clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Top 100 Players for 2017 Includes Three (Current) Timberwolves

A group of SB Nation NBA writers tried to look into the future and pick the best 100 players in the NBA in 2017. How did they do? Check it out.

Ricky Rubio: Top 30 Player in 2017?
Ricky Rubio: Top 30 Player in 2017?
Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

First thing: Here's the link to the SBN top 100 for 2017.

A lot changes in sports over a four year period; aging happens faster than most of us realize, and players who were stars disappear from the landscape.

Consider: of the 15 players who were on the all-NBA teams in 2008-2009 three are retired (Yao Ming, Shaquille O'Neal, Brandon Roy).  Several others are limited minute players who will almost certainly never make an all-NBA team again: Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce, Pau Gasol.  Still others remain great players, but are clearly on the precipice where the end could come any time: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dewayne Wade.  Only LeBron James, Chris Paul, and arguably Dwight Howard can still be counted as likely to appear on an all-NBA team in the future.

Given that, picking the best players four years from now is a tough nut.  There will be players who age better then expected, and players not even in the league right now who will probably be on that list. Guys we think of as entering their prime years will get hurt, or fail to take the steps we expect from them.  A couple of guys who didn't impress us as rookies over the last couple of years will find their games.  Figuring out who's who is almost impossible.

For example: these guys chose Andrew Wiggins for the 8th spot.  I would not have the guts to do that.  Inevitably, someone (or ones) not currently in the NBA will be in the top 100 when 2017 rolls around, but picking out the specific guys, especially as high as #8 is far beyond my abilities.  Putting a guy who has never even played college ball one spot ahead of a 28 year old James Harden?  Maybe they're right, but it's not a bet I would make.

On the other end of the spectrum, they chose Chris Paul as the 16th best player in 2017. He'll be 32 years old then, and there is some question about the aging process for smallish point guards.  He's the oldest player in the top 20, and one of the oldest overall on the whole list (though for some reason they actually picked Kobe in the 70s--he's by far the oldest guy on the list).  It's certainly possible Paul is still a superstar at that's also possible he's out of the league. Unlikely, but Isiah Thomas' last season was at age 32.

Overall I think these guys did a pretty good job.  They mostly got the age bracket right, as they chose overwhelmingly guys who will be between 24 and 29 in 2017.  My list, and I'm sure yours, would be a lot different, but who knows how it will turn out. I can understand the logic behind most of the list.

Now onto the Wolves on the list:

Kevin Love is #11.  This seems more or less right.  He'll be 29 then, and should still be a superstar.  He's ranked one spot behind Blake Griffin, with which I would quibble, but eh.  Good enough.  The question they ask is what team he'll be playing for in 2017; nobody seems to think it will be the Wolves.  We'll see.  I'm not sure I think so either.

Ricky Rubio is #30.  Behind three guys in the 20s who have yet to play in the NBA (Okafor, Parker, and Noel).  Still, 30 seems pretty good, maybe even generous.  Everyone loves Ricky.  He's about the most fun thing in the whole NBA, and he still should be four years from now when he'll be 27.  The defense and passing will still be there, his overall quality could range from "useful" to "superstar" depending on how the offense develops.

Nikola Pekovic is #77. He'll be 31 in 2017.  He could very well still be as effective as he is now, though I wouldn't necessarily bet on it.  His size and strength should be an asset throughout the length of his contract; the issue will be how many games he plays.

That's all I've got.  What do you think of this list?