The everlasting 2019-20 season is now over; To kick things off for the Premium Hoops off-season, our writers came together to rank the Top 100 Players in the NBA for a multi-part article. They will be released over the next week(s) and end with a round table hashing out our thoughts over the mic in a hotly contested podcast.
Disclaimer: This does not reflect or project the worth of a player. Each player has great indiviudal attributes, abilities, and qualities. We treat this more as a front office exercise and a collective thought experiment.
I bid you adieu and open up the inaugural Premium Hoops Top 100 Player Rankings!
First 5 Out
Many would say Toronto Raptors Guard, Norman Powell is one of the most underrated players in today’s league. Powell scored a career high 20 points per 75 possessions this past season on great efficiency. He is a very easy player to plug in on any team; thriving in transition, a good catch and shoot game and fighting on every defensive possession.
Powell is only average at best, at creating for himself and others in the half court and may benefit from being in a great system with a great coaching staff. Powell’s shot has been a bit streaky, but has back to back seasons shooting the long ball well. He knows his role and plays it extremely well; if he develops a bit more as a half court creator he could sneak into the Top 100. – Nate G.
The former MVP Derrick Rose had a 6th man of the year caliber season in Detroit. Scoring nearly 26 points per 75 possessions to go along with nearly 8 assists. Rose was the only source of reliable offense in Detroit this season as the team had a 111.8 offensive rating with Rose on the court this season, compared to a 107.5 with him off.
That being said, he put up good numbers on average efficiency on a terrible team, without playing much defense. His role at this stage of his career is a ball dominant 6th man with no off-ball value, so he scales pretty poorly. Either way, it is great to see Derrick Rose playing at a high level once again. – Nate G.
Aside from Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges was the most impressive player for the Phoenix Suns during their 8-0 bubble run. Bridges is solidifying himself as one of the premier wing defenders in the league. At 6”6 with a 7”1 wingspan and a high motor you could tell why, routinely shutting down opposing wings and even switching onto guards at times.
Bridges biggest question mark is if his 3 point shot can stay with him. It looks to be improving as he shot 36% from deep this season, including 40% over his last 32 games. Bridges looks well on his way to becoming one of the best role players in the league. The rest of his game is fairly limited (for now), but he knows his role and executes it greatly. – Nate G.
It may come as a huge surprise to see Harrell off the top 100 after winning the 6th man of the year award. Harrell improved a bit on the defensive end this season (in the regular season) and continued to be a nonstop energy bunny on the offensive end, scoring a career high 23.8 points per 75 possessions.
Unfortunately, Harrell had a family crisis and showed up to the bubble late which may have led to his poor play in the postseason. He never looked right and always looked a step slower than usual and was a clear weak point for the Clippers. He was routinely targeted on the defensive end, and on the offensive end offered no spacing. Harrell’s biggest strength (hustle and energy) diminishes come postseason time, when every player is hustling their ass off. If it wasn’t for his poor postseason performance, he could have ended up much higher on this list. – Nate G.
Mitchell Robinson finds himself just off the Top 100 after his impressive sophomore season. Robinson offer’s great rim finishing ability and is a constant lob threat. In the right matchup he can be a nightmare for defenses. He led the league this season in FG% at 74.2% and also blocked about 3 shots per 75 possessions.
Robinson at times exhibits elite rim protection, deterring anything in the paint. Then the next night his minutes are being cut for making numerous defensive mistakes and getting into foul trouble. Despite his rim finishing ability he lacks any offensive versatility with his inability to spread the floor whatsoever and can only play one position. With some more consistent reads on the defensive end he could very well sneak his way onto the Top 100. – Nate G.
Top 100: 100-76
100. Tyler Herro
Herro is one of the only three rookies to play himself into the top 100 — the other two should be obvious. Both Ja and Zion earned a spot on this list before the hiatus. Herro forced his way onto here due to his breakout playoff performance in the bubble. He averaged 16 points in the playoffs, shooting 37.5% from three on 6 attempts per game. Herro showed he can comfortably get to his lightning-quick release both off movement and off the bounce. His best game was a 37 point eruption on 14-21 shooting to give the Heat a 3-1 lead against Boston.
This ranking may seem premature or ridden with recency bias to some. After all, there are plenty of players who have been contributing to winning basketball for longer. How should we even weigh bubble performances in the first place? While these are all valid points, the margin between the 100th best and, say, 150th best player is so slim that Herro’s playoff tear gave him just enough of a boost. – Scott L.
99. Tim Hardaway Jr.
Before the 2019-2020 season, Hardaway Jr. said that he saw Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis as Dallas’ new Nash/Nowitzki tandem. He added that he wanted to be the Michael Finley of this new core. This comparison seemed lofty at the time. Finley was a two-time All-Star. Hardaway was seen in New York by many as a high-volume low-efficiency scorer on a bad team who didn’t defend and didn’t scale to winning basketball.
However, Hardaway adjusted to his new situation. He enjoyed career highs in 3P% and TS% and was the third option of the league’s best offense. His defense remains a concern, but sharing a backcourt with Luka allows the 6’6” Hardaway to be the smallest Maverick on the floor. This limits his responsibility on that end and lets him provide top-100-level impact. – Scott L.
98. Josh Richardson
Richardson entered a tumultuous Philly situation when the Heat traded him for Jimmy Butler. After assuming creation duty in Miami in 2018-19, sometimes more than he could handle, he was tasked with helping direct traffic in a congested Sixers offense. While he is a talented scorer, he was not the preternatural passer that Philadelphia needed to help make sense of their logjam.
His defense was also disappointing given his sterling reputation on that end. For whatever reason, he just did not look like the same point-of-attack vulture we grew to appreciate in Miami. It is unclear what the future holds for both Richardson and the Sixers. He is still a good player on a team-friendly contract that could be attached to one of Philly’s less team-friendly contracts in a trade. If he can find a situation that doesn’t overload him on offense and lets him focus on defense, he could move up this list. – Scott L.
97. Dennis Schroder
Everything seemed to go right for the Thunder last regular season. They won games they had no business being in. Chris Paul reclaimed Point God status. Danillo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fit snugly into the roster. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise, though, was Sixth Man of The Year candidate Dennis Schröder.
He posted a pedestrian year in 2018-2019 after OKC traded a first for him. This past year, he improved his shooting which unlocked the rest of his game. Schroder torched the Rockets guards in the playoffs. He was the only Thunder player who could routinely burn his man off the dribble. He dropped 30 in Game 3 and 29 in Game 4, forcing Oklahoma City back into the series. He’s good now. It’s cool to see. – Scott L.
96. Christian Wood
Wood was having a good season, then in February he started having a great season. There is still so much to learn about Wood. Will he keep up his hot month and a half? What team will he play for next? Will he get enough opportunities to do his thing on a better team? We may not get an answer to the last question if he stays in Detroit, which would be cool too. We at Premium Hoops will watch the hell out of the Pistons if it becomes the Christian Wood show all season as he averages 20 and 10 on 37% from three.
The journeyman-turned-starter assumed total domain over the paint when the Pistons traded Andre Drummond to Cleveland and showed that he is much more than just a stretch big. Wood was a foul drawing machine with elite roll gravity. He powered through and over contact and converted 77% of his looks at the rim. It’s clear that he’s best used as a five, a position that carries defensive responsibilities he has yet to prove he can fill. However, his offense is worth it if he can keep this going. – Scott L.
95. Jerami Grant
Jerami Grant will keep climbing up this list if he has games like he did in the bubble. He played the 4 primarily before the hiatus, but started at the 3 with Will Barton injured. He checked Donovan Mitchell, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James and gave the Lakers trouble with a great Game 5 20-point performance. The Nuggets could not have been a better fit for Grant, as their system activates his shooting and slashing. This makes his offense an added bonus as opposed to a trade-off.
Grant enters unrestricted free agency this offseason. Every team could use what he provides and there are teams that frankly need him. Once considered best as a small-ball five, he has taken a circuitous route to becoming one of the better “3 and D” players in the league. – Scott L.
94. Lou Williams
Lou Williams needs no introduction. America’s sixth man has been rock solid as a scoring punch off the bench for the last three years. Harrell received the award this year, but we decided that Williams was most responsible for the Clippers potent second unit.
His tough shotmaking has not declined and he has slowly improved as a passer. He will not necessarily make the crosscourt reads we’re used to seeing from elite primary creators. However, he mastered where and when to hit the roll man. Couple this with his ability to score from anywhere and he was often the Clippers’ most dangerous pick and roll weapon. – Scott L.
93. Otto Porter Jr.
Porter Jr. enjoyed a few years of being one of the go-to examples of a premier “3 and D” guy. His defense is alright but there should be a heavy emphasis on the “3” of “3 and D” for him. He is a career 40% shooter from deep and if you close out too hard, he’ll burn you with the off-the-bounce game he showcased at Georgetown. He is one of the best at getting downhill off a closeout attack, reading the help defender, and making the right play.
So why isn’t he higher? Well, he did not play much in 2019-2020, and when he did play his game did not seem to click quite as well as in the 2018-2019 season. After Washington traded him to the Bulls in February 2019, he averaged 18 points on 48% shooting from three in 15 games. Going into last offseason, he was part of why some cretins (hello) picked them to nab the 8 seed in the 2019-2020 season. Neither the Bulls nor Porter Jr. had the season we hoped, but a bounceback year could see Otto joining the “elite ‘3 and D’ role player” club once again. – Scott L.
92. Derrick White
White first caught our eye in the Spurs’ 2019 first round series against the Nuggets. He dropped 36 points in Game 3 to give the Spurs a 2-1 lead. White got to the rim and finished through contact at ease. Now, this performance may have said just as much about Jamal Murray’s lack of discipline and hip flexibility when closing out. However, White proved that the series was not a fluke the following year. He solidified his reputation as an elite perimeter defender and bumped up his shooting percentage.
If the bubble rotations are any indication, the starting shooting guard spot is White’s to lose next year. He and DeJounte Murray will likely be the best defensive backcourt in the league as the Spurs possibly look to transition into a youth movement given DeMar DeRozan’s impending free agency. – Scott L.
91. John Wall
There is little chance that John Wall is the 91st best player in the league right now. He is better if healthy and worse if he is unable to bounce back from his slew of injuries. One of us had him Top 70, others did not rank him in the Top 100. This is not only because he has missed two thirds of Washington’s games in the last three years, but also because he showed signs of slowing down when he did play. Maybe he was playing hurt, but without his game-breaking athleticism or a pull-up threat he struggled to generate offense in the half court.
In the past three years, Bradley Beal cemented himself as an All-Star and the Wizards’ primary creator. Wall will still lead fast breaks and hit open shooters with perfect passes, but the halfcourt responsibility will go to Beal first and foremost. Perhaps this will allow Wall to focus on his strengths and find an easy avenue back to being a highly productive player. – Scott L.
90. Jonas Valanciunas
Travis Kelce, I mean, Jonas Valanciunas may seem like a big man of the past but he is still getting the job done quietly in Memphis. Jonas is still a bruising back to the basket post player and in the right matchups can torch teams. He even started to attempt to space the floor a bit more this season attempting 1.3 shots from deep per game and hitting 35% of them.
Still at just 28 years of age he has some good years ahead of him but his outdated style makes him unappealing to most. He gets the job done and can carry Memphis on some nights. However, on some nights he is relegated to backup level minutes due to matchup. If he continues to develop his range and can up his attempts while still hovering around 35%, he could leapfrog up multiple spots on this list. – Nate G.
89. Joe Harris
Harris once again proved why he’s one of the leagues most deadly off ball weapons this season. Joe shot over 40% from deep once again (42.4%) on nearly 6 attempts per game; Hitting shots on the move with little space and forcing defenses to be aware of where he is at all times.
He is a bit of a one trick pony and does not provide much else, his defense is average at best and can be exposed in many matchups, although it isn’t totally non existent. He can’t create for himself unless it’s taking advantage of pump fakes and attacking the rim. However he provides the most valuable skill in today’s game and scales very well, any team would love to have him. He could very well shoot up the Top 100 next season when he starts doing all this for a probable title contender (assuming Brooklyn re-signs him). – Nate G.
88. Devonte’ Graham
Entering this season Graham was an afterthought for most after hardly playing in his rookie season. That quickly changed when he started putting up big numbers en route to a case for Most Improved Player of the year award. Graham averaged 19.4 points per 75 possessions and showed off a great passing ability this season averaging 8 assists per 75. He excels at shooting off the dribble and being able to create his own shot, averaging 9.3 shots from deep this season and a respectable 37% on them.
Graham does have a few worrisome parts to his game. Obviously standing only 6”2 it is difficult to finish at the rim and he was one of the league’s worst this past season, shooting only 49% at the rim. He also struggled from the mid-range area shooting 33% on all mid range shots. Graham was so bad from 2 point range that his 3P% was almost higher than his FG% of 38%.
Devonte’ is also not a good defender but he is a 6”2 guard on a terrible team so we’re not too worried about that part yet. Graham’s best role seems to be that of a 6th man on a playoff level team, come in and create for others with the ability to get your shot off at any time. Small improvements in these peripheral areas could move Graham up this list, as well as boost a Hornets offense that ranked 29th in ORtg. – Nate G.
87. Buddy Hield
Hield had another good shooting season as he shot roughly 40% from deep on increased volume; this time around (9.6 attempts per game). He scored very similarly to last season but on slightly less efficiency overall. Hield proves to still be a lethal off-ball threat and a player who can erupt from 30+ on any night if defenses don’t pay enough attention to him.
Outside of his shooting ability, Hield is not particularly great at anything else. He is a solid passer for his role, but is a clear negative defensively. Hield’s minutes were sometimes inconsistent night to night due to his defense. If he can improve on the defensive end and shoot closer to that 43% from deep that he did his 3 seasons prior, he could jump up this list as another all-star level role player. – Nate G.
86. Evan Fournier
Evan don’t google my name Fournier had probably his best season as a pro in the 2019-2020 campaign. Scoring a career high 21.4 points per 75 possession on career high efficiency at 59.5%. Fournier was the 1B scoring option for a playoff team and their most lethal outside shooter. The 27 year-old showed a nice blend of a 3 level scoring ability this season, all without always needing the ball in his hands to be efficient.
Fournier does have a solid handle as well as a good feel as a pick and roll ball handler but he won’t blow you away with any reads or plays out of the PNR. Fournier doesn’t hurt or help you defensively, basically coming in as a neutral. Overall, he is just a well rounded pro who is still showing signs of improvement. If he can come in next season and continue to improve his PNR reads and overall PNR play, he can slide up this list. – Nate G.
85. Gary Harris
In the 2019-2020 season, Harris had probably his best defensive season yet. He routinely defended the opposition’s best Guard/Wing and really found his role in Denver amongst all the creators/scoring options Denver has. After missing the first 5 post season games for Denver this season, you could really see the impact he made defensively when he returned.
Unfortunately, Harris needed to find this defensive role or his role could’ve nearly evaporated for the Nuggets. For the second straight season his 3 point shot has completely abandoned him. After shooting 33.9% from deep last season, he followed it up this season shooting 33.3%. At times Harris really hurt Denver’s offense in the postseason when teams were allowing him to shoot and couldn’t hit. Harris definitely has a chance to recapture that shooting ability though, and if he does he’ll easily slide up the Top 100 rankings, as long as he continues to bring it defensively. – Nate G.
84. Clint Capela
While Clint Capela stuffed the stat sheet, averaging a career high in rebounds (13.8Rpg), his seasonw as marred by injury. He suited up for 39 games in Houston before the trade deadline and never saw action with the Hawks. Most notably, Capela’s defense slipped a little this season. He got caught on the permiter more than usual and his mobility was less than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. Atlanta is banking on this being due to his foot issues; we’ll see if he regains some of that pop when healthy.
Even in his shortened season, Capela was killer as a roll and lob threat, something the Rockets missed in the playoffs (Outside some Jeff Green minutes). As a rim protector, Capela relishes the opportunity to deter drivers; Per B-Ball Index, he averaged over 10 rim contests p/75 possessions, in the 86th percentile among bigs who played at least 400 minutes. If Capela can put together a healthy season, he could rocket up this list. It’ll be intriguing to see how he meshes with John Collins. – Mark S.
83. Marc Gasol
Gasol’s future in the NBA is currently uncertain, as conflicting reports have surfaced on whether or not he’s returning to Spain to play professionally. Gasol posted career lows in minutes, points, rebounds, blocks, and just about everything in his age 35 season. However, Gasol continued to contribute as a winning player for a team on pace for 55+ wins; The Raptors were 7.7 pts/100 better with him on court. He notably slowed down, but his intuition on the defensive side of the ball in tandem with his awareness allowed him to remain a significant disruptor in the paint.
Offensively, Marc’s ability to hit open threes at a steady rate opens up the floor for Toronto’s drivers. His passing from the top of the key and the elbow are the WD-40 of the Raptors’ offense. But, his athletic decline has greatly impacted his ability as an individual scorer. He shot a grand total of 49 shots at the rim over 44 regular seaon games, and finished at 61%, in the bottom quarter among bigs. Marc Gasol is still a remarkably impactful player. If he’s still in the NBA next year, he has a place in the Top 100 barring injury. – Mark S.
82. Duncan Robinson
Duncan grabbed our attention screaming off of screens, sprinting off pin-downs, and gunning from three, hoisting himself into the upper echelon of shooters in the league. Robinson brings up the importance of context. One might look at his 13.5 ppg and shrug, but it’s hard to equate points scored to the sheer pull of Duncan’s movement and 3-point propensity; he took nearly 90% of his shots from beyond the arc. Few possess the scoring gravity and ability to warp a defense like Robinson.
As the Heat recoup and revamp for another deep run next year, Duncan can work on scoring versatility. Improving his handle and ability to score off of close-outs can make it more difficult for defenses to run him off the line. Robinson isn’t as bad of a defender as he’s often made out to be, but he could really benefit from getting stronger. Duncan is simply put one of the top 5 specialists in the league already. If he can continue to expand his game, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him make his way into the Top 50 players in the NBA. – Mark S.
Also of note: Duncan Robinson is a sneaky free agent (RFA) in the vaunted 2021 off-season.
81. Andre Drummond
I don’t think a single player creates more divisiveness or discourse in team building discussions than Andre Drummond. There’s no question that Andre is one of the most talented bigs in basketball. He’s undeniably one of the greatest rebounders of all-time. But, his flaws mixed with the shift in eras of basketball leave Drummond in a precarious place. In the modern NBA, how does Drummond scale to winning basketball? More importantly, how can he shift his game to do so?
I want to iterate that winning isn’t everything; Drummond just turned 27 over the summer. He’s still in his prime, rarely misses games, and will lockdown the defensive glass while creating havoc on the opposite rim. Make no mistake, Drummond is a good player. The only thing holding Andre back from a higher placement on this list is himself. If he can sell out on the defensive end and buy into an offensive scheme that sheds his post-ups, he could easily improve his standing in the Top 100. It remains to be seen whether or not that’s in the cards for Dre. – Mark S.
80. Davis Bertans
Often times when I’m watching games, I’ll be taking notes and then something happens in game that makes me drop my pen and burst into laughter over the sheer absurdity. Enter Davis Bertans. I found it very difficult to not glue my eyes to Davis everytime the Wizards started up an offensive possession.
I mean come on. He’s 6’10, with legit half-court range who can shoot off screens, with a hand in his face, and on prolific volume. I don’t believe in unicorns, but Davis Bertans makes me want to.
Bertans is ridiculously efficient and can do some things with the ball in his hands. However, he’s a fairly poor defender that struggles to guard sizable front court players. His playmaking is pretty average and he’s not really expected to do much of it. That being said, incremental improvements in his reads and handle can open up the floor even more for him. Bertans is one of the headliners in this year’s Free Agency class and wherever he ends up, he’ll raise their offense into the stratosphere. – Mark S.
79. Aaron Gordon
Where are we at six years into the Aaron Gordon experience? Premium Hoops is all over the place. After posting the best season of his career as a shooter and player in 18/19, Gordon’s shot regressed from 34.9% to 30.8% on similar volume. However, he played a large part in the Magic’s offensive explosion in early February and March. Steve Clifford utilized him as a post hub and initiator from the top of the key and it worked incredibly well. Gordon averaged ~6 assists per game over that stretch and a 3:1 Assist to TO ratio, helping Orlando to a 114.9 Offensive Rating, 3rd in the NBA over that stretch.
Gordon is one of the most physically gifted players in the league. He has a wealth of tools and skills that could make him into a sort of swiss-army knife type player. But, consistency. Consistency has been the issue for Gordon the past couple seasons; he’ll put up fantastic stretches of play, but they are rarely sustained. He has the ability to play All-Defense level D, but has some off-ball habits and tendencies that lessen the impact of his on-ball D. The golden question; Will a new environment create more consistency for AG? With Jonathan Isaac out for the year, it seems unlikely that Gordon will be moved. Regardless, he is an incredible talent and a joy to watch. Whether in Orlando or elsewhere, our eyes will be on Aaron Gordon. – Mark S.
78. Will Barton
It may seem borderline heretical to say that someone other than Jamal Murray was Denver’s second best player for much of the season; I’ll say it anyways. Will Barton was the glue that held Denver together on both sides of the ball while Jamal Murray struggled with inconsistency prior to he returned from injury in February and Nikola Jokic was out of sorts.
Barton isn’t elite at any one thing in particular, but he’s solid at nearly every area of the game making him a fantastic supplemental wing player. He can move his feet and possesses the length and defensive IQ to hold up as a multi-positional defender. What Barton lacks as an isolation scorer, he more than makes up for as a fierce driver, solid shooter (37.5% overall from three and 34.1% on pull-ups), and as a secondary playmaker (4.5 Box Creation per B-Ball Index). He was sorely missed by Denver during their entire bubble run. While I don’t anticipate him rising far up the Top 100 rankings, I doubt he’ll drop either as he reasserts his steady hand into Denver’s rotation. – Mark S.
77. Al Horford
Don’t blame the player, blame the contract. Ignoring the deal that Philadelphia gave Al Horford, he’s still a good player. It’s difficult to decipher how much of his drop in play was due to poor roster fit, getting older, and nagging injuries. I surmise all three played a part; the extent to which each had an impact…I’m not sure.
As the lone center, the Sixers were 4.7 pp/100 better with Horford. When Horford and Embiid shared the court, Philly was -0.5 pp/100 worse, posting a stellar 104.5 Defensive Rating, but an abysmal 104 Offensive Rating. Horford is still an excellent passer, defends the rim well and can pick and pop. Without a consistent pick and roll playmaker and forced to play out of position defensively, all of his postives were marginalized and weaknesses exacerbated. A lot of signs point to Horford donning a different jersey next season; Returning to his natural position on a different team would be symbiotic for both Al and the Sixers. – Mark S.
76. Kevin Love
Rounding out this iteration of the Top 100 is Kevin Love. Love put together a high quality offensive season, canning 37.4% of his 7 attempts from three per game. As Kevin has gotten older, he’s stretched his game steadily, with his average shot distance expanding out further nearly every season this decade. He continues to cultivate high quality offense for others as a post facilitator (5.4 box creation, 84th percentile per B-Ball Index).
Offensively, Love is an All-Star caliber player, but defense is what drops Kevin down the Top 100. The Cavs defense allowed 2.5 pp/100 more when Love was on the court. He can’t really slide his feet, is an inviting target at the rim, and defensivley caught between positions.
This is not to besmirch Kevin Love’s quality as a player. But, as Love gets older and his defense becomes less tenable, it creates signifcant scheming problems. Much like with Al Horford, I’m genuinely curious how Love’s game factors in a different environment. On a playoff team/title contender, can Love still be a ceiling raiser? If Kevin can boost a young Cleveland team up or bolster a playoff-bound roster, expect him to move up the Top 100. – Mark S.
Thank you for reading! The next iteration of the Premium Hoops Top 100 NBA Players Rankings will be out within the next week. Do you agree with our selections? Disagree? How does your Top 100 stack up to ours?
Shoot us any thoughts, questions, comments, or feedback! And if you enjoyed be sure to share the article on Twitter!