Sports Illustrated Top 100 NBA Players: Celtics Edition
Every year before the NBA season begins, Sports Illustrated ranks their top 100 current NBA players. Year in and year out, there is controversy which arises from their rankings. This year is no different. Here in this article, I’m gonna focus on the Celtics that were selected in the top 100. And trust me, there’s controversy within Boston’s selections itself.
Terry Rozier at 82
I am fine with where Scary Terry placed in the rankings. As a backup point guard forced to step into a starting role on a title contender, Rozier did incredible. Also, the timing of his emergence is vital to his ranking as well. He had to run the point for the end of the season and deep into the playoffs. Being a stud in the postseason is the best way to get national attention. His best attribute is his control. As mentioned in the rankings, Rozier posted a 5:1 assist to turnover ratio. What that means, is that he got 5 assists in the same period as 1 turnover; Terry had the best assist to turnover ratio in the entire playoffs.
Where’s Marcus Smart?
My only qualms with Terry being placed at 82 is that Marcus Smart isn’t even in the top 100. Smart makes a bigger impact on the game and its not up for debate. Marcus Smart missed the end of the season with a thumb injury. In his first game back during the playoffs, on his FIRST PLAY he dove on the ball for a steal. His offense is lackluster, but his smart passing is enough to make him good enough to have out there. I’m confident ranking Smart as a top 3 defensive point guard in this league. Smart being a snub from this list is a disgrace.
Jaylen Brown at 47, Jayson Tatum at 39
The placement for these guys is in the right range. An argument could be made to have both in the top 40, but no need to debate that. My issue here is having Tatum ranked better than Brown. I understand Tatum has more of the hype and dunked on Lebron but come on. First, Jaylen was way more consistent last season. Brown’s impact was felt in each and every game. If Tatum was having a bad shooting night, he was practically invisible. When Brown’s shots were missing, he’d rev it up on defense and get aggressive to force turnovers. I guess it takes more of an eye test to know Tatum isn’t as good as Brown yet. However, I am confident in saying that Tatum will eventually become a better player than Brown simply based off his versatility and ability to do everything. For now, Jaylen Brown>Jayson Tatum.
Gordon Hayward at 25
Last years edition had Hayward at 16. Dropping down 9 slots makes sense for a guy who only played 5 minutes last season. Next, it wouldn’t be too fair to drop him a shit ton of rankings when he did nothing to prove he won’t be an effective player this upcoming season. In the same breath, it wouldn’t feel right to keep him at 16 when there will obviously be an adjustment period for Hayward. He might be a little wary of going for highlight dunks, but his incredible defensive instincts didn’t go anywhere. Also, his shot is still incredible. Gordon’s career three-point percentage is at 37% and with the Celtics he’s going to have so many opportunities to get open shots. The common Celtics fan is going to be in awe when they see how great Gordon Hayward will be for them.
Kyrie Irving at 17, Al Horford at 16
Here is where the big chunk of the debate begins. Kyrie Irving is a perennial All-Star year in and year out with his flashy playstyle and incredible ability to score the ball. Irving is young and has his own shoe line. Then there’s Al Horford, older, slower, anything but flashy. He is a 5 time All-Star, but so is Kyrie who is 6 years younger. The argument for who’s better does seem to favor Irving, but I’m more torn about it than it seems. I’m gonna go with Kyrie as the better player, but Sports Illustrated’s rankings are mainly regarding impact. Al Horford does have more of an impact on the team success of the Boston Celtics. Kyrie will score more than Al, but Al scored more game winning shots last season than Kyrie. Horford can run the point, but Kyrie can’t defend the paint. Don’t get me wrong, Kyrie is the better player, but Horford gets the edge in having an impact on the team.
These rankings may spark debates, but don’t overlook them. The Celtics have 6 players in the top 100 and 5 of them in the top 50. The Boston Celtics are loaded.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)