Ranking current NBA players from 1 to 100 is always a fun idea. I mean, it creates fan discussions that lead to grudges that boil over in hatred, create mortal enemies, and ignite the enmities of past generations, but all in a fun way, isn’t it?
Well, CBS is the latest to do this exercise, and I’m getting to grips with their work in my latest read and reaction. Enjoy! (Note that they have a blurb for each player. I won’t copy/paste them all because you can just follow the link. The ideas below are my reactions to each player’s situation.)
9. Jason Tatum
This feels right (so far). Each player has a legitimate candidate for the best player. If Tatum can put together an entire season similar to the second half of last season, he’ll be right in the mix. A strong start will help his narrative, but more importantly the Celtics need to be one of the best in the league.
19. Jaylene Brown
It’s hard to argue with the stars who are on this list before Jaylen (although Zion probably needs to prove he can stay healthy to earn his place). What amuses me with this placement is all the men behind Jaylen. For years he was embroiled in trade rumors and speculation centered on his push to bring in a bigger star. Now he’s ahead of James Harden (21), Donovan Mitchell (22), Bradley Beal (30), and Kyrie Irving (31) – just to name a few. Turns out, being patient and waiting for the guy to evolve was the right plan all along.
45. Marcus Smart
This is where I start questioning the menu a little more. Putting Ben Simmons and Andrew Wiggins before Marcus is a little weird. Both are top-tier defenders in their own right, but Simmons in particular really needs to prove something before I put him in the top 50. Call me stan if you like it, but if you’re starting your list from scratch, we want a smart on either these guys.
56. Robert Williams III
This part of the list is very mixed together. Lots of really talented and superior players are grouped into fairly specific roles. Garrett Allen and Desmond Payne are getting ahead of Rob, which is hard to argue with. Williams is ahead of guys like Deandre Ayton who recently maxed out and recently signed near max guy Jalen Brunson. If Robert can get past his injury issues, his contract will still look like an absolute bargain.
62. Malcolm Brogdon
Perhaps the newest member of the Celtics is only down due to its own infection issues. In fact, misinformation suggests that he may have been on a par with Marcus Smart without injury concerns.
65. Al Horford
Along the same lines, I have a feeling Horford would be a little higher on this list if he were a little smaller. Perhaps in the scope of Robert Williams. I tend to say this arrangement should be a point in time rather than a projection of what they’re going to do next year, but whatever.
100. Grant Williams
False publicity gives Batman a lot of credit for slowing Giannis, which can be hard to replicate, especially once he has a healthy cast around him, but I digress. Grant sneaks into the back of this list by being a real 3D big guy. And that makes sense because the league puts such a premium on those types of players. I will note here that Derek White does not appear on this list. Just point it out.
All in all, not a bad list. Some quirks, but I appreciate the content and the start of the conversation.