost gets as low as his knees, and during this jump to lightspeed he can make reads as a passer. When Oladipo has the pull-up going, teams have virtually no recourse to deal with him in the pick n’ roll. Shortly before February, Oladipo made his return after missing a year of basketball. It’s been up and down since, as he’s had to try and reclaim his handle, jumper, and overall feel for the game while navigating a minutes restriction. The tantalizing prospect of the form he could return to is what earns him this spot on the list. I firmly believe Oladipo will round back into the player he was, and when he does Indiana will become far more dangerous. 

CJ McCollum – Portland Trailblazers

A bucket-getter, ankle-breaker, and smooth operator. CJ McCollum is a professional scorer, who maneuvers his way to 20+ points almost every game. Damian Lillard is the king of the pick n’ roll in the NBA, but McCollum is a good-to-great option in that playtype as well. He punishes sagging defenders with his pull-up 3, can neutralize dropping bigs with his mid-range game (few are better league-wide), and despite his athletic limitations he’s a crafty finisher at the rim. McCollum is a cerebral offensive player with counters to most everything you can think of. He’s always been talented at keeping defenses off-kilter and when doing so he’s a capable creator for his teammates. He’s limited defensively and might not be good enough to justify his role as second banana, but he can lock-down a fourth quarter in no time flat with his offensive arsenal and he’s a proven playoff performer. McCollum is as consistent and professional as they come and there’s little to complain about with his game, just the role he’s been cast in. 

LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge is clean-cut and simple. He’ll turn over his right shoulder for a post-fade like few players before him. He won’t turn the ball over often, and he’ll give you nearly 20-points every night. He’s successfully picked up the 3-point game, and he demands less of the ball than ever – he could stick around while San Antonio’s young guns grow. The Spurs don’t make things complicated for him defensively, but he’s never been known as a defensive stopper which is apt, and he does very little to make up for what has become a very porous perimeter defense in San Antonio. There’s never been a lot of flash to his game, but he’s still bringing it. 

Caris Levert – Brooklyn Nets

An anthropomorphized slinky. Caris Levert’s talent for improvisation combined with his body’s ability to absorb his momentum and channel it elsewhere has made him one of the most underrated ankle-takers in the NBA, and he’s so much more than that. Horrible injury luck has added a lot of stopping and starting to his young NBA career, but the flashes of his potential are tantalizing. Since the Nets dropped his minutes restriction, Levert has been pouring it in, in every sense of the word. He can get to the free throw line, play-make to all corners of the court (+the dunker spot) while headed downhill, pull-up from three, and slither to the hoop to the tune of 24-5-5 splits (since the restrictions were dropped). When Levert changes speeds in the lane it’s jarring, and it’s lent itself to a growing pick n’ roll game. With a little bit of health, Levert had already started to become one of the most dynamic 2-guards in the NBA. He’s the resident deflection king in Brooklyn because of his go-go-gadget arms, and his fluid kinetic intelligence makes him a worm when navigating screens on both sides of the floor. While he hasn’t had the health to have a true breakout season, Levert seems poised to be one of the next players to make the All-Star jump. 

Kristaps Porzingis – Dallas Mavericks

The Unicorn is still finding his way offensively, as Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks try to find the best possible utilization of his talents, but even so, his immense size and talent have him falling upward into the top-40. Kristaps Porzingis shoots well enough from three to justify his attempts from there, but he’s not getting enough action at the rim. The Mavericks have looked Porzingis over as a roll-man which has left him hanging out beyond the arc a lot of the time. When he breaks the line past closeouts he settles for jumpers despite his size, and there’s a weird development in which he shoots very poorly when receiving a pass from Luka Doncic (who he receives the bulk of his passes from). All that being said, Porzingis’ floor spacing is invaluable to the Mavericks (very good) offense, and he still puts points on the board. His most important contributions have actually been on the defensive end, though. Porzingis has had an incredible year as the back-stop of the Mavericks defense. His defense at the rim has been near the top of the league. While not yet fully realized as a player, Porzingis’ value is still crystal clear in Dallas. 

Brook Lopez – Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks have been the NBA’s best defensive team (measured by defensive rating) by a significant margin this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is obviously a big part of that, but Brook Lopez has received a lot of love for his ability to anchor the Bucks defense. He’s a smooth big man offensively and that’s what he was known for early in his career, but his calling card is no doubt defense at this point. In the Bucks drop defense, Lopez has stepped forward as one of the league’s very best deterrents at the rim. With Antetokounmpo playing help-side and Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton chasing over the top, players often choose to make their run at Lopez, which is a mistake. Lopez is facing over 7 shots a game at the rim and only allowing 44-percent of them to drop, when the league average is 61-percent. His numbers as a rim-protector are staggering, and he’s a huge part of the Bucks league best defensive rebounding, as he clears out space for Antetokounmpo to collect easy rebounds and jumpstart transition. Lopez is considered a real candidate for the DPOY this year, and deservedly so. HIs viability from downtown has taken a bit of a dive this year, but he can still snag you a couple buckets via the post-up in a jiffy and he’s a smart and opportunistic offensive player who finds his spots. Lopez’s renaissance with the Bucks has been awesome to watch after his down year with the Lakers.

DeMar DeRozan – San Antonio Spurs

Despite the league urging DeMar DeRozan to extend his shooting beyond the 3-point line and to play a better brand of defense, he resisted. He decided to focus on becoming an increasingly impressive playmaker and to develop counters to any type of defense inside the arc. The Spurs are nearly a top-10 team on offense, and that’s largely due to their 3-point marksmen who play off of DeRozan’s impressive drive and kick game, but also due to DeRozan and Aldridge’s clinical work inside the arc. DeRozan is one of the best players in the league at creating open 3-point looks, and there are less than 10 better finishers at the rim in the league that aren’t just lob-threats (Capela, Dwight Howard, Gobert etc.) and he’s firmly in the conversation for best mid-range maestro in the NBA. All of that stuff is impressive and he’s bumped his inside-the-arc efficiency up to new levels this year, but it’s hard for the Spurs to outscore teams when their defense is as bad as it is – which DeRozan plays a big part in. DeRozan puts a cap on the Spurs ceiling, and it’s getting harder to tell how much he’s raising the floor, but he’s still doing some things on the basketball court at an All-NBA level. 

Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown has been set loose offensively this year and it’s allowed for significant steps. He’s taken real strides as a passer and he’s much better at getting to the free throw line – a staple for any scoring wing. His defense has been the selling point of his game for some time now, of course, and he’s been phenomenal this year. He’s strong enough to hang with some of the league’s burliest wings, and he’s quick enough to dart around and track some of it’s fast-twitch players. He has a lot of defensive range and possesses the talent of being majorly disruptive without having to gamble. He’s a good finisher in transition and nobody on the Celtics gets out on the break as often as he does. His catch and shoot numbers have blossomed which makes him all the more valuable as a second gun next to Kemba Walker and the rapidly surging Tatum. He’s never appeared to have an intuitive sense on offense, but like the player who came before him on this list, he’s catching up rapidly through hard work. He’ll be making an All-Star case over the next couple years. 

Danilo Gallinari – Oklahoma City Thunder

If the 76ers had managed to have gotten him instead of Tobias Harris before the playoffs last year, I think they would have won the Championship. One of the most underrated players in the NBA, Danilo Gallinari. An absolute heat pump from downtown, who is completely unreliant on getting his shots from the corners – Gallinari can make you pay from any spot on the court. He’s much better at rumbling to the rim after attacking a closeout than he’s given credit for, can score out of the post if you need a bucket there, and miraculously, he can handle in the pick n’ roll. Chris Paul has been the main reason why the Thunder have shocked so many people this year, but it doesn’t happen without “Gallo”. He’s come into this situation and figured out how to gel wonderfully with Paul, Steven Adams, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He’s coupled one of his most prolific years from downtown with one of his best seasons as a pro. 

De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings

A point guard who’s really starting to get it. Turning into a blur in transition may have been the way that Fox cemented himself as a player to watch and it’ll always be a big part of his game, but his pacing in the pick n’ roll has started to improve immensely. His controlled bursts in the lane really started to open up options for his roll men, and with that added potency to the 2-on-1 situations, Fox preyed on the unbalanced defenders in front of him. His free throw rate is up, he’s getting to the rim more often, and he has a couple more counters in the lane. He’s working hard to develop his pull-up game, which is still a work in progress, but he’s shown a knack for control this year that wasn’t previously there. Blending his incredible physical gifts with an intuitive and clever floor game will undoubtedly make him an All-NBA level guard. This season was a big step towards that. 

Trae Young – Atlanta Hawks

Despite the jump-shot being what everyone wants to talk about with Trae Young, his driving and passing are really what move his game above other impressive players. The floater game and the ability to work his way to the line have more to do with his nearly 30-points per game than the 3-point shooting does. On top of his seemingly unstoppable momentum toward the rim, Young makes passes that very few players in the NBA can make, and he does it consistently. For a short guard, his reads are insane. He’s already become one of the most exciting offensive players in the league, and the Hawks have correctly recognized that he’s an offense all to himself. The defensive end is a big hiccup, though. Young is legitimately one of the worst defenders in the NBA and it has to do with his compete level (which happens with a lot of players) and his size (which happens with less). He’ll likely never outgrow his defensive limitations which will have obvious implications for his playing future, but for now he’s one of the most scintillating acts in the NBA. 

Domantas Sabonis – Indiana Pacers

The big blond sun that a lot of the Pacers offense rotates around, Domantas Sabonis. One of the NBA’s highest usage roll-men, and a relentless one at that. He’s a major bruiser in the post, and that mixed with his footwork and size make him one of the most difficult players to deal with in the paint.  His touch around the rim, extremely physical glass-eating, and remarkable passing flair are what make he and the Pacers work. He’s the source of so much of what the Pacers like to do, fuelling basket-cuts, DHO’s, split-action, and of course setting screens to create space for Brogdon, Oladipo and the like. His timing on rotations is much improved, and the Pacers let his size do most of the work for him defensively. It’s rare to see a 23-year old big man who’s this polished, but there’s still room for him to grow next to a healthy Oladipo. That duo has the potential to vault the Pacers into the top-4 in the East. 

Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

Donovan Mitchell was pushed into a huge role in Utah, responded really well, and has been growing incrementally since that point. He blends together a lot of what we like to see in guards and wings, as he can utilize the pull-up, explode toward the rim in a moment’s notice, and he’s a long defender. Mitchell is a great decision maker in transition, where his infamous baseball passes can set loose his teammates for layups or corner triples, and his athleticism can take him directly to the hoop. He’s a comfortably decent shooter with room to grow, and even though he isn’t a great decision maker he flashes really high level passes now and again. A lot of the NBA’s best offensive options give up a lot on the defensive end, but you don’t have that with Mitchell. Utah’s lack of starpower and bevy of above average talent has created a chasm for Mitchell to leap over to take them to heights they haven’t reached in some time. 

Jrue Holiday – New Orleans Pelicans

Pound for pound, Jrue Holiday is one of the strongest players in the NBA. That strength allows him to guard positions 1-3 at an All-NBA level, and for the Pelicans to march him out against some of the league’s penultimate threats. He’s a really physical and creative finisher at the rim, and he’s not reliant on screens being set for him to create separation – he can shake most defenders in the NBA. He’s built a good rapport with JJ Redick, and Brandon Ingram as he does a good job of supplying them looks in their favourite spots. He’s an underrated playmaker and we’ll likely see his number balloon in that area the longer he gets to play with Zion Williamson. Holiday is firmly a top-10 point guard, and a menace in the playoffs where his isolation chops and outstanding 1-on-1 defense can really shine. 

Zion Williamson – New Orleans Pelicans

An unstoppable force. Defending Zion Williamson coming down the lane is like defending a locomotive that can hop-step and finish with both hands. It’s hard to conceive of unless you’ve seen it. Similar to when Ben Simmons entered the league, Zion’s physical gifts immediately made him a major factor on the floor. Teams are forced to either let Zion march to the rim for countless dunks every game, or put him on the free throw line. He’s a nightmare for defenses to deal with and he hardly even plays within a system at this point. He isn’t served possessions or plays very often, he seizes opportunities in the open floor and the half-court and finishes with gobsmacking efficiency. A fully realized version of Zion is hard to even imagine, but he’s already left his imprint on the NBA as a scorer and help-side defender because of his unprecedented athleticism. 

Bam Adebayo – Miami Heat / Via Louis Zatzman

In many ways, Bam Adebayo is the Kyle Lowry of big men. Adebayo dominates the game in between the space available to most players. Other centers derive their utility through scoring efficiency and rim-protection. Adebayo offers those along with plenty more that doesn’t show up in the box score. He switches on defense, creates space for teammates with elite passes and screens, and does the little things that so often go un-celebrated. 

In other ways, Adebayo is uniquely himself. He has the body of a Greek god, and the way he plays basketball is perhaps the most poetic combination of brute force and balletic skill in the league. No one else in the NBA combines the brutality of Adebayo’s screening and rebounding with the deftness of his footwork and passing. Because of those skills, Adebayo is able to work as a central offensive hub despite not yet being a great initiator or shooter. He can hum alongside Jimmy Butler, act as decoy when rim-running, and give shooters acres of space. He does all of that without the ball; Adebayo is among the better offensive centers in the league when a teammate has the rock. Even more frightening for the league: his ball skills are coming along.

His standstill shooting form is solid from 18 feet and closer. His 3-point range isn’t ready yet, but he is far from a non-shooter. Adebayo also has a burgeoning dribble game. He uses it most often in transition or out of fake dribble hand-offs. But a few times this season, Adebayo isolated from the top of the key, crossed over a hapless behemoth, and was at the rim for a gentle layup before help even recognized he was a threat. Adebayo could eventually evolve into a Pascal Siakam-like attacker, mixing isolations from the post, the top of the key, or the elbow, to add easy scores against single coverage. When Adebayo holds the ball at the elbows, perhaps the least threatening element to the defense is Adebayo himself scoring. But that is because of Adebayo’s unselfishness, rather than any inability to score. He is an efficient scorer, and when he decides to take over, there are few who can stop him. He has plenty of complex moves, including drop-steps, spins, in-and-out dribbles, and more mastered. He could do with a little more selfishness.

Defensively, Adebayo is among the best players in the league. This is why he’s ranked so high on this list. Adebayo is basically the Frankenstein’s monster of defenders, but if Dr. Frankenstein instead decided to stitch together the skills of some of the best defenders in the NBA. Adebayo combines Jonas Valanciunas’s rebounding, Brook Lopez’s rim protection, Marc Gasol’s hands, and Anthony Davis’s switchability. Adebayo can swallow bigs at the rim, and he’s quick enough to keep anyone but the speediest guards in front of him. He still makes some mistakes, guessing wrong, or falling out of position. He can make up for it at the rim with his league-leading athleticism and ferocity, but as with his offense, there’s room to grow.

If Adebayo adds shooting, initiating, and defensive consistency, he could be the best center in the game. He’s already a star with a clear path to the top. But for now, it’s no shame to settle for one of the best 30 players in the NBA. 

Nikola Vucevic – Orlando Magic

 A finesse big man who profiles as a bruiser, and despite Jonathan Isaac’s generational defense, the best player on his team. When the Magic are asked to operate without Nikola Vucevic, they break. His game makes the wheels turn on offense, and he’s an underrated defender. He’s got great hips to keep post defenders off-balance, and great hands to finish over top of them. He’s got one of the quickest draws out of anyone in the league who utilizes the hook shot, and his feet are quick enough to punish overzealous closeouts. The Magic don’t create super easy offense for him, so his numbers don’t look like a lot of other hyper-efficient bigs. However (comma) Vucevic creates his own looks better than most of his contemporaries and he remains the catalyst of a playoff teams offense. He’s extremely valuable for Orlando, and underrated by the masses. 

 

THE NEXT INSTALLMENT IS COMING WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24TH AND WILL FEATURE PLAYERS 25-1. 

Have a blessed day.

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