The Top 10 featured the best of the best, the creme de la creme, the 1 percenters. The Top 25 was more Tom & Jerry, Batman & Robin, Mulder and Scully; the players that pair up well with the first-rounders to form a solid foundation. The Top 50 illuminated the specialists. Now we have arrived at the Top 100, where team composition will dictate each team’s direction. As the kids say, hopefully I keep it 100 for this piece. Enjoy!
51) Lauri Markkanen (PF – Chicago Bulls)
I was skeptical of Lauri throughout the draft process last year, but then I fell in love with him after watching him ball out in EuroBasket. I knew he could shoot, but the toughness and moxy he exhibited got my juices flowing. He’s going to be a really good NBA player. As for this season, most of his value comes from the low turnovers and threeecolas, but double-dubs in points and boards could be a nightly occurrence. There could be usage concerns with potential black holes in Lavine and Jabari sharing the court, but that could also be a reason to bump up the rebound numbers. Don’t expect many D stats.
52) Lou Williams (SG – Los Angeles Clippers)
Sweet Lou was a tough one for me because last year was the first time he averaged over 30 minutes per game and the Clippers are freaking loaded in the backcourt. So there’s a chance that he cedes usage and minutes. With that said, he’s Sweet Freaking Lou! And while the Clips have a bunch of guards, most are young and none have the creation and bucket-getting ability of Lou. Therefore, I’m good with the 32 minutes I have him down for, and if he gets the minutes, he’s getting the usage and delivery those threeecolas, points, dimes, and steals.
53) Andre Drummond (C – Detroit Pistons)
Dre is so skilled for a big man. I see him playing at the Drew and other pro-ams over the summer, and he clowns with step-back threeecolas and euro steps in transition. Too bad he can’t make free throws, although he did improve to 60% last season after languishing in the 38% range the prior three seasons. I think the improvements he made in that department are real, but I can’t put him any higher until he proves it on a consistent basis. If he were able to get that into the 70% range, then we are talking about a top 25 player. The FG%, blocks, and boards are all elite. He also contributes steals and will drop some dimes.
54) Luka Doncic (SG – Dallas Mavericks)
I’m a Doncic guy, as I love the size, court awareness, basketball IQ, skills, and moxy. I think he makes an instant impact and will allow Rick Carlisle to open things up and have the Mavericks to play at a faster pace. I acknowledge that the length and physicality of NBA defenders could be an issue, but the league he played over in Europe didn’t consist of a bunch of scrubs. I see him messing around on a nightly basis and throwing a bunch of Luka-oops to DJ. Mavs are going to be a fun team to watch and Doncic will be a big reason why.
55) Jonas Valanciunas (C – Toronto Raptors)
I’m not the biggest JV fan and was surprised he ended up here, but the numbers don’t lie, especially considering the departure of Jakob Poeltl and projected increase in minutes. Elite FG%, excellent FT% for a big man, nightly double-dub potential (26 last season), and low turnovers. Don’t expect many dimes, steals, or blocks, though.
56) Jayson Tatum (SF – Boston Celtics)
I’m a Jason Statham fan, especially the Transporter version. What can I say? I have good taste in movies. So color me surprised when I heard that he plays professional basketball! Ok, I kid. I still have 3/4 of the list to go so I’m starting to get a little coo coo for coco puffs. With that said, there are similarities between Jason and Jayson. Both are athletic, smooth, and make the women coo coo for something other than coco puffs. Tatum’s skill set is really impressive, as he can beat defenders off the dribble and score from all three levels. He also shoots a high percentage from the field while taking care of the ball. The dimes are low, but I can see that eventually developing. The main thing holding him back is the usage and shot attempts. The Celtics are loaded on the wing and in the backcourt.
57) Nikola Mirotic (PF – New Orleans Pelicans)
I was surprised to see Mirotic here, but then I checked basketballmonster.com and he ended last season as the 40th player overall! It makes sense, as he can score from all three levels, grab boards, chips in decent D stats, and has an absurdly low turnover rate. In addition, he plays on a Pelicans squad that was #1 in offensive pace last season. The only thing you won’t get are assists and the FG% is low, but Mirotic contributes across the board. The Pelicans have assembled an awesome front court triumvirate.
58) Josh Richardson (SF – Miami Heat)
My faith in RichardSON was rewarded last year, as he ended as the 53rd overall player according to basketballmonster.com. Not the most efficient or prolific scorer, my RichardSON derives most of his value from a low turnover rate and D stats (1.5 steals and .9 blocks). Projected to make 1.48 threeecolas next season, my SON could become the next member of the 1/1/1 club.
59) JJ Redick (SG – Philadelphia Sixers)
One of the best shooters in the game, Redick will provide those threeecolas (projected to convert the 10th-most per game). Low turnover rate is nice and shoots a relatively high percentage. Doesn’t provide D stats, but will chip in a menage a trois of assists and Two and a Half Men of rebounds. On a Sixers team that finished 7th in points per game with Simmons and Embiid, Redick was second on the team in shot attempts with 12.6 a game.
60) Jeff Teague (PG – Minnesota Timberwolves)
Not exciting, but provides close to 7 dimes a game while contributing a little something something in everything but blocks. He also plays for Tom Thibodeau aka the AI coach in NBA 2K who will execute the minutes allocation in the gameplan under coaching settings, regardless of game context. There’s value in that consistency.
61) Serge Ibaka (PF – Toronto Raptors)
When I finally acquire my 88 miles per hour DeLorean, the first thing I do is go back to 2011-2012. That’s when Ibaka was blocking 3.7 shots per game and was messing around to the tune of 14 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 blocks in a game. I miss that Ibaka. Now, he’s just a dude that hangs out on the perimeter and shoots layup line Js. I’m exaggerating of course, but that’s what it feels like everytime I watch the Raptors play. Anyways, I did give him slight bumps across the board and think there’s some upside, as the Raptors could play more small ball lineups with Serge at the 5. I’m surprised Ibaka is at 61 and kind of hate it, but it is what it is.
62) Aaron Gordon (PF – Orlando Magic)
Man, the breakout sure did seem real at the start of last year. Dropping 40-burgers and shooting 40% from downtown. Whew….Bitcoin Gordon? He averaged 33 minutes a game and showed tremendous potential, but the rebound and D numbers seem light for a player of his size and athleticism. With that said, he’s still only 22 years old.
63) Paul Millsap (PF – Denver Nuggets)
Did I mention that I love the Nuggets? It’s a shame Millsap got hurt last season and missed a bunch of games. All indications point to a healthy Millsap for the start of this season, and I can’t wait to watch he and Jokic work their magic. Millsap was a member of the 1/1/1 club, but only played 38 games. He should renew his membership once again, which would put him in elite company. A really solid player to have, as he won’t kill you in any category and will provide a little something something across the board.
64) Joe Ingles (SF – Utah Jazz)
Jingle bells. Batman smells. Robin laid an egg. Joe Ingles definitely did not lay an egg or stink up the joint last season. He rang the bell and was sneaky good for fantasy, ending as the 61st player. Really good FG% with 2.4 threeecolas is lovely. Then add in 4 boards and a shade under 5 dimes and it’s Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way. Now add in 1.1 steals. Oh what fun it is to ride. The lack of blocks and 11 points per game are what hold him back.
65) Dwight Howard (C – Washington Wizards)
There are situations in life when I get too cute, for whatever reason. Sometimes it works out, but more often than not, it doesn’t. Regardless, it’s usually unnecessary. That’s Dwight Howard in a nutshell. He tries to be Hakeem Olajuwon on offense. STOP IT! Set screens and dive to the rim. EZ PZ. Hopefully, playing alongside John Wall will alleviate the problem. Health permitting, Dwight is still a beast. Elite FG%, blocks, and double-dubs (4th with 53 last season). The pitiful FT% really holds him down, though.
66) Jonathan Isaac (PF – Orlando Magic)
For full disclosure, I wasn’t a fan of Isaac last season. I saw the defensive potential, but didn’t think he would be able to make significant contributions on the offensive side of the ball. After watching him in Summer League, I’m a born again Isaacian. The stroke looked good, but I was most impressed when he drove into the lane, stopped, then rose up above defenders and confidently buried jumper over jumper in defenders eyes. Hallelujah! With that said, it was Summer League and he’s still a bit raw, but I can see it and acknowledge that he could smash this ranking. With that said, I need to see it on a consistent basis against the big boys. Next year, but the D stats will keep him relevant this season.
67) Jaren Jackson Jr (PF – Memphis Grizzlies)
I love, love, love JJJ. We know about the defense, but he showed off the stroke from downtown in Summer League. I initially had his numbers much higher, but had to refrain. He is a rookie after all. With that said, I think the ceiling is super high and I do think he gets plenty of minutes playing alongside Gasol.
68) Wendell Carter Jr (C – Chicago Bulls)
Another rookie who impressed me during the Summer League. He’s agile and quick for a big man. Watching him work off block outs for rebounds was refreshing to see. The on ball D was good, although he could get bullied by some of the stronger guys, but the off ball D was ferocious. While much of his value derives from blocks, he’s fluid on the offensive end and has a 3-point stroke. I initially had him projected for 28-30 minutes, as I think he’s that good. In addition, I see him overtaking Robin Lopez at some point during the season. With that said, I stayed conservative and put him down for 24 minutes. He is a rookie after all but the upside is immense.
69) Harrison Barnes (PF – Dallas Mavericks)
For all the people that hate on Kevin Durant for joining the Warriors, y’all should point your vitriol towards Barnes. If he doesn’t play like he saw a ghost on the court in the 2015/2016 playoffs, there’s a chance the Warriors re-sign Barnes. Then Golden State doesn’t sign Durant and……Warriors continue winning championships? Maybe they do sign Durant regardless, but it’s an interesting thing to think about. Barnes is meh, but he plays a ton of minutes every game and is locked in for close to 20 points. The FG% is good, turnovers are low, and he will grab some boards and drain some threeecolas. Just don’t expect dimes or D stats.
70) Zach LaVine (SG – Chicago Bulls)
LaVine is a super-athletic player that spent the bulk of last season recovering from knee surgery. He should have a high usage rate for a young Bulls team, but the FG% will likely be bad. I’m not a big LaVine guy, but he will grab some boards, dish out a few dimes, and knock down some threeecolas. In addition, he will also get his 211 on.
71) Nicolas Batum (SG – Charlotte Hornets)
Viva la France! Doesn’t garner the highest usage (18-20%), so the point ceiling is capped, but he pulls down enough boards and dishes out dimes to be a threat to mess around on any given day. There was a time when Batum would block over a shot per game, but those days are long gone. Too bad because he could be another member of the 1/1/1 club.
72) Danilo Gallinari (SF – Los Angeles Clippers)
I have a love/hate relationship with Gallinari. I love his aggressiveness driving to the basket, swagger, and ability to shoot and get buckets. I hate that he doesn’t play D and always gets hurt. In 10 professional seasons, Gallinari has played less than 65 games in 8 of them. Gallinari is the crazy ex-girlfriend, who everyone keeps telling me is bad news, I keep going back to.
73) Tim Hardaway Jr (SF – New York Knicks)
I love the hardway bets on the craps table. Hardaway on the court? Not a huge fan, but I can’t deny the usage and opportunity. With Porzingis likely to miss most, if not all, of next season, THJ is looking at a high-20s usage rate and close to 15 shots per game. There should be plenty of threeecolas and the turnover rate is low for such a high-usage player. Granted, no chance for turnovers when a player just jacks up shot after shot. I kid…not really, but he will dish a few dimes per game. He also chips in a steal per game and will grab a few boards.
74) Hassan Whiteside (C – Miami Heat)
Mini-Dwight. Double-dub machine with a better FT%. Just a tad light on FG%, points, and rebounds. Keep in mind that Whiteside could get traded. I’ve seen Cleveland mentioned as a possibility. Depending on where you lands, a trade could boost his fantasy value, as he could see an uptick in minutes. There were times last season when he wouldn’t see the court in crunch time.
75) Jordan Bell (C – Golden State Warriors)
I love Bell this season. The crazy thing is that I loved him more before talking things over with Viz. Much has to do with DeMarcus Cousins. I’m pretty much fading him but couldn’t completely dismiss him. So, initially I had Bell at around 28 minutes per game and Cousins at under 10, but I flip flopped and dropped Bell to 20. I do think that there’s a pretty good chance that Bell does get 28 minutes and breaks out, but I tempered my expectations in the projections. Bell is an athletic big man in the Clint Capela mold, but with better FT%. Points, boards, and blocks with a few dimes. Like Capela, Bell plays in one of the most fantasy-friendly environments in the NBA.
76) Steven Adams (C – Oklahoma City Thunder)
I used to joke that Adams spends his spare time boxing kangaroos. But then I had an epiphany and now I can’t get it out of my head.
Why did I not see it before? Elite FG%, nightly double-dub possibility in points and boards, and 1.1 steals with 1 block. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
77) Blake Griffin (PF – Detroit Pistons)
My loyal readers know it’s Ricky Lake Griffin because of the lack of blocks. Career 0.5 number? For a guy that tall and athletic is atrocious. Lake doesn’t bring the D, which women frown upon, but he does supply plenty of O, which gets women…well, you know. Threeecolas and always a threat to mess around.
78) Dewayne Dedmon (C – Atlanta Hawks)
Dedmon is the ROSS of centers. Cheap, but there’s quality if you look hard enough. 8 boards, .81 threeecolas, 74% FT%, and decent D stats are very nice from the big man position. He will only play around 25 minutes, though, and the Hawks acquired Alex Len, but the team drafted Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, so the offensive pace could pick up.
79) DeMar DeRozan (SG – San Antonio Spurs)
I always reserve a place in my heart for DeRozan because he’s a local player and I’ve always been enamored with his incredible athleticism. With that said, I’ve often been disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. He’s been a very good player; just not great. Last season, he upped his threeecola attempts and dished out more dimes, but I’m thinking it may end up being an outlier year. The Spurs were 27th in 3-point attempts last season, so there may not be as much of an emphasis from the organization for DeRozan to continue hucking and chucking. In addition, the Spurs were 29th in offensive pace, which limits possessions and opportunities. Don’t forget about Pop resting players during the regular season. I’ve dropped the field goal attempts, threeecola attempts, and assists for DeRozan this season.
80) Kyle Anderson (SF – Memphis Grizzlies)
I gave slight bumps across the board, as I think Anderson plays a few more minutes per game in Memphis. He’s light on the threeecolas, but the FG% is high, turnovers are low, and he’s a straight criminal (1.6 steals).
81) Lonzo Ball (PG – Los Angeles Lakers)
The shooting percentages stink, both from the field and the charity stripe. The triple-dub threat is real, though, and the D stats. Those D stats. The ladies and fantasy owners will be happy when Ball delivers the D. The arrival of LeBron will help Lonzo, as he is very good working off the ball.
82) Darren Collison (PG – Indiana Pacers)
Collison ended as the 46th player according to basketballmonster.com. Good FG%, a threeecola here and there, assists, steals, and low turnovers. He played 29 minutes per game last season. I have him down for 25 minutes this year, as I believe the Cory Joseph and Tyreke Evans acquisitions will adversely impact his playing time.
83) Goran Dragic (PG – Miami Heat)
Dragic is a stealth dragon because he brings the heat, but I rarely see it or remember it. Maybe he’s a drone? Droneic? Did you know he dropped a 40-burger last season and had 50 games with 30 or more points? Anyways, I like Dragic. He has the potential to go bonkers and mess around, but more than likely, he will just be solid and contribue in everything but blocks.
84) Mohamed Bamba (C – Orlando Magic)
Bamba is truly a case of the numbers telling the whole story. 7′ 1″ height. 7′ 10″ wingspan. 2.2 blocks in 20 minutes per game. My work here is done.
85) Ricky Rubio (PG – Utah Jazz)
Rubio is Lonzo Ball without the blocks and bricks from the charity stripe. Also, Utah was 25th in pace last season, while the Lakers were tied for 2nd.
86) Evan Fournier (SF – Orlando Magic)
Fournier got off to a smoking hot start last season; scoring, rebounding, dishing dimes, and getting his 211 on. He pilfered at least one in each of the first 9 games, then in Game #11, he racked up…not 1….not 2….not 3….not 4….but 5! He did eventually cool off and unfortunately missed some time due to injury. Fournier will chip in a few rebounds and assists, but his value is tied to his scoring, threeecolas, and steals.
87) Taurean Prince (SF – Atlanta Hawks)
Prince had a 22% usage rate last season, which helped him become a top 100 fantasy player. With Trae Young added to the team, I can see the usage rate dropping but the shot attempts increasing. There should be plenty of wide open looks and the pace should increase in Hotlanta, which should allow for more transition opportunities.
88) Willie Cauley-Stein (C – Sacramento Kings)
While the Kings have a gazillion power forwards, the depth chart at center looks to be settled with Cauley-Stein and Koufos. Elite FG% with double-dub potential and a steal and block each are Win Cauley-Stein’s $$$. The Kings were dead-last in offensive pace last season, so there’s a chance that upticks.
89) Larry Nance Jr (C – Cleveland Cavaliers)
Won’t get a full allotment of minutes, but should be a positive in FG%, rebounds, steals, blocks, and turnovers. I love his athleticism and potential. Hopefully he can refine the nuances of the game to become more of a force.
90) Eric Gordon (SG – Houston Rockets)
91) Corey Brewer (SG – Oklahoma City Thunder)
I initially had Brewer’s minutes taking a significant hit, considering the Thunder acquired Dennis Schroder and have Andre Roberson returning from injury. After meditating on it, I think he gets around 28 minutes per game due to his defensive prowess and positional versatility. 2 steals and 1.15 threeecolas are sexy. The low turnovers are also nice if you’re into that sort of thing.
UPDATE: Read comments below on my thinking regarding Brewer. I started working on these in late July/early August, so I thought Brewer would be re-signed at some point and be a vital part of the team. Since we are in September and no moves have been made, and I’ll be publishing the complete sortable list soon, I’ve taken him out of the rotation. I gave Roberson an extra 5 minutes, Abrines 3, while giving Luwawu-Cabarrot and Ferguson 10 each.
92) Kris Dunn (PG – Chicago Bulls)
The shooting is bad and the turnovers are high, but the boards, dimes, and steals. Whew! I was off Dunn last season, as I didn’t think he’d be able to stay on the court due to his poor shooting. He proved me wrong. He Dunn did it.
93) Dario Saric (PF – Philadelphia Sixers)
Mario with the big D satisfies both the men and women. On the basketball court, he complements Embiid and Simmons so well because he can shoot so well from downtown. He also brings a level of toughness. Mario with the big D can’t be limp, ya know? Unfortunately, he doesn’t provide much in the D stats, which is strange for a Mario with the big D.
94) Gordon Hayward (SF – Boston Celtics)
I feel like I was pretty conservative regarding Hayward, but sometimes I ponder if I’m actually being too optimistic. He’s returning from a brutal injury and the Celtics are freaking loaded on the wings. With that said, he’s a talented player that is a negative in only FG% and blocks. I have a feeling that he will be overdrafted, but could become one of the better late-round picks if he does fall.
95) Malcolm Brogdon (PG – Milwaukee Bucks)
Checks Bucks depth chart. Eric Bledsoe at point guard. Ok. At shooting guard? Tony Snell. Donte DiVincenzo. Uh, yeah. Brogndon is getting minutes. Not flashy but solid across the board. Good FG%, chips in a threeecola, a few boards and dimes, a steal, and low turnovers. Won’t win you a week, but won’t kill you anywhere and contributes everywhere except blocks.
96) Jusuf Nurkic (C – Portland Trail Blazers)
A big man that scores, grabs rebounds, and can’t shoot free throws. What else is new? The FG% is good, but low for a big man. The blocks and steals are good, but the turnovers are high. In addition, while he played 79 games last season, he’s missed a total of 254 games in his six-year career.
97) Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG – Sacramento Kings)
I was super impressed with Bogdanovic’s game last year. He can not only score and has range, but he does it efficiently. 39% from downtown is no laughing matter. In addition, he’s a smooth criminal with over a steal per game. A trio of boards and dimes a game shows that he has an all-around game. The only category he won’t contribute much in is blocks.
98) Mitchell Robinson (C – New York Knicks)
Quite possible that my 1.7 projection could be light. In addition, I don’t think Porzingis plays much this upcoming season, so the 20 minutes a game could be low as well.
99) Thaddeus Young (PF – Indiana Pacers)
Can completely disappear on some nights, but light it up on others. WARNING: Will cause ulcer if following too closely. Much of his value is derived from the low turnovers, decent FG%, and high steal numbers.
100) Marcin Gortat (C – Los Angeles Clippers)
Not exciting for fantasy, but Gortat is a big man that can provide the occasional double-dub. He had 15 for the Wizards last season. Only Boban is behind him on the depth chart, so I see Gortat getting an additional 3 minutes of run per game in LA.