Guys, we have made it to the top 20 players in the NBA! We are almost to the finish so you know the drill. Let’s continue the countdown.
20 Kyle Lowry—Toronto—PG: Kyle Lowry has had an interesting journey to the top. He struggled in his first few years in the league and couldn’t find a home. Then he came to Toronto. Ever since he went north of the boarder, Lowry has gotten better every single season. Last year alone, Lowry set career highs in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, and three point percentage at the age of 31. He is the type of player that journeyman players hope that they can still make it big.
19 Isaiah Thomas—Cleveland—PG: After all Isaiah has gone through this offseason with his hip, people have tend to forget how good he was last year. His points per game jumped up nearly 7 points, which is insane in it of himself. But he also finishes in the top 5 in MVP voting. For someone who is under 6 feet, it’s already amazing that he’s in the league, let alone an MVP candidate. Now in Cleveland, Thomas has to prove his doubters wrong again. If he can fully recover from his hip injury and plays well with James, the Cavs could remain the best team in the East.
18 Jimmy Butler—Minnesota—SG/SF: One of the many superstars moving over this offseason, Butler will make the biggest impact this season. Coming to a team that won just 31 games, adding Butler makes Minnesota a clear playoff team. By reuniting with his former coach Tom Thibodeau (the man who gave Butler his big break), expectations will be high for Butler. By being one of the best two way players in all of basketball; he along with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns form one of the best big 3s in the West.
17 Chris Paul—Houston—PG: With lob city officially behind him, Chris Paul is now off to Houston. After failing to each the West Finals in LA, Paul hopes teaming up with Harden will finally help him to get over the top. No one has ever doubted Paul’s talent as he’s averaged at least 18 points and 9 assists the last 4 seasons. But the problem is that he can’t get it done in the big moment. If he doesn’t to the West Finals with the Rockets, then Paul is in the discussion for being one of most overrated players of his generation.
16 Paul George—Oklahoma City—SF/SG: After spending his entire career in Indiana, George is headed to OKC. After coming off a career year and only 27 years old, expectations are high as he teams up with the reigning MVP. Like Jimmy Butler, George can get it done at both ends of the floor. He’s one of the best scorers in the league and a fantastic defender. Now playing next to Westbrook, it’s going to be scary how good he could be.
15 DeMar DeRozan—Toronto—SG/SF: Like many people on this list, DeRozan is coming off of a career year. He finished with 27.3 points per game and established himself as one the best scorers in all of basketball. He also expanded his game by becoming a good rebounder and passer, something that plagued him in the past. But biggest weakness is still his 3 point shooting, which is at career average at 28%. If he can get that up 35%, then he could become ungradable for the Raptors.
14 John Wall—Washington—PG: While he’s not the best point guard in basketball, John Wall is by far the fastest in basketball. He is an athletic freak and is great at almost everything. He’s become a much better defender and has steadily improved his shooting. But what has made Wall a truly elite player has been his passing. He’s averaged 10 assists a game for 3 seasons in a row and is now in the conversation for best passer in the league
13 DeMarcus Cousins—New Orleans—C/PF: After getting out of the shithole that is Sacramento, Cousins had an impressive 17 game stint with the Pelicans. Now entering his first full season in New Orleans, expectations are high for him and Anthony Davis. Cousins is one best scoring and rebounding bigs in all of basketball and has been for a while now. He does need to try on defense more and maybe he will now that he’s out of Sacramento.
12 Giannis Antetokounmpo—Milwaukee—SF/PF: I love The Greek Freak. He is an absolute monster and can do pretty much do everything. Obviously he’s an athletic freak, but he’s also a great scorer, rebounder, and now passer. Being 6’11” that also allows Giannis to also be a lockdown defender. Now that’s he added muscle, I would love to see Giannis add a post move to his game. The potential is scary for the 22 year old.
11 Blake Griffin—LA Clippers—PF: With Chris Paul now in Houston, the Clippers are now Blake’s team and rightfully so. Blake started out as a dunking machine and is now a complete basketball player. He’s now even added a 3 point shot to go with his postgame. But the only issue that is part of Griffin’s game is that he hangs around the 3 point arch too much. By doing that, his rebounding has gone down over the last few years. He needs to find a happy medium, especially now that he’s the face of the franchise.
Written By: Steven Santoro (SVS_1993)