What’s next for NBA’s top 100? Expect Paolo Banchero to move in, and Russell Westbrook to move out – CBS Sports
The only constant in the modern NBA is change. Players get better. They get worse. These people change teams. They retire. The Boston Celtics were below. 500 more than halfway through last season and came two wins short of a championship. There is no such thing as a status quo in basketball.
It makes projects like player rankings especially difficult. They become outdated the moment they’re released. We here at CBS Sports released our own rankings earlier this week, but in a few weeks, the season is going to tip off and many of our picks are going to look foolish. It’s a given in the NBA . So rather than fight against it, let’s embrace it.
Below, we’ll list the five players likeliest to jump into the top 100 during the season as well as the five players likeliest to fall out of it. Those selections will be made on the following criteria:
- Age. Older gamers tend to get worse and younger players tend to get better.
- Injury history. The best ability will be durability.
- Circumstances. The right team can change a player’s career; the wrong one can ruin this.
- League-wide trends. Which participants fit best in the sport that basketball is becoming?
And so, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
No rookie made our top 100 list this season, but we had three sophomores in the top 50: Evan Mobley (40), Cade Cunningham (No. 47) and Scottie Barnes (No. 48). In 2021, sophomores LaMelo Ball (No. 52) and Anthony Edwards (No. 62) jumped onto the list after missing out before their debut seasons. You get the idea. Rookies enter the league needing to prove themselves, and almost every year a few of them do just that.
Who’s that going to be this year? Chet Holmgren was an obvious candidate, but he’s now going to miss the season with a foot injury. Jabari Smith will likely be the stellar player down the road, yet his ball-handling needs years of development. Keegan Murray has a shot to enter the league as a viable two-way wing, but there’s no telling what kind of role he’ll earn on a surprisingly crowded Kings group.
Banchero is by far our best bet here. This year’s No . 1 overall draft pick dominated Summer League plus joins a new Magic staff that’s spent the past decade looking for a proper offensive fulcrum. While his defense certainly needs work, Banchero should score in addition to pass at an extremely high level from the moment he steps on an NBA floor. Those traits helped get Ball and even Edwards in to the top 100 as sophomores. Banchero ought to follow the same trajectory.
Oklahoma City found the first gamer since Oscar Robertson in order to average some sort of triple-double. It’s possible that the Thunder also have the second. Josh Giddey averaged 14. 3 points, 8. 9 rebounds together with 7. 3 assists per 36 minutes as a rookie a season ago. Give him the minutes and the possessions and he could one day flirt with the club currently occupied by just Robertson and Russell Westbrook .
Of course , that doesn’t mean this individual needs to do so to crack the top one hundred. He very nearly did so after their debut campaign. Had he or she not missed the last two months or so last season they likely would’ve made the particular cut. His lone weakness is shooting, and with legendary shooting coach Chip Engelland onboard, it likely won’t be with regard to much longer.
The bottom of our list was populated with plenty of score-first guards. Bogdan Bogdanovic , Seth Curry and additionally Tyler Herro all landed in the 80s. None of them have ever averaged 21 factors per game. Green did that over his / her last 30 games a good season ago — and at just 20 years old.
To some extent, those had been empty calories. The Rockets had typically the NBA’s worst record for the second consecutive season, and the organization wanted to empower its future franchise participant. But it’s not as if he was scoring inefficiently. Plenty of All-Stars fall short of the near-48/39/74 shooting splits he / she posted in that span. Rookies usually start slowly. It’s an expected hazard of youth. But Green started to figure it out over the last few months of final season. You can count the athletic peers at the guard position on one hand and his taking pictures range should be measured inside miles, not feet. If he keeps growing as expected, it won’t even take him that long to prove he’s earned inclusion on next year’s list.
The 2020-21 San Antonio Spurs had eight people average at least 10 points for each game. Seven of those players are gone. San Antonio currently has one point guard on its roster: Tre Jones , who has played roughly 1, 400 NBA moments. The youth movement is in full effect, and while this Spurs are clearly eyeing French sensation Victor Wembanyama, someone will have to shoot the ball while they wait for the 2023 lottery.
Enter Johnson, often the surprising Olympian from the Tokyo Games that has grown steadily since reaching the NBA. Their scoring leaped 4. 7 points each game after his first year season not to mention another 4. 2 last year. His (relatively meager) assist total doubled in his sophomore campaign and his rebounding isn’t far off, but more importantly, he made more than twice as many 3-pointers a time of year ago (159) as he did in first two years combined (73). Johnson entered your NBA as an athlete with upside. He’s growing into a complete basketball player, and while he’d surely prefer to win, San Antonio’s transparent tank will give him an 82-game showcase. We’re going to see everything Manley can do this time of year, and if the last few years are usually any indication, he has quite a bit to show us.
Every season begins with a relatively balanced best 100. Sure, big men tend to be shuttled to the bottom of the little league, but positionally speaking, almost every kind of player is represented. And then the exact playoffs arrive and we realize, yet again, that will wings matter infinitely more than any other position. It’s not your coincidence that the Finals have been played between two of the wing-heaviest rosters in golf ball. Andrew Wiggins was just the second best Warrior in the NBA Finals.
So who are the up-and-comers at the league’s most important position? You could be forgiven regarding ignoring Bey, who has invested the past 2 seasons on the lottery crew in Detroit. But you won’t be ignoring your pet much longer. His / her 51-point game against Orlando last March was his or her coming out party, but the totality of his particular game is what will make him or her a top one hundred player a year from now. He can score from anywhere on the floor, nevertheless has taken nearly 60 percent of his NBA shots from behind the arc. He has all of the tools to defend multiple positions, but hasn’t quite figured out how to use them yet. Sophomores rarely do. Once Bey gets some handle on his considerable talent, his physical profile alone will vault him onto this list. Wings are worth their weight in gold.
Russell Westbrook (No. 98)
The end associated with Allen Iverson’s career was as swift as it was heartbreaking. A former MVP refused to extend his career by coming off of the bench, so having been discarded by the league your dog once dominated. The story is usually well-known. Elaborate often forgotten is that before his ill-fated three-game stint in Memphis, he’d just spent annually averaging 17. 4 details per game for the Pistons . He even made the All-Star Game. He was 33-years-old.
That’s how old Westbrook is now, and he lacks Iverson’s diversity as a scorer while playing in a league that demands it. Westbrook squeaked into this season’s top a hundred on numbers alone, but if Iverson can go from seventeen points to out of the league in a year, who’s to say Westbrook is not at risk of the same fate despite averaging 18-7-7 a year ago?
The entire NBA simply spent a whole summer showing Westbrook how toxic the idea considers the dog, and after a fabulous disastrous period with the Lakers that culminated with perhaps the least self-aware press conference in NBA history, the particular league’s remaining 29 groups can hardly be blamed. Westbrook probably could accumulate numbers for another few years, although who’s going to give him the opportunity? The NBA has made it clear that it is willing to discard MVPs that won’t acknowledge that they are no longer MVPs. At this rate, Westbrook is definitely barreling towards the same fate as Iverson.
P. J. Tucker (No. 93)
This feels sacrilegious. I’m not entirely convinced of which Tucker even ages. Do mountains age? Because they may made of approximately the same material. Strength doesn’t erode found in quite the same way mobility does. Nobody will ever move Tucker off of their spot defensively. But at a certain point, we need to acknowledge Father Time’s undefeated record.
At 37, Tucker is the second-oldest person on our top 100, and it’s fair to express that the same rules don’t apply to LeBron James . A single-digit scorer merely has a much higher bar to clear everywhere else. If Tucker slips even a little bit defensively? He’s not a top-100 gambler. If his / her 3-point shot dips back to around league-average? He’s not really a top-100 guitar player. When you barely dribble and also take most of your photos from a single spot, you have to be flawless inside of virtually every other respect to remain a top hundred player. It just doesn’t feel especially likely that Tucker can be flawless in those areas forever.
Nikola Vucevic (No. 90)
It is entirely possible that one year from today, the two best online players in the Nikola Vucevic trade are guys not named Nikola Vucevic. Franz Wagner (No. 97) finished seven slots in short supply of Vucevic’s spot in our best 100 rankings, and Wendell Carter Jr . (No. 21 on our top center’s list) was nearly an important match intended for Vucevic in every major statistical category, averaging 1 . 8 fewer points, 0. 2 fewer assists and 0. 6 more rebounds for every 36 mins while firing more than five percentage items higher from the floor.
To some degree, positive regression should help Vucevic recover from a messy 2021-22 time. He missed plenty of bunnies that the younger self routinely produced, and after capturing above thirty seven percent through behind typically the arc in his three previous seasons, the guy fell below 32 % a year ago. This individual should be better offensively there is much surprise through sheer shooting variance. But his or her defense has been creaky at its best. With his age-32 year approaching, his particular limited mobility is only going to become a bigger issue. Vucevic might be a high-level regular-season starter, but there’s simply no way he’ll be able to survive defensively against what the playoffs have to offer. If the fact that proves to be the case, his time like a top-100 player is likely over.
Gordon Hayward (No. 79)
The injuries speak for themselves with Hayward. He skipped 33 games a year ago along with 28 as well as 20 within the years prior. Throw in their five-minute 2018 season as well as the durability concerns may never go away. Yet Hayward makes this list each year as a 50-game player. It speaks to be able to how good the person tends to be at those 50 games. Nevertheless there were some signs of slippage last winter that can go unnoticed.
He or she averaged only 17. 9 points every 36 a few minutes. That’s his / her lowest figure in a period in which he was a full-time starter since 2014. The 4. 1 assists in each 36 minutes were the lowest total since leaving the Jazz . Though an intelligent defender, he’s lost enough athletically at this point that he struggles to stay in front of most ball-handlers along with any degree of speed. And he just posted the second-lowest free-throw price of his or her career.
The player Hayward is now is probably one of the 100 best lawn mowers of basketball over a night-to-night basis. If you had him 70 times per months, his placement likely isn’t very in jeopardy. But the standard can be higher when that figure is closer to 50. Eventually, Hayward will probably slip enough that he can no longer justify his particular lengthy absences as a top-100 player. That could easily come this season.
Julius Randle (No. 74)
Randle was a Second-Team All-NBA Player within 2021. They fell for you to No . 74 on these rankings in spite of dipping statistically by only around four points and a single aid per sport. This is the Julius Randle paradox. The numbers are almost a given, and not in a good way. What matters is certainly circumstance.
Randle’s playing style makes sense whenever he’s a team’s primary ball-handler. His or her strength being a driver and underrated playmaking turned your pet into one from the NBA’s most surprisingly effective point forwards when the Knicks built their own entire roster around him or her. But take the ball out of his hands and you’ve suddenly taken everything that makes him special. Randle’s 3-point shooting plummeted by a lot more than 10 percentage points final season, falling in line with his career figures as opposed to the preposterous 41. 1 percent he shot in 2021. His defensive effort comes and goes. He’s not much of a leaper, so while he can be an effective pick-and-roll partner, he’s not offering much in the way regarding vertical gravity. In many ways, all of this makes the dog the forward version involving Westbrook. He can be quite good any time everything orbits him, nonetheless he’s either unwilling or unable to orbit anybody otherwise.
And as this Knicks saw in the 2021 playoffs, your ceiling is fairly low if Randle is your best offensive player. Their 2022 offseason made it perfectly clear exactly how ready they are to move away from him. They will signed Jalen Brunson plus pursued Donovan Mitchell hoping that they would run their particular offense. With RJ Barrett still in place, there just simply weren’t going to be many pictures left over to get Randle. Even with Mitchell present in Cleveland, often the Knicks usually are moving away from Randle-ball, and that’s their only real path to a top-100 slot.