Top 100 NBA Players of 2018: Nos. 10–1
Today, Sports Illustrated released their final NBA player rankings for the upcoming 2018 season. Let’s go through some of the most surprising, deserving, and disrespectful rankings in the top 10.
Most Accurate Ranking
SI #1: Lebron James, Cavaliers
Although Kevin Durant could have been an argument based on his performance in the 2017 Finals, Lebron James holds true as the best player in the NBA. You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: Lebron is a once in a generation kind of talent that one day our kids will ask us about. His stat lines are impressive (26.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 8.7 APG), but it’s his blend of physicality, vision, and basketball IQ that will keep Lebron atop the NBA until someone comes and takes it from him.
Most Likely SI #1 in Five Years
SI #9 Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
It’s pretty easy to see by the video above that the sky is the limit for the #9 ranked Greek Freak. With a huge jump in stats (22.9PPG, 8.8 RPG, 5.4 APG) and on court leadership, there is no one in the NBA who has an answer for Giannis for the upcoming 2018 season. Over the next five years (or fewer) we will see him blossom into one of the leagues best and with Anthony Davis constantly battling injuries, I like Antetokounmpo’s chances for the top spot.
Most Surprising Top 10 Ranking
SI #5 James Harden, Rockets
James Harden being ranked above Russell Westbrook after his 2017 MVP? Yeah, kinda surprising. But this is a ranking that I dont think SI got wrong. Last year, Harden also had record setting stats (29.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 11.2 APG) while also leading his team to a 55–27 record. Westbrook did have the elusive triple-double season average, but the Thunder finished the year 17th in NBA Offensive Efficiency and only the 6th seed in the West. Although it is a surprise, I gotta give SI credit for reading between the lines with these two heading into the 2018 season.
Best Chance to Jump Into Top 10 in 2018
SI #21 Kyrie Irving, Celtics
Kyrie Irving is in a perfect spot to jump into the top 10 in 2018. After being traded by Cavaliers, the 25-year old Kyrie will be looked to as the go-to man in Boston. All signs point to improvement upon his already stellar season from last year (25.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 5.8 APG) with the keys to run the offense. Kyrie should benefit from one of the best coaches in the league in Brad Stevens as well as an equally talented and potentially deeper Celtics roster. Look for Kyrie to improve his defense and boost his assists in a perfect situation to make a leap in 2018.