It’s that time of year, and my “Top 100 NBA Players” ranking is back for the 2020-21 season! Last year, I did this ranking over at Prime Time Sports Talk, but it comes to Overtime Heroics for 2020. The 2019 ranking next to every player’s name is my ranking from last year at Prime Time Sports Talk. The ESPN ranking is from their ranking of each player on their 2020 edition. This series will come in four parts: 100-71, 70-41, 40-11, and the top ten. Without further ado, let’s get into the first part of this ranking!
*The only player who was kept off this list due to injury is Klay Thompson, who will likely miss all of 2020-21.
100. John Wall, Houston Rockets
2019: NR | ESPN 2020: 81
It’s extremely tough to get a gauge on John Wall, who is now two full calendar years removed from playing in a regular-season NBA game. As a slasher, Wall’s best skill was attacking the rim. A torn Achilles is sure to strip him of his quickness, so it will be interesting to see if he can regain his All-Star form in Houston.
99. Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets
2019: NR | ESPN: 94
After the Nets signed Deandre Jordan last offseason, the team made it clear Jarrett Allen was their starting center. Allen plays primarily as a rim-runner and rim protector but doesn’t provide much along the perimeter. He averaged a near double-double last year and should only continue to improve at 22 years of age.
98. Josh Richardson, Dallas Mavericks
2019: 74 | ESPN: 80
After a great year in 2018-19 with Miami, Josh Richardson was inconsistent in his lone season with the 76ers last season. Richardson is a great perimeter defender but struggles to create his own shot and consistently knock down threes. Now in Dallas, Richardson will face somewhat of a make or break year for his career trajectory.
97. Hassan Whiteside, Sacramento Kings
2019: NR | ESPN: NR
The Sacramento Kings got an absolute steal of a contract in free agency by landing Hassan Whiteside on a one year 3M deal. While Whiteside has issues with leaving the post to chase blocks, he’s an excellent center. Last year with Portland, he averaged a double-double and led the league by averaging 2.9 blocks per game.
96. Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers
2019: 44 | ESPN: NR
While Andre Drummond has undoubtedly fallen off, he’s still good enough to be in the “Top 100 NBA Players”. His fit in Cleveland doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but he’ll still lead the young team with his rebounding and defense. Drummond has led the NBA in rebounds per game four times in his career but needs to improve as a shooter this season.
95. Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
2019: 88 | ESPN: 100
The 2019 three-point contest winner, Joe Harris remains an elite three-point shooter. After shooting over 41.9% from deep in each of the past three seasons, Harris got rewarded with a 72M dollar extension. The Nets are championship contenders, and Harris will play a key role in getting them there.
94. J.J. Redick, New Orleans Pelicans
2019: 83 | ESPN: NR
Now in his age 36 season, J.J. Redick remains an elite shooter. In his first season with the Pelicans, Redick shot the deep ball at a ridiculous 45.3% clip. The Pelicans will be interesting if Zion Williamson can stay healthy, and JJ Redick will play a key role in getting them to the playoffs.
93. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Los Angeles Lakers
2019: NR | ESPN: 77
After struggling for much of the regular season, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope turned it on and played a crucial role in helping the Lakers win a championship. Caldwell-Pope is an excellent two-way, who fits in nicely next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. KCP doesn’t do anything at an elite level but does everything well for Los Angeles.
92. Patrick Beverley, Los Angeles Clippers
2019: 72 | ESPN: 90
Criticize him all you want for his playoff performance and antics; Patrick Beverley is still an elite defender. In the regular season, Beverley posted a 2.5 DBPM, well above the elite level for a point guard. Not to mention, he’s a solid shooter and made his threes at a 38.5% clip last year. When the Clippers are losing, Beverley’s trash talk backfires, but he’s still good enough to make the top 100.
91. Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
2019: 56 | ESPN: 78
Every year I’ve expected Aaron Gordon to take that leap forward, and every year, he’s been more and more disappointing. At age 24, Gordon’s numbers inexplicitly dropped across the board as he struggled to fit in next to Jonathan Isaac. Gordon is signed through next season, but it’s pretty clear at this point that he isn’t going to take that leap forward towards being an all-star.
90. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
2019: 87 | ESPN: 93
After a solid season with the Suns, Ricky Rubio was shipped off as part of the Chris Paul trade and ultimately got traded to Minnesota. His fit next to D’Angelo Russell may be questionable, but Rubio should be a solid glue piece as a veteran player for that team. Last year he finished second in the NBA in assists, only behind LeBron James.
89. Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
2019: 79 | ESPN: 86
While his three-point numbers fell off in 2019-20, Lopez had the best year of his career on the defensive end. He finished in the top five in blocks, swatting away 2.4 shots per game while posting an elite 2.5 DBPM mark. At age 32, Lopez remains a glue piece for this Milwaukee Bucks team that has championship aspirations.
88. Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons
2019: NR | ESPN: 88
After having the best year of his career with Denver in 2019-20, Jerami Grant inked a 3 yr 60M deal to join the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons are headed for an ugly rebuild and won’t be very watchable. However, that should allow Grant to see a high usage rate and put up big numbers this season.
87. Danilo Gallinari, Atlanta Hawks
2019: 75 | ESPN: 85
Despite struggling in the playoffs, Danilo Gallinari had a very solid year during his lone season with the Thunder. After signing a 3 yr 61M deal with the Atlanta Hawks, Gallinari will likely come off the bench for the first time since his rookie year. However, he’ll play a vital role on the Hawks as a veteran presence with elite shooting ability.
86. Seth Curry, Philadelphia 76ers
2019: NR | ESPN: 91
Once seen entirely as Steph’s younger brother, Seth Curry has established himself as a legit NBA-caliber player. Now in Philly, Seth Curry should fit in perfectly next to Joel Embiid. He can play the JJ Redick role that worked so well in the two-man game when Redick was in Philly. Fun fact: Curry has the highest three-point percentage in NBA history at 44.3%.
85. Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs
2019: 99 | ESPN: 83
Another year removed from his torn ACL, Dejounte Murray enters 2020-21 as a MIP candidate and 85 in our “Top 100 NBA Player List”. Murray can do just about everything for his team and create his shot at all three levels. His three-point percentage shot up last year considerably. Defensively, he was well above league-average as well at a 1.3 DBPM last season.
84. Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat
2019: NR | ESPN: 75
I don’t think any NBA fan could have predicted that Duncan Robinson would crack the “Top 100 NBA Player” heading into last season. Following a season where he spent much of his time in the G League, Robinson had a major breakout campaign, helping the Heat make the NBA Finals. At 6’7″, Robinson is a lights-out shooter and shot a ridiculous 44.6% from deep on 8.3 attempts per game last year.
83. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
2019: 50 | ESPN: 74
After looking like a perennial all-star and DPOY candidate in 2018-19, Myles Turner showed some regression last year. He’s still an above-average center by all means, but Domantas Sabonis is clearly the superior big man. At age 24, this season will likely determine whether or not Turner will break out or remain at the same level for the rest of his career.
82. Mike Conley, Utah Jazz
2019: 25 | ESPN: 71
One of the biggest fallers on this list from last season, Mike Conley struggled to find his way in his year in Utah, fitting in poorly next to Donovan Mitchell, another ball-dominant guard. Now at age 33, Conley needs to play better this season if the Jazz are going to have any chance at making a deep playoff run.
81. Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons
2019: 19 | ESPN: 65
Blake Griffin, another massive faller, looked like one of the worst players in the NBA during the 18 games he appeared in last season. Griffin no longer has the athleticism he once possessed and has transitioned into a perimeter threat. He certainly isn’t as bad as he was last season, but the reality is that he’s well past his prime at age 31.
80. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks
After the Bucks trade failed to go through, Bogdan Bogdanovic signed an offer sheet to join the Atlanta Hawks this season. Bogdanovic should fit in well next to Trae Young as he can both catch-and-shoot and create his own shot efficiently. Like most other players in Atlanta, his defense needs some work, but that was an excellent pickup for the Hawks.
79. Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
2019: NR | ESPN: 51
After a slow start to his rookie season, Michael Porter turned it around the second half of the year, playing a pivotal role for the Nuggets. Despite only playing 16.4 minutes per game, MPJ was able to average 9.3 ppg on 50.3% from the field and 42.2% from deep. The sky’s the limit for him as long as he can stay healthy. Regardless, ESPN’s ranking all the way at 51 seems to be jumping the gun on someone who hasn’t even been a starter for their team.
78. Eric Bledsoe, New Orleans Pelicans
2019: 64 | ESPN: 67
It’s unclear how Eric Bledsoe will fit in next to Lonzo Ball in the backcourt in New Orleans. While nowhere near as talented as Jrue Holiday, Bledsoe isn’t the worst option for the Pelicans, either. Bledsoe is a plus defender as well, having posted a 1.1 DBPM last season.
77. Steven Adams, New Orleans Pelicans
2019: 86 | ESPN: 70
After spending the first seven years of his career with Thunder, Steven Adams will join the Pelicans for this season. With the Pelicans’ future center waiting in the wings in Jaxson Hayes, Adams will be an excellent mentor piece for this season. While he’s not much of a shooter, Adams is one of the NBA’s strongest players and almost averaged a double-double last season.
76. Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
2019: NR | ESPN: 59
Tyler Herro will be a crucial piece to this Heat for a long time, but ESPN jumped the gun by ranking him at 59. The 13th pick in the 2019 draft, Herro helped lead the Heat to the NBA Finals and dropped 37 points in game four of the ECF against Boston. He’s a pure sharpshooter but still has room to grow before he’s at an all-star level.
75. Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks
2019: 69 | ESPN: 92
Mitchell Robinson can be a DPOY candidate, but he needs to learn to be more disciplined. Robinson finished top ten in blocks for the second straight year but consistently got himself into foul trouble. He doesn’t have much of a jump shot, with most of his attempts coming from the paint, although he led the NBA by shooting 74.2% from the field last season.
74. Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings
2019: 57 | ESPN: 87
Despite losing his spot in the starting rotation, Buddy Hield had another great season last year for the Kings. There have been several trade rumors surrounding his name, so it will be interesting if he ends the season with the Kings. Regardless, he’s an elite shooter and can help any team trying to make a playoff push.
73. Christian Wood, Houston Rockets
2019: NR | ESPN: 55
As a die-hard 76ers fan, I never would have thought Christian Wood would wind up on the top 100 list. A former process 76er, Wood had a breakout year at age 24, putting up career-highs across the board. Now in Houston, after earning a 3 yr 41M deal, Wood should have every opportunity to continue to improve in 2020-21.
72. Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers
2019: 63 | ESPN: 60
After winding up with the Rockets last season, Robert Covington finds himself in Portland for this season. In short, the fit could not be better. The Trail Blazers have lacked a reliable three and D power forward since losing LaMarcus Aldridge. Covington is inconsistent at times as a shooter, but his defense will help the Trail Blazers, who hope to make a playoff run.
71. Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
2019: 26 | ESPN: 47
After returning from a knee injury in February, Victor Oladipo managed to mess up the Pacers’ chemistry as he mightily struggled. It’s tough to come back from a significant injury and fit right in on a winning team, but Oladipo certainly damaged Indiana’s flow. Hopefully, now further removed from his injury, he’ll have a comeback season in 2020-21.
Stay tuned for part two coming soon!
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