Comparing different players who play different positons on different teams with different dynamics is nearly impossible – but it happens anyway. Sports Illustrated revealed their 2020 Top 100 NBA Players list for 2019-20 season on Thursday and, as always, there will be much debate on the order of the list and who was left off.
The defending-champion Toronto Raptors were well represented despite losing superstar Kawhi Leonard, with four players on the current roster cracking the Top 100. Pascal Siakam (24), Kyle Lowry (28), Marc Gasol (42) and Serge Ibaka (80) were all featured on the list.
But even after making last year’s Top 100 and turning in memorable performances in the playoffs, Fred VanVleet was left off this year’s ranking but did make their ‘Biggest Snubs’ list alongside names like Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard and Goran Dragic.
With 30 teams in the league and 100 names making the cut – an average of 3.33 players per team – the Raptors came out slightly ahead. It is a bit of a step down from the year before, however, as five Raptors made the cut in the 2019 edition. Their highest rank was Leonard at 12, with Lowry (23), Jonas Valanciunas (63), Ibaka (78) and VanVleet (94) rounding out Toronto’s representatives.
Speaking of Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers star came in at No. 2 in the 2020 rankings. Sitting atop the list was Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who took home the league’s MVP Award last season after posting averages of 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. In SI’s previous five rankings, LeBron James occupied the top spot. This year, James falls to No. 3.
The highest Canadian on the list was Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray at No. 38. In addition to Leonard in the second spot, former Raptors include DeMar DeRozan (31), Lou Williams (53), P.J. Tucker (74), Valanciunas (88), Danny Green (89) and Terrence Ross (98).
The rankings are described as “exhaustive exercise that seeks to define who will be the league’s best players in the 2019-20 season.” As a result, stars like Kevin Durant, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were not included as all three are expected to miss the vast majority – if not all – of next season. The criteria also factored into the ranking of superstar Klay Thompson (58) given his ACL tear, projected recovery time and a “slow grind back to full form.” Thompson is unlikely to be back until March at the earliest, which explains why he was ranked behind players like Otto Porter Jr. (57), Derrick Favors (55) and Danilo Gallinari (50).
Rookies were not included on the list, so top pick Zion Williamson, high-flying point guard Ja Morant and Canadian RJ Barrett will have to wait at least one more year to crack the Top 100.
Here is the full SI list:
Sports Illustrated's top 100 NBA Players
|Otto Porter Jr.||57||CHI||F|
|Jaren Jackson Jr.||83||MEM||F|