OTG's Top 50 NBA Players: 20-11
20. Rudy Gobert
The Defensive Player of the Year has such an effect on his team. When he was out last season due to injury injury they were a middle-of-the-road squad. Upon his return they were playing insane basketball, especially on the defensive end. Right now he is the core of what this Jazz team is, and does (that is until Mitchell takes that eventual next step). There’s high aspirations in Utah, and the Frenchman will be leading the cause in 2018-19.
19. Al Horford
It feels as if you’re either a fan of Al Horford and understand his all around impact or you think he’s decent and overpaid. Well, sorry to break it to those of you who stand on the wrong side of things. Horford is a Top 20 player and it’s no contest. Following last season, Horford was named to the All-Defensive second team. Horford doesn’t have a flashy game, but he does everything from scoring inside and out, rebounding, passing, a high IQ defender and does the little things like setting good screens. He may be the most complete players the Celtics have, not to mention he’s a veteran leader.
18. LaMarcus Aldridge
The Denver Post
Aldridge was sensational last season leading the Spurs to yet another playoff appearance. His regular season form earned him an All NBA Second team spot after being one of the most consistently productive scoring big men in the game. LaMarcus may be heading into his age 33 season but he has a clean injury history behind him and a system that is tailored to his needs.
17. Draymond Green
Multiple time NBA champion, the heart and soul of the Golden State Warriors. Not only does Green have a tremendous trash talking game, but he’s an elite defender one of the best in the game. Green has already won a Defensive Player of the Year award and has made four All-Defensive teams. Green may be a fifth option on offense when it comes to scoring, but make no mistake when it comes to the Warriors moving the ball he plays a pivotal role. Especially in the high pick and roll, there’s not many power forwards who can dish the rock like Green. Expect Green to finish among the top in Defensive Player of the Year and be on yet another All-Defensive team.
16. Victor Oladipo
New York Post
The Pacers shooting guard had such an outstanding 2017-18 season he earned himself the Most Improved Player honour. He led the league in steals and was so important to winning Indiana basketball. Per NBA.com, the Pacers had a 48-27 record with Oladipo. His breakout season indicates a massive jump into the echelon of some of the league’s best guards. Outside of the box score, the energy he brings to his team on a nightly basis can not be overstated.
15. Klay Thompson
The other splash brother and maybe even the most likable Golden State Warrior. Thompson is seen by most as the second best shooter in the league trailing only his fellow teammate Stephen Curry. Thompson although he may be the third option for the Warriors, there’s not many players like him, let’s not forget this is the guy who scored 60 points on 11 dribbles and holding the ball for a total of 90 seconds. Let’s also keep in mind he’s an elite perimeter defender, Kyrie Irving has even come out and said Thompson is one of the best defenders he’s faced. Klay Thompson in a bigger role on a different team could possibly even inch up on this list.
14. Paul George
On Cue Sports
Despite the up and down season for George, he remains one of the best two-way players in the league today. His malleability to morph into whatever a team needs of him, be it defense or a bucket, makes him one of the most valuable stars in the game. He may not be a number 1 guy on a top playoff team but he’s proven himself to be the perfect foil to a franchise star. A lack of consistency last season prevents him from being any higher on this list.
13. Damian Lillard
After several years of being slept on and overlooked it’s “Dame Time”. After a huge season where Lillard averaged 26 points per game and over six assists, Lillard was named to First Team All-NBA. Lillard may not be a great defender, but when it comes to scoring the basketball there’s not many who can do it like him. Lillard can beat you off the dribble, spot up and shoot and draw fouls to get to the line. Also over the past several years has hit countless game winning and game deciding shots, there’s no question you don’t want to see Lillard getting hot late in a close game.
12. Chris Paul
The Houston Rockets would’ve made the Finals if Chris Paul hadn’t been injured. Consequently, they would’ve been in the driver’s seat to win the 2018 championship. Paul is one of the greatest floor generals in the history of the sport and continues to play at a high level despite his age. He’s not only one of the greatest passers in NBA history but also one of the smartest players to boot. Age and injuries withstanding, the Rockets have another shot at championship glory if Paul can continue close to his level of production in his 14th season.
11. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is a stud, plain and simple. The type of player that is so valuable in today’s league is a two-way wing. Butler is just that but more, he’s a star. An elite defender who can match-up and limit just about anyone he is facing, Butler has four All-Defensive team awards to show for it. Offensively his game has continued to evolve, Butler can attack the basket, has a good mid-range game and has become a more consistent three point shooter over the past couple years. The part of his game that remains slightly underrated is that Butler is an above average playmaker. Butler may never be a Top 10 player, but he’ll continue to knock on that door.