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Top 50 NBA Players In 2017-18

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A prediction of how players stack up, organizing them in tiers as well.

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

On a drive from Salt Lake City to Provo, I had the NBA on my mind. There has been a lot of change in the landscape this offseason, and it will be interesting to see how much success certain players have in their new threads. They say you need three stars to compete for a title, and that seems to hold true for the most part. Today we’ll take a look at how these players stack up to one another. I have considered multiple top-50 and top-100 lists, and have tweaked them to create my own. Let’s jump right in.

Tier 1 - Superstar

In my book, superstars are the winningest players in the league. Having one of these players automatically puts you in contention for your respective conference. These guys play on another level and can be considered the cream of the crop.

  1. LeBron James
  2. Kawhi Leonard
  3. Kevin Durant

Although LeBron may not show it during the regular season, it will be in the postseason where he once again proves to be the best player on the planet. Sadly, the Golden State Warriors have the third best player in the world as well as a stacked roster the rest of the way down, it will be difficult for any one player to overcome even if they are LeBron James. Kawhi is an insanely underrated and underappreciated player. Even with LaMarcus Aldridge as the only other current established star-caliber player on the team, the Spurs may be one of the few teams capable of competing with the Warriors.

Tier 2 - Budding/Near Superstar

These are the players that have superstar performances every once and a while, but just aren’t quite up to the level that the players in tier 1 have reached. These are higher-end stars and can single-handedly lead a team to the playoffs. Without help, however, these players alone will not bring you to title contention.

4. James Harden

5. Russell Westbrook

6. Steph Curry

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo

8. Chris Paul

9. Paul George

10. Anthony Davis

11. Rudy Gobert

12. Kyrie Irving

Many may think that Paul George is a little high on the list, but this is a prediction of where they will stack up for the coming season. The Pacers mishandled Paul George, and didn’t have very much talent surrounding him. If Westbrook and George can find a way to fit together, it could potentially skyrocket Paul George’s production. I have always been a little skeptical of Anthony Davis, but I do not think it is his fault that the Pelicans have not made the playoffs with him. Chris Paul is another player of note who will greatly benefit from playing alongside a player like James Harden. The Rockets will be a very interesting team to watch this season, and may be a second team capable of challenging the Warriors.

Tier 3 - Star

These are the players who are established stars. They might not be selected to the all-star popularity contest year in and year out, but they bring star-level production to their respective teams.

13. Draymond Green

14. Jimmy Butler

15. John Wall

16. Klay Thompson

17. Isaiah Thomas (if healthy)

18. Damian Lillard

19. LaMarcus Aldridge

20. Mike Conley

21. DeMarr DeRozan

22. Blake Griffin

23. Kemba Walker

24. Kyle Lowry

25. Gordon Hayward

A player often overlooked in national media is Kemba Walker. I believe him to be firmly in this tier. With the right help he could be a solid piece on a contender. This tier is somewhat fluid, and there are plenty of arguments to be made about who should be ranked higher than who. Overall, this is where I feel they will stack up when thins are said and done.

Tier 4 - Fringe Star

These are the players who are close to being stars, and have potential to put up star-level numbers many times throughout the season. Any one of these players could break out and have a fantastic year. Some of these players may be young guns with a lot of room left for growth. Putting these players in this tier isn’t a knock on their future potential, this is simply where I see their actual production being this season. Some of the players in this tier have big names but not so big efficiency or win totals. They are still great players and most contenders will need at least one of these players on their team as a third option, but these players are a little more underwhelming when they are the first option.

26. Al Horford

27. DeAndre Jordan

28. Marc Gasol

29. Karl-Anthony Towns

30. Nikola Jokic

31. Khris Middleton

32. Kevin Love

33. C.J. McCollum

34. Kristaps Porzingis

35. Carmelo Anthony

36. Hassan Whiteside

37. Bradley Beal

38. DeMarcus Cousins

39. Steven Adams

40. Andre Drummond

41. Brook Lopez

42. Derrick Favors (if healthy)

43. Paul Millsap

44. Andrew Wiggins

45. Joel Embiid

46. Devin Booker

47. Eric Bledsoe

Tier 5 - Great Starter

Players in tier 5 most likely won’t put up insane numbers, but they are valuable additions to their team. There are quite a few players that could fit into this tier, but since I am only listing the top 50 players in the NBA, I will only list a few. These are solid players you can rely on to be consistently above average starters. Once again this doesn’t consider future potential so much as predicted production levels.

48. Goran Dragic

49. Miles Turner

50. Ricky Rubio

(Honorable mentions: Jae Crowder, Rodney Hood, Dwyane Wade, Zach LaVine, George Hill, Nicholas Batum, etc.)

There will undoubtedly be surprises as we progress through the season. Some players on the fringe of this list may prove their worth and earn their spot, but it is near impossible to predict how valuable a player like Donovan Mitchell, Dante Exum or even Rodney Hood will be to the team after an offseason of development. Many players may have breakout years, or bust years. A player like Devin Booker may actually deserve a spot much higher on the list. A player like Carmelo Anthony or LaMarcus Aldridge may deserve a spot much lower. Keeping this context however, it becomes easier to see why some teams have suddenly become favored, and others will probably be significantly less successful than in years past.

Seeing some Utah Jazz players up on the list gives me a little more hope for our ability to earn a playoff seed. This is the year we need Rudy and the gang to show the world what stubborn, gritty defense can do.