OTG's Top 50 NBA Players: 30-21
Kory Waldron and I have been hard at work whittling down the game's elite talent to just the 50 best players. There's been plenty of toing and froing but we've finally come to a consensus. We'll be releasing the results over the coming week in increments of 10 players each. With all that considered here's 30-21 of OTG's Top 50 Players going into the 2018-19 season. Let us know your thoughts by hitting up Off the Glass on Twitter.
30. Kyle Lowry
Lowry endured a tough start to the season in 2017-18. His adjustment to the new perimeter focussed offense was a challenge for both him and his former teammate DeMar DeRozan. By the conclusion of the season his assists (6.9 per game) and 3-point shooting (39.9%) were up to his usual high standard. He may have hit his early 30s but Lowry is still one of the most effective two-way point guards in the league today.
29. Blake Griffin
It was a whirlwind season for the 5x All-Star. He expanded his game with his new team, the Pistons, taking a career-high in 3-point field goal attempts (322 in 58 games). With Detroit he averaged per game numbers of almost 20 points, over 6 assists and almost 7 rebounds. His versatile skill set as a power forward make him one of the most talented players at the position.
28. Khris Middleton
Middleton has all the tools to push for an All-Star in a weakened Eastern Conference next year. He’s a lethal mid-range scorer and incredibly capable perimeter shooter. Across the playoffs he was equally outstanding, finishing with an astonishing 71eFG%. You could make an argument he was more reliable than Giannis across that Boston series. Their chemistry will go a long way to determining how far this Bucks team can go in 2018-19.
27. Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is one of the most consistent, elite point guards in the NBA. He’s a great passer, outstanding scorer and fantastic shooter. All he’s missing is the team success. He is Charlotte’s all-time leading scorer despite being just 28 years old. With plenty of his career ahead of him there’ll be plenty of more individual accolades to come his way with hopefully the team success to follow.
26. John Wall
It was an interrupted and tumultuous 2017-18 season for the Wizards point guard. At his best he’s one of the most athletic and damaging players in the open court. Him and Russell Westbrook can get to the rim at will with their out-of-this-world athleticism. Wall’s injury history is a worry, though he did make some strides in specific areas last season. He put up career-high numbers in blocks (1.1 per game) and 3-point percentage (37.1%). If he can get back to some semblance of his old form while maintaining those defensive and perimeter numbers Washington will be in for a successful season.
25. Bradley Beal
New Day Review
Many will be shocked by the addition of Beal at 25, one spot ahead of his backcourt teammate. With age, health and production on his side there’s plenty of arguments in Beal’s favour. His development in Wall’s absence across the board elevated him to one of the game’s best players at the two spot. It was a career season for the 24 year old and with so much of his career ahead of him we’re still yet to see the best of the Washington star.
24. DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan is one of the best shooters inside the arc across the league. He has outstanding footwork and a sweet stroke to match. He made improvements as a passer and perimeter shooter last season which bodes well going into Coach Popovich's San Antonio system. DeMar still has plenty of hops and with sensational slashing ability look for Pop to utilise that on many occasions in 2018-19.
23. Karl-Anthony Towns
How’s this for accolades across a season?
Led the league in double-doubles
14th in 3-point shooting (42.1%), between Stephen Curry and J.J. Redick
Towns is still only 22 years of age and has so much more growth in his game to come. The defensive slights are warranted. For a guy who showed so much potential on that side of the floor in college it’s baffling to see him yet to make an impact defensively. With Jimmy Butler on the way out and possibly Coach Thibodeau, hopefully that means greater opportunity for one of the most gifted youngsters to continue his ascendance into the league’s absolute elite.
22. Nikola Jokić
Unless foreseen injury or other circumstances strike him down, Nikola Jokić will go down as the game’s all-time best passing big man. He’s a nightly triple-double threat and makes his teammates so much better with his innate basketball IQ. Coach Malone will be pressing him to stay aggressive, using these numbers via NBA.com as a way of reiterating that notion. When Jokić:
Scored at least 25 points, the Nuggets were 10-6.
Had a double-double, the Nuggets were 27-11.
Had a triple-double, the Nuggets were 9-1.
Had 10 or more assists, the Nuggets were 11-2.
21. Ben Simmons
The Aussie sensation has MVP potential. His rookie season was the stuff dreams are made of. He has already established himself as one of the league’s best passers and defenders despite only just being able to legally drink in the United States. Even without a jump shot he was able to bend defenses at his will. Like many of the players on this list he’s only just beginning to scratch the surface of his sky-high potential. The Sixers are a dynasty in the making and Simmons will be an integral part of making that a reality.
#JacManuell #KoryWaldron #Sixers #OTG39sTop50 #Denver #Nuggets #Minnesota #TImberwolves #TorontoRaptors #washingtonwizards #charlottehornets #Milwaukee #Bucks #Detroit #PIstons #Toronto #Raptors #OTGsTop50