The Raptors Need to Blow it Up

Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have finished off Toronto in the Eastern Semis, the front office has some thinking to do regarding the team’s future. Here’s 3 reasons why the Raptors should flip their situation in the offseason:





 1. Lack of a Real Superstar:

Derozan and Lowry on the bench.

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Despite DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry both making All-Star teams in their time with the Raptors, neither have ever fully catapulted themselves to superstardom for an extended period of time. The two thrive in the regular season but don’t have the juice to get it done in the postseason, year in and year out. Lowry is also now 32 years old and after a down year in terms of numbers could be looking at a shortened future as a top point guard in the league. For DeRozan, after an awful 8 point outing and late game benching in game 3 along with another poor effort on Monday, it’s even more possible the team looks to part ways with him. They’ve had years to fix their playoff woes and have yet to find a stride in the spring.




2. O.G. Anunoby:

Anunoby driving to the rim.

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After emerging as one of the steals of the NBA Draft during the regular season, Anunoby was much better than the box score showed in this year’s playoffs. His insane length on the defensive end combined with his offensive athleticism and surprising shooting ability makes him the most exciting young player on Toronto’s team. He’s not ready to take on a role as a lead scorer for a team but he should be a bigger part of the offense next season as the coaching staff expands his game over the summer. Taking on the task of being LeBron James’ primary defender as a rookie in the playoffs certainly will help develop him as a defender and get him ready for his sophomore year. He’s not a sure thing but he has the potential to be a Kawhi-like forward. Unlike most teams, Toronto can trade their lead guys and still have superstar talent on their team.





3. The Rise of Philly and Boston 

Tatum dunking on Embiid.

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It’s clearer now than ever that Philadelphia and Boston are on the come up in the East with multiple superstars on each team. This is just another reason Toronto has to think practically about their future. If these two teams haven’t already surpassed the Raptors in talent, they’ll be there in no time with both being contenders in the offseason with already elite teams. It’s likely we see the C’s and Sixers as the top two seeds in the East next season even if the Raptors don’t clean house. This would put Toronto into 3rd in their division at best and could begin their downfall to total mediocrity, which is exactly where you don’t want to be as a franchise. The Raptors should trade starters in the summer, experiment with young players as go-to guys next year, and build through the draft before delving into the middle of the pack in the East.

Top 15 Centers in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Top 15 Centers in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Now just weeks away from the All-Star Break, which centers make the cut for the top 15 at their position. Note: Rudy Gobert and Nikola Vucevic will not be included as they’ve missed significant time this season due to injury.



Honorable Mentions: 

John Collins

Robin Lopez

Steven Adams

Willie Cauley-Stein

Marcin Gortat




15. Enes Kanter – New York Knicks

Enes Kanter flexing ater a play.

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In his first year with New York, Kanter is excelling and has been a strong frontcourt partner to Kristaps Porzingis. Currently averaging a double-double, the Turkish big man is putting up over 13 points a game in only around 25 minutes a game. His efficiency and intangibles make him valuable to a rebuilding Knicks team.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



14. Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers

Jusuf Nurkic during a dead ball.

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After coming to the Blazers from Denver last season, Nurkic has done great in a starting role for Portland, being a third option for the team behind star guards Lillard and McCollum. Though he’s missed a bit of time due to injury this year, the 23-year old has still proven to be the team’s best frontcourt option when healthy.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



13. Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers

Myles Turner after making a play.

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In his first year in the league without Paul George, Turner has been a bit of a disappointment. While the emergence of new teammate Victor Oladipo could’ve taken away from some of his spotlight, the former Texas big man should be having a stronger 3rd season than he his. While his 3-pt shooting has continued to improve, Turner has yet to become a force on the boards, putting up a meager 6.5 a game. If he wants to be one of the best centers in the NBA, Turner must become stronger down low.

Previous Ranking: 11



12. Dwight Howard – Charlotte Hornets

Howard during a dead ball.

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Only half a season into his tenure with Charlotte, Howard finds himself on the trade block. While he’s still a double-double center, the big man now lacks the dominant offensive prowess he had in Orlando. His remaining athletic ability and size make him a desirable center for many teams in the league but his massive contract may turn off potential trade partners for the Hornets.

Previous Ranking: 12



11. Hassan Whiteside – Miami Heat

Whiteside flexing after a play.

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Though injuries sidelined Whiteside for some time at the beginning of the year, he’s somewhat returning to his old self now. The 28-year old is currently averaging a double-double and leading a Heat team who’s competing well in the East. A shot at DPOY is a stretch but Whiteside is clearly the best player in Miami and should find him and his team in the postseason this spring.

Previous Ranking: 7



10. DeAndre Jordan – Los Angeles Clippers

Jordan dunking on Pau Gasol.

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Nearly at the All-Star break, Jordan finds himself on the Clipper trade block. While Los Angeles looks to have a fair shot at the playoffs this season, they seem more interested in possibly cleaning slate and rebuilding around Blake Griffin. As of now, Jordan is averaging a healthy double-double and is up there with Andre Drummond as clearly a top 2 rebounder in the NBA. He could be out of LA in less than a month, but as of now Jordan is having another typical season for him and is one of the best defensive centers in the league.

Previous Ranking: 8



9. Clint Capela – Houston Rockets

Capela driving to the basket.

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While he’s still pretty far down on the rung of offensive options for Houston, Capela has continued to improve and is by far the best defensive big man for the Rockets. His offensive efficiency has also gotten better and he’s currently one of the best centers in the league in that department. Averaging a double-double and shooting over 66% from the field, Capela needs to be healthy to give Houston a shot at Golden State in the postseason.

Previous Ranking: 15



8. Andre Drummond – Detroit Pistons

Drummond dribbling in the paint.

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Probably one of the biggest All-Star snubs this year, Drummond is having a far better year than his previous for Detroit. The 24-year old is averaging another points-rebounds double-double and leading the league in boards, but where he’s really improved is his playmaking. At 7-ft tall, Drummond is surprisingly putting up nearly 4 assists a game, getting the smaller guys on the floor better shots out of the post. The Pistons have slowed down since the start of the season but the team should be in the running for the 8 spot come playoff time.

Previous Ranking: 13



7. Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies

Gasol during a dead ball.

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Gasol is another one of the centers that could be on the move at the deadline, but in the meantime he’s having another great season in Memphis. The Spaniard is scoring well again, shooting at around 34% from 3 on the year. He’s improved on the boards this season and is making plays out of the post for the Grizzlies. A lottery pick looks almost certain for Memphis this year so don’t be surprised if Gasol is in another uniform by February.

Previous Ranking: 6



6. Al Horford – Boston Celtics

Horford getting ready to pass.

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In his second year with Boston, Horford will make an All-Star appearance and has his Celtics currently first in the East. While he still seems to struggle a bit in the rebounding department, the Florida product is averaging over 5 assists a game and is one of the most valuable players on the Celtics roster. Horford stays one of the most underrated centers in the NBA, helping Boston reach the top of the East without Gordon Hayward.

Previous Ranking: 9



5. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets

Jokic during a play.

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After bursting onto the scene last year in Denver, Jokic has carried his strong play into this season. The young Serbian star currently averages a double-double with 5 assists a game and has his Nuggets hanging on in the 8 spot in the West. His defense has also made improvements this season which will benefit a young, raw Denver team. Expect to see Jokic in the All-Star game in a few years as he stays one of the top 5 centers in the league.

Previous Ranking: 5



4. Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers

Love during a play.

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Love has recently been in the news for being targeted in an off-court meeting by his teammates as the Cavs struggles continue. Despite all the drama surrounding Cleveland, Love is averaging over 18 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game. As the second option for Cleveland now, he’s excelling and will make another All-Star appearance in a few weeks.

Previous Ranking: 3 (Power Forwards)



3. Karl Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves

Centers Pachulia and Towns running up the floor.

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With new teammate Jimmy Butler, Towns has the Wolves at the top of their division and looking towards a possible home playoff spot for the postseason. While his scoring numbers have decreased due to the loads new of talent on the team, Towns is averaging a double-double and shooting over 50% from the field. He’ll be making his first All-Star appearance this year alongside Butler.

Previous Ranking: 1



2. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid during a dead ball.

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Embiid will also be making his first All-Star appearance this season after again improving over the offseason. With fellow young star Ben Simmons, the 23-year old has the Sixers hanging on to a playoff spot at the 8 slot currently. While he can improve even more on the offensive end, Embiid’s defensive ability makes him so valuable. Expect him to be in the MVP conversation in a few years.

Previous Ranking: 2



1. DeMarcus Cousins – New Orleans Pelicans 

Cousins shooting over Robin Lopez.

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Seemingly just hitting his prime, Boogie is having an MVP caliber season and has had some eye opening performances consistently so far this year. The 27-year old is averaging over 25 and 12 while distributing over 5 assists a game. Alongside Anthony Davis in the frontcourt, Cousins has the Pelicans in the 6th spot in the West. A free agent this summer, the former Kentucky star is ensuring his status as a max player and will also be making an All-Star appearance next month.

Previous Ranking: 3




Top 15 Point Guards Here

Top 15 Shooting Guards Here

Top 15 Small Forwards Here

Top 15 Power Forwards Here

Report Cards for Every Team Halfway Through the NBA Season (Eastern Conference)

Report Cards for Every Team Halfway Through the NBA Season (Eastern Conference)

We have reached the halfway point of the NBA season. LeBron James continues to put up MVP numbers, the Golden State Warriors sit atop the Western Conference, and most of the same bottom-feeding teams already find themselves fighting for the top pick. With that being said, SFE is here to break down the opening stanza of the NBA season and grade each team’s performance heading into the second half starting with the Eastern Conference.


Atlanta Hawks

The expectations were not very high for the 2017-2018 Atlanta Hawks as this season was the beginning of a rebuild. Top players Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap departed in the offseason leaving behind Dennis Schroder and an unproven supporting cast. Schroder has put up decent numbers as well as Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince providing serviceable production on the wing. John Collins has also been very impressive in his first year in the NBA averaging 11 PPG and 7 RPG thus far. Still, this Hawks team sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and will look to grab one of the many talented players at the top of the draft.

1st Half Grade: D+


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Boston Celtics

So far, Kyrie Irving has looked pretty comfortable being the franchise player on a contending team. He’s averaging 24 PPG and 5 APG and with help from a good supporting cast including Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics sit at 33-10 atop the East. Tatum has really stepped up his game in his rookie season, Brown has improved his outside his shot, and Boston has some nice pieces off the bench with Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris. While LeBron James’ Cavaliers look to reach the NBA Finals yet again, the young core of Irving-Tatum-Brown will make things very interesting for years to come.

1st Half Grade: A


Brooklyn Nets

The story of the 2017-2018 Brooklyn Nets changed after the first game of the NBA season. After finishing with the worst record in the NBA last season, Brooklyn looked to lean on veteran Jeremy Lin as well as the talented youngster D’Angelo Russell. Well, it turned out that these two would not be the story as both have spent their seasons on the sidelines. Lin is out for the season and Russell has played in only 12 games. With these injuries becoming a factor, it forced some young players to take on bigger roles. Point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have grown into some pretty good NBA players. Brooklyn will look to Dinwiddie, RHJ, and the rest of their young players to keep improving as the rebuild continues.

1st Half Grade: C


Charlotte Hornets

This Hornets team has to be one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season. Kemba Walker has been doing his thing once again (22 PPG, 6 APG) and Dwight Howard is averaging a double-double in his first season in Charlotte. All the signs would point to this Hornets team as a trendy playoff team in a weak Eastern Conference but it hasn’t worked out. This isn’t a very good passing team and they can’t let the ball get stuck in Walker or Howard’s hands every possession. Charlotte’s role players will need to gel with Howard and be much more consistent in the second half to compete for a playoff spot.

1st Half Grade: D


Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are one of the very few teams that sit just about where we thought they would be midway through the season. Albeit not in a good position, but it was clear to see this team is in a rebuild. Chicago looks like one of the more underrated young cores with an improved Kris Dunn, Justin Holiday, and rookie Lauri Markkanen. With Nikola Mirotic back from his injury (punched in the face) and Zach LaVine about to return, the new-look Bulls will be both fun to watch and have a top ten pick.

1st Half Grade: C+


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Cleveland Cavaliers

For the last seven years, the Eastern Conference has been LeBron James’ playground, reaching an unprecedented seven straight NBA Finals. Now at age 33, he is still at his career averages of 27 PPG, 8 RPG, and 9 APG and even playing point guard until Isaiah Thomas’ recent return. Kevin Love looks to have found his All-Star form and Dwyane Wade has resurged playing with LeBron again. Currently, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers sit in the third seed behind the surprising Toronto Raptors and former Cavalier Kyrie Irving’s Boston Celtics. We do know their so-so record doesn’t reflect their place in the Eastern Conference and Cleveland is using this stretch to gel with Thomas and prepare for the playoffs.

1st Half Grade: B


Detroit Pistons

Off of a hot start, Detroit found themselves in a seven game losing streak which stopped their early momentum. Still, this Pistons team is sitting in the 7 seed and has to be content with their 1st half. The starting five has been tremendous most of the season, led by Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond, and trade acquisition Avery Bradley. The X-Factor will be if Detroit can get consistency from their bench down the stretch. Should this team make the playoffs, they would not be a tough out. The Avery Bradley move could prove to be very important as he brings great perimeter defense. Drummond will need to make his free throws though.

1st Half Grade: B


Indiana Pacers

Another team that has to like where they sit currently is the Indiana Pacers. The story in Indiana is clearly the emergence of Victor Oladipo. Taking over as the go-to guy for Paul George, Oladipo is averaging 25-5-4 and leading the Pacers to the 8 seed thus far. Oladipo and center Domantas Sabonis playing well, it looks as though the Pacers have won the trade to this point. This team also shows good depth, with six players averaging double figures. The next step for this team is for Myles Turner to take the next step if they want to compete this season.

1st Half Grade: B+


Miami Heat

And here’s ANOTHER team that loves where they’re at to this point. In the first half, Miami has taken advantage of some disappointing Eastern Conference teams on their way to the 4 seed. The Heat have used a balanced scoring attack and suffocating defense to fuel a strong first half. Currently with eight double digit scorers, anyone can beat you on any given night. However, heading into a playoff push, Miami will need someone to step up as the go-to guy. This could be Goran Dragic, Hasaan Whiteside, or even Dion Waiters. All in all, Miami has to love where they’re at but they will need to stay consistent to host a playoff series.

1st Half Grade: A-


Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken the next step we all knew was coming. The Greek Freak is currently averaging 29-10-5 and is a clear-cut MVP candidate. Alongside him are wing Khris Middleton and the super athletic Eric Bledsoe, giving them somewhat of a “Big Three”. The talent hasn’t really translated into a top team in the East leaving them with a 22-18 record. A playoff spot is a near lock, but fans in Milwaukee should be wanting more which starts with consistency. While the Greek Freak deserves an A, the Bucks as a team have been slightly disappointing.

1st Half Grade: C


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New York Knicks

The problems in New York were very clear. Aside from the GM/Ownership’s inability to quality players to New York, the Knicks needed to move on from Carmelo Anthony. His ball dominance was stunting Kristaps Porzingis’ growth and not helping win games anyways. Now that this is KP’s team, we have seen glimpses of what this team can become. Porzingis is averaging 24-7 while handling all the publicity in New York while a plethora of role players are helping contribute. Heck, even Michael Beasley looks serviceable. Unlike in previous years, the Knicks have a real future with KP, Frank Ntilikina, and Enes Kanter leading the way. With that being said, they are not ready this year.

1st Half Grade: C+


Orlando Magic

Life is difficult for me as an Orlando Magic fan. It just seems like this franchise plays their way to being just outside the top 3 pick in the draft every year. Aaron Gordon when healthy has looked as close to a star as Orlando has (19 PPG, 8 RPG) and free agent acquisition Jonathon Simmons has been a good pickup. Health has been the biggest issue for Orlando as the entire starting five hasn’t played together in months. The Magic look like they need to trade one of Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, or Elfrid Payton and shake this roster up because they still aren’t close.

1st Half Grade: D


Philadelphia 76ers

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have lived up to the hype and look like perennial All-Stars. Although, first round pick Markelle Fultz hasn’t touched the floor since the first week of the season. The Sixers’ young core (Simmons, Embiid, Saric, Covington, Fultz) appear to be a year away. While “trusting the process” has almost payed its dividends, the Sixers need to learn how to consistently win. Alongside Simmons and Embiid, Philly has some veterans in JJ Redick and Amir Johnson to help the youngsters through the second half. I had them as a borderline playoff team as they are so it will be interesting to see how they play in the second half.

1st Half Grade: B-


Image Credit: TSN


Toronto Raptors

“The Six” should be very happy with their hometown team’s first half. The Raptors are 28-11 and have a 14-2 record at home this season, a start that Toronto fans had been hoping for for years. DeMar DeRozan could be a darkhorse  MVP candidate, averaging 25-4-5 alongside the core of Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Complementing the big three, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, and CJ Miles have been playing very well and converting close games into wins. The question in Toronto is of course: Can they play at a high level into the postseason?

1st Half Grade: A


Washington Wizards

The Nation’s capital has been one of the most unlucky markets in sports with little postseason success in recent years. The Wizards have been no different, representing one of the Eastern Conference teams that can’t get over the hump in the playoffs (somewhat due to LeBron). John Wall is doing what he does averaging 19-9 and Bradley Beal is averaging a career-high 24 PPG. Although, Washington hasn’t made any necessary moves to get over the hump and it is showing in their record. Sitting in the 5 seed, the Wiz have been beating good teams but not taking care of business against sub-.500 teams. Something needs to change if they want to ever get to the Finals.

1st Half Grade: C-











Top 15 Small Forwards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Top 15 Small Forwards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

As the All-Star game comes closer, let’s take a look at who’s playing the best at the 3 in the NBA so far this year. Note: Gordon Hayward, Kawhi Leonard, and Danilo Gallinari will not be included In the list as they have missed significant time due to injury.


Honorable Mentions: 

DeMarre Carroll

Trevor Ariza

Josh Richardson

Andre Iguodala

Rudy Gay



15. Bojan Bogdanovic – Indiana Pacers

Bojan Bogdanovic driving on Shabazz Muhammed..

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After stints with Brooklyn and Washington in the past few years Bogdanovic finds himself having a great season as an offensive weapon on the Pacers. The Croatian forward regularly gives Indiana 10 plus points a game and also shoots some healthy percentages to back it up. Though defense is a problem with his lack of quickness and athleticism, Bogdanovic is a deserving starter and above average offensive player.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



14. T.J. Warren – Phoenix Suns

T.J. Warren dribbling.

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Warren, now in his 4th year with the lowly Suns, has turned into one of the most dangerous scorers on the team. His size and ability to finish and shoot from in close allow him to average nearly 20 points a game and turn in some outstanding offensive games from time to time. Though he is progressing, Warren currently has an abysmal 3 point shot and is very inconsistent, sometimes bringing down the whole team with miss after miss. The NC State product has the ability to become one of the top scorers in the league, but needs to work on his jumper and efficiency to achieve that status.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



13. Joe Ingles – Utah Jazz

Joe Ingles dribbling.

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Despite low scoring numbers and playing time, Ingles consistently showcases his elite playmaking and shooting ability. He currently has one of the best 3pt percentages at around 43 percent and also has a solid percentage from the field. After the recent news of an injury that could have Rudy Gobert sidelined for a while, Ingles could see a few more touches and minutes.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention



12. Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves

Andrew Wiggins running down court.

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Wiggins, now 22, is clearly one of the most athletic forwards in the league and has the ability to transform into an All-Star someday. While he has the potential to be great, Wiggins has yet to develop much on offense, despite an encouraging start to the year this season. He’s shooting a very low percentage from the field and is again failing to make many plays for his teammates, averaging under 2 assists. While his numbers are understandably down due to how loaded the Wolves offense is, it’s still been a disappointing start for Wiggins.

Previous Ranking: 8



11. Taurean Prince – Atlanta Hawks

Prince taking the ball down the floor.

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After being slowly brought along by the Hawks in his rookie season, Prince has taken the offseason to drastically improve his jumpshot and is now starting for Atlanta. Along with an improved 3-pointer, Prince is a very solid on-ball defender and has improved his playmaking compared to last season. The Texas native is an important piece in the Hawks rebuild and should be part of their future if he keeps developing.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



10. Robert Covington – Philadelphia 76ers

Covington celebrating after a 3.

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Covington is one of the few core pieces of the Sixers that went through “The Process” actually playing instead of on the bench. The 27-year old went undrafted in 2013 before bouncing from the Houston Rockets to Philly. From being a reserve to a placeholder and now an integral part of the 76ers future, he’s earned his spot as a top ten small forward in the league. While his defense was always there, his shot and all-around game just keep getting better. Currently, Covington is hovering around 10th in the NBA in real plus-minus, up there with some of the league’s best. He’ll be a key player for Philadelphia on both ends of the floor as they continue to develop as a whole.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention



9. Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum throwing it down off a fast break.

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Though he’s just a rookie, Tatum is much farther along on the offensive end than most expected, despite being possibly the most highly touted offensive prospect leading up to the draft. His length, explosiveness, and shooting touch make him the future star he’s set to be. The 19-year old currently has one of the top 3pt percentages in the NBA and is shooting around 50% from the field. While his playmaking and consistency need polishing, Tatum is already recording highlights and scoring efficiently for Boston.

Previous Ranking:: Not Ranked



8. Will Barton – Denver Nuggets

Will Barton shooting a free throw.

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Barton, now in his sixth year in the NBA, has solidified himself as the best small forward on the Nuggets roster. After sharing minutes with Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari over the past few seasons, he’s now having what’s likely the best year of his career. Barton has been a solid scorer for Denver in the past, but this year his playmaking has vastly improved as he appears to have hit his prime at 27. His future remains unknown as he’s a free agent this summer, but don’t be surprised if Denver is willing to spend on him seeing the season he’s having.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



7. Brandon Ingram – Los Angeles Lakers

Brandon Ingram standing during a dead ball.

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After an underwhelming but promising first year, Brandon Ingram appears to be coming along nicely in his sophomore season. He’s seen bumps in all his major stat categories, shooting much better from outside and making more plays for his teammates. While still fairly inconsistent and inefficient, Ingram has shown he’s not afraid to take shots late in games and demand the ball in clutch moments. He’ll be an All-Star down the road if he continues to improve.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



6. Tobias Harris – Detroit Pistons

Harris shooting a jumper.

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Harris has had a tremendous start to the season in his 3rd year with the Pistons. Putting up around 18 a game at solid shooting percentages all around, you could argue Harris should be considered for the All-Star game with the way Detroit’s been playing. Though defense and playmaking are still below-average parts of his game, Harris is an outstanding scorer and important part of a Pistons team in the mix for a home playoff spot.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



5. Khris Middleton – Milwaukee Bucks

Middleton driving to the basket.

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While Jabari Parker remains out for Milwaukee, Middleton has taken advantage of the opportunity and turned himself into a 20pt scorer. His 3pt shooting numbers are a bit down from years past, but he’s become a better all-around scorer and playmaker for the Bucks. Likely one of the most underrated players in the league right now, he’s part of one of the best trios in the East with Bledsoe and Antetokounmpo.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked



4. Otto Porter Jr. – Washington Wizards

Porter driving to the basket.

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Despite low statistical averages across the board, Otto Porter is one of the most valuable players in the NBA. Shooting an incredible 45% from 3 and nearly 50% from the field he’s as efficient as it gets for his position. As of now, Porter’s real plus-minus is an amazing 6th in the NBA. The player with the next highest net difference on the Wizards is Bradley Beal at #37. Though usually defaulting on the offensive end to the D.C. backcourt stars, Porter certainly deserves his max contract he received in the offseason.

Previous Ranking: 7



3. Paul George – Oklahoma City Thunder

George facing up on offense.

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While the Thunder have struggled mightily to start the season, George has had a solid start individually. He’s shooting a career-best 43% from deep while averaging 2.4 steals a game on defense. His usage and touches have decreased while his minutes have gone up on his new team. Though he generally defaults to Russell Westbrook to handle the ball now that he’s not alone anymore, he’s gotten his fair share of shots which is what some were worried about for OKC before the beginning of the season. It’s possible George is in a Laker jersey by February but as of now the Thunder need to make several offensive improvements to get to the top of the West where they should be.

Previous Ranking: 5



2. Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors

Durant during a dead ball in an NBA game.

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Durant is again having a spectacular season with the Warriors despite missing some time due to injury. Shooting over 50% from the field and averaging over 5 assists a game, KD’s offense hasn’t gone anywhere. Where he has improved his game this year is on the defensive side of the ball. He’s currently at the very top of the league in blocks per game, with 2.3. While the Warriors have little to worry about as we inch closer to the postseason, it’s clear their weakest position is at center. With Durant playing this kind of D it gives Golden State the inside presence they need to win another NBA title.

Previous Ranking: 2



1. LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James dunking in a game against the Pistons.

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LeBron’s prime continues to seem never-ending as he’s putting together another MVP caliber season. Averaging some of the highest points and assists averages in the league, James is dominating on offense, having to carry lots of the ball-carrying and scoring load with Isaiah Thomas out for a few months to start the year. James is also shooting high percentages across the board, going for nearly 40% from 3 and 78% from the line. With the offseason trade with Boston and now the Isaiah Thomas injury, LeBron has had to deal with more disruptions than in most years, which may prompt voters to give him his 5th NBA MVP at season’s end.

Previous Ranking: 1




Top 15 Point Guards Here

Top 15 Shooting Guards Here


Andrew Wiggins – Leader of the ‘Pack

Andrew Wiggins – Leader of the ‘Pack


Cleveland’s Trade Mistake is Minnesota’s Prized Piece

Thirteen Years Ago

1 kg

Kevin Garnett was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the 2003-2004 NBA season. His 24.2 PPG helped his Minnesota Timberwolves reach the Western Conference Finals. Garnett’s pack of ‘Wolves featured Sam Cassell, Latrell Sprewell, Fred Hoiberg, Wally Szczerbiak, Ervin Johnson, and Michael Olowokandi.

The Timberwolves had been eliminated from the first round of the NBA playoffs in seven consecutive seasons prior to the 2003-2004 campaign.

Minnesota faced a stacked Los Angeles Lakers team that had won 3 of the previous 4 NBA Championships. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neil were joined by a pair of veteran championship chasers in Gary Payton and Karl Malone with hopes of acquiring some new hardware.

Kevin Garnett wipes his eyes

The Lake Show would defeat the Timberwolves in 6 games but would eventually get beat up in the NBA Championship to the rugged and scrappy Detroit Pistons and their imposing defense.

This would mark the last time the Minnesota Timberwolves would make an appearance in the post season.

The Drought and the Trade

In 2008, Minnesota and the Memphis Grizzlies negotiated a trade that brought Kevin Love and others to the Timberwolves. Love would have good years in Minnesota. He would come alive in 2010 and was a core piece of the Timberwolves’ offense. Love would go on to average 26 points twice in the next four seasons.

The Cleveland Cavaliers would select Andrew Wiggins with the 1st overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The next month, Wiggins was part of a three-team trade that landed Love in Cleveland and Wiggins in Minnesota. With the acquisition of Zach LaVine in the same draft and Rubio still on the roster, the Timberwolves were beginning to build something special.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers

Wiggins would go on to have a stellar season and win the NBA Rookie of the Year. Love would go on to play postseason basketball but would suffer a shoulder injury in Game 4 of the First Round of the Eastern Conference match-up against the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers may have been better off keeping Wiggins on their roster considering the year he had.


But, what’s done is done.

Thirteen Year Later

Wiggins continues to be the leader of the pack in Minnesota. His productivity has steadily increased year after year. Love – on the other hand – earned some jewelry, but his time in Cleveland has come with some ups and downs to say the least.

Love has the hardware, but Wiggins has been the better player between the two over the last three seasons. Wiggins has 4,995  total points since entering the league. Since Love has been a Cavalier, he’s totaled 3,604. That’s a difference of 1,391 points! Cleveland could have used some of those points over the last few years.

T’Wolves Hire Thibs

In 2016, the Timberwolves hired Head Coach Tom Thibodeau to do what he did during his time in Chicago and take the team to postseason. He would need some more weapons to transform the young, hungry ‘Wolves into a playoff team.

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With Wiggins running the show, Minnesota drafted Karl Anthony-Towns 1st overall in 2016. Like Wiggins, KAT would go on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year. Had last season’s Timberwolves been in the Eastern Conference, they would have been one of the top seeds.

The West – however – is much, much tougher. Especially heading into 2017.

Thirteen Years Later

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Minnesota made some great offseason moves thus far and is putting themselves in a good position to have a playoff run in 2017. They acquired the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler – who had been linked to Cleveland and Boston – and reunited him with his old coach.

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Butler is familiar with Thibs coaching style, but he’s not the old man coming in to be a mentor to the young bucks. He’s a lockdown defender who can get buckets. He – like Wiggins – plays the Small Forward position. However, their styles are totally different. They can feed off each other and put the team in winning situations.

Although they had made some moves that meant the departures of players like Rubio, LaVine and others to acquire Butler, it will be well worth it if the payoff is the playoffs.

Alpha Wolf

Wiggins – even with the addition of Butlerwill still be the Alpha Wolf. It will be his team. And Butler will support that. Wiggins game will continue to evolve even more through the work he puts in studying from Butler.




If he can add Butler’s defensive intensity to his game, Wiggins could become one of league’s best. The ‘Wolves will be a very entertaining team to watch this season and will be challenging for a spot in the Western Conference.

Minnesota is working on an extension for Wiggins that will lock him up for the next 5 seasons. With Butler’s veteran presence and experience, the development of chemistry with Karl Anthony-Towns, and the guidance of Tom ThibodeauWiggins and the ‘Wolves best seasons are not too far way.

Thibodeau’s teams are historically gritty and relentless. They thrive off defense. But they now have defenders that can score and score big. Things will begin to come together.

They also added other offseason vets in Taj Gibson, Jamal Crawford, and Jeff Teague. Gibson – like Butler – knows what to expect with Thibs. Crawford and Teague will fit in just fine. And the ‘Wolves will be on the hunt.

The Warriors should enjoy these next years – as I’m sure they will – while they can afford them (literally). Soon they’ll notice there is a hungry pack of ‘Wolves right preying on them from the shadows.

And Andrew Wiggins will be at the front of the pack.


Stats referenced at

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