Basketball

Ranking the Top 100 NBA Players Pre-All-Star Break: 50 – 26

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There have been delays, postponements, quarantines, and no fans in attendance, but the NBA has managed to make it to the half-way point of the season: All-Star Weekend. Despite the wildly unusual season, the league has still seen its fair share of star power and outstanding performances. Looking primarily at the numbers, we’ve ranked our Top 100 NBA players so far this season.

While it is understood that numbers don’t always tell the full story, we’ve taken several different stats into consideration along with our own version of the eye-test to determine our Top 100 NBA player rankings. While the obvious stats like PPG, APG, RPG, SPG, and BPG are considered, we also looked at their total accumulated stats on the season to form a better picture of who’s been both performing and consistently available. Along with traditional player stats, things like team win percentage, total games played, and a few advanced metrics such as PER, Win Shares, and Box Plus/Minus were considered.

Usage Rate is an interesting metric that we’ve implemented as a tie-breaker of sorts. If two players are averaging very similar stats but one has an extremely high usage rate, the player performing at a similar level with less usage will earn a slight advantage in our Top 100 NBA player rankings, though it is not being used to tank superstars with perennially high usage rates like James Harden, Luka Doncic, or Stephen Curry.

Keep in mind that many of the players that did make our Top 100 NBA players list will take a hit in the rankings due to time missed. Their per-game stats may prove to be elite, but this list is an attempt to encapsulate total availability and production so far this season.

Now that we’ve established an overview of our ranking model, let’s get straight to it.

Top 100 NBA Player Rankings

100 – 76 | 75 -51 | 25 – 11 | 10 – 1

#50 John Collins

Collins continues to develop into one of the best young forwards in the league. This season he’s averaging 18.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, and 1.0 BPG across just under 31 minutes of action. He ranks very poorly in SPG, but his rebounds and blocks are both amongst the Top 45 players in the league, and his total rebounds rank as high as #19. Collins also boasts 3.6 Win Shares this season, pushing him near the Top 2% of the league.

#49 Christian Wood

Wood is a perfect example of a top-tier per-game producer that drops down our Top 100 NBA player rankings considerably due to time missed. On a per-game basis, Wood would rank 25th according to our model, but his total stats leave him outside of the Top 150. He’s currently 12th and 14th in RPG (10.2) and BPG (1.5) respectively, but he ranks outside the Top 50 in both stat totals. Wood also carries a 24.2 PER, an impressive Top 20 caliber rating for the 25-year-old Houston center.

#48 Kyle Lowry

Trade rumors have been surrounding Lowry all season, only to be amplified when Lowry sold his Toronto home earlier this season. On the court, however, Lowry has shown no signs of distraction. He’s played in only 29 games but averages 18 points, 7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. His APG lands him at 15th in the league, familiar territory for the veteran point guard known for his stellar defense and playmaking.

#47 Terry Rozier

“Scary” Terry Rozier has faced his fair share of doubters and criticism during his first few seasons in the league, most saying that he was a volume scorer with poor percentages. While the percentage criticism might be warranted, Rozier is proving to be more than just a volume scorer. He’s averaging 20.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.4 SPG which ranks 17th in the league. In fact, Rozier is #9 in the NBA this season in total steals with 46 on the season, as well as 11th in 3-pointers made with 111 through 33 games.

#46 Pascal Siakam

The former All-Star has settled back into what could very well be his role of the future. While still a Top 50 player, Siakam has not performed like the Top 20-25 player some thought he might develop into. Regardless, he’s still averaging over 20 points along with roughly eight rebounds, five assists, and over a steal per game. Siakam has also done a great job of getting to the free-throw line this season. He has 122 made FTs in only 30 games played, good for 31st in the league.

#45 Malcolm Brogdon

Former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon has quietly turned into one of the most efficient players in the NBA. His 3-point shooting has dropped below 40%, but just barely. Brogdon is hitting at .447-.378-.897 splits while averaging 21.2 PPG, 6.2 APG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.2 SPG. He ranks in the Top 20 in total assists with 212 over the course of 34 games played. Even as a starting point guard, Brogdon is producing at his current level with only the 60th highest usage rate in the entire league.

#44 Gordon Hayward

Hayward has found somewhat of a resurgence in Charlotte. He’s not quite the player we were used to seeing in Utah, but his current averages of 21.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.9 APG, and 1.3 SPG are nothing to scoff at. Hayward is currently 20th in the NBA in minutes per game as he’s doing everything he can to lift his young Hornets squad into the playoff race. He’s also hitting at a 40.5% clip from beyond the arc.

#43 DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan has spent much of this season playing as the Spurs’ power forward, a position he’s not played much before in the NBA, and it’s working. Along with an impressive 20 PPG and 4.9 RPG, DeRozan is averaging what would easily be a career-high 7.2 APG. This also lands him as the 14th ranked player in APG this season. DeRozan has also continued to excel at converting free throws, hitting a 12th-best 175 free throws on 89.3% shooting this season. His 4.0 Win Shares are also in the Top 20 in the NBA, helping DeRozan’s resume on this Top 100 NBA player rankings.

#42 Jamal Murray

Murray went nuclear in the Orlando Bubble at the end of the 2020 season, playing a huge role in Denver’s run to the Western Conference Finals. While his play this season has not been on quite the same level, he’s still a Top 35 scorer in the league, averaging a career-high 21.8 PPG, while also averaging over four rebounds and assists. Murray plays a monstrous 35.4 minutes per game, which helps explain his 28th place ranking in our total stat rankings.

#41 Karl-Anthony Towns

Towns’ per-game numbers are elite this season, ranking in our Top 10, but he’s appeared in only 16 games, less than half of the Timberwolves 36 games this season. KAT is 7th in the NBA with 1.7 BPG, as well as 13th in the league with 10.9 RPG. However, he ranks 48th and 78th in the total portion of each category respectively. Towns is an elite talent in this league, but his lack of availability this season drops him uncharacteristically low in this Top 100 NBA player rankings.

#40 De’Aaron Fox

The 23-year-old point guard out of Kentucky continues to make his case for being one of the top floor generals in the league. Fox averages 23 PPG, 7.6 APG, 3.2 RPG, and 1.2 SPG this season. He ranks 12th in APG and 9th in total assists, only adding to his case as a top-tier playmaker. Fox ranks below league average in FT% and RPG, both categories that could push him over the top to the next level if improved upon.

#39 Jerami Grant

Grant has proven many people wrong so far this season, including myself. Grant hasn’t been much more than a top-notch role player in his young career until this season in Detroit. Now, he’s averaging 23.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.1 BPG over 36.2 minutes per game. Despite the well-rounded stat line, Grant is shooting below league average at 43.3% from the field, and his Pistons are struggling mightily at the midway point of the season. The 26-year-old forward will likely continue to improve and rise on future iterations of our Top 100 NBA players.

#38 Chris Boucher

Boucher has fully embraced his role as the Raptors’ 6th man this season, and he’s thriving. Averaging 13.6 points and 6.5 rebounds off the bench is great by any standard, but it’s Boucher’s 1.9 BPG that put him in elite company this season, landing him at 5th in the league (4th in total blocks). Assists are the only stat in which Boucher falls below league average, but the Raptors don’t need Boucher to provide playmaking. Playing in his role, Boucher has contributed 3.9 Win Shares on the season, good for 24th in the league.

#37 LaMelo Ball

The clear favorite for Rookie of the Year is already contending with All-Stars for a position in our rankings. The youngest Ball brother is averaging 15.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, and 1.6 SPG.  He’s also posted a 3.1 box plus/minus so far this season, good for Top 50 in the league. The biggest criticisms and concerns about Ball coming into the league were his shooting percentages and defensive ability. If hitting nearly 38% of his threes and ranking 7th in the NBA in SPG isn’t enough to silence those doubts, I’m not sure what is.

#36 Tobias Harris

The 28-year-old forward has been excellent yet again this season. One of the most underrated players in the league every year, Harris is showing again why he deserves more respect. He’s averaging 20.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 0.8 BPG this season while hitting 40.2% of his 3-point shot attempts. Harris is playing roughly 34 minutes per game on one of the best teams in the NBA, contributing nicely to a .667-win percentage with 3.6 Win Shares so far, good for 29th in the league.

#35 Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell is the on-court leader of the best team in the NBA at the midway point of the season. He’s leading the scorching hot Jazz with 24.7 PPG while also contributing 5.4 APG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.0 SPG. Mitchell has hit the 10th most threes in the NBA this season with 113 made across 34 games. He’s also in the Top 20 in per-game scoring and Top 15 in total points scored. The All-Star participant is well known for his high-flying antics, but his on-court production has been nothing short of elite in this, his fourth season.

#34 Clint Capela

Capela is one of the most dominant paint presences in the NBA. He’s accepted his rim-to-rim role as a rebounder, rim protector, and lob finisher and has all but perfected it. Capela ranks #1 in the league in rebounds per game with 14.2 and #2 in total rebounds with 453. He’s also ranked 3rd in both blocks per game and total blocks with 2.2 and 71 respectively. It’s the 55% free-throw shooting the damages Capela’s resume the most, along with his expected lack of assists and threes. Capela’s 24.1 PER is also good for 22nd in the league, a worthy rating for a player this high on our Top 100 NBA player rankings.

#33 Jaylen Brown

The young Celtics shooting guard has stepped up his game yet again this season with running mate Jayson Tatum missing several games already this season. Brown is averaging 24.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, and 1.1 BPG. He lands above league average in every single per-game, total, and advanced metric used in these rankings, his highest being 13th in total FG’s made with 305 across 33 games played. With several injuries in Boston this season, Brown’s usage rating has risen to 30.1, but that didn’t impact his position in our Top 100 NBA player rankings.

#32 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

In 30 games this season, Gilgeous-Alexander is leading a struggling Thunder squad with 23.2 points and 6.2 assists per game. He’s stepped into a larger role in his 3rd NBA season, his 1st on the Thunder without Chris Paul on the roster, and has met every expectation thus far. Along with leading his team in scoring and assists, he’s contributing 5.1 RPG, 0.8 SPG, and 0.7 BPG while playing 34 minutes a night. One aspect of SGA’s game that continues to improve is getting to the free-throw line and converting once there, as is evident by his 158 free throws made this season, good for 17th in the league.

#31 Chris Paul

Speaking of the point god himself, Chris Paul has turned around the Phoenix Suns just like he has every team he’s been a part of. In only his first season with the team, the Suns have the 2nd best record in the West, beating out both Los Angeles teams, thanks in large part to Paul’s 16 PPG, 8.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG. As should be expected, Paul currently resides in the Top 5 in both assists per game and total assists on the season. He continues to build onto a resume that already stacks up well with the best point guards of all time.

#30 Khris Middleton

Middleton is very capable of joining the elusive 50-40-90 club this season if he can marginally improve his FG% and FT% by less than 5% each. Milwaukee’s second fiddle has proven to be the perfect Robin to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Batman. The Bucks have opted to surround their superstar with shooters, and you won’t find a better 3-level shooter in the NBA than Middleton. He’s averaging 20.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.7 APG, and 1.1 SPG on .495-.432-.884 shooting splits. The 6’8 combo wing has also stepped into more facilitating responsibilities, ranking 20th in the league in total assists this season with 206.

#29 Jayson Tatum

Tatum is well on his way to being a perennial All-Star, as well as making annual appearances on Top 100 NBA players rankings such as this one. The 22-year-old All-Star starter is averaging roughly 25 PPG, 7 RPG, 5 APG, and just under 2 SPG. His shooting percentages are far from elite, however. His 43.7% shooting from the field falls right on the league average, and his 36.8% 3-point shooting lands him barely above league average. Tatum ranks as a Top 25 per-game player, but his time missed this season and below-average efficiency, including a 60th rank PER of 19.7, drops him just outside the bottom fourth of our rankings.

#28 Brandon Ingram

The young Pelicans have found their core of the future with Ingram and sophomore sensation Zion Williamson. Ingram is 2nd on the team in PPG (23.9) and APG (4.8) while also contributing 5.1 RPG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.8 BPG. He ranks 12th in the NBA with 306 field goals made on the season, hitting at a 47.2% clip from the field. Ingram has also been excellent in converting free throw attempts, ranking in the Top 15 in free throws made. His availability has been one of his best assets this season, allowing him to rank inside our Top 20 for total stat rankings.

#27 Jarrett Allen

Allen found himself on the move earlier this season after the Nets opted to add a 3rd superstar to the roster rather than develop their youth. In the win-now move, Allen ended up on a team loaded with big men. Fortunately, he’s outperformed all of them en route to 13.5 PPG, 9.9 RPG, and 1.7 BPG which ranks 7th in the league. He also ranks 6th in total blocks this season, a testament to his overall availability and consistency. Whether he stays as a piece of the future in Cleveland or finds himself on the move again sooner rather than later, Allen will be a force to be reckoned with in the paint for many years to come.

#26 Myles Turner

Speaking of dominant interior presences, Myles Turner has put the league on notice by blocking nearly every shot thrown up in his general vicinity. Turner leads the league in blocks per game with an absurd 3.4 BPG. For reference, the 2nd leading shot-blocker in the league is Rudy Gobert with 2.7 BPG. Along with being a dominant interior presence, Turner is averaging 13.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.0 SPG along with hitting 48.4% of his shots, 31.4% of his threes, and 77.8% of his free throws. His advanced metrics aren’t top-tier, ranking outside the Top 90 in both PER and box plus/minus, but Turner’s 15th per-game rank lands him firmly towards the top of our Top 100 NBA player rankings.

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