2018-2019 NBA Preview: Top 100 Players: 70-61
70 Dario Saric–Philadelphia–PF (+31): With all the young talent Philly has right now, people forget about Saric. He’s a perfect fit next to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as Saric doesn’t need the ball in his hand to score. His shooting opens up the paint for those two to operate. Dario is only 24 and he’s gonna get better.
69 Derrick Favors–Utah–PF/C (-5): Favors has always been overlooked as a player but he has nothing but a constant pro for the Jazz. He’s one of the few back to the basket big left in the NBA and he’s still great at it.
68 DeAndre Ayton–Phoenix–C (N/A): As the only rookie to make the top 100 list, expectations are high for the number one pick. Ayton will have a lot of room to operate this year as the starting center spot is clearly his. Plus it helps to have Devin Booker as a teammate and allow Ayton to not be the number one target for the opponent on defense.
67 Jusuf Nurkic–Portland–C (+24): Ever since he arrived in Portland, Nurkic has really settled in as the 3rd option behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Similar to Enes Kanter, Nurkic struggles on defense, but he’s a good offensive player and a fantastic rebounder.
66 Jeff Teague–Minnesota–PG (-10): Like Derrick Favors, Jeff Teague has been one of the more underrated NBA players over the last 5 years. Entering his 2nd year in Minnesota, he’ll be asked to take more of a leadership role after the whole Jimmy Butler debacle.
65 Zach LaVine–Chicago–SG/PG (-14): After tearing his ACL, it appears Zach LaVine is back to his explosive self. At least the Bulls hope so due to the $80 million they invested in him. LaVine has the potential to be a 20 point scorer but he needs to stay healthy to earn that money.
64 Eric Gordon–Houston–SG/PG (+37): Ever since arriving in Houston, Eric Gordon has revived his career. He along with Chris Paul and MVP James Harden form the deadliest back-court in basketball. Gordon tends to be a bit one dimensional at times but when he gets hot, he gets pretty damn hot.
63 Gary Harris–Denver–SG (+36): Denver took a big step last year and Gary Harris was a big part of that. Not only is he the Nuggets best defender, but he’s made himself into one of the best shooters in basketball. If Harris can improve his passing and ball-handling, then he could become one of the best two-way guards in the league.
62 TJ Warren–Phoenix–SF/PF (+20): At 6’8″ and 220 pounds, Warren has the perfect body to be a small-ball 4. He scored a career-high 19.6 points per game last year and now gets to play next to DeAndre Ayton. But for Warren to become an elite scorer, he needs to improve his 22% 3 point percentage.
61 Julius Randle–New Orleans–PF (+13): In limited minutes and in a crowed Laker front-court, Julius Randle had his best year as a pro. He averaged 16 and 8 and played a lot of center despite being undersized. I expect a big year out of Randle now that he’ll be playing more of his natural position and being paired next to Anthony Davis helps a lot too.
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Steve Santoro (SVS_1993)