Sports Illustrated recently released a top 100 NBA players of 2015 list and seven San Antonio Spurs players were featured on the list. It’s not necessarily a surprise that some of the Spurs were on this list, what was surprising is where some of them ranked.
Boris Diaw (100)
Boris Diaw ranked 100th on the list. This wasn’t too much of a surprise as Diaw is an excellent passer and can defend multiple positions. Diaw averaged 9.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists last season. While it’s not a crime to put Diaw on this list, but Michael-Carter Williams and Jeff Green are more deserving.
Danny Green (96)
There is no question that Danny Green is an important player to the Spurs, but there is no way he is a top 100 player in the league. Green is a terrific three point shooter (42%) and an underrated defender, but even his teammate (Diaw) should place higher than Green.
Tiago Splitter (70)
On a per minute basis, Tiago Splitter might rank top 70, but that’s about the only reasoning I can find valid for his spot on this list. Splitter is a role player for a terrific team, but that isn’t enough to be top 70. Splitter averaged 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds, in 21.5 minutes last year.
Manu Ginobili (41)
In Manu Ginobili’s prime he was certainly worth of being top 50, potentially higher, but at this point of his career, he shouldn’t be. Ginobili can only produce at a high level for about half a game and isn’t the consistent player he once was, due to age. Maybe Sports Illustrated was generous to credit his past in this one.
Kawhi Leonard (28)
Kawhi Leonard will certainly be a top 30 player, it’s only a matter of time. Leonard is already an elite defender, who’s trying to become as effective on offense, where he is a work in progress. Leonard should rank top 50, but ranking him 28th, which is ahead of players like John Wall, Rajon Rondo, and Goran Dragic, is a bit shocking.
Tony Parker (15)
Tony Parker being ranked 15th on the list seems fair, unlike most Spurs placing on this list. Parker is certainly one of the leagues best players, despite playing right under 30 minutes per game. Parker averaged 16.7 points and 5.7 assists last year in 29.4 minutes.
Tim Duncan (5)
Tim Duncan isn’t a top 5 player anymore, but if you compare his numbers to the best bigs on a per-36 minute basis, then it makes sense. Duncan averaged 18.7 points, 12 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes last season. Although, being a skilled passer and an elite defender helps make a case.
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