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Reaction to Top NBA Players (#100-51)

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As the NFL season is underway, the NBA community decided to reveal their Top 100 players of the 2019-20 season. This season, unlike the past, will finally mean something, as the league has “opened up” through trades and free agency.

These players still have it, but for how much longer?

  • Paul Millsap (#85, -24)
  • Eric Gordon (#78, -36)
  • Steven Adams (#75, -28)
  • Joe Ingles (#62, -9)
  • Marc Gasol (#61, -10)
AP Photo, Nick Wass

Among the Top 50, there are sure to be a few veterans still making contributions in the league. They may not be what they used to be, but they are still important to their team’s success. Although Eric Gordon and Marc Gasol can be viewed as players in decline, that would only be reserved for the regular season. Players such as Paul Millsap and Joe Ingles are still astute on defense, allowing the young players to continue their respective offensive onslaughts.

Players looking to bounce back from a poor 2018

  • Otto Porter Jr. (#90, -52)
  • Marcus Smart (#87, -33)
  • Gordon Hayward (#65, -25)
  • Clint Capela (#53, -17)
  • Jaylen Brown (#51, -14)
AP Photo

Three members of the Boston Celtics have made my list of players looking to bounce back from a poor 2018 season. Brown and Smart continued the theme overseas during the FIBA World Cup, but will return to a Celtics roster that lost Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Aaron Baynes and Marcus Morris. Those key losses will open up minutes and opportunity for not only Smart and Brown, but also for Gordon Hayward.  Hopefully the Chicago Bulls stay healthy, allowing Porter Jr. to resume his defensive prowess and spot-up shooting.

Who boosted their ranking during the playoffs

  • Derrick White (#100)
  • Evan Fournier (#99)
  • Joe Harris (#89)
  • Fred Van Fleet (#88)
  • PJ Tucker (#82)
  • Brook Lopez (#80, -50)
  • Pat Beverley (#79)
  • Eric Bledsoe (#67, -11)
  • Caris LeVert (#60)
  • Lou Williams (#58, +14)
  • Paul Millsap (#85, -24)
  • Eric Gordon (#78, -36)
  • Marc Gasol (#61, -10)
Getty Images, Lachlan Cunningham

Last year’s playoffs were a coming out party for many players on this list. Due to injury or matchups, players were able to take advantage of their opportunities and were boosted into the elite of the NBA. 

While some on this list will find it tough to regain their playoff stature from last season, it will be interesting to see who can keep that same progress throughout an 82-game regular season. Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, Paul Millsap and Marc Gasol have fallen in the rankings since last year, but their performances during the playoffs are too important to overlook.

Players in a new home, but have the same game

  •  Derrick Favors (#96, -13)
  •  Julius Randle (#92, -12)
  •  Danilo Gallinari (#91)
  •  Josh Richardson (#86, -18)
  •  Ricky Rubio (#84, -32)
  •  JJ Redick (#73, -8)
  •  Malcolm Brogdan (#57, +32)
AP Photo, Alonzo Adams

Whether through trade or free agency, fans witnessed one of the biggest offseasons of player movement. The players in this section have the ability to “plug-and-play”, regardless of the offensive system. Danilo Gallinari tops this list as the newest addition to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The New Orleans Pelicans are looking for Derrick Favors to lock the paint down on defense, while expecting JJ Redick to continue his shooting stroke.

Players returning from injury

  • Robert Covington (#97, -48)
  • Jusuf Nurkic (#83, -8)
  • Dejounte Murray (#71, -7)
  • Lonzo Ball (#68, -6)
  • Brandon Ingram (#56, -1)
Bruce Ely, Trail Blazers

Injuries are tough to overcome in the NBA, especially when competition and contracts are breathing down your back. Robert Covington was on two teams last season and suffered through injuries during both campaigns with Philadelphia and Minnesota. Jusuf Nurkic is still out with a broken leg until the All-Star break. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are both looking to stay healthy with the Pelicans, while Dejounte Murray returns from a torn ACL with the San Antonio Spurs.

Can these players maintain last year’s production?

  • Jarrett Allen (#95)
  • Justice Winslow (#94, +2)
  • Spencer Dinwiddie (#76)
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic (#74)
  • Montrezl Harrell (#72)
  • Marvin Bagley III (#69)
  • Domantas Sabonis (#63, +29)
  • Buddy Hield (#59)
  • Zach Lavine (#55)
  • Andre Drummond (#52, -7)
AP Photo, Mary Altaffer

Being able to maintain your production can be difficult to project in the NBA. Of the players in this section, many factors will determine if each of these players can continue their rise in league. Will Zach Lavine continue his offensive production with the Chicago Bulls under defensive head coach Jim Boylen? 

Player additions in Brooklyn will have an effect on Jarrett Allen, who will battle with DeAndre Jordan for minutes at the center position. A crowded depth chart in Sacramento may effect Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was highly effective last year. With expectations and Trevor Ariza joining the team, their backcourt and wing positions will be competitive.

Players with pure potential

  • Mitchell Robinson (#98)
  • Ja Morant (#93)
  • Bam Adebayo (#81)
  • Kyle Kuzma (#77, -7)
  • Gary Harris (#70, -27)
  • DeAndre Ayton (#66)
  • Shai Gilgeous Alexander (#64)
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. (#54)
AP Photo, Brandon Dill

The players in this section will be looked at to improve upon last season’s performances. Ja Morant will be paired with rookie standout Jaren Jackson Jr. for the Memphis Grizzlies. Mitchell Robinson showed potential last season, but the Knicks logjam of big men may limit his minutes if he struggles. If Shai Gilgeous Alexander can continue to ascend in Oklahoma City, he’ll make whatever trade package being offered for Chris Paul seem worth it.

Photo Credit: The Big Lead

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