We have made to the top 30 players guys! Let’s continue.
30 Marc Gasol—Memphis—C: Like many big men over the past few years, Marc Gasol added a 3 point shot to his game. In the 2016 season, Gasol shot 3 3s total. In 2017, Gasol shot 268 3s. But unlike most of his fellow centers, Gasol shot very well as he hit 38% of 3s. If he can keep that up to go with his post moves, he’ll continue to be one of the elite centers in basketball.
29 Joel Embiid—Philadelphia—C: It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it that Joel Embiid is this high. He missed his 1st 2 years and only played in 31 games last year. But that’s how good he was last year. He was a monster in the post, on the boards, and on defense. He also shot well from the 3. What makes Embiid even scarier is that he only played 25 minutes a game. If (and that is a huge IF) he can stay healthy, there may be no one that can stop him.
28 CJ McCollum—Portland—SG/PG: Ever since CJ McCollum became a starter in Portland, he’s been one of the best scoring guards in basketball. While averaging 23 points a game last year; McCollum nearly joined the elusive 50%-40%-90% club. He’s become the perfect Robin to Damian Lillard’s Batman. For McCollum to become a true superstar, he needs to work on his defense.
27 Hassan Whiteside—Miami—C: Unlike Gasol and Embiid, Whiteside has yet to expand his game to the three point arch. But that hasn’t detracted from his game in my opinion. Whiteside is an athletic freak and that allows him to be in the conversation for the best rebounder and best shot blocker in all of basketball. He also became a much more consistent scorer last year, which separates him from players like Andre Drummond.
26 Bradley Beal—Washington—SG: Like CJ McCollum, Bradley Beal is another version of Robin. Him and John Wall form one of the best backcourts in all of basketball and for good reason. Beal is one of the best shooters in the league as he’s a career 40% 3 point shooter. He also made a huge jump in scoring as he went from 17 points per game to 23 points per game last year.
25 Nikola Jokic—Denver—C: I love Nikola Jokic so much that I wrote an entire article about him last year. Jokic is just 22 years old but plays like a 10 year vet. He’s got post moves, a great jump shot, fantastic at rebounding, and incredible passing skills for a center. At some points during the season, he ran the fast break for the Nuggets. The only thing that Jokic could drastically improve on in my opinion is just becoming a shot-blocker. Other than that, Jokic is a star in the making.
24 Kristaps Porzingis—New York—PF/C: There’s a reason why Porzingis is called The Unicorn. The 7’3” power forward is truly something that we have never seen. He can score from anywhere from the floor and is a shot blocking king. What impresses people the most about KP are his skills at age 22, similar to Jokic. The main thing that Porzingis needs to work is to add muscle, like what Giannis and Durant did when they 1st came in the league. If he can add 20 pounds, Porzingis could be ungradable.
23 Gordon Hayward—Boston—SF/SG: In the wake of all of this Kyrie Irving news, it’s almost like people forget Hayward is on the Celtics too. But Hayward being nothing to look over. Hayward has improved his scoring average every single year during his 7 seasons in the NBA. Now reunited with his college coach Brad Stevens, no one would be shocked if he does it again.
22 Klay Thompson—Golden State—SG/SF: Without a doubt, Klay Thompson is one of the best shooters in basketball. One of the two splash brothers, Thompson has never shot below 40% from the 3 in his 6 seasons in the NBA. Thompson is also a very good one on one defender as his length creates mismatches on both sides of the ball. If he can get his percentages a bit up, he could be a 50%-40%-90% player.
21 Kevin Love—Cleveland—PF/C: In his first two years in Cleveland, Love didn’t look like the best fit with the team. He was relegated to a stretch 4 and nothing more. But last year, the offense went through him a lot more. Love can score anywhere on the floor and is still one of the best rebounders in all of basketball. His defense has always been his Achilles heel but has gotten better as a one on one defender. He’ll never be a shot blocker but he doesn’t have to be.
Written By: Steven Santoro (SVS_1993)