Labor day is in our rear view mirror. Football is about to kick off, and pucks are getting ready to drop. Adding to the brief period where baseball has its post season going while, the NFL season is gaining steam, and the NHL is in the infancy of its season. The NBA has moved up the start of its season to mid-October.
As part of the preparation for the season, we’ll preview the top 100 players for the upcoming season. Following what can only be described as one of the most riveting off seasons in recent memory, the list will contain many faces in new places.
So with 100 players in the NBA on the wall, 100 players in the NBA, we’ll pull one down, and pass it around, 99 players in the NBA on the wall.
100. JONAS VALANCIUNAS – POST – TORONTO RAPTORS
The subject of trade rumors, he could very well be traded during training camp. 15 years ago, his set of post skills, and rebounding would be very coveted. In the less physical, smaller modern league, he’s still searching for his niche.
99. ZACH RANDOLPH – POST – SACRAMENTO KINGS
An offseason addition. He and Vince Carter independently migrated from Memphis. His toughness and touch on the floor will certainly be appreciated, but mostly he and Vince were brought in to bridge the gap until the young draftees are ready.
98. ENES KANTER – POST – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
The Turkish center is as skilled offensively as he is deficient defensively. If he was 1/10th the defender that he is a scorer he’d be a perennial all star, and much higher on this list.
97. ZACH LAVINE – WING – CHICAGO BULLS
One of, if not the, center piece of the haul that landed Minnesota Jimmy Butler, Lavine is coming off an injury marred campaign. His ability to harness his natural athletic gifts and turn them into a consistent NBA scorer will go a long way in determining how long the Chicago rebuild takes.
96. JOSH JACKSON – WING – PHOENIX SUNS
The rookie out of Kansas was the #4 overall pick in this June’s entry draft. Already an NBA level defender with a high motor, his ceiling will be dictated by his ability to develop an NBA level offensive game.
95. RICKY RUBIO – BALL HANDLER – UTAH JAZZ
Another player in the NBA’s version of musical chairs. Rubio was one of the most hyped players to ever come to the league from Europe. Part of the infamous David Kahn 2009 draft that saw the Timberwolves select 3 point guards (Rubio, Jonny Flynn, and Ty Lawson) in the first round, including twice passing over Steph Curry to do so. Rubio never exactly matched the hype, if he had they’d be calling him Pistol Pete Rubio. None the less, he is a solid player more than capable of starting as a lead guard in the NBA
94. RAJON RONDO – BALL HANDLER – NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
94 is both a high and low rating for Rondo. Normal every day Rondo probably comes in around 140 or so. But nationally televised game Rondo is legitimately a top 20 NBA player. One thought to be the heir apparent to the Green Throne, he enters the 2017 season with his 4th franchise since being exiled from Boston. It wasn’t his first choice, but the situation in New Orleans could actually be perfect for him. I expect Rondo to re-announce himself as a relevant player this season.
93. LOU WILLIAMS – COMBO GUARD – LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
After a trade deadline deal sent the perennial 6th man of the year candidate to Houston where he shared duties with new perennial 6th man of the year candidate Eric Gordon, Williams was sent back to Los Angeles, this time to the Clippers as part of the Chris Paul deal. He should return the Clippers’ 6th man production back to the levels Jamal Crawford had it at about 3 years ago before age started catching up to him.
92. TYLER JOHNSON – COMBO GUARD – MIAMI HEAT
The former undrafted free agent out of Fresno State parlayed the Nets’ desperation into a restricted free agent contract that Miami will soon regret matching. That being said, Johnson has turned into a more than capable NBA player who should average somewhere in the 15-16 point range in this, his 4th year in the league.
91. MARKEIFF MORRIS – WING – WASHINGTON WIZARDS
I’ve seen multiple reports where Celtics fans expect Marcus Morris to be able to replace the rebounding, toughness, and versatility of Jae Crowder. To those fans, I say, Marcus is NOT his brother. While Marcus is certainly a solid NBA player, a capable shooter and defender, the tough, gritty, rebounding Morris twin remains in Washington.
Come back for further parts in the series leading up to the top 10 players in the NBA for the upcoming season!
- Jason Sullivan
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