Fall is here, it wasn’t the cooler temps that tipped me off, it wasn’t the calendar, it was the line around the block at Starbucks, aka, Basic Bitch central, where all the soccer moms were gathering for their pumpkin spice whatchamacallits.
Shorter days, cooler temps, and more sports to watch. Myself, I’ll be making my own little Olive Garden tomorrow, homemade pasta sauce with meatballs, Zupa Tuscana Soup, and a nice lemon desert, all the while watching football. I hope wherever you are you’re able to do the same.
30. AL HORFORD – POST – BOSTON CELTICS
Never a dominant (though capable) scorer, Horford’s strength is in his overall game. The ability to post up, shoot from the high post, as well as having now developed a more than respectable 3 point shot (he shot 36% on 3.6 attempts a game) is complimented by his being one of the top passing bigs in the league. His 5.0 assists per game led all centers. Combined with his leadership and superb defense, Horford is one of the overlooked stars of the NBA.
29. DEANDRE JORDAN – POST – LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Four straight seasons of double-double averages. Included in that is the last 3 containing field goal shooting percentages over 70%. Never having averaged more than 7.1 field goal attempts per game. His offensive production is based upon opportunity. While his free throw shooting is atrocious, he may see an uptick in field goal attempts this season. The question is, will he be able to take advantage without Chris Paul around?
28. KRISTAPS PORZINGIS – POST – NEW YORK KNICKS
The 22 year old with 2 seasons of NBA experience under his belt now becomes the unquestioned focus of the New York Knicks offense with the trade of Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City. A shot blocking, 3 point shooting, 7’3” basketball unicorn. Averaging a shade over 18 points a year in his sophomore campaign, it would be shocking to see Kristaps’ average jump into the 25 points a game range.
27. DRAYMOND GREEN – POST – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Some people will find putting Green this low to be a real kick in the nuts. One argument being that if he wasn’t on the Warriors, his overall numbers would rise in a vacuum. The other side, and the side I’m on, would show that Green’s passing numbers are inflated due to the quality of the recipients of the passes, and his shooting figures are bolstered by the fact that he is the 4th, and sometimes 5th scoring option on the floor. That being said, not every one put into his position could produce like Green, and you can’t take anything away from his defensive versatility and ability.
26. MARC GASOL – POST – MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
The 9 year vet, and former 2nd round draft pick of the Lakers has averaged double digits in scoring every year in the league, impressive for a 2nd round selection. An expansion of his offensive game (his three point shot attempt average jumped to 3.6 a game after never having hoisted more than .2 a game) resulted in a new career high in scoring during his age 31 season.
25. CARMELO ANTHONY – WING – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
The newest member of the Thunder (Trey Burke just backed away from negotiations, so I can still say that), Melo will be an interesting addition. The Thunder have what is on paper an outstanding “Big 3” of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Pau George. The question is, as the elder statesman, will Melo take the back seat to become the third wheel? If so, this can work. Otherwise you can expect the Thunder to petition the league to expand the shot clock for their games, as 24 seconds simply isn’t enough time for Westbrook to dribble around forever AND let Anthony sit on the ball for extended periods of time.
24. JOEL EMBIID – POST – PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Availability is a skill, and its one of the few that Embiid doesn’t have. If… and only IF Embiid were able to play 82 games (or something close) he would sky rocket up this list as he is the closest thing the league has seen to Hakeem Olajawon in 15 years. Athletic ability, offensive skill, defensive skill, and charisma Embiid is the whole package. If he is healthy the 76ers are likely a playoff team, and a quality one at that.
23. BLAKE GRIFFIN – POST – LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
With news that Griffin is now “hooking up” with Kendell Jenner, I’m tempted to drop him off the top 100 entirely, as getting involved with that family can do nothing but torpedo a successful NBA career. That being said, Griffin is not far removed from being a top MVP candidate. He’ll now be the unquestioned centerpiece of the Clippers franchise, and while they’re not primed for a Finals run, the squad isn’t devoid of talent. A capable passer, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Griffin average 25/10/6 this season.
22. KEVIN LOVE – POST – CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
19 points and 11 boards are more than respectable numbers. No longer the 3rd wheel in Cleveland, especially with Isaiah Thomas sidelined, will Love take a more assertive roll in the offense? Will Lebron let him? Could this be the end of the Cavs’ run before Love returns to the environment he left in Minnesota where he was averaging 25+ in a vacuum? Will our hero escape? Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel.
21. C.J. MCCOLLUM – BALL HANDLER – PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS
After a quiet first two seasons coming out of the Patriot League, McCollum really exploded the last two seasons averaging over 20 points a game each season. Until Harden-Paul teamed up, the Lilliard-McCollum combo was the most lethal backcourt in the game (apologies to John Wall & Bradley Beal). One of the best side kicks in the league, the only issue for the Blazers is that neither is tall enough to reach the plates on the top shelf of the cabinet.
TOP TWENTY COMING UP NEXT!!!!! The final 2 installments will be posted by the end of this glorious weekend, so you’ve got that to look forward too.
- Jason Sullivan
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