Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 40. LaMelo Ball, Hornets
LaMelo Ball has to show interest in defense at some point, but the offense is mind-bending and eye-popping. Here’s to hoping his next coach is Mike D’Antoni. Blending absurd skill with a true flare for the dramatic, Ball has turned the Hornets into must-watch television. He makes passes no other player in the NBA would even think of, and he continues to become more well-rounded as a scorer.
Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 39. Ben Simmons, Nets
Hopefully Ben Simmons can get back on the court next season. He put the Sixers through hell, I know, but we’re missing out on a special talent. He’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA when healthy, while his up-tempo style and open-court athleticism should mesh well with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 38. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder
OKC has two lottery picks in the upcoming draft, a real gem in Josh Giddey, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the front end of a rookie max contract. That’s a good place to be for a team that was stuck in mid-tier purgatory not long ago. Gilgeous-Alexander’s dominance doesn’t look like your typical star guard’s dominance — it’s all long strides and change of pace — but he can score with the best of ’em.
Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 37. Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves
Anthony Edwards announced himself as one of the NBA’s next star wings in Minnesota’s brief postseason run. He has the strength, footwork, and shot-making talent to be special sooner than later. He should focus on improving his defense and his floor game over the summer, but right now, the Wolves should be thrilled with how quickly Edwards’ game has taken shape.
Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 36. Draymond Green, Warriors
Draymond Green has regressed slightly from his championship heyday, but he’s still a generational defensive talent who completely reshapes how the opposing offense operates. He’s still the ultimate small-ball five, the prime example of how to maximize that type of role. His lack of shooting hurts the offense every now and then, but he mostly makes up for it by doing the little things and setting up teammates for success.