NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 60-46

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 60-46

Now that Summer League has passed, rosters are being filled out and roles are being competed for as we get closer to training camp. How will each rookie drafted in June produce and who has the potential to become a star in the NBA?

 

 

60Kostas Antetokounmpo – Dallas Mavericks

Kostas playing for Dallas in the NBA Summer League.

Photo Credit/theundefeated.com

 

The younger brother of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was Mr. Irrelevant in this year’s draft after he was taken 60th overall and acquired by the Dallas Mavericks. The 20-year old has length and athleticism giving him some defensive potential, but he’s far from ready to contribute very much for the Mavs. While it seems like a long shot, his older brother came in with the same build and skillset, which could be an encouraging sign for Dallas.

PPG: 2.2   RPG: 1.3   APG: 0.7   SPG: 0.5   BPG: 0.8

NBA Comparison: Giannis Antetokounmpo

 

 

59. George King – Phoenix Suns 

King being introduced as a Sun.

Photo Credit/brightsideofthesun.com

 

59th pick King just recently signed a two-way deal with Phoenix. The G/F out of Colorado is a little older, already being 24 years old, but he’s well developed defensively and could potentially be a solid 3 and D option for the Suns soon. His skillset is similar to two other young forwards on the team, Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges, so King may not see much playing time with Phoenix, however he could carve out a career on another team if he shows well in the G-League and in small stints with the Suns early in his career.

PPG: 3.1   RPG: 1.9   APG: 0.8   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.6

NBA Comparison: P.J. Tucker

 

 

58. Thomas Welsh – Denver Nuggets

Welsh after making a play for UCLA.

Photo Credit/bruinsnation.com

 

Welsh is another one of the late picks that will spend most of their first pro season in the G-League. The 22-year old out of UCLA has a solid mid-range game and interior defensive ability, but he’ll be a career bench player if he makes it in the league. His lack of athleticism lowers his potential quite a bit and it’d be hard for him to keep up with the strength and quickness of other centers in the NBA.

PPG: 2.7   RPG. 2.2   APG: 0.3   SPG: 0.4   BPG: 0.9

NBA Comparison: Zydrunas Ilgauskas

 

 

57. Kevin Hervey – Oklahoma City Thunder

Hervey dribbling up the court in college.

Photo Credit/midmajormadness.com

 

Coming out of a less prestigious university in Arlington, Texas, Hervey joins an OKC team currently contending in the West after resigning Paul George. After losing Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder need someone to come in and be an offensive option at the 4, which is exactly what they get with Hervey. He’s got size at 6’8″ and is a great spot up shooter having been a top scorer in college. His shot creation and defense are sub-par but a less ball-dominant, younger Melo-Type player could be what OKC needs to get home court advantage in the Western Conference again. While he may not be the most talented or youngest in the draft, Hervey is a great fit for the Thunder.

PPG: 6.2   RPG: 2.9   APG: 0.8   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.3

NBA Comparison: T.J. Warren

 

 

56. Ray Spalding – Dallas Mavericks

Spalding hyping up the crowd after a play.

Photo Credit/thecardinalconnect.com

 

Out of troubled Louisville, Spalding comes to Dallas in the Philadelphia trade involving Kostas Antetokounmpo. Both players have similar builds as Spalding is 6’11” with a reported weight of 215 ibs. The 21-year old will have to put on weight and get stronger to get substantial minutes with the Mavs. He should get some playing time in rebuilding Dallas but he’s not one of the focal young Mavericks just yet.

PPG: 4.6   RPG: 2.1. APG: 0.4   SPG: 0.2   BPG: 0.8

NBA Comparison: Deyonta Davis

 

 

55. Arnoldas Kulboka – Charlotte Hornets

Kulboka dribbling up the court.

Photo Credit/therunsports.com

 

Kulboka is a Lithuanian small forward with size at 6’10” who’s rights are currently to the Charlotte Hornets. He’s a talent overseas and is still young at 20 years old, however he’s a prototypical draft and stash and won’t be coming over to the states this year.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Mindaugas Kuzminskas

 

 

54. Shake Milton – Philadelphia 76ers

Milton still with SMU.

Photo Credit/denverstiffs.com

 

Milton has also signed a two-way deal with Philly and the point guard should see almost all season in the G-League with T.J. McConnell coming back to back up Ben Simmons. Where the SMU product separates himself from other PG’s in the draft is his size. Only Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander can compete with his height. If Milton has good year in the G-League it wouldn’t be surprising to see Milton behind Ben Simmons on the depth chart in a few years to back up size with shooting and size.

PPG: 2.1   RPG: 1.3   APG: 1.7   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: Isaiah Whitehead

 

 

53. Devon Hall – Oklahoma City Thunder

Hall on offense at Virginia.

Photo Credit/streakingthelawn.com

 

Out of Virginia, 23-year old Hall is in an interesting situation to start out his career. With OKC starting 2 Andre Roberson going down for the year last season, his recovery and shooting struggles could open up playing time at the position. The versatile 6’6″ rookie Hall will likely compete with Terrance Ferguson for minutes at shooting guard and should win out as he’s currently more developed defensively and as a shooter. If things fall his way, Hall could see several opportunities in his rookie year with the Thunder.

PPG: 5.1   RPG: 2.3   APG: 1.6   SPG: 1.0   BPG: 0.5

NBA Comparison: Josh Hart

 

 

52. Vince Edwards – Houston Rockets

Edwards driving to the rim in college.

Photo Credit/purduesports.com

 

Acquired by the Rockets from Utah on draft night, Purdue product Edwards may see a bigger role this year than previously expected. After Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute moved on to different teams in free agency, Houston is looking grim on the wing, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Edwards is 6’8″ with a wingspan upwards of 7’0″ who can guard multiple positions. With the addition of Carmelo Anthony, the Rockets will need some defensive relief from Melo and could bring in Edwards for Anthony to provide for that. If Melo isn’t shooting well to start the season, don’t be surprised to see Vince Edwards take over the minutes for Anthony, barring a James Johnson trade.

PPG: 4.1   RPG: 2.2   APG: 0.9   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 0.5

NBA Comparison: Trevor Ariza

 

 

51. Tony Carr – New Orleans Pelicans

Carr dribbling up the court for Penn State.

Photo Credit/yardbarker.com

 

After New Orleans took Penn State guard Tony Carr with the 51st pick, the raw 20-year old has signed a contract to play overseas in Italy to begin his career. He won’t be playing for the Pelicans this season.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A    APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Jordan Crawford

 

 

50. Alize Johnson – Indiana Pacers

Johnson in NBA Summer League for the Pacers.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

The Pacers take Missouri State forward Alize Johnson with the 50th pick in the draft. Jimmy Butler look-alike-Johnson is a big energy guy with potential to be versatile and tough on defense which is perfect for Indiana right now. With a scorer in a Oladipo and rim protector in Myles Turner, the team needed a strong, defense wing to complement the two. Johnson could be a steal for the Pacers and possible replacement for the aging Thaddeus Young.

PPG: 4.3   RPG: 4.0   APG: 0.6   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.8

NBA Comparison: JaMychal Green

 

 

49. Chimezie Metu – San Antonio Spurs

Metu after a play.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Out of Los Angeles, Metu has explosive athleticism for a big man which San Antonio is lacking greatly. At 6’10”, Metu could develop into a solid defender with a good, energetic inside game. He’ll begin his career behind Aldridge and Bertans for the Spurs. He’ll contrast the older, less athletic big men on the roster well.

PPG: 3.3   RPG: 2.7   APG: 0.6   SPG: 0.4   BPG: 1.1

NBA Comparison: Noah Vonleh

 

48. Keita Bates-Diop – Minnesota Timberwolves

Bates-Diop for Ohio State.

Photo Credit/landof10.com

 

After entering the draft post-huge year at Ohio State, Bates-Diop had a monster Summer League, starring for the Wolves. The 22-year old could be the backup small forward for Minnesota this year. As Andrew Wiggins continues to struggle shooting the ball, it’ll be interesting to see what the Timberwolves can do with Bates-Diop’s defensive potential and 7’3″ wingspan.

PPG: 7.1   RPG: 3.4   APG: 1.2   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.9

NBA Comparison: Trevor Ariza

 

 

47. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk – Los Angeles Lakers

Mykhailiuk during NBA Summer League.

Photo Credit/silverscreenandroll.com

 

Mykhailiuk had a great summer league with the Lakers after being taken 47th out of Kansas. The 21-year old Ukrainian can play the 2 or 3 and could challenge KCP and Josh Hart for minutes. Mykhailiuk will surely get an opportunity as the beginning of the season will be a feeling out period for LeBron and the Lakers.

PPG: 3.7   RPG: 1.3   APG: 0.9   SPG: 0.4   BPG: 0.3

NBA Comparison: Tony Snell

 

 

46. De’Anthony Melton – Houston Rockets

Melton shooting a layup for USC.

Photo Credit/247sports.com

 

Melton is a raw point guard out of USC at 20 years old. With Houston currently chasing Golden State in the West, it’s likely we won’t see too much of Melton to start out his career as he’ll be behind Chris Paul on the depth chart, however the young guard has loads of potential and is a rare young piece on the Rockets roster.

PPG: 2.4   RPG: 1.1   APG: 1.6   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: Tyus Jones

 

 

 

Click Here: The Raptors Need To Blow it Up

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NBA Playoffs: First Round Predictions

NBA Playoffs: First Round Predictions

With the 2018 NBA playoffs set to start today, what are the first round matchups and who will be moving on to the conference semifinals?

 

 

Durant and Curry after last year's playoffs.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

 

Eastern Conference:

(1) Toronto Raptors vs. (8) Washington Wizards

Derozan and Wall during a free throw.

Photo Credit/raptorshq.com

 

The first place Raptors will take on Washington in the first round this year. Toronto, who’ve never been the number one seed in the postseason, will be looking for more than just a first round win this year. The story here is the matchup of the two elite guards for each team. The experienced and talented backcourt tandems will look to better the other. While Toronto is much deeper than Washington, the Wizards may find a spark in their team with John Wall’s return. Still though, despite their postseason troubles, the Raptors will take this one.

Prediction: Toronto Raptors; 4-1

 

 

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) Indiana Pacers

James backing down Oladipo.

Photo Credit/zimbio.com

 

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had their regular season struggles yet again this season, barely hanging on to a home playoff spot in the East. Right behind them, the revamped Indiana Pacers stunned the whole league as Victor Oladipo came home and turned in his first All-Star year in the league. While it’s tempting to pick the Pacers to make the upset and defeat the defending conference champions, the Cavs still have LeBron James and it’d be surprising to see a young team take down The King still in his prime. Cleveland may struggle but they should be fine here.

Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers; 4-1

 

 

(3) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (6) Miami Heat

Simmons chasing down a ball in front of Whiteside.

Photo Credit/nbcsports.com

 

Finally back in the playoffs, Philly will need Ben Simmons to carry them through the first round without Joel Embiid. The team recently reinforced their back court by getting Markelle Fultz back from injury who could even start beside Simmons against the Heat. If Simmons stays on the roll he’s on, they’re gonna be hard for Miami to stop. While the Heat are again in the postseason, they have no real star expect for possibly Goran Dragic but that’s a stretch. While Whiteside may be a top NBA center, Erik Spoelstra doesn’t play him like one. Although, without Embiid this round, he could be a factor. Either way, the Sixers should handle this easily.

Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers; 4-0

 

 

(2) Boston Celtics vs. (7) Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis and Horford fighting over a rebound.

Photo Credit/celticsblog.com

 

This will be one of the more interesting matchups of the playoffs. Though Boston again looked elite this year, they’re now without their two All-Stars, Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. Though they’re still one of the deepest teams in the playoffs, Giannis and the Bucks have a talented enough offensive lineup to take down the Celtics. Al Horford now becomes the best player on Boston’s available team and several young stars will have to step up for the Celtics to have a chance. Never doubt Brad Stevens but with Antetokounmpo playing like an MVP along with Middleton and Bledsoe, Milwaukee is the favorite here.

Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks; 4-2

 


 

Western Conference:

(1) Houston Rockets vs. (8) Minnesota Timberwolves

Butler driving on Harden.

Photo Credit/cbsaustin.com

 

After getting Jimmy Butler back just a few games ago, Minnesota downed the Nuggets Wednesday to clinch a postseason birth for the first time since KG was there. While making it is an accomplishment in the West, they’ll be running into a buzzsaw in Houston in the first round. With likely MVP James Harden and future hall of famer Chris Paul, It’ll be a tough series for the Wolves. Karl- Anthony Towns will need to show he has an ability to excel against Clint Capela down low and Andrew Wiggins will have to shoot above 40% from 3 for the Timberwolves to have a chance. Even then, it’s unlikely they get past The Beard.

Prediction: Houston Rockets; 4-1

 

 

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (5) Utah Jazz

Mitchell guarding Westbrook.

Photo Credit/thehoopdoctors.com

 

After OKC barely grabbed a home postseason spot at the four seed, they’ll attempt to take down rookie standout Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs. While the Thunder have the big names and star power, Utah has quietly crept up the Western Conference standings in the toughest division in basketball and has the shooting, defense and chemistry to make some noise in the postseason. If Mitchell catches fire and Gobert continues his dominance on the defensive end, winning the matchup with Steven Adams, look for the Jazz to pull off the upset.

Prediction: Utah Jazz; 4-3

 

 

(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (6) New Orleans Pelicans

Lillard shooting a layup over Davis.

Photo Credit/oregonlive.com

 

After MVP caliber seasons from both these team’s stars, Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard, the two will duke it out in the first round of the playoffs. With the loss of Boogie Cousins earlier in the year, Davis will have to do it all for the Pelicans and hope Jrue Holiday can handle backcourt duties. For Portland, they’ll rely on their two offensive weapons in the backcourt, Lillard and McCollum, to carry the load. With the roll the Blazers have been on, it’s tough to see New Orleans having enough on offense or being able to stop Portland’s explosive guards.

Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers; 4-2

 

 

(2) Golden State Warriors vs. (7) San Antonio Spurs

Durant driving to the basket against the Spurs.

Photo Credit/cbssports.com

 

With no Curry or Leonard, the excitement that would’ve come with this series after last year’s controversial matchup isn’t as strong. San Antonio always seems to have a shot in every series they play, but they don’t have the offensive firepower to compete with Golden State. Lamarcus Aldridge is by far their best scorer but he isn’t versatile enough to concern Warriors defenders. As long as KD and Klay can catch fire at times and Golden State can prevent sneaky runs by the Spurs they should breeze through this one.

Prediction: Golden State Warriors; 4-0

 

 

 

Luka Doncic Scouting Report Here:

Marvin Bagley III Scouting Report Here:

DeAndre Ayton Scouting Report Here:

How Jimmy Butler Injury Affects Western Conference

How Jimmy Butler Injury Affects Western Conference

With Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler recently tearing his meniscus, another NBA star has gone down to injury. How will Butler’s absence affect Minnesota and the rest of the West?

 

 

Butler after injuring his knee.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

 

Wolves superstar shooting guard Jimmy Butler will be out for 4-6 weeks due to a meniscus tear. Minnesota is currently battling with every team in the Northwest for first and may have just forfeited the division with this injury. How does Butler going down affect the Timberwolves and the rest of the league?


Possible First Round Trouble for Golden State or Houston

Curry guarding Butler.

Photo Credit/startribune.com

 

With the Warriors and Rockets currently neck-and-neck for first in the West, the rest of the conference is double-digits back of the two juggernauts. Seeds 3-8 are up in the air with San Antonio currently leading the pack. Without Butler, Minnesota may find themselves fall a bit, and a bit is a lot with the current state of the Western Conference playoff picture. Avoiding a tear of the ACL, Butler has the potential to be ready for the beginning of the playoffs, and if the Wolves have dropped down to 7 or 8 and get back Butler for a series with Houston or Golden State, that’s a tough start to the postseason for either team.

 

 

 

Race to the Finish in the Northwest Division

Westbrook dribbling against Minnesota.

Photo Credit/newsok.com

 

The Northwest currently has 4 teams in the playoff picture and a fifth challenging for one in Utah. Any one of Portland, Denver, OKC, and Utah could surpass Minnesota if they go on a run. A playoff appearance still isn’t a lock for the Timberwolves especially in this division. KAT will have to have an MVP caliber end to the year if they expect to finally clinch a spot in the postseason. Getting all 5 teams in the playoffs is definitely possible here which puts pressure on Minnesota to stay competitive without Butler. Though it’s hard to believe, Minnesota could finish the year last in the Northwest Division.

 

 

 

J-Crossover gets his shot

Crawford during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

It’s been no secret that Coach Thibodeau has overplayed his starters this season, opting to sit some talented bench players like Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones, and Jamal Crawford more than most expected after Minnesota spent so much on their bench in the offseason. With Butler out of the lineup for a month or two, Crawford should be called up to the starting lineup and may be able to find his Clipper self as the season comes to a close. The ageless scorer can put up 30 on any team on any night which gives Minnesota life if Towns or Wiggins can’t carry the load. We saw Crawford lead Los Angeles when Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were down last year, so the 37-year old is completely accustomed to stepping up when injury occurs. Though he was underutilized during the season, Crawford will finally get a chance with Butler down for now.

 

 

 

 

Why Paul George Would Ruin the Lakers:

 

Why Paul George Would Ruin the Lakers

In the recent past, it’s tough to remember a time when a franchise was so closely linked to a big time player who wasn’t with the organization. The mutual interest is clearly there in the case of Paul George and the LA Lakers, but would a PG homecoming actually benefit Los Angeles’ future?

 

 

George during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

 

After seven years with the Indiana Pacers, Paul George is now in OKC in the final year of his contract and is eyeing no  team more than his hometown Lakers as his preferred free agency destination. While bringing a superstar talent and perennial All-Star to Hollywood would be a great marketing move for the organization, Magic Johnson might wanna think twice about how signing or trading for George would affect Los Angeles on the court. Here’s why avoiding Paul George would ultimately be best for LA.

 


 

Other Options In 2018 Free Agency

Cousins during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Along with George there are several other star players who’s contracts are set to run out this year, such as LeBron James who Los Angeles also has their eye on. James really seems like he could fit in anywhere and signing one of the best to ever play would obviously do wonders for the Lakers financially, but the guy who would fit best on the team is DeMarcus Cousins. After a few failed attempts at acquiring Boogie from the Sacramento Kings in the past, LA now has a chance to pick him up in the 2018 offseason, despite rumors that suggest the big man is leaning towards staying in NOLA for the future. Cousins appears to be hitting his prime just as he’s about to slip into the open market, putting up almost Wilt Chamberlain like modern day numbers at 27. With Brook Lopez and Julius Randle likely out the door by next year, there should be a gaping disparity in the Laker frontcourt which Boogie could fill perfectly. A more developed Lonzo Ball alongside Cousins could be dangerous in a Western Conference with soon-to-be aging superstars. Spending max money on George would be a settle by the franchise.

 

 

Lineup Clogging and Development Stunting

Ingram and Kuzma celebrating.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

While the Lakers could bring in an All-Star in George to upgrade their small forward spot for now, the team already has a couple 6’9″ potential stars in their lineup. Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma have quite similar frames compared to George and have the potential to be All-Stars in the future. Signing or trading for George would almost ensure they would either have to move or bench Ingram or Kuzma. Both these two young players could be 20pt scorers as soon as next year if things go right. Deciding to spend money on an older star who may be passed by one or both of these two in as little as 3 years or so would be an awful move by Magic, preventing what could be a great team in a few years. Since the end of Kobe’s prime, the Lakers have been stacking up drafted talent on their team but haven’t found any sort of identity or cornerstone player until now. Drafting Lonzo Ball gives them their point guard for the future while they definitely have their forwards for the future with Ingram and Kuzma. Bringing in some older stars in free agency to put around these 3 is the next step for the franchise, but George is not the guy. LA  has had trouble attracting superstars recently, which may be why they’re so eager to sign George without considering what it’d mean for their young players.

 

 

Losing Out on Free Agents in Future Summers

Photo Credit/nbcsports.com

 

By going ahead and spending money on George this summer, the Lakers aren’t just losing the opportunity to sign other players this year but are also chancing missing out on stars who’ll be on the market in 2019 and beyond. LA native Klay Thompson will be a free agent in 2019 and while he’ll likely stay with the Warriors to try and keep winning titles in the Bay, Los Angeles should at least try and lure him south. They’d have to obviously rid of some other expendable players on the team to pick up Thompson if they do sign Cousins this summer, but a lineup of Ball, Thompson, Ingram, Kuzma, and Cousins could be a title team in a few years. The inevitable truth of having to start paying some of their young guys in a couple years makes money become an issue for the Lakers, making the use of a max contract on George even more unattractive.

 

 

It’s rare for a franchise to turn down a star player in free agency which may be necessary if Los Angeles were to avoid signing George as he’s made it pretty clear he wants to come home this summer, but it’s the best thing for their future. Sticking to their young players and looking to make a splash in free agency in different areas of the lineup would be most beneficial for them especially with the superstars on the market in the next couple years. It’s hard to see the Lakers and George not joining up next fall but considering going in a different direction would be best for LA.

 

 

 

Top 15 Point Guards Here:

Top 15 Shooting Guards Here:

Top 15 Small Forwards Here:

Top 15 Power Forwards Here:

Top 15 Centers Here:

Top 15 Power Forwards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Top 15 Power Forwards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Here’s a look into the Top 15 power forwards in the league at the halfway point in the season. Note: Nuggets forward Paul Millsap will not be included in this list as he’s missed significant time due to injury.

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Thaddeus Young

James Johnson

Dario Saric

Derrick Favors

Taj Gibson

 

 

15. Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers

Randle driving to the basket.

Photo Credit/bleacherreport.com

 

Though he’s clearly on the Laker trade block and almost certainly won’t be a part of the LA roster next season, Randle is having the best year of his young career. While only seeing around 23 minutes of floor time so far, he’s shooting 54% from the field and has also shown his ability to rebound at an elite level when given the opportunity. Making the most of his playing time, Randle deserves a spot on the list.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

14. Serge Ibaka – Toronto Raptors

Serge Ibaka celebrating after a play.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After signing a new deal with Toronto in the offseason, Ibaka has remained an important frontcourt piece for the team this season. While he shouldn’t be expected to give you 20 a game or dazzle in the assist department, the big man makes a statement on defense and compliments the Raptors backcourt stars well. He’s slowed down as the years have gone on, but Ibaka remains an above-average 4 in the NBA.

Previous Ranking: 9

 

 

13. Carmelo Anthony – Oklahoma City Thunder

Melo smiling during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

In his first year in OKC, Anthony has given the Thunder pretty much what was expected; scoring and basically nothing else. Melo remains a good shooter and crafty scorer but hasn’t been able to develop his defense or playmaking which is necessary to be a star in today’s game. After a disappointing start to Oklahoma City’s season, it’s possible Anthony finds himself on another team by next year.

Previous Ranking: 10 (Small Forward)

 

 

12. Zach Randolph – Sacramento Kings

Randolph during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/hoop-ball.com

 

In his first year with the Kings, Randolph has clearly shown he’s currently the best player on the young Sacramento roster. After several years of team and individual success in Memphis, Z-Bo is now more of a mentor and leader than star for the Kings. On the court, he’s putting up almost 15 points a game while keeping his FG percentage at nearly 50%. His workload is expected to decrease as the season goes on, but Randolph still has some game left in him.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

11. Rondae Hollis Jefferson – Brooklyn Nets

RHJ dribbling up the floor.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

An integral part of the Nets rebuild, Hollis-Jefferson is in his first season handling true starters minutes and he’s performing well. His athleticism and defensive potential make him an intriguing forward prospect. If he finds a jumper over the next few seasons he can maintain a status as a 2nd or 3rd option in the young Brooklyn lineup.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

10. Lauri Markkanen – Chicago Bulls

Markkanen getting ready to shoot.

Photo Credit/sportingnews.com

 

In his first year in the league, Markannen has been a pleasant surprise for the Bulls as most expected him to be a bit more of a project. Putting up over 15 and 7 while at some solid percentages, the former Arizona big man has shown he’s the key piece to the Chicago rebuild early in his career. While he’s currently sharing power forward minutes with Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic, Markannen clearly has the most potential and skill out of the three and should see increased minutes with the expected trade of Mirotic away from the Bulls.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

 

9. Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers

Kuzma passing the ball on offense.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Just a rookie, you could argue Kuzma is already the best player on the Lakers. His scoring ability is far more advanced than most expected from the Utah product. With a good 6’9″ frame, Kuzma is able to play the 3 or the 4 and guard a range of positions. As his playmaking and defense progress, Kuzma could be a star in the NBA in a few years.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

8. Harrison Barnes – Dallas Mavericks

Barnes during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/mavs.com

 

Though a long time small forward with the Golden State Warriors, Barnes seems to have essentially shifted over to the power forward position since his arrival in Dallas. His composed face-up play style has lifted his game with the Mavs and allowed him to start off this year averaging nearly 19 points a game at some comfortable percentages. While his playmaking still needs work, Barnes is a key piece of the Mavericks rebuild as he nears his prime.

Previous Ranking: 8

 

 

7. Nikola Mirotic – Chicago Bulls

Mirotic preparing to shoot.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

As the trade deadline comes closer, the likelihood of a Mirotic trade has turned into a certainty. While the Montenegrin big man is being tossed around in rumors, he’s having the best season of his career. Off the bench, Mirotic is averaging over 17 points a game while shooting the 3 at an accurate 45%. His start to the season will benefit the Bulls as they’ll be able to garner more assets in a deal.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

6. LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs

Aldridge after making a play.

Photo Credit/espnsa.com

 

Aldridge has enjoyed much more individual success to start the season largely due to the absence of fellow star Kawhi Leonard. As he’s looking more like his Portland self, the 32-year old is putting up over 22 and 8 while shooting about 50% from the field. If Leonard remains out for a bit and Aldridge continues his efficient ways, it’s possible he finds himself in the All-Star game again.

Previous Ranking: 10

 

 

5. Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks

Porzingis going up for a layup.

Photo Credit/newsday.com

 

In his first season without Melo, Porzingis is thriving and having by far the best offensive year of his career. His defense is again a strong suit of his as well, putting up well over 2 blocks a game. Where Porzingis can transform into a real superstar who could lead a team to the playoffs singlehandedly is his playmaking and strength down low. Someone with his height shouldn’t have the trouble on the boards that he does. Improving on these facets of his game this offseason could help New York punch a ticket to the playoffs in 2019.

Previous Ranking: 5

 

 

4. Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers

Griffin backing down on Chris Paul.

Photo Credit/sbnation.com

 

Though he’s again been plagued with injuries this season, Griffin is having another All-Star caliber year. The loss of star PG Chris Paul has meant more touches and expected playmaking from him. With questions surrounding some of his teammates, Griffin has the Clips again in a position to make a visit to the postseason.

Previous Ranking: 4

 

 

3. Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors

Green during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/usatoday.com

 

Green is having another tremendous season with the Warriors, leading the team in assists and upping his PPG from last season. Though his defensive statistics are a bit down compared to his DPOY performance last year, he’s having the same profound effect on that side of the ball. It’s likely one of his teammates picks him for the All-Star game this year and he should be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year again as well.

Previous Ranking: 2

 

 

2. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans 

Davis dribbling up the floor.

Photo Credit/sportingnews.com

 

Davis is again having an incredible season alongside fellow frontcourt star DeMarcus Cousins. While putting up another double-double average, Davis has gotten his 3pt% up to around 34%, a bit above his career average. At this point, the star forward has all the tools be a perennial MVP candidate. The only thing Davis needs to be a surefire Hall of Famer is good health. He’s had trouble in his young career with various injuries which have held him and the Pels back from success. If Davis is able to have a good run of health and avoid nagging Injuries in the future, he’ll be one of the best players in the league for years.

Previous Ranking: 1

 

 

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo dribbling the ball up the floor.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Giannis has picked up right where he left off last year, stuffing the stat sheet and getting stronger individually while putting his Bucks in the position to make the playoffs again. The 23-year old will certainly be making another All-Star appearance next month and will be in the MVP conversation in June barring injury. With his size, athleticism, and playmaking ability, Antetokounmpo has the potential to be a top 10 player all-time. While his jumper can still be developed to make him pretty much unstoppable offensively, he’s already the top power forward in the NBA.

Previous Ranking: 4 (Small Forward)

 

 

 

Top 15 Point Guards Here

Top 15 Shooting Guards Here

Top 15 Small Forwards Here

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..

Photo Credit/hoopshabit.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/sportingnews.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/bleacherreport.com

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.

Photo Credit/soaringdownsouth.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/sbnation.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/masslive.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/slamonline.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/bleacherreport.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/sfgate.com

 

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.

Photo Credit/ftw.usatoday.com

 

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

 

Top 15 Shooting Guards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Nearly halfway through the NBA season, who are some of the best shooting guards in the league and how have they lived up to preseason expectations? Note: Zach Lavine and Tim Hardaway Jr. will not be on the list due to missing significant time so far this season.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Kent Bazemore

Caris LeVert

Eric Gordon

J.J. Redick

Jeremy Lamb

 

 

 

 

15. Evan Fournier – Orlando Magic

Evan Fournier during a game.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After officially becoming the shooting guard for the future in Orlando last season as a result the Victor Oladipo trade, Fournier has proven himself to be a solid starter for the Magic. Though still having some struggles on the defensive end, Fournier has the potential to be a 20 point scorer as scoring and shooting are clearly his best attributes.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention

 

 

14. Avery Bradley – Detroit Pistons

Avery Bradley during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/wxyz.com

 

After a career year in Boston last season, Bradley has gotten off to a bit of a slow start individually in Detroit. Despite his low scoring and rebounding numbers, it’s clear the former Texas guard has made an impact with his new team. After missing the playoffs last year the Pistons are now sitting in the middle of the East and could possibly end up challenging for a home playoff spot. An offensive facet Bradley has been great in is his 3-pt shooting, where he’s posting a 41% clip from deep, 4 percentage points up from his career average.

Previous Ranking: 7

 

 

13. Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown attempting a layup on LeBron James.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Brown has played both the shooting guard and small forward positions for Boston so far this year and has excelled. After an underwhelming but promising rookie season, the California product is putting up over 14 points a game while shooting about 40% from deep. Paired with star point guard Kyrie Irving in the backcourt, Brown provides the Celtics with versatile defense, athleticism, and floor spacing for it’s stars.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

12. Tyreke Evans – Memphis Grizzlies

Tyreke Evans dribbling.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

After a chaos-filled previous year for Evans, he’s returned to his college city of Memphis and is thriving with the Grizzlies. The 28-year old is putting up nearly 20 points a game and has again made it clear his ability to distribute and make plays for his teammates. Despite a rare down year for the Griz, it’s obvious the signing of Evans was a steal for Memphis in the offseason.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

11. Gary Harris – Denver Nuggets

Gary Harris shooting in a game.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Though there’s been a slight drop in shooting percentages for Harris to start the season, he’s been more productive offensively and improved his defense greatly. Currently averaging nearly two steals a game, the Michigan product is starting to clean up a part of his game that needed work. Providing almost elite scoring ability to a deep Nuggets team with a facilitating big man in Jokic, Gary Harris is paired up with young PG Jamal Murray which could become one of the best backcourts in the NBA in the coming seasons.

Previous Ranking: 14

 

 

10. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

Donovan Mitchel during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/slcdunk.com

 

Currently having one of the best rookie seasons we’ve seen in the past few years, Mitchell is already Utah’s go-to guy on offense and seems to be improving game by game. While big man Rudy Gobert continues to be sidelined for the Jazz, Mitchell is lighting it up, Currently averaging around 18 points a game while shooting some solid rookie percentages. Where the former Louisville guard is separating himself from other top rookies is on the defensive end. He’s quietly been a very good on-ball defender which was expected coming into the league due to his wingspan and athleticism, but he’s much farther along on that end than most would be in their rookie years. If he keeps this up without hitting a rookie wall, Mitchell can make an argument for ROTY.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

9. Lou Williams – Los Angeles Clippers

Lou Williams during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/clipsnation.com

 

Due to nagging injuries to Blake Griffin and suspicion about DeAndre Jordan’s future in LA, Lou Williams has emerged as the team’s most consistent player so far this season. After going from team to team the last few years the former Sixth Man of the Year is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, averaging nearly 22 points a game. After the Chris Paul deal in the summer, Los Angeles was without a star in the backcourt and was not assumed to be as strong as year’s past, but Williams has stepped in and been fantastic off the bench for the Clippers. If LA continues to win some could even argue Sweet Lou deserves a spot in the All-Star game.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

8. C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers

C.J. McCollum during a stoppage of play.

Photo Credit/youtube.com

 

Paired with star PG Damian Lillard in the backcourt, McCollum is having another good season with the Blazers. Though his scoring numbers are slightly down, he’s still shooting solid percentages and has cemented himself as a perennial top shooting guard. After being quietly thrown around in trade rumors last year, McCollum is currently helping Portland stay around .500 and will likely finish the season with his 3rd straight 20pt season.

Previous Ranking: 5

 

 

7. Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal in a photoshoot.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Beal is again having a great scoring season alongside John Wall in the backcourt. Currently enjoying his second straight 20pt season, the former Florida guard is a prototypical scorer, being able to shoot and slash at a high level. Shot selection and a bit of a better 3-pt percentage would turn Beal into an All-Star, but he’s clearly one of the best guys at the 2 in the NBA.

Previous Ranking: 6

 

 

6. Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/sports.yahoo.com

 

Booker has continued to improve offensively as his young career goes on, currently putting up around 25 a game for the Suns. Though defense and leadership are still problems for Booker, he’s clearly shown he can score and make plays with the best the league has to offer. After the Eric Bledsoe trade earlier in the season, it became clear who Phoenix was handing the keys to the franchise to. With size, confidence, and one of the best jumpers in the league, you can expect to see D-Book in the All-Star game soon.

Previous Ranking: 10

 

 

5. Victor Oladipo – Indiana Pacers

Victor Oladipo arguing a call.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

After being dealt to Indiana in the Paul George trade, Oladipo is back in his college state and having a career year. A short, one year stint in OKC with Russell Westbrook last season seems to have had an effect on him and he now finds himself as one of the top scorers in the league. Having already been a fantastic athlete coming into the NBA, Oladipo has now channeled his raw talent into an innate slashing ability and has also improved his jumpshot. With Dipo locked up for a few years contract wise, it’s safe to say the Pacers won their offseason trade.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention

 

 

4. Jimmy Butler – Minnesota Timberwolves

Jimmy Butler being guarded by Klay Thompson.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After being traded to the Wolves on draft night, it’s taken a while for Butler to become acclimated to the Minnesota offense, but he seems to have found his groove over the past few weeks. Still a lockdown perimeter defender, the former second round pick has been just what the Timberwolves need to surround their young core and move forward to the postseason. Where Tom Thibodeau may need to watch it is his starters minutes. Butler is averaging around 37 minutes a game and other starters on the team are playing significant minutes as well. In order to be ready for playoff time come spring, Minnesota may need to think about resting their stars from time to time.

Previous Ranking: 4

 

 

3. Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors

Klay Thompson celebrating after a shot.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

Having another All-Star caliber season on both ends, Thompson comes in at #3 on the list. Where Klay separated himself from Butler was his efficiency on the offensive end. While staying the great defender he’s been in years past, he’s shooting about 45% from 3 and nearly hit half of his shots from the field. In what could possibly be his 4th straight 20pt season, Thompson has the opportunity to accomplish a 50/40/90 for the year.

Previous Ranking: 3

 

 

2. DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors

DeMar DeRozan during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After years of being known as a guard who can only play within 22 feet of the basket, DeRozan has picked up his shots attempted and accuracy from deep. Now shooting around 37% from 3 and nearly 50% on field goals, DeRozan is set to make his 4th All-Star appearance and has the Raptors looking solid as a top 3 team in the East alongside backcourt partner Kyle Lowry.

Previous Ranking: 2

 

 

1. James Harden – Houston Rockets

James Harden during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/complex.com

 

Despite recently tearing part of his hamstring which will sideline him for a few weeks, Harden has once again began his MVP campaign very early in the season. Averaging a whopping 30+ points a game to go along with around 9 assists, the superstar is leading a Rockets team to a presumed top 2 seed in the West. With a new star to help him out in Houston, Chris Paul, Harden and the Rockets look to be the only team in the league right now that honestly stands a fair chance against the Golden State Warriors in a seven game series.

Previous Ranking: 1

 

 

 

Top 15 Point Guard Rankings Here: