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TECKnical Foul NBA Rank: 2019 Edition

October 14, 2019

 

The 2019-2020 NBA Season is finally upon us.

 

To celebrate the opening of another year, I've updated my Top 100 rankings. This is a ranking of the players at this very moment, not a prognostication of how they'll perform this upcoming season.

 

What do you think? Who's too high? Who's too low?

100. Marvin Bagley III, SAC

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

99. Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

Jackson and Bagley just edged out fellow 2018 draftees DeAndre Ayton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for inclusion on this list. I expect all four to break out in major ways but both Jackson and Bagley have the advantage of being force fed buckets by capable pick-and-roll PG’s.

 

98. DeAndre Jordan, BKN

2018 Ranking: 49

2017 Ranking: 42

 

97. Andre Iguodala, MEM

2018 Ranking: 73

2017 Ranking: 44

 

96. Jarrett Allen, BKN

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

Allen comes in higher than the man he'll likely wind up backing up. DeAndre Jordan (#98) was the tax for signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this offseason, but it wouldn't surprise me if Allen replaces him in the starting lineup before All-Star Break.

 

95. Joe Harris, BKN

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

94. Jonas Valanciunas, MEM

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

93. Danny Green, LAL

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: 81

 

92. Derrick Favors, NOP

2018 Ranking: 90

2017 Ranking: 86

 

91. Goran Dragic, MIA

2018 Ranking: 50

2017 Ranking: 45

 

90. Fred VanVleet, TOR

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

89. Brandon Ingram, NOP

2018 Ranking: 62

2017 Ranking: 98

 

88. Dejounte Murray, SA

2018 Ranking: 87

2017 Ranking: N/A

Murray was poised to breakout last season before tearing his ACL in training camp. His injury allowed for Derrick White to emerge and now the Spurs have to figure out their backcourt of the future. What this means for DeMar DeRozan's future in San Antonio is anyone's guess.

 

87. Caris LeVert, BKN

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

86. Thaddeus Young, CHI

2018 Ranking: 89

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

85. Derrick Rose, DET

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

If not for off-the-court complications, Rose's comeback would be one of the most inspirational sports stories of the century. From a basketball standpoint, I am happy for him and it would not surprise me to see him flourish alongside Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond in Detroit.

 

84. Serge Ibaka, TOR

2018 Ranking: 70

2017 Ranking: 54

 

83. Eric Gordon, HOU

2018 Ranking: 53

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

82. Kyle Kuzma, LAL

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

Kuzma is the swing piece for the Lakers going forward. He can turn what is currently a top-four seeded contender into a Finals frontrunner. He also represents the Lakers best option to improve the team via trade. He'll be an interesting player to watch this season and the years to come.

 

81. Lauri Markkanen, CHI

2018 Ranking: 66

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

80. Bam Adebayo, MIA

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

With the trade of Hassan Whiteside to Portland, Adebayo is unquestionably the center of the present and future in Miami. While he projected as a devastating rim runner coming out of college, he's also flashed skill and touch in his first two years that raises his ceiling tremendously.

 

79. Julius Randle, NYK

2018 Ranking: 88

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

78. Montrezl Harrell, LAC

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

77. Justise Winslow, MIA

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

76. Trae Young, ATL

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

It took him a while to adjust to the NBA game but once he did, Young took off! His abysmal defense tanked his ranking this year but the shooting and playmaking are for real.

 

75. Lou Williams, LAC

2018 Ranking: 77

2017 Ranking: 92

Williams is going to have a monster year. Between the load management of their two stars and the lack of scoring and playmaking on this otherwise stacked roster, Sweet Lou will be vital to the Clippers success.

 

74. Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

73. Derrick White, SA

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

72. Robert Covington, MIN

2018 Ranking: 46

2017 Ranking: 64

 

71. Joe Ingles, UTA

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

70. Gary Harris, DEN

2018 Ranking: 56

2017 Ranking: 55

 

69. Ricky Rubio, PHX

2018 Ranking: 57

2017 Ranking: 56

It will be interesting to see how the Suns fare with a competent point guard for the first time in nearly two whole seasons. Rubio still lacks shooting but his playmaking, defense and general professionalism should help Phoenix immensely.

 

68. Steven Adams, OKC

2018 Ranking: 43

2017 Ranking: 74

 

67. PJ Tucker, HOU

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

66. Harrison Barnes, SAC

2018 Ranking: 47

2017 Ranking: 46

 

65. Marcus Smart, BOS

2018 Ranking: 61

2017 Ranking: 77

 

64. Zach LaVine, CHI

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: 99

On talent alone, LaVine is easily a top 50 player but there is still something missing. He did do better than expected last season as the Bulls primary option while coming off of ACL surgery. If he can shore up the defense and give a little more in the way of playmaking, he may yet reach his potential.

 

63. Brook Lopez, MIL

2018 Ranking: 64

2017 Ranking: 31

 

62. Gordon Hayward, BOS

2018 Ranking: 24

2017 Ranking: 19

Hayward's spot on this list is contingent upon a return to form for the former All-Star. The player we saw last year wasn't even in the top 150, but I expect that year two post-injury (and the removal of Kyrie Irving) does wonders for his production.

 

61. Patrick Beverley, LAC

2018 Ranking: 71

2017 Ranking: 59

 

60. Aaron Gordon, ORL

2018 Ranking: 59

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

59. Josh Richardson, PHI

2018 Ranking: 55

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

58. Danilo Gallinari, OKC

2018 Ranking: 85

2017 Ranking: 62

 

57. Clint Capela, HOU

2018 Ranking: 58

2017 Ranking: 85

 

56. Jaylen Brown, BOS

2018 Ranking: 54

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

55. John Collins, ATL

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

Collins averaged nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds last season for a fun Atlanta Hawks team. He flashed an improved jumper and better than advertised defensive instincts and that progression figures to continue as Atlanta collects more complimentary talent around him and Trae Young.

 

54. Malcolm Brogdon, IND

2018 Ranking: 74

2017 Ranking: 66

I love "The President" but I can't help but think that he has become slightly overrated this summer. For much of last season, Brogdon was far and away the Bucks fifth most important player. Now that he's left Milwaukee, the national media is trying to paint his departure as the reason why the Bucks will fail this season and why Giannis will eventually follow him out of town. All I have to say about that (in the words of Wisconsin's other GOAT) is R-E-L-A-X.

 

53. Buddy Hield, SAC

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

52. Domantas Sabonis, IND

2018 Ranking: 83

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

51. Eric Bledsoe, MIL

2018 Ranking: 60

2017 Ranking: 43

 

50. Otto Porter, Jr., CHI

2018 Ranking: 45

2017 Ranking: 53

 

49. D'Angelo Russell, GS

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: 99

Much like Zach LaVine (#64), it’s the defense and intangibles that lowered the ranking of the obviously talented Russell. His All-Star berth was a bit premature in my estimation, but he has made strides as a finisher and lead guard. Playing with Steph Curry should do wonders for him...but I'm not sure how that backcourt will hold up defensively until Klay Thompson returns.

 

48. Tobias Harris, PHI

2018 Ranking: 65

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

47. Kevin Love, CLE

2018 Ranking: 32

2017 Ranking: 35

 

46. Paul Millsap, DEN

2018 Ranking: 37

2017 Ranking: 20

 

45. Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

44. Nikola Vucevic, ORL

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

43. Andre Drummond, DET

2018 Ranking: 44

2017 Ranking: 78

 

42. Myles Turner, IND

2018 Ranking: 39

2017 Ranking: 58

 

41. Jayson Tatum, BOS

2018 Ranking: 48

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

40. Luka Doncic, DAL

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

“Luka Mania” swept the NBA last season and Doncic was as good as advertised. He has the confidence and talent of a star, but he needs to improve his body and athleticism if he wants to ever be what his champions envision him becoming.

 

39. Victor Oladipo, IND

2018 Ranking: 29

2017 Ranking: 71

 

38. De'Aaron Fox, SAC

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

Fox (aka the Imposter Eric J.) returned for his sophomore season with a much improved jump shot and that really unlocked the rest of his game. He also displayed a preternatural feel for the game which should result in an All-Star berth much sooner than expected.

 

37. Jamal Murray, DEN

2018 Ranking: 63

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

36. CJ McCollum, POR

2018 Ranking: 41

2017 Ranking: 36

 

35. DeMar Derozan, SA

2018 Ranking: 31

2017 Ranking: 38

 

34. Marc Gasol, TOR

2018 Ranking: 28

2017 Ranking: 17

 

33. Kristaps Porzingis, DAL

2018 Ranking: 30

2017 Ranking: 25

The Unicorn finally makes his way back to the court after almost 18 months of rehab for a torn ACL. This ranking assumes that he picks up close to where he left off, but it may take the better part of the season before he's back to full strength.

 

32. Donovan Mitchell, UTA

2018 Ranking: 38

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

31. Kyle Lowry, TOR

2018 Ranking: 35

2017 Ranking: 28

 

30. Pascal Siakam, TOR

2018 Ranking: N/A

2017 Ranking: N/A

Siakam made the highest jump on this year's list after being completely unranked a season ago. It will be interesting to see what he can do as the number one option for the defending champion, Toronto Raptors.

 

29. Mike Conley, UTA

2018 Ranking: 36

2017 Ranking: 18

 

28. Devin Booker, PHX

2018 Ranking: 40

2017 Ranking: 70

 

27. Al Horford, PHI

2018 Ranking: 18

2017 Ranking: 21

Horford is entering what figures to be the final phase of his career. After a surprising exit from Boston, Big Al looks to shore up the Embiid-less minutes for Philly. The key to this team's success will be his ability to share the court with the Sixers franchise big man.

 

26. Khris Middleton, MIL

2018 Ranking: 26

2017 Ranking: 23

 

25. Ben Simmons, PHI

2018 Ranking: 17

2017 Ranking: N/A

 

24. LaMarcus Aldridge, SA

2018 Ranking: 21

2017 Ranking: 30

 

23. Klay Thompson, GS

2018 Ranking: 11

2017 Ranking: 14

Klay has already been ruled out until at least the All-Star break but if the Warriors can tread water until then, I fully believe they'll be a legit contender by playoff time.

 

22. Bradley Beal, WAS

2018 Ranking: 34

2017 Ranking: 40

Will Beal finish the season in Washington? He figures to be the biggest name on the trade market this season but the Wizards have said they want to keep him long term. If he is moved, he could be the piece that swings the championship.

 

21. Draymond Green, GS

2018 Ranking: 16

2017 Ranking: 15

Last season, Green decided to wait until the spring to get into playing shape but once he did he transformed into the same monster defender non-Warriors fans have grown to hate. The Warriors will rely more heavily on his playmaking than years past but he's supposedly come into camp in shape and highly motivated.

 

20. Kemba Walker, BOS

2018 Ranking: 33

2017 Ranking: 29

 

19. Chris Paul, OKC

2018 Ranking: 8

2017 Ranking: 8

 

18. Jrue Holiday, NO

2018 Ranking: 27

2017 Ranking: 41

 

17. Russell Westbrook, HOU

2018 Ranking: 7

2017 Ranking: 4

Westbrook's shooting numbers completely tanked last season and so did his place in these rankings. Reuniting with Harden should take some of the pressure off of Russ and unlock parts of his game. I believe the Rockets will wind up with the best record in the West and flame out in the playoffs, per usual.

 

16. Jimmy Butler, MIA

2018 Ranking: 12

2017 Ranking: 16

 

15. Blake Griffin, DET

2018 Ranking: 42

2017 Ranking: 24

Last year, Griffin had a major bounce-back season for the Pistons until a late season injury derailed his momentum. If he remains healthy, I don't see why he couldn't be an All-Star starter in the depleted Eastern Conference.

 

14. Kyrie Irving, BKN

2018 Ranking: 15

2017 Ranking: 12

The fact that Irving is still a top 15 player on this list is a testament to how many people got hurt or seriously regressed last season. As has been the case for every other iteration of this list, Irving’s place is propped up completely by his individual offensive brilliance.

 

13. Rudy Gobert, UTA

2018 Ranking: 22

2017 Ranking: 22

 

12. Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN

2018 Ranking: 23

2017 Ranking: 26

 

11. Joel Embiid, PHI

2018 Ranking: 10

2017 Ranking: 37

If I knew I was getting Embiid for 75+ games this season, he'd be a few spots higher. He's a dark horse MVP candidate if everything breaks right in Philadelphia this season. They had a splashy summer, but I'm not sure they're any better than the team that pushed Toronto to seven games last season.

 

10. Nikola Jokic, DEN

2018 Ranking: 19

2017 Ranking: 34

Jokic’s passing is flat-out ridiculous; the Joker is a top-10 playmaker in the league regardless of position. His offensive game doesn't have any holes and his defense is better than he's given credit for.

 

9. Paul George, LAC

2018 Ranking: 14

2017 Ranking: 13

PG finished third in MVP voting last season but he's only number nine in my rankings...what gives? In all the hoopla of George and Leonard going to the Clippers, people seem to be forgetting that he is coming off of double shoulder surgery. The last time I checked, functioning shoulders were vitally important to successfully shooting a basketball. We'll see how his shoulders respond to rehab before I crown the Clippers.

 

8. Damian Lillard, POR

2018 Ranking: 13

2017 Ranking: 11

Lillard got extra points in these rankings for killing Shaquille O’Neal in their rap battle (just kidding...kind of).

 

7. Anthony Davis, LAL

2018 Ranking: 5

2017 Ranking: 10

Davis marks the start of the top tier of NBA players. He might be the most talented player in the league (when healthy) but that talent has yet to manifest itself in sustained team success. Linking up with LeBron James in Los Angeles should make clear what Davis' true ceiling is.

 

6. Kevin Durant, BKN

2018 Ranking: 2

2017 Ranking: 2

If not for his untimely injury in the NBA Finals, Durant was on track to finally take the top spot in this list. It looks like he is unlikely to play this season and we don't know what he'll be upon his return, but I'll still take a diminished Durant over 97% of the league.

 

5. LeBron James, LAL

2018 Ranking: 1

2017 Ranking: 1

James finally returned to the land of the mortals last season when injury and a bum roster tanked his inaugural season in Los Angeles. Assuming health, I think he still has a few dominant seasons left in him but his margin for error is slipping.

 

4. Stephen Curry, GS

2018 Ranking: 4

2017 Ranking: 3

Steph is in line for a monster year with the injury to Klay Thompson and the departures of Kevin Durant, Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livingston. Look out for the return of “MVP Steph.”

 

3. James Harden, HOU

2018 Ranking: 3

2017 Ranking: 5

Harden would probably cry in the media if he knew this list existed and that he wasn't number one. Even with that being said, his offensive efficiency is too undeniable for him to be any lower than this.

 

2. Kawhi Leonard, LAC

2018 Ranking: 9

2017 Ranking: 6

The players in the top two spots actually tied but it was Leonard’s limited availability that bumped him from the number one spot. Aside from his limited playmaking, Leonard can do it all when he's on the court. He's indicated that his load won't be as managed this season and if that is true, I may come to regret this decision...

 

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL

2018 Ranking: 6

2017 Ranking: 7

...but probably not because my boy is DOMINANT! Antetokounmpo destroyed the league during last year's regular season and he's only getting better (and bigger). Everyone keeps saying that the jump shot will come, but at this point it doesn't fucking matter—he can win MVP without it. He can lead his team to the best regular season record without it. And he can possibly win a title without it (I know this is a bit of a homer pick but so what, it's my list).

 

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