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  • Kory Waldron

OTG's Top 50 NBA Players: 40-31

Over the past several weeks, Jac Manuell and myself have been crushing this top 50 list of current NBA players. Recently we released players 41-50 and met little resistance from NBA Twitter and NBA fans, as we move to the next portion I expect rioters with pitchforks and torches outside of our homes. Please feel free to debate with either one of us on Twitter!

40. Clint Capela

Via. USA Today

Clint Capela remained a free agent this summer far longer than most of us expected, but it felt there was no doubt that he would return to Houston. Capela did in fact re-sign on a five-year, $90 million dollar contract ensuring that the Rockets have their center of the future. Capela who is going to be just 24 years old this upcoming season has improved yearly on his scoring efficiency, rebounding and rim protection. With James Harden in his prime and Chris Paul yet to lose a major step from his game expect Capela to continue to flourish around the rim and in pick and rolls.

39. Andre Drummond

Via. Detroit Bad Boys

As Andre Drummond often says, he believes himself to be the greatest rebounder of all-time. This is a big statement, with that said Drummond is coming off of a season where he averaged 15 points per game and secured an average of 16 rebounds per game. Although he is a monster on the glass his offensive game is rather limited and prior to last season he was a trainwreck at the free throw line. This offseason Drummond has been one of the bigs around the league working hard on developing a jump shot that could push his game to another level. Drummond is a guy who could benefit greatly from having a healthy Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson alongside him this year.

38. Devin Booker

Via. ASeaOfBlue

The kid already has a 70 point game under his belt and he’s younger than me. That blows my mind and socks off! Booker is a flourishing young talent in this league and I don’t believe we’ve even scraped the surface of his true potential. Playing for the Phoenix Suns where as we know wins are few and far between, Booker remains that glimmer of hope and with recent moves to make the team more competitive we may see a more engaged Booker. Although that will have to wait until he returns to action after having surgery prior to preseason.

37. Steven Adams

Via. Fadeaway World

Yes, this guy could be straight out of Game of Thrones, he has that look. His play is a good representation of his warrior like look. Adams last season was quietly the third star for the Thunder, yes, he was better than Carmelo Anthony. Adams is perfect for around the rim when a driving Russell Westbrook needs to quickly dish off the ball. Not to mention he’s a solid defender but more importantly a tremendous rebounder. His work on the glass more so stands out for the fact he’s become the best offensive rebounder in the league. Last year in Oklahoma City, Adams averaged more offensive rebounds per game (5.1) than defensive rebounds per game (4.0). The Thunder this year look to be led by their defense and Adam will be a crucial component to that as he remains the only proven center on the roster.

36. Jayson Tatum

Via. Sports Illustrated

“A star was born”, this is what I felt in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals this past year. Watching Tatum go toe to toe with LeBron James and even posterizing him, at just 20 years old Tatum looks poised to be the next great Celtic. Although Ben Simmons was Rookie of the Year with Donovan Mitchell being a close second there was no way to not give credit and attention to Tatum. Tatum was forced to play big time minutes for a contending team right from the start and he didn’t disappoint. With the stars of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving returning for the Celtics the offensive usage and numbers of Tatum may dip slightly, but make no mistake that he’ll be a key part to any success the Celtics have this season.

35. Gordon Hayward

Via. Celtics life

Gordon Hayward has looked relatively good and healthy so far in preseason after missing all last year due to a gruesome leg injury. Hayward takes a hit in these rankings simply because it’s hard to know what to expect. Hayward when healthy is a top flight small forward and a top 25 player. This ranking is a cautious one, but if preseason is any indication he’ll be climbing this list once again in the future.

34. CJ McCollum

Via. USA Today

Slept on and often undervalued as the spotlight shines bright on his teammate Damian Lillard. McCollum is a great second option in Portland and his role as the secondary ball-handler behind Lillard has worked perfectly through the last three seasons. McCollum the last three seasons has shot around 40% from three and is just now entering what is likely the prime of his career. McCollum will continue to flourish as the Robin of Portland.

33. Kevin Love

Via. Sports Illustrated

Kevin Love has been the man and has been the third option. His level of play is determined like many by his role within the team. Love is a tremendous rebounder and still a perimeter threat, with LeBron gone, Love is now the first option once again. It should be expected that a jump in his production on an average Cleveland Cavaliers team.

32. Donovan Mitchell

Via. Sports Illustrated

Donovan Mitchell was absolutely unreal and it’s crazy to think he fell to thirteenth in the 2017 NBA Draft. Mitchell was given the keys to the castle so to speak. Donovan Mitchell is a two way guard who can score in a variety of ways and is an above average defender. At just 22 years old, Mitchell is likely to elevate his game further entering his sophomore year. The Utah Jazz are built around their defense and their offense is built to run through Mitchell.

31. Jrue Holiday

Via. USA Today

The picture of Jrue Holiday pointing at a recently posterized Jusuf Nurkic explains Holiday at this point in his career. A player who has dealt with injuries and has been seen as a mid-level point guard took a jump last season. Holiday once DeMarcus Cousins went down for the season found his groove and role within the New Orleans Pelicans. That role being a two-way combo guard who takes the pressure off of Anthony Davis. We saw this on full display against the Portland Trail Blazers where Holiday defensively took Damian Lillard out of the series. With some new pieces, Holiday looks primed to continue the momentum he had to end last season.

Players 41-50

#NBA #Pelicans #Jazz #Celtics #OKC #Cavs #Blazers #Suns #Pistons #Rockets #OTGsTop50 #NBARankings

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