2018-2019 NBA Preview: Top 100 Players: 30-21
30 Rudy Gobert–Utah–C (+3): Out of the classic back to the basket bigs left in basketball, Rudy Gobert is the most complete. Not only has he improved his offensive game every single year he’s been in the league, but he’s also the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. At 26, Gobert is just entering his prime and the Jazz have a bright future ahead of them.
29 Ben Simmons–Philadelphia–SF/PG (+38): Whether you want to call him a rookie or not, Ben Simmons had a very impressive 2018 season. He was a triple-double machine and helped lead the 76ers back to the playoffs. Simmons has a major weakness in his game as he hit zero 3s last year. As a wing, that’s something he has to work on.
28 CJ McCollum–Portland–SG (=): CJ McCollum has really thrived in becoming Robin to Damian Lillard’s Batman. He’s averaged over 20 points the last 3 seasons and has developed into one of the best pure shooters in basketball. McCollum needs to become a better passer to take pressure off of Lillard from running the offense. If he can, Portland could make an argument for the best back-court in basketball.
27 DeMarcus Cousins–Golden State–C (-14): Similar to Hayward, Cousins was really hard to rank. He’s coming off of a major injury and considering where he ended up, he’s going to be taking a much lesser role. Once he comes back from his injury (around January), Cousins needs to prove he’s healthy and that he can play well with others. If he does those two things, the Warriors may be unstoppable.
26 Devin Booker–Phoenix–SG (+19): Devin Booker will be 21 when the season begins and he’s already a top 10 scorer in basketball. In his 3rd season, he averaged 25 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. What Booker needs to do now is to turn in more wins.
25 LaMarcus Aldridge–San Antonio–PF/C (+6): With Kawhi Leonard being out for nearly the entire year, Aldridge had a much bigger role to carry for the Spurs last season. He delivered as he averaged 23 points per game (best in 3 years) and led the Spurs back to the playoffs. But at age 33, just how much longer can Aldridge stay at this elite level?
24 Bradley Beal–Washington–SG (+2): Bradley Beal is coming off his best personal season in which he was named to hist 1st All-Star team. When John Wall was out, Beal became more of a distributor to go along with his impressive scoring. Beal needs to continue to develop his entire game if the Wizards want to go deep in the playoffs.
23 Donovan Mitchell–Utah–SG (+78): By far the biggest revelation of the 2018 season, Donovan Mitchell went from being an unknown rookie to superstar it seemed like overnight. He led the Jazz in scoring, led them back to the playoffs, and led the team to upset the Thunder in the 1st round. With a year under his belt, the sky is the limit for Donovan Mitchell as he enters his 2nd season in the league.
22 Victor Oladipo–Indiana–SG (+36): When the Pacers traded Paul George to the Thunder, they never would have expected what they would get out of Victor Oladipo. Last year alone, Oladipo made his 1st All-Star Team, led the NBA in steals, made the All-NBA Defensive Team, and was named the Most Improved Player of the Year. He’s kept the Pacers from rebuilding and they have a very bright future ahead of them.
21 Blake Griffin–Detroit–PF (-10): It was pretty shocking when Griffin was traded to the Pistons last season. In the 25 games he played with the Pistons, he struggled a bit as he adjusted on the fly. Now that he has a full off-season under his belt, I expect him to come back to All-Star level.
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Steve Santoro (SVS_1993)