1

LeBron
James

1 LeBron James

Small Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • PPG

    25.3

  • RPG

    7.4

  • APG

    6.8

  • AGE

    31

  • SALARY

    $30.9M

James did what he was seemingly destined to do from the moment he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick back in 2003: lead Cleveland to its first championship in any sport in a half-century. From here on out, everything he accomplishes is icing on the cake.

2

Stephen
Curry

2 Stephen Curry

Point Guard, Golden State Warriors

  • PPG

    30.1

  • RPG

    5.4

  • APG

    6.7

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $12.1M

Curry followed up one of the greatest regular seasons in NBA history – one that earned him the league’s first unanimous MVP award – with a disappointing playoffs, beginning with two injuries in the first round against the Rockets. Can he possibly come close to matching his performance last year?

3

Kevin
Durant

3 Kevin Durant

Small Forward, Golden State Warriors

  • PPG

    28.2

  • RPG

    8.2

  • APG

    5

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $26.5M

After losing an epic Western Conference finals to the Warriors back in June, Durant opted to join them as a free agent in July. Now he’ll face a season filled with pressure like no player before him. How he handles it could determine Golden State’s fate.

4

Kawhi
Leonard

4 Kawhi Leonard

Small Forward, San Antonio Spurs

  • PPG

    21.2

  • RPG

    6.8

  • APG

    2.6

  • AGE

    25

  • SALARY

    $17.6M

Leonard has taken a leap forward every year of his career. Now that Tim Duncan is gone and Durant and Curry have joined up with the Warriors, he enters the season as one of the leading candidates to win this year’s MVP award.

5

Russell
Westbrook

5 Russell Westbrook

Point Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder

  • PPG

    23.5

  • RPG

    7.8

  • APG

    10.4

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $26.5M

With Durant off to Golden State, Westbrook will have all the spotlight on him and the potential to put up massive numbers. If the Thunder can remain around 50 wins – a big if, to be sure – Westbrook is going to get heavy MVP consideration.

6

Chris
Paul

6 Chris Paul

Point Guard, Los Angeles Clippers

  • PPG

    19.5

  • RPG

    4.2

  • APG

    10

  • AGE

    31

  • SALARY

    $22.9M

For 24 hours after Stephen Curry initially injured his knee, it looked like the Clippers might finally have their chance to break through. Then Paul broke his finger against the Trail Blazers and the Clippers quickly were sent home. How much longer can he remain at this elite level?

7

Karl-Anthony
Towns

7 Karl-Anthony Towns

Center, Minnesota Timberwolves

  • PPG

    18.3

  • RPG

    10.5

  • BPG

    1.7

  • AGE

    20

  • SALARY

    $5.9M

Towns was fantastic as a rookie, showing why he was such a coveted prospect coming into the draft process. With Tom Thibodeau now in place as coach, Towns is in a position to become one of the faces of the NBA and lead Minnesota to its first playoff appearance in franchise history without Kevin Garnett on the team.

8

Anthony
Davis

8 Anthony Davis

Power Forward, New Orleans Pelicans

  • PPG

    24.3

  • RPG

    10.3

  • BPG

    2

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $22.1M

Coming off one of the best statistical seasons in franchise history, Davis was looked at as a leading MVP candidate by many going into last season. Instead his numbers slipped and the Pelicans underperformed because of a litany of injuries. Now, with a retooled roster around him, can he and his team bounce back?

9

Klay
Thompson

9 Klay Thompson

Shooting Guard, Golden State Warriors

  • PPG

    22.1

  • RPG

    3.8

  • APG

    2.1

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $16.6M

Thompson has steadily improved his game each year, becoming more comfortable as a creator and defender while remaining one of the NBA’s best shooters. With Durant now in the fold, Thompson will be able to focus on defending and shooting, which should suit him just fine.

10

Paul
George

10 Paul George

Small Forward, Indiana Pacers

  • PPG

    23.1

  • RPG

    7

  • APG

    4.1

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $18.3M

George matching his full ability level from before he sustained the gruesome broken leg with Team USA in 2014 was one of the best NBA stories in some time, let alone last season. Now George, with a roster geared towards playing smaller and faster around him, could take another jump this season.

11

Jimmy
Butler

11 Jimmy Butler

Shooting Guard, Chicago Bulls

  • PPG

    20.9

  • RPG

    5.3

  • APG

    4.8

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $17.5M

Butler has become one of the true success stories in the NBA, going from the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA draft to a consensus all-star and gold medal winner with Team USA this summer. This year will be difficult, though, with him trying to fit alongside Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. It could be an awkward fit.

12

DeMarcus
Cousins

12 DeMarcus Cousins

Center, Sacramento Kings

  • PPG

    26.9

  • RPG

    11.5

  • BPG

    1.4

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $16.9M

Cousins remains a dominant NBA big man, seemingly improving every year. He also hasn’t come close to sniffing a playoff appearance in six seasons with the Kings. If that doesn’t begin to change this year, could Sacramento finally look to move on from him?

13

James
Harden

13 James Harden

Shooting Guard, Houston Rockets

  • PPG

    29

  • RPG

    6.1

  • APG

    7.5

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $26.5M

Two years ago, Harden was a legitimate No. 2 in the MVP race behind Stephen Curry. Last year, his defense regressed again, the Rockets were a huge disappointment and he slipped down a few rungs. Now, playing point guard for Mike D’Antoni, the potential is there for Harden to turn things around again. Can he?

14

Kyle
Lowry

14 Kyle Lowry

Point Guard, Toronto Raptors

  • PPG

    21.2

  • RPG

    4.7

  • APG

    6.4

  • AGE

    30

  • SALARY

    $12.0M

Lowry continued his mid-career resurgence over the past 12 months, deservedly making both the all-star team and the Olympic team for his role in leading the Raptors to 56 wins and a trip to the Eastern Conference finals. But, after a career year, it remains to be seen if he can duplicate, or exceed, that production this season.

15

LaMarcus
Aldridge

15 LaMarcus Aldridge

Power Forward, San Antonio Spurs

  • PPG

    18

  • RPG

    8.5

  • BPG

    1.1

  • AGE

    31

  • SALARY

    $20.5M

Aldridge came to San Antonio to succeed Tim Duncan, and after the future Hall of Famer retired this summer he’ll now get that chance. Aldridge remained an excellent player last season in his first year back in Texas, and should form a fine partnership with Kawhi Leonard for the next few seasons.

16

Draymond
Green

16 Draymond Green

Power Forward, Golden State Warriors

  • PPG

    14

  • RPG

    9.5

  • APG

    7.4

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $15.3M

Green continued his remarkable ascent last season by becoming Golden State’s leading assist man and shooting nearly 39 percent from three-point range, proving he’s more than just a defensive maestro. With Durant now on the team, though, Green likely won’t have the ball in his hands nearly as much. After a tumultuous summer, how will he handle that?

17

Paul
Millsap

17 Paul Millsap

Power Forward, Atlanta Hawks

  • PPG

    17.1

  • RPG

    9

  • BPG

    1.7

  • AGE

    31

  • SALARY

    $20.1M

Millsap continued his remarkable improvement with the Hawks last season, again looking like one of the best forwards in the entire league. But at 31 years old and coming off a knee procedure just before the start of preseason camp, it’s fair to wonder whether that can continue for another season.

18

Carmelo
Anthony

18 Carmelo Anthony

Small Forward, New York Knicks

  • PPG

    21.8

  • RPG

    7.7

  • APG

    4.2

  • AGE

    32

  • SALARY

    $24.5M

Anthony deserved all of the acclaim he received as the elder statesman for Team USA’s run to a gold medal in Rio – Anthony’s third gold. But Anthony also looked old at times during the tournament and, at 32, it’s easy to wonder if he’s reached the end of his prime.

19

Kyrie
Irving

19 Kyrie Irving

Point Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • PPG

    19.6

  • RPG

    3

  • APG

    4.7

  • AGE

    24

  • SALARY

    $17.6M

Irving made the shot that will be remembered forever in Cleveland, burying the three-pointer that gave the Cavaliers their first NBA championship. The only thing holding back Irving, one of the NBA’s most dynamic scorers, is the fact he’s missed significant time in three of his five NBA seasons with injuries.

20

Damian
Lillard

20 Damian Lillard

Point Guard, Portland Trail Blazers

  • PPG

    25.1

  • RPG

    4

  • APG

    6.8

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $24.3M

The Trail Blazers were supposed to stink last season. Then they found themselves in the second round of the playoffs behind outstanding play from Lillard. One of the most entertaining young players to watch in the league, it’ll now be on Lillard to try and prove last season’s play by his team wasn’t a mirage now that the Blazers won't be sneaking up on anyone.

21

Blake
Griffin

21 Blake Griffin

Power Forward, Los Angeles Clippers

  • PPG

    21.4

  • RPG

    8.4

  • APG

    4.9

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $20.1M

Griffin is just 27, but also has endured multiple significant leg injuries during his career, and has a game reliant on athleticism. At his best, he can easily jump far up this list. But whether he can recapture that level at this point is a legitimate question.

22

John
Wall

22 John Wall

Point Guard, Washington Wizards

  • PPG

    19.9

  • RPG

    4.9

  • APG

    10.2

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $16.9M

Wall finds himself in a similar situation to Blake Griffin. At his best, Wall is one of the best point guards in the league, a phenomenal athlete and the best defender at the position. But coming off surgeries on both knees this summer, Wall needs to prove he can get back to that level again.

23

DeAndre
Jordan

23 DeAndre Jordan

Center, Los Angeles Clippers

  • PPG

    12.7

  • RPG

    13.8

  • BPG

    2.3

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $21.2M

Jordan hasn’t made an all-star team in his career, but made the All-NBA First Team last season and was part of Team USA this summer. He has become one of the preeminent centers in the game, and given his skillset, should remain there for the next few seasons.

24

Andre
Drummond

24 Andre Drummond

Center, Detroit Pistons

  • PPG

    16.2

  • RPG

    14.8

  • BPG

    1.4

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $22.1M

There is no player more physically imposing in the paint these days than Drummond, who is a mountain on the low block. But for as good as he is, if he can’t improve his free-throw shooting at least somewhat (he shot under 40 percent each of the past two seasons) it’s going to be hard for Stan Van Gundy to keep him on the court.

25

Giannis
Antetokounmpo

25 Giannis Antetokounmpo

Small Forward, Milwaukee Bucks

  • PPG

    16.9

  • RPG

    7.7

  • APG

    4.3

  • AGE

    21

  • SALARY

    $2.9M

Antetokounmpo is a tantalizing package of physical gifts. At 6-foot-11 with insanely long arms, he is able to do virtually whatever he wants on the court. It will be fascinating to see if coach Jason Kidd follows through on his plan to make Antetokounmpo a point guard this season, and how the rising star handles the transition if it happens.

26

Gordon
Hayward

26 Gordon Hayward

Small Forward, Utah Jazz

  • PPG

    19.7

  • RPG

    5

  • APG

    3.7

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $16.1M

Hayward is in line to collect a massive paycheck this summer, as he’ll be one of the top free agents on the market in 2017, though he's already seen his season get off to a rocky start due to a fractured finger that could force him to miss the first month. Still, Utah remains a popular choice to be the West's "it" team this season, despite failing to live up to expectations each of the past two. Hayward will receive the credit if the Jazz does so this season, and the blame if they don't.

27

Al
Horford

27 Al Horford

Center, Boston Celtics

  • PPG

    15.2

  • RPG

    7.3

  • APG

    3.2

  • AGE

    30

  • SALARY

    $26.5M

Getting Horford was a huge coup for the Celtics, who could finally dispel the notion that they are unable to attract marquee free agents to Boston. But for all of Horford’s skill on the court, it will be interesting to see how much of an impact he has on Boston’s win total next season; the answer may be less than people expect.

28

Dwight
Howard

28 Dwight Howard

Center, Atlanta Hawks

  • PPG

    13.7

  • RPG

    11.8

  • BPG

    1.6

  • AGE

    30

  • SALARY

    $23.2M

Because Howard has been dogged by drama for several years now, his stock around the league has taken a serious hit. He still remains a very effective player, one capable of making an impact defensively and being a strong roll man offensively. If he does that in Atlanta, the Hawks won’t be missing Al Horford, who left for Boston.

29

Derrick
Favors

29 Derrick Favors

Power Forward, Utah Jazz

  • PPG

    16.4

  • RPG

    8.4

  • BPG

    1.5

  • AGE

    25

  • SALARY

    $11.1M

It’s taken some time, given how young and raw Favors was when he entered the league, but he has become an excellent player for the Jazz. Like Hayward, though, Favors needs to prove he can be a leading man on a leading team if Utah is going to take the next step as a franchise.

30

Mike
Conley

30 Mike Conley

Point Guard, Memphis Grizzlies

  • PPG

    15.3

  • RPG

    2.9

  • APG

    6.1

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $26.5M

After much speculation about his future, Conley eventually committed himself to Memphis for the long haul shortly after free agency began, signing a five-year contract worth over $150 million. Now, it will be up to him and Marc Gasol to prove they are healthy enough to lift the Grizzlies back into the middle of the West once again.

31

Kevin
Love

31 Kevin Love

Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • PPG

    16

  • RPG

    9.9

  • APG

    2.4

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $21.2M

Incredibly, Love – never known as a defensive player – wound up making the most important stop in Cleveland basketball history when he forced Stephen Curry into a tough shot in the final seconds of Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Still, it feels like if Cleveland makes a move to try to match the Warriors this season, it will be Love – who remains an odd fit – that is the main bargaining chip.

32

Brook
Lopez

32 Brook Lopez

Center, Brooklyn Nets

  • PPG

    20.6

  • RPG

    7.8

  • BPG

    1.7

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $21.2M

Lopez has recovered from foot issues earlier in his career to return to being a consistent, durable performer in Brooklyn. With the Nets at the beginning of a long rebuild, he could once again be on the trade block. But because of the lingering concerns around the league about his health, getting market value for him will likely be a challenge.

33

C.J.
McCollum

33 C.J. McCollum

Shooting Guard, Portland Trail Blazers

  • PPG

    20.8

  • RPG

    3.2

  • APG

    4.3

  • AGE

    25

  • SALARY

    $3.2M

McCollum was fantastic for Portland last year, stepping into an expanded role as Wes Matthews, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge all left to become a very effective No. 2 for the Trail Blazers behind Damian Lillard.

34

Andre
Iguodala

34 Andre Iguodala

Small Forward, Golden State Warriors

  • PPG

    7

  • RPG

    4

  • APG

    3.4

  • AGE

    32

  • SALARY

    $11.1M

Iguodala is a brilliant player to watch. A fantastic defender and one of the smartest players in the league, he’s a key to everything Golden State does at both ends of the court. But now that he’s in his early 30s, issues like the back problems he had during the NBA Finals in June will become more and more prevalent.

35

Rudy
Gobert

35 Rudy Gobert

Center, Utah Jazz

  • PPG

    9.1

  • RPG

    11

  • BPG

    2.2

  • AGE

    24

  • SALARY

    $2.1M

It was expected that, in the wake of his breakout sophomore season, Gobert would take another step forward last year. Instead, he wound up plateauing, posting slightly better counting numbers while playing slightly more minutes. His development, or lack thereof, could be what defines the Jazz’s season.

36

Nicolas
Batum

36 Nicolas Batum

Shooting Guard, Charlotte Hornets

  • PPG

    14.9

  • RPG

    6.1

  • APG

    5.8

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $20.8M

Batum bounced back from an injury-plagued final season in Portland to play arguably the best basketball of his career in Charlotte, earning himself a massive five-year contract as a free agent this summer. He now has to repeat that level of play if the Hornets are going to remain in competition for a home playoff series and close to 50 wins again this season.

37

Serge
Ibaka

37 Serge Ibaka

Power Forward, Orlando Magic

  • PPG

    12.6

  • RPG

    6.8

  • BPG

    1.9

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $12.3M

Ibaka was dealt to the Magic this summer in a blockbuster deal that showed Orlando was ready to finally get back to the playoffs for the first time since trading Dwight Howard in 2012. However, doing so now puts Ibaka in an even stronger position to get a massive payday in free agency next summer. At least Orlando should be getting a motivated player this season.

38

Steven
Adams

38 Steven Adams

Center, Oklahoma City Thunder

  • PPG

    8

  • RPG

    6.7

  • BPG

    1.1

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $3.1M

Adams looked like an all-star during the playoffs, making plays at both ends of the court for the Thunder and proving too strong to keep off the boards. The Thunder will need Adams to play like that for an entire season if they’re going to remain a competitive team in the Western Conference without Kevin Durant.

39

Jonas
Valanciunas

39 Jonas Valanciunas

Center, Toronto Raptors

  • PPG

    12.8

  • RPG

    9.1

  • BPG

    1.3

  • AGE

    24

  • SALARY

    $14.4M

Valanciunas looked like he was coming into his own during the Eastern Conference playoffs last season before suffering an injury against the Miami Heat in the second round. Toronto is now locked into DeMar DeRozan for the next five years, and likely will try to keep Kyle Lowry next summer, but it is Valanciunas who could take this team to another level if he can make a leap.

40

Isaiah
Thomas

40 Isaiah Thomas

Point Guard, Boston Celtics

  • PPG

    22.2

  • RPG

    3

  • APG

    6.2

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $6.6M

Thomas has been the beneficiary of finding himself in the absolute perfect situation for his skillset since coming to Boston. A score-first point guard who is excellent at creating his own shot, Thomas has been exactly what the Celtics needed. If the belief was that they just needed more talent to be successful in the playoffs will be tested with the addition of Horford this season.

41

Jae
Crowder

41 Jae Crowder

Small Forward, Boston Celtics

  • PPG

    14.2

  • RPG

    5.1

  • APG

    1.8

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $6.3M

Crowder’s ascension, like that of former Marquette teammate Jimmy Butler, has been impressive to watch. His versatility – particularly on defense, where he can guard several positions – gives coach Brad Stevens plenty of options to employ at either end.

42

Dirk
Nowitzki

42 Dirk Nowitzki

Power Forward, Dallas Mavericks

  • PPG

    18.3

  • RPG

    6.5

  • APG

    1.8

  • AGE

    38

  • SALARY

    $25.0M

The fact Dirk has remained such an effective player as he’s aged is a testament to his work ethic and immense skill. But even Nowitzki, arguably the greatest European ever to play the sport, is beginning to show signs of wearing down as he moves into his late 30s.

43

Kristaps
Porzingis

43 Kristaps Porzingis

Power Forward, New York Knicks

  • PPG

    14.3

  • RPG

    7.3

  • BPG

    1.9

  • AGE

    21

  • SALARY

    $4.3M

Within the space of a few months last season, Porzingis went from getting booed on draft night to becoming the most popular person in New York City. For the first time since Patrick Ewing over 30 years ago, the Knicks truly drafted a franchise player to build around.

44

Marc
Gasol

44 Marc Gasol

Center, Memphis Grizzlies

  • PPG

    16.6

  • RPG

    7

  • APG

    3.8

  • AGE

    31

  • SALARY

    $21.2M

A healthy version of Gasol is, at worst, twice as high on this list. But a navicular bone fracture is as bad an injury as a big man can have, and Gasol – who also is now moving into his 30s – will need to prove he can come back fully healthy. If he can, Memphis should be very good. If he can’t … uh oh.

45

DeMar
DeRozan

45 DeMar DeRozan

Shooting Guard, Toronto Raptors

  • PPG

    23.5

  • RPG

    4.5

  • APG

    4

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $26.5M

DeRozan reupped with the Raptors this summer, and will go down in the team’s history as its all-time leader in just about every category by the time his career is over. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely he can live up to the massive deal he just inked to remain in Toronto for roughly $140 million over the next five years.

46

J.J.
Redick

46 J.J. Redick

Shooting Guard, Los Angeles Clippers

  • PPG

    16.3

  • RPG

    1.9

  • APG

    1.4

  • AGE

    32

  • SALARY

    $7.4M

Redick had maybe the best season of his career last season, shooting over 47 percent from behind the three-point arc while making a legitimate case to be named to the All-Star team. Normally a player entering his mid-30s would begin to regress, but Redick’s skillset could allow him to remain effective for years to come.

47

Chandler
Parsons

47 Chandler Parsons

Small Forward, Memphis Grizzlies

  • PPG

    13.7

  • RPG

    4.7

  • APG

    2.8

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $22.1M

Parsons spent the past two seasons mostly dealing with injury issues, and specifically a nagging knee injury that dogged him through much of last season. After signing a four-year deal with Memphis this summer, he becomes yet another member of the Grizzlies, along with Conley and Gasol, whom they need to stay healthy in order to return to the West’s elite this season.

48

Bradley
Beal

48 Bradley Beal

Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards

  • PPG

    17.4

  • RPG

    3.4

  • APG

    2.9

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $22.1M

It’s this simple for Bradley Beal: if he remains healthy, he has the talent to become a consistent all-star shooting guard in the East. But given his history, there’s no reason to assume he is going to remain healthy. The Wizards just bet over $120 million he can shake the recurring leg injuries that have haunted him through the first four years of his career; whether they were right will determine how they fare this season.

49

Andrew
Wiggins

49 Andrew Wiggins

Small Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves

  • PPG

    20.7

  • RPG

    3.6

  • APG

    2

  • AGE

    21

  • SALARY

    $6.0M

No one will benefit more from the presence of Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota than Wiggins. Already armed with all of the tools to become a defensive menace on the perimeter, Thibodeau should be the perfect coach to harness it and unleash it on the rest of the NBA. Wiggins seems like a prime candidate to have a breakout season.

50

Hassan
Whiteside

50 Hassan Whiteside

Center, Miami Heat

  • PPG

    14.2

  • RPG

    11.8

  • BPG

    3.7

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $22.1M

The most fascinating aspect of everything that’s happened in Miami the past few months is that the Heat are now Whiteside’s team – and there’s absolutely no way to know how that’s going to play out. But after giving Whiteside $94 million this summer, the team has been turned over to him, whether the Heat like it or not. Now we’ll see how Whiteside handles that responsibility.

51

Reggie
Jackson

51 Reggie Jackson

Point Guard, Detroit Pistons

  • PPG

    18.8

  • RPG

    3.2

  • APG

    6.2

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $14.9M

The Pistons need Jackson on the floor, and to continue evolving as a three-point shooter, if Stan Van Gundy's team wants to move from the bottom to the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. That's why Jackson missing the first several weeks of the season with knee tendinitis is a worrisome situation that will need to be monitored in Detroit.

52

Kemba
Walker

52 Kemba Walker

Point Guard, Charlotte Hornets

  • PPG

    20.9

  • RPG

    4.4

  • APG

    5.2

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $12.0M

Walker was terrific last season, deservedly getting all-star consideration while helping the Hornets win 48 games and nearly get by the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Whether Walker’s 37.1 percent three-point shooting mark from last season can hold up again will determine if he can stay at this level or not.

53

Dwyane
Wade

53 Dwyane Wade

Shooting Guard, Chicago Bulls

  • PPG

    19

  • RPG

    4.1

  • APG

    4.6

  • AGE

    34

  • SALARY

    $23.2M

Wade had a brilliant season in a contract year for the Heat, and after yet another dispute with Miami this summer went back home to Chicago on a big money deal with an option for a second season. But between an awkward fit next to Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler and getting a year older, it’s hard to see Wade repeating last year’s successes in his hometown.

54

Eric
Bledsoe

54 Eric Bledsoe

Point Guard, Phoenix Suns

  • PPG

    20.4

  • RPG

    4

  • APG

    6.1

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $14.0M

Bledsoe, like several players above him on this list, is only held back by health concerns. When available, he’s proven to be a capable offensive option and a defensive menace. The days he’s been available, however, have been far fewer than the Suns would like.

55

Tobias
Harris

55 Tobias Harris

Small Forward, Detroit Pistons

  • PPG

    14.7

  • RPG

    6.7

  • APG

    2.2

  • AGE

    24

  • SALARY

    $17.2M

One of the more inexplicable things to transpire last season was Orlando’s decision to trade Harris to Detroit for a pair of expiring contracts. It was a terrific deal for the Pistons, though, and one that will pay off for them the next few seasons as he grows with the rest of their young core.

56

Victor
Oladipo

56 Victor Oladipo

Shooting Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder

  • PPG

    16

  • RPG

    4.8

  • APG

    3.9

  • AGE

    24

  • SALARY

    $6.5M

Despite the abundant athleticism and skill he seems to have, Oladipo hasn’t quite developed in the way many thought he would coming out of Indiana three years ago. Some of that, however, could be attributed to the weird roster he was playing with in Orlando. Now with the Thunder, known to have an impressive developmental setup, that excuse no longer applies.

57

Goran
Dragic

57 Goran Dragic

Point Guard, Miami Heat

  • PPG

    14.1

  • RPG

    3.8

  • APG

    5.8

  • AGE

    30

  • SALARY

    $15.9M

Dragic will be the biggest beneficiary to Dwyane Wade’s departure from Miami. A player who thrives with the ball in his hands, Dragic spent much of the past year and a half watching Wade handle the ball. Dragic-Whiteside pick-and-rolls will be Miami’s lifeblood this season; if Dragic can return to the form he showed in Phoenix, the Heat can still be a playoff team.

58

Pau
Gasol

58 Pau Gasol

Center, San Antonio Spurs

  • PPG

    16.5

  • RPG

    11

  • APG

    4.1

  • AGE

    36

  • SALARY

    $15.5M

Gasol proved last season he can still be a very effective offensive player, but his lack of mobility makes him a negative defensively. He should remain effective with San Antonio, but his presence there seems to keep the Spurs as a high-level regular season team rather than one capable of beating the Warriors in the playoffs.

59

Harrison
Barnes

59 Harrison Barnes

Small Forward, Dallas Mavericks

  • PPG

    11.7

  • RPG

    4.9

  • APG

    1.8

  • AGE

    24

  • SALARY

    $22.1M

Dallas made a big bet on Barnes this summer, giving him a four-year max contract to replace Parsons as the team’s starting small forward. Barnes has proven to be more durable than Parsons, but has seemed like a player who seemingly has every tool to be a star but is destined to be only a slightly above-average player. Dallas is hoping a change of scenery and more responsibilities will change that.

60

Zach
Randolph

60 Zach Randolph

Power Forward, Memphis Grizzlies

  • PPG

    15.3

  • RPG

    7.8

  • APG

    2.1

  • AGE

    35

  • SALARY

    $10.3M

Randolph has had a remarkable renaissance in Memphis, and in many ways has been the face of the team’s stellar run over the past several years. At this point, though, Memphis needs to manage his minutes and, ideally, use him heavily against second units, where he can bully teams in the post while being less of a liability defensively.

61

Rudy
Gay

61 Rudy Gay

Small Forward, Sacramento Kings

  • PPG

    17.2

  • RPG

    6.5

  • APG

    1.7

  • AGE

    30

  • SALARY

    $13.3M

Gay seems like a lock to be traded sometime this season, assuming the Kings aren’t a team pushing to make the playoffs. He’s already guaranteeing he’s going to opt out of his contract next summer, and Sacramento would rather get something for him instead of nothing, and Gay could provide teams with some wing depth.

62

Myles
Turner

62 Myles Turner

Center, Indiana Pacers

  • PPG

    10.3

  • RPG

    5.5

  • BPG

    1.4

  • AGE

    20

  • SALARY

    $2.5M

Turner played last season at the level he was expected to when he arrived at Texas as a freshman two years ago as one of the nation’s top recruits. An athletic specimen with the ability to become a disruptor at both ends, he could form a dynamic longterm partnership with Paul George.

63

Avery
Bradley

63 Avery Bradley

Shooting Guard, Boston Celtics

  • PPG

    15.2

  • RPG

    2.9

  • APG

    2.1

  • AGE

    25

  • SALARY

    $8.3M

Bradley has developed into a very nice “3 and D” wing player – the kind every NBA team covets these days. The fact he appears to have gotten over his injury issues from early in his career is a nice development, as well. That being said, Bradley still feels like a possible trade chip for Boston if the Celtics go all-in for a star this season.

64

George
Hill

64 George Hill

Point Guard, Utah Jazz

  • PPG

    12.1

  • RPG

    4

  • APG

    3.5

  • AGE

    30

  • SALARY

    $8.0M

The past two years, the Jazz have failed to live up to their billing as the West’s “it” team largely because of point guard play. That shouldn’t be an issue after Utah went out and got George Hill from Indiana this summer. Hill is a perfect fit for the Jazz, and should display himself nicely there in a contract year.

65

Jeff
Teague

65 Jeff Teague

Point Guard, Indiana Pacers

  • PPG

    15.7

  • RPG

    2.7

  • APG

    5.9

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $8.8M

In Larry Bird’s quest to make the Pacers faster and better offensively, swapping out Hill for Teague was the boldest move he made. Given how much Paul George has handled the ball in the past, we’ll see how well he and Teague, a more traditional point guard than Hill, can coexist.

66

Danilo
Gallinari

66 Danilo Gallinari

Small Forward, Denver Nuggets

  • PPG

    19.5

  • RPG

    5.3

  • APG

    2.5

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $15.1M

Finally over the knee issues that have plagued him in recent years, Gallinari will be a fascinating player to watch this season. If he remains healthy, he’s going to cash in next summer; with that in mind, will Denver decide to move on from him to give more playing time to their many young guns?

67

Brandon
Knight

67 Brandon Knight

Point Guard, Phoenix Suns

  • PPG

    19.6

  • RPG

    3.9

  • APG

    5.1

  • AGE

    24

  • SALARY

    $12.6M

Knight has never gotten back to the same level he was at during the first half of his season in Milwaukee two years ago before he was traded to the Suns in a stunning deadline-day deal. If he and Eric Bledsoe can get on the same page (and stay on the court), the Suns could perhaps surprise some people this season.

68

Michael
Kidd-Gilchrist

68 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Small Forward, Charlotte Hornets

  • PPG

    12.7

  • RPG

    6.4

  • APG

    1.3

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $13.0M

There’s no doubting Kidd-Gilchrist is an insanely hard worker and a very talented player. But after dealing with significant injuries each of the past three seasons, he needs to prove he can stay on the court. Charlotte desperately needs him in order to make up for the losses of Courtney Lee and Jeremy Lin in free agency.

69

Kenneth
Faried

69 Kenneth Faried

Power Forward, Denver Nuggets

  • PPG

    12.5

  • RPG

    8.7

  • BPG

    0.9

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $12.1M

Faried came into the league out of Morehead State and instantly got a ton of fanfare for his frenetic playing style and rebounding ability. Since then, though, his career has plateaued, as his lack of an offensive game and defensive issues have made him a bit of a liability. At least one of those needs to change for Faried’s career to begin to take an upward trajectory again.

70

Nikola
Vucevic

70 Nikola Vucevic

Center, Orlando Magic

  • PPG

    18.2

  • RPG

    8.9

  • BPG

    1.1

  • AGE

    25

  • SALARY

    $11.7M

Vucevic is a talented, if flawed player; an excellent offensive player who isn’t quite able to hold up at a high level defensively. That’s why pairing him with Serge Ibaka made sense … until the Magic then went out and threw a ton of money at Bismack Biyombo, as well. It will be fascinating to see how new coach Frank Vogel uses all of his big men, as there won’t be enough minutes to go around to make everyone happy.

71

Jrue
Holiday

71 Jrue Holiday

Point Guard, New Orleans Pelicans

  • PPG

    16.8

  • RPG

    3

  • APG

    6

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $11.3M

Most importantly, best wishes to Holiday and his wife, Lauren, who underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor. That will keep him away from the team for an indefinite period. When he's on the court Holiday is exactly what the Pelicans need to go with Anthony Davis; over the past few years, though, Holiday has spent as much time off the court as he has on it.

72

Luol
Deng

72 Luol Deng

Small Forward, Los Angeles Lakers

  • PPG

    12.3

  • RPG

    6

  • APG

    1.9

  • AGE

    31

  • SALARY

    $18.0M

Yes, the Lakers may have overpaid Deng this summer to a degree, but he will be an excellent addition to their roster this season. For a team featuring so many young players, having an established veteran like Deng to serve as a model player will be an invaluable aid to first-year coach Luke Walton.

73

Ricky
Rubio

73 Ricky Rubio

Point Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

  • PPG

    10.1

  • RPG

    4.3

  • APG

    8.6

  • AGE

    25

  • SALARY

    $13.5M

Rubio isn’t much of a shooter, and it seems more likely than not he never will be. But here’s what he is: an excellent passer and defender at the point. That’s not a bad place to start, and if Rubio stays in Minnesota instead of being used as trade bait it seems like he’d quickly become a favorite of new coach Tom Thibodeau’s.

74

Nikola
Jokic

74 Nikola Jokic

Center, Denver Nuggets

  • PPG

    10

  • RPG

    7

  • APG

    2.4

  • AGE

    21

  • SALARY

    $1.4M

Jokic was a huge surprise last season for the Nuggets, a former second-round pick who looked like a bona fide long-term starter as a rookie – a fantastic return. The question is whether Jokic can become a star, as many of the statistical models seem to indicate, or merely a good long-term player. Either way, it’s a great development for the Nuggets that he’s turned out to be as good as he is.

75

Kentavious
Caldwell-Pope

75 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Shooting Guard, Detroit Pistons

  • PPG

    14.5

  • RPG

    3.7

  • APG

    1.8

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $3.7M

Caldwell-Pope has turned into an outstanding defender; he did as good of a job on Stephen Curry last season as anyone in the league. If he can shoot from three-point range during the regular season anywhere near as well as he did in Detroit’s four playoff games last season (44 percent) he’s going to have a chance to fly up this list.

76

Thaddeus
Young

76 Thaddeus Young

Power Forward, Indiana Pacers

  • PPG

    15.1

  • RPG

    9

  • APG

    1.9

  • AGE

    28

  • SALARY

    $14.2M

Another player brought in to make the Pacers quicker and more explosive offensively, Young is a versatile forward who, while not a great three-point shooter, is a capable offensive threat. Like with some of the other additions in Indiana, though, he could present issues for new coach Nate McMillan on the defensive end.

77

Dennis
Schroder

77 Dennis Schroder

Point Guard, Atlanta Hawks

  • PPG

    11

  • RPG

    2.6

  • APG

    4.4

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $2.7M

Schroder is going to get a chance to earn himself a lot of money this season. By moving on from Jeff Teague this summer, the Hawks have put the keys to the franchise in Schroder’s hands. And if the 23-year-old can handle it, he’s going to get paid handsomely as a free agent next July.

78

J.R.
Smith

78 J.R. Smith

Shooting Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • PPG

    12.4

  • RPG

    2.8

  • APG

    1.7

  • AGE

    31

  • SALARY

    $15.69M

Smith is the most significant free agent still on the market, though he’s all but certain to re-sign with Cleveland sometime before the start of the regular season. It’s been remarkable to see the transformation of Smith’s image into that of a reliable veteran and, after June, NBA champion.

79

DeMarre
Carroll

79 DeMarre Carroll

Small Forward, Toronto Raptors

  • PPG

    11

  • RPG

    4.7

  • APG

    1

  • AGE

    30

  • SALARY

    $14.2M

Carroll was supposed to be the missing piece for the Raptors when he signed with them last summer. Instead, he wound up missing most of the season because of persistent knee issues. Those appear to have carried over into this preseason, something the Raptors need to change if they want to try to replicate their success from a season ago.

80

Tristan
Thompson

80 Tristan Thompson

Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • PPG

    7.8

  • RPG

    9

  • BPG

    0.6

  • AGE

    25

  • SALARY

    $15.3M

On a team with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, Thompson is the perfect supporting cast member. A strong defender and rebounder who doesn’t need the ball, he can do the dirty work and allow his teammates to get the touches and points. He should be a fixture in Cleveland for years to come.

81

Jabari
Parker

81 Jabari Parker

Power Forward, Milwaukee Bucks

  • PPG

    14.1

  • RPG

    5.2

  • APG

    1.7

  • AGE

    21

  • SALARY

    $5.3M

After tearing his ACL a couple months into his rookie year, Parker made it back for most of last season. His bulking up has basically ruled out a return to playing small forward, and now it will be up to him to improve his three-point shooting to make him a true threat as a stretch-four.

82

Evan
Fournier

82 Evan Fournier

Shooting Guard, Orlando Magic

  • PPG

    15.4

  • RPG

    2.8

  • APG

    2.7

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $17.0M

On a Magic team with basically no shooting, Fournier’s presence is a vital piece to give Orlando at least some modicum of spacing. Fournier isn’t much of a defender, but his ability to shoot and create makes him a nice fit next to so many shooting-deficient teammates, including point guard Elfrid Payton.

83

Al-Farouq
Aminu

83 Al-Farouq Aminu

Small Forward, Portland Trail Blazers

  • PPG

    10.2

  • RPG

    6.1

  • APG

    1.7

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $7.6M

If Aminu can shoot 36 percent from three-point range again this season he will soar up this list, and the contract he signed last summer will become one of the best value deals in the league. A terrific defender, if Aminu can make himself even a remote offensive threat he becomes an incredibly valuable player.

84

Tony
Parker

84 Tony Parker

Point Guard, San Antonio Spurs

  • PPG

    11.9

  • RPG

    2.4

  • APG

    5.3

  • AGE

    34

  • SALARY

    $14.4M

It was only a couple years ago that Parker was San Antonio’s best player, and one of the best in the league. Now, though, he’s pretty clearly dropped off to being an average player at his position – in which there is no shame, given he’s 34 years old. The Spurs will be hoping he can stay at that level, and not slip further, this season.

85

Andrew
Bogut

85 Andrew Bogut

Center, Dallas Mavericks

  • PPG

    5.4

  • RPG

    7

  • BPG

    1.6

  • AGE

    31

  • SALARY

    $11.0M

Bogut was one of the casualties of Golden State’s acquisition of Kevin Durant, shipped to Dallas in order to create the cap space. The Mavericks will gladly take Bogut and his defensive prowess for the final year of his contract; he has his drawbacks, particularly offensively, but he’s still a solid center.

86

Danny
Green

86 Danny Green

Shooting Guard, San Antonio Spurs

  • PPG

    7.2

  • RPG

    3.8

  • APG

    1.9

  • AGE

    29

  • SALARY

    $10.0M

For years, Green’s development has been held up as the model of San Antonio’s system. But last season, Green – who had been a lights-out three-point shooter – simply couldn’t make a shot. The Spurs will be hoping Green can bounce back from his 33.2 percent percentage last year, and get closer to his career 40-percent mark.

87

Rodney
Hood

87 Rodney Hood

Shooting Guard, Utah Jazz

  • PPG

    14.5

  • RPG

    3.4

  • APG

    2.7

  • AGE

    23

  • SALARY

    $1.4M

Hood was a real find for the Jazz with the 23rd pick in the draft two years ago. At 6-foot-8 with quality three-point shooting, Hood is the prototypical “3 and D” wing.

88

Aaron
Gordon

88 Aaron Gordon

Power Forward, Orlando Magic

  • PPG

    9.2

  • RPG

    6.5

  • APG

    1.6

  • AGE

    21

  • SALARY

    $4.3M

There is seemingly nothing Gordon can’t do from an athletic perspective on the basketball court. He’s been compared to Blake Griffin for a reason, and the Magic will be hoping pairing Gordon with Frank Vogel – who helped develop another athletic freak into a star in Paul George – will help Gordon’s development.

89

Deron
Williams

89 Deron Williams

Point Guard, Dallas Mavericks

  • PPG

    14.1

  • RPG

    2.9

  • APG

    5.8

  • AGE

    32

  • SALARY

    $9.0M

Williams has found himself in a similar situation to that of Dwight Howard, in that he’s still a good player, but the stigma around him has clouded that in the eyes of many. No, he’s not the max player he once was, but he’s still a good point guard, and one that will help the Mavericks again this season.

90

Kent
Bazemore

90 Kent Bazemore

Shooting Guard, Atlanta Hawks

  • PPG

    11.6

  • RPG

    5.1

  • APG

    2.3

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $15.7M

One of the good guys in the league, Bazemore worked his way into getting a $70 million contract this summer as a free agent. Another “3 and D” wing, Bazemore has grown quite a bit from the player who was a towel-waving celebrity with the Warriors a few years ago.

91

Markieff
Morris

91 Markieff Morris

Power Forward, Washington Wizards

  • PPG

    12

  • RPG

    5.5

  • APG

    1.9

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $7.4M

Morris had his issues in Phoenix, but after being traded to Washington he again showed why he had previously been held in such high regard. If he can keep himself in line, Morris can be a huge boost to the Wizards this season, and should be a nice fit on their frontline next to either Marcin Gortat or Ian Mahinmi.

92

Marcus
Morris

92 Marcus Morris

Power Forward, Detroit Pistons

  • PPG

    14.1

  • RPG

    5.1

  • APG

    2.5

  • AGE

    27

  • SALARY

    $4.6M

There were issues with both Morris brothers in Phoenix, but after Marcus was traded to Detroit last summer he proved to be a model citizen in his new home, giving Stan Van Gundy another combo forward to use. They’ll be hoping he can stay at the level he played at last season again this year.

93

Nerlens
Noel

93 Nerlens Noel

Center, Philadelphia 76ers

  • PPG

    11.1

  • RPG

    8.1

  • BPG

    1.5

  • AGE

    22

  • SALARY

    $4.3M

It shouldn’t come as a surprise Noel has voiced his concerns about the logjam in Philadelphia’s frontcourt; he’s a free agent next summer, and as of now looks like he could be on the short end of playing time battles on the Sixers. Noel has talent, but his offensive game still needs work and adding extra muscle would help, too.

94

Julius
Randle

94 Julius Randle

Power Forward, Los Angeles Lakers

  • PPG

    11.3

  • RPG

    10.2

  • APG

    1.8

  • AGE

    21

  • SALARY

    $3.2M

After missing virtually his entire rookie season due to injury, Randle impressed last year, averaging a double-double and flashing some intriguing skills. Like many players on this list, the next step in his development will be to improve his three-point shooting from last season’s 27.8 percent mark.

95

Greg
Monroe

95 Greg Monroe

Center, Milwaukee Bucks

  • PPG

    15.3

  • RPG

    8.8

  • BPG

    0.8

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $17.1M

Monroe was seen as a landmark free agent signing in the summer of 2015 for Milwaukee; now, a little more than a year later, Bucks coach Jason Kidd announced he’ll be coming off the bench after the team hasn’t been able to trade him. That could be a perfect role for him, if he accepts it, given his scoring ability – which could be used to great advantage against second units.

96

Mason
Plumlee

96 Mason Plumlee

Center, Portland Trail Blazers

  • PPG

    9.1

  • RPG

    7.7

  • BPG

    1

  • AGE

    26

  • SALARY

    $2.3M

Plumlee isn’t a strong defensive presence inside, but he’s an athletic big that is a good roll man in pick-and-roll situations who showed he could also make plays with the ball in his hands last year for the Trail Blazers. Portland will be hoping he can continue to improve in that area this season, as teams will continue to try to take the ball out of the hands of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

97

Will
Barton

97 Will Barton

Shooting Guard, Denver Nuggets

  • PPG

    14.4

  • RPG

    5.8

  • APG

    2.5

  • AGE

    25

  • SALARY

    $3.5M

Barton was seemingly a throw-in to Denver in a trade that sent Arron Afflalo to Portland in 2015, but it has turned out to be a fantastic addition for the Nuggets. Barton got a lot of consideration – and deservedly so – for Sixth Man of the Year last season, and could be in the mix again, particularly if Denver takes a big step forward.

98

Zach
LaVine

98 Zach LaVine

Shooting Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

  • PPG

    14

  • RPG

    2.8

  • APG

    3.1

  • AGE

    21

  • SALARY

    $2.2M

Once LaVine stopped being forced a point guard role by the Timberwolves last season, he looked like a much different player. Like Wiggins, he is an athletic freak that should be a perfect match with new coach Tom Thibodeau, and one who also has the ability to get much better defensively.

99

Manu
Ginobili

99 Manu Ginobili

Shooting Guard, San Antonio Spurs

  • PPG

    9.6

  • RPG

    2.5

  • APG

    3.1

  • AGE

    39

  • SALARY

    $14.0M

With Tim Duncan having ridden off into the sunset this summer, the focus in San Antonio will now shift to when Ginobili will follow his longtime teammate into retirement. Still a joy to watch even in his late 30s, hopefully that doesn’t happen anytime soon.

100

Ben
Simmons

100 Ben Simmons

Small Forward, Philadelphia 76ers

  • PPG

    --

  • RPG

    --

  • APG

    --

  • AGE

    20

  • SALARY

    $5.9M

Already a pick with an eye toward the future, it became even more so when Simmons unfortunately suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot that could cause him to miss at least the first two months of his rookie season. Still, Simmons possesses a unique skill set that, if he can add a working jump shot to it, could make him one of the league's most dynamic players in the years to come.

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