I was charged with the epic task of ranking all the players in the NBA during the 2016-17 season and this is how I did it… I took into account more than just the skill level of a particular player. LeBron James hasn’t shown consistent defensive effort throughout the year, even though we know he can get there in the playoffs and that hurts the overall value he has contributed. Players like Kyle Lowry and Kevin Durant have missed a quarter of the season, and that has to be factored in as well.
Beyond putting up individual statistics, it’s also good to reward winning, since that’s how we judge sports at the end of the day. Players who aren’t the flashiest names can be important parts of winning organizations, providing the little things on both ends of the court. Typically, you’ll see these contributions in the plus-minus column more than PER or other box score derived statistic.
So here goes:
1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
Beyond the triple-double records and a historic season, Westbrook’s play in close games has been one of the biggest arguments for his MVP candidacy. In games that have been within five points with under five minutes to go, the Thunder had a 26-15 record and a +20.8 net rating. Interestingly, the Thunder only had a 29.9 assist percentage in those situations (for reference, the lowest assist percentage for the entire season goes to the Raptors at 47.2 percent), meaning a few different things. First, Westbrook created every shot on offense, most of the time for himself, and the Thunder still managed to score 116.7 points per 100 possessions in crunch time, which is quite a bit better than the league-leading offense of the Warriors. Second, the Thunder were fantastic defensively in close games and Billy Donovan was able to put his best defensive talent around Westbrook, since he alone is enough to take care of the offense.
2. James Harden, Houston
Harden is the perfect pick-and-roll player for the modern NBA. He’s a threat to shoot a three-pointer coming off the screen, and Harden can get all the way to the basket and finish and draw fouls better than anyone. With a spread floor, and the Rockets’ players encouraged to take every catch-and-shoot jumper from beyond the arc – and even several feet behind it – Harden is the engine for a team shattering three-point records. 46.1 percent of the Rockets’ field goal attempts have been three-pointers, compare that to the Big Three-era Heat who were the golden standard of efficient three-point shooting in the league at 28.5 percent back in 2012-13 and you’ll notice how quickly the league is moving. Harden became the third player in NBA history to average over 28 points and 11 assists per game, a feat that was last accomplished by Oscar Robertson and Tiny Archibald back in the 60’s and 70’s, but with the added value of the three-pointer, Harden’s passes are producing more points than the others.
3. LeBron James, Cleveland
At his best and 100 percent engaged defensively, he’s still the best player in the NBA, and despite being 32-years-old James is putting up one of his best statistical seasons. James averaged career highs in both assists and rebounds, and his 61.9 True Shooting Percentage was the third highest of his career only behind two of his best seasons with the Heat. Add to that a consistent shooting stroke on three-pointers this season. The Cavaliers have been 15.9 points per 100 possessions better with LeBron on the floor this season, which is miles ahead of the second-best mark on the team – Kevin Love at 7.9 points.
4. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio
Leonard has steadily improved every year of his career, and just when it looks like he’s hitting a ceiling, Leonard takes a step to the next level. From a strictly defensive player who couldn’t shoot coming into the league, Leonard has developed into a tough shot maker who can score efficiently over defenders. On offense, Leonard doesn’t create advantages off the pick-and-roll similar to most offensive superstars, but takes his time getting to spot and makes the right play. For the season, Leonard averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals, in addition to being the best perimeter defender in the NBA.
5. Stephen Curry, Golden State
The season Curry had statistically compares well with his first MVP year, as Curry scored 25.3 points per game. Curry’s 41.1 three-point percentage was the worst of his career, but his effect on the defense remains the same. Most teams want to drop back their bigs to the foul line to contain the action and protect the basket, but unless the defensive guard is perfect battling over the screen, Curry will have an open shot he can make at a rate that just kills the defense.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee
Among the best young players in the NBA, the Greek Freak is the most likely candidate to win an MVP at some point in his career. It’s easy to forget Antetokounmpo is just 22 years old, younger than some rookies and many second-year players in the league, and has taken a big leap in every season of his career. Antetokounmpo averaged 22.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.9 blocks this season with a 52.2 field goal percentage. The Bucks are trending up, and while Jabari Parker may be a question mark going forward, the team has enough young talent to develop into a serious title contender within the next few seasons.
7. Anthony Davis, New Orleans
Even though the Pelicans’ season ended in disappointment, Davis improved his scoring output to 28.0 points per game. After a few seasons of slightly disappointing defense, Davis improved on that end as well, carrying his team night-to-night on both ends of the floor. Paired with Cousins on the frontline, in 394 minutes the Pelicans had a modest +2.8 net rating but were great defensively. Building a flowing offense with two traditional bigs in the modern NBA is tough, but there’s enough talent and the Pelicans should be able to make it work.
8. Kevin Durant, Golden State
Durant played in just 62 games this season, and had he been healthy for the entire year, Durant would have been a fine MVP choice. Posting a career-best 53.7 field goal percentage, Durant averaged 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game along with the best defensive season of his career. Golden State’s biggest weakness is at the basket, but with the combination of Durant and Draymond Green protecting the rim, the Warriors are able to defend every spot on the floor at an elite level.
9. Jimmy Butler, Chicago
Already one of the best two-way players in the NBA coming into the season, Butler made new career highs in every major statistical category averaging 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.9 steals on 45.5 percent shooting. Butler’s 8.9 free throw attempts ranked fourth in the NBA and without him on the floor, the Bulls were worse by 10.1 points per 100 possessions.
10. Draymond Green, Golden State
Green lead the league in steals with a career-high 2.0 per game, and his defensive versatility, toughness and smarts make him a leading Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Green’s ability to switch and defend any position on the floor, while also being one of the best rim protectors (43.9 percent shooting allowed at the basket) makes him the perfect defender in the modern NBA. Green finished the season averaging 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists.
11. Isaiah Thomas, Boston
Thomas finished the season third in scoring at 28.9 points per game with an elite 62.5 True Shooting Percentage, which placed Thomas as the second most efficient volume scorer in the league. The Celtics had a 30-14 record in close games (under five points in last five minutes) with Thomas on the floor and he ranked as the second leading scorer in fourth quarters at 9.8 points.
12. John Wall, Washington
Wall had a great year leading the Wizards to the fourth seed in the East, averaging 23.1 points, 10.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game. In transition, Wall is probably the best player in the NBA finding teammates running for dunks and early three-pointers and has played solid defense as well. Wall has put a ton of work turning himself into a consistent three-point threat, but does a good job not settling for jump shots and attacking against the defense.
13. Chris Paul, LA Clippers
A surgery on his left thumb limited Paul to just 61 games this season, but when he was on the floor Paul was right at the level we’re used to seeing him. With Paul on the court, the Clippers had a 43-18 record and in 31.5 minutes Paul averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 steals.
14. Rudy Gobert, Utah
During the regular season, Gobert defended 10.2 plays at the basket per game, the highest number of any player (and just three other big men defended more than eight plays), and opponents shot just 43.9 percent on those shots. The Jazz ranked third in defensive rating and Gobert was the main reason. Offensively, Gobert is underrated and does a good job executing the details that keep the action flowing.
15. Marc Gasol, Memphis
Gasol is proof how good of a rebounder you are has very little to do with how many rebounds per game you grab, as the Grizzlies always rebound at an elite level defensively with Gasol on the court despite averaging 6.2 rebounds. Gasol upped his scoring from previous years, and more importantly continues excelling at all the small things in the game which help Memphis win.
16. Paul George, Indiana
One of the best two-way players in the NBA, George put together the most efficient season of his career with an elite 58.7 True Shooting Percentage. If George makes one of the three All-NBA teams, he will be eligible for a supermax extension worth north of $200 million, which would heavily incentivize staying with the Pacers.
17. Damian Lillard, Portland
In a career-best year for Lillard, he averaged 27.0 points, 5.9 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game leading the Blazers’ late push into the playoffs. Lillard is one of the toughest point guards to guard in the NBA with his ability to pull-up for his jump shot after any screen after the half court line.
18. Nikola Jokic, Denver
With Jokic on the floor, the Nuggets scored 114.9 points per possessions, a number better than the Warriors’ league-leading mark. The best passing big man in the NBA, Jokic is such an amazing offensive player that the recipe for the Nuggets offense is now clear for the next decade, and building an improving defense around Jokic should be the number one priority.
19. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
Towns has reached an elite level with his counting stats at 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, and the next step for the Wolves’ young core will be transferring that production into wins. Similar to Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, Towns needs to improve his defensive consistency.
20. Paul Millsap, Atlanta
On offense, Millsap does everything at a “B+” level and is one of the most versatile defensive players in the league. This season, Millsap’s scoring was slightly up, but his efficiency numbers took a small dip with the Hawks offense being more cramped than before.
21. Mike Conley, Memphis
Conley is something like the best player ever not to make an All-Star team, and had he played in the Eastern Conference, he would probably have multiple appearances already. Conley averaged a career-high 20.6 points per game this season with the best efficiency as well.
22. Gordon Hayward, Utah
Heading into unrestricted free agency this summer, Hayward had the best season of his career and multiple teams will be lining up to give him a max contract. In his seventh season in the NBA, Hayward made his first All-Star team and averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists as the engine for Utah’s offense.
23. Klay Thompson, Golden State
Thompson added another All-Star season to his resume, averaging 22.3 points per game with above-average defense.
24. DeMar DeRozan, Toronto
He is often criticized for not being a three-point shooter, and defenses have found a way to stop him in the playoffs by limiting his free-throw attempts and staying in front on drives, but that doesn’t change the fact that DeRozan is an elite scorer and great player on offense. Averaging 27.8 points per game this season, his biggest weakness isn’t his shooting, but defensively he could be more consistent.
25. Bradley Beal, Washington
Beal is the prototypical two-guard, and beyond just shooting the ball he can run pick-and-rolls and help the offense in multiple ways. Ranked second among shooting guards in ESPN’s Real Plus Minus, Beal averaged 23.1 points this season.
26. DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers
A great defensive center and underrated offensive player, Jordan probably has the biggest gravity of any big man in the league as a roll man. At 12.7 points and 13.8 rebounds per game with a 71.4 field goal percentage, Jordan had the best season of his career in 2016-17.
27. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans
By his pure counting stats, Cousins looks like one of the 10 best players in the NBA, but it’s hard to put Cousins among the very best in the NBA before that transfers over to team success. Playing a system with two bigs, the Pelicans have to be an elite defense next season and Cousins can’t complain to referees and not get back on plays.
28. Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
Unfortunately, the Clippers’ playoff luck hasn’t improved as Griffin went down to injury again, but his regular season was just as good as it has been the past three years. Not quite the athlete he once was, Griffin still averaged 21.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
29. Goran Dragic, Miami
In the lead role in Miami’s offense, Dragic got back to running the offense with his style of pushing the pace and running pick-and-rolls with Whiteside. Dragic was the catalyst for Heat’s run in the second half of the season, and if Miami can add a piece to its core expect the team to be competitive in the Eastern Conference next season.
30. CJ McCollum, Portland
McCollum is probably the best mid-range pull-up shooter in the NBA, which is an extremely valuable skill with most teams playing a passive style of defense where the big drops to the foul line on the pick-and-roll. For the season, McCollum averaged 23.0 points and 42.0 percent from beyond the arc.
31. Kyle Lowry, Toronto
Lowry is clearly the best player on the Raptors when healthy, but in the playoffs hasn’t been able to keep at a high level of production. He averaged a career-best 22.4 points this season.
32. George Hill, Utah
Whenever Hill has been on the floor for the Jazz, the Jazz have played at a 60-win pace by their point differential. As an unrestricted free agent and 31-years-old this summer, the Jazz have almost no choice but to extend a lucrative contract offer for Hill that could look bad on the backend.
33. Kevin Love, Cleveland
Love had the best season of his tenure with the Cavaliers, averaging 19.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.
34. Kemba Walker, Charlotte
Over the past two seasons, Walker has taken significant steps forward finishing at the basket and becoming a better shooter. In his sixth season, Walker averaged 23.1 points and 5.5 assists per game with a career-high 43.3 field goal percentage.
35. Al Horford, Boston
Horford is a great all-around player who brings passing, shooting and defensive versatility to the Celtics. However, rebounding problems that were prominent for the Hawks during Horford’s time there have followed him to the Celtics.
36. Hassan Whiteside, Miami
At 17.0 points and 14.1 rebounds per game, Whiteside was a monster in the middle for the Heat.
37. Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix
The Suns shut down Bledsoe with 15 games left in the season to tank, but before that the point guard was in the middle of the best season of his career, with 21.1 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.
38. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
By the advanced metrics, Irving has never shown that he can push a team to being good by himself, and units with him on the floor without LeBron James have struggled. Irving is one of those players whose skills become more valuable in the playoffs – defensively Irving shows more effort and he can always get a good shot off one-on-one against defenses.
39. LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio
Aldridge has always been a controversial player by the advanced metrics. By his mid-range shooting, Aldridge isn’t quite as good as his reputation, but he’s been the center of good offenses before. In a smaller role with the Spurs, Aldridge hasn’t been quite as efficient as you’d hope, and going forward it would be interesting to see Aldridge take more three-pointers to create space in the middle.
40. Otto Porter, Washington
Porter has developed into the perfect 3-and-D wing. He can guard power forwards with his length and can switch onto guards with ease. A great shooter, Porter made 51.6 percent of his field goals and 43.4 percent of his three-pointers in 2016-17.
41. Brook Lopez, Brooklyn
Lopez continues to be the bright spot in Brooklyn, adding the three-pointer to his game this season. Lopez averaged 5.2 three-point attempts per game, after not exceeding 0.2 attempts in any of his previous years.
42. Harrison Barnes, Dallas
Despite a large increase in his role with a 25.3 Usage Rate, way above Barnes’ usage in Golden State, Barnes increased his scoring to 19.3 points per game and managed to stay relatively efficient. He has always been an underrated post defender, and his ability to switch between the forward positions was extremely valuable for the Mavs.
43. Carmelo Anthony, New York
Anthony’s game has been picked apart to the point where he has become underrated. It’s easy to focus on what a player can’t do, but 22.4 points per game and being a threat in multiple ways should be something the Knicks could harness into a winning formula.
44. Patrick Beverley, Houston
As a tough point guard who can guard multiple positions when need be, Beverley is a great fit next to Harden since he doesn’t need the ball to be successful. An excellent rebounder for his size, Beverley averaged 5.9 boards per game.
45. Steven Adams, Oklahoma City
Adams’ four-year $100 million extension will kick in this summer, and the Thunder can be pleased with the way he has developed so far. He provides toughness on the inside and has steadily been increasing his skills, averaging 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 2016-17.
46. Jae Crowder, Boston
Crowder is the type of player every NBA team desperately needs (particularly considering his valuable contract) on the wing as a supporting player. In 32.4 minutes per game, Crowder averaged 13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 39.8 percent shooting from deep this season.
47. Cody Zeller, Charlotte
A positive contributor on both ends of the floor, Zeller was clearly the second best player on the Hornets this season. The biggest jump Zeller made was in his finishing, improving his field goal percentage to 57.1 this season.
48. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota
Wiggins has proven himself to be an excellent, versatile scorer, and translating his individual numbers to team success will be the next step. By the advanced metrics, Wiggins has ranked as one of the worst defenders in the league every year of his career, which is unacceptable with his physical tools.
49. Kristaps Porzingis, New York
Knicks’ fans can get a bit impatient regarding Porzingis’ development, but overall he took a healthy step forward in his second season, increasing his scoring average from 14.3 to 18.1 points. If Porzingis can hold up at the center position going forward, the peak of his upside in the NBA becomes much closer to realization.
50. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee
Parker added the three-point shot to his arsenal this season, making 36.5 percent from deep and averaging 20.1 points per game. A deadly threat in transition and a promising young player, after a second major injury may severely limit Parker as a player going forward.
51. Andre Iguodala, Golden State
Jamal Crawford, Eric Gordon and others may score more points off the bench, but Iguodala is still the best all-around sixth man in the NBA who can be relied upon in the playoffs. Iguodala posted the most efficient shooting season of his career with a 62.4 True Shooting Percentage.
52. Myles Turner, Indiana
In his second season, Turner improved every part of his versatile skillset as a big man. He extended his jump shot to the three-point line, improved his scoring efficiency and defensive impact. Opponents shot just 49.3 percent at the rim with Turner defending the play, and Turner defended more plays at the basket than anyone not named Rudy Gobert.
53. Louis Williams, Houston
Williams started the season off on fire playing for the Lakers, but hasn’t shot the ball as well with the Rockets after the trade. In 24.6 minutes a night, Williams has averaged 17.5 points.
54. Danilo Gallinari, Denver
Heading into unrestricted free agency, the Nuggets have an interesting choice to make with Gallinari. Gallo is an efficient scorer and good player overall, but his next contract will likely be an expensive one and at 29-years-old, Gallo will likely be a defensive liability at both forward positions.
55. Serge Ibaka, Toronto
Defensively, Ibaka hasn’t been quite the player he was at his peak in Oklahoma, but still provides enough versatility to handle switches defensively and spreads the floor on offense. After being traded to the Raptors, Ibaka averaged 14.2 points and 6.8 rebounds with a 39.8 three-point percentage.
56. Gary Harris, Denver
Harris is one of the best under-the-radar shooting guards in the NBA right now. An extremely efficient scorer and shooter, Harris averaged 14.9 points on 50.3 percent shooting in his third season.
57. Clint Capela, Houston
Now Houston’s starting center, the 22-year-old Capela scored 12.6 points and recorded 8.1 rebounds per game on 64.3 percent shooting.
58. Jrue Holiday, New Orleans
Holiday will be hitting unrestricted free agency this summer after averaging 15.4 points and a career-high 7.3 assists per game, and likely to get a big payday since the Pelicans are desperate to keep him without another option in case Holiday leaves.
59. Devin Booker, Phoenix
In terms of scoring and creating on offense, Booker took a big leap from his rookie year scoring 22.1 points per game. If Booker wants his stats to start translating into wins, developing defensively will be key.
60. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia
The Sixers finished the season +67 with Embiid on the floor and -534 without him. Embiid averaged 28.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.5 block per 36 minutes. Every basketball fan on the planet hopes that he can have a healthy career.
61. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota
Rubio started the season off poorly, and couldn’t fit in with multiple ballhandlers around him. After LaVine’s injury, Rubio took on a bigger role in the offense averaging 16.0 points, 10.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds with excellent defense.
62. Jeff Teague, Indiana
After a rough start to the season trying to fit in with his new team, Teague bounced back to his old level as a solid starting point guard who can score and make plays for his team.
63. Avery Bradley, Boston
An above-average starter at shooting guard at both ends, Bradley was limited to 55 games this season due to injuries, averaging 16.3 points on 46.3 percent shooting from the field and 39.0 percent from beyond the arc.
64. James Johnson, Miami
Johnson’s scoring and versatility was a key part of Miami’s run in the second half of the season, and he finished with career numbers across the board at 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists on 47.9 percent shooting.
65. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee
The Bucks had a 19-10 record with Middleton on the roster, and when healthy is one of the best two-guards in the NBA.
66. Eric Gordon, Houston
Gordon is a great scorer off the bench, averaging 16.2 points per game this season. The Rockets have given him the green light to shoot from several feet behind the three-point line, which helps create even more space for James Harden in the lane than a typical three-pointer would.
67. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit
A good defender who can guard anyone from point guards to small forwards, Caldwell-Pope will be a restricted free agent this summer and will garner an offer sheet somewhere close to the maximum salary. KCP hasn’t been quite as good of a shooter and efficient scorer as the Pistons would hope, but there’s a chance he could grow into a more consistent role next season.
68. Marcin Gortat, Washington
The Polish Hammer has been an integral part of the Wizards’ great season. At both ends of the floor, Gortat does the little things to help his team win.
69. Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City
Once the worst defensive player in the league, Kanter has taken steps to improve on that end and has become perhaps the scoring big man off the bench, averaging 24.3 points and 11.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.
70. Nicolas Batum, Charlotte
Batum’s shooting efficiency took a slight downturn this season, but overall he still provides a bit of everything on the floor at the wing.
71. Dwight Howard, Atlanta
Even if your only job is to roll in the offense, there are ways of being active and helping the offensive concept even without touching the ball, and it’s frustrating that Howard doesn’t find pleasure in doing the little things to help his team. Even so, Howard did have a pretty good season averaging 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.
72. Tyler Johnson, Miami
In the Sixth Man of the Year conversation, one name that should be mentioned more frequently is the underrated Tyler Johnson, who is a brilliant defender and combo guard. Johnson averaged 13.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 29.8 minutes per game and was a key part of the Heat’s run in the second half of the season.
73. Pau Gasol, San Antonio
Coming off the bench, Gasol is in a better position to succeed scoring in the post against backup big men and facilitating the offense from the elbows. He has become an excellent floor spacer averaging an elite 1.27 points per possession on spot-ups.
74. Andre Drummond, Detroit
Drummond has put up big individual numbers once again at 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game, but defensively his play has been disappointing. Also, Drummond takes too many inefficient hook shots from the post and his efficiency numbers are once again below league average.
75. JJ Redick, LA Clippers
One of the best shooters in the NBA coming off screens, Redick is heading into unrestricted free agency this summer and is likely to command a sizable salary going forward. Despite his small stature, Redick is an underrated team defender.
76. Joe Ingles, Utah
Ingles was one of the most important role players in the league. An excellent ball mover on offense, smart defensive player and great shooter, Ingles made 44.1 percent of his three-pointers.
77. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
After an injury-riddled start to the season, the legendary German made his way into the 30,000-point club and finished the season averaging a solid 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds.
78. Victor Oladipo, Oklahoma City
Oladipo shot the ball the ball slightly better than previously in his career, and has been a solid on-ball defender and scorer for the Thunder.
79. Danny Green, San Antonio
One of the best defensive wings in the NBA, deserving of an All-Defense spot. Green shot the ball better than last season, but not quite at the knockdown level he has previously in his career.
80. Elfrid Payton, Orlando
Similar to Nikola Vucevic, for the first time in Payton’s career he had to fight for a starting spot this season. Struggling at the start of the year, Payton finished strong averaging 13.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game after the All-Star break.
81. Wesley Matthews, Dallas
The third-leading scorer for the Mavericks, Matthews provided defensive toughness and shooting on the floor.
82. Dwyane Wade, Chicago
The 12-time All-Star shooting guard averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists, appearing in 60 games during the regular season.
83. Ryan Anderson, Houston
Anderson took 65.5 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, making 40.4 percent. At the power forward (and sometimes center), Anderson’s quick trigger and range from well beyond the three-point line is a perfect fit offensively on the Rockets.
84. Patrick Mills, San Antonio
Mills took over Tony Parker’s spot in most of the Spurs’ closing lineups, providing more spacing and defense around Kawhi Leonard. Mills played 21.9 minutes per game, the highest number of his career, averaging 9.5 points and 41.3 percent shooting from deep.
85. Marcus Smart, Boston
Smart is a polarizing player, but Celtics fans love him to death. Being a bad three-point shooter aside, Smart does a lot for Boston on both ends of the floor.
86. Joe Johnson, Utah
Johnson has found a new role late in his career playing as a stretch power forward and post-up small forward for the Jazz. Relying on his strengths, Johnson can post up against smaller guards and punish slower defenders from the outside.
87. Trevor Ariza, Houston
On the wing, Ariza provides size and versatility on both ends of the floor, but at age 31, his shooting efficiency and scoring numbers weren’t quite the same as in previous years, and he’s lost some mobility defensively as well.
88. Patrick Patterson, Toronto
With DeMar Derozan and Kyle Lowry trying to create space going to the basket, Patterson’s floor spacing and versatility has been a valuable part of the offense for the team. The Raptors were at their best with him on the floor this season, outscoring opponents with a +10.9 net rating.
89. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee
Brogdon played his way into the starting lineup during the season and showed impressive poise for a rookie.
90. Nenê, Houston
An excellent team rebounder, passer and intelligent offensive player, Nenê is the most reliable big man the Rockets have. He averaged 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds on 61.7 percent shooting this season.
91. Zach LaVine, Minnesota
In 37.2 minutes per game, LaVine scored 18.9 points with 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists before suffering a torn ACL. Going forward, after recovering, LaVine needs to become a much better defensive player to take the next step.
92. Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto
Another solid season for Valanciunas in the middle averaging 12.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
93. Evan Fournier, Orlando
After signing a five-year $85 million deal during the summer, Fournier posted a career year averaging 17.2 points per game on 43.9 percent shooting. A relatively good scorer, Fournier can take the next step by becoming a better team defender.
94. Dion Waiters, Miami
Heading into unrestricted free agency (once Waiters declines his player option), his value is a big question mark. Waiters played an excellent season with the Heat averaging 15.8 points per game, but most teams are still likely to be wary of him and wouldn’t want to sign him to a long-term deal.
95. Zach Randolph, Memphis
At age 35, Randolph still put up 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and is a key part of Memphis’ grit-and-grind identity.
96. Tristan Thompson, Cleveland
In addition to the defensive versatility, rebounding and energy the Cavs’ big man brings, Thompson had his best season finishing at the basket and had a 60.0 field goal percentage.
97. Tobias Harris, Detroit
The versatile combo forward improved his off-the-dribble play and shooting this season, averaging 16.1 points per game on a career-high 48.3 percent from the field.
98. Bojan Bogdanovic, Washington
Bogdanovic has quickly found a role as a wing scorer off the bench after being traded to the Wizards, and has made a positive impact on a good team with his lights out three-point shooting.
99. Robert Covington, Philadelphia
Covington started the season off in a terrible shooting slump, but played much better after the All-Star break. He’s an excellent defender on the wing and averaged 1.9 steals per game.
100. Julius Randle, LA Lakers
A surprisingly versatile and skilled player for his size, Randle had the best season out of any of the Lakers’ youngsters. averaging 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. However, Randle doesn’t fit the archetype of a modern power forward and can’t protect the rim as a center, so it remains to be seen what kind of defense it’s possible to build around Randle long-term.