Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 60. Malcolm Brogdon, Pacers
Malcolm Brogdon’s future with Indiana is very much in question, but he’s still extremely productive and would make a number of contenders happy. Before his move to Indy, he was one of the most efficient shooters and secondary ball-handlers in the NBA. With the Pacers, he proved he can run the show. His malleability on offense and size at either guard spot on defense makes him quite valuable.
Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 59. Evan Mobley, Cavaliers
Evan Mobley is already one of the most impactful big man defenders in the NBA, and he’s not even the Cavs’ main rim protector. He’s guarding all over the floor — at the top of Cleveland’s zone, switching onto guards, playing up on the ball-handler in pick-and-rolls. Mobley’s mobility, length, and seemingly extrasensory instincts are amazing to watch. He’s still raw, he’s still growing, and yet the natural talent just leaps off the screen every time you watch him play. And that’s without mentioning the immense offensive potential.
Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 58. John Collins, Hawks
John Collins’ future has been a topic of conversation all season, but he’s still essential to what Atlanta hopes to accomplish. His chemistry with Trae Young is central to Atlanta’s dominant offense, and he has grown to the point of being quite productive even when Young is off the court. Collins can bury 3s, face up and score off the dribble, or play the role of traditional high-flying rim runner. The importance of his scoring versatility and hunger on the glass is hard to overstate in Atlanta’s current setup.
Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 57. Desmond Bane, Grizzlies
Desmond Bane was one of the NBA’s best shooters as soon as he set foot in the league. Now, in year two, he’s already the second option for the team with the second-best regular season record. Bane’s elite 3-point shooting, combined with his improved ability to attack errant closeouts and score at the rim, make him the perfect complement to Ja Morant offensively. He’s also an improving defender with broad shoulders and the potential to guard multiple positions at a high level.
Ranking the top 100 NBA players — 56. R.J. Barrett, Knicks
R.J. Barrett really made a leap after the All-Star break, but it flew under the radar because the team around him isn’t very good. That said, the Knicks should be very excited about the future with Barrett. He’s starting to pose a consistent threat pulling up behind the 3-point line, and his strength driving to the lane has always been elite. The dude just bulldozes smaller guards and wings once he gets downhill momentum. Add in improvement as a ball-handler and decision-maker, and the Knicks might just have a star on their hands.