San Antonio Spurs: ESPN ranks four players in top 100 for 2017-18
By Rob Wolkenbrod
ESPN began its ranking of the top NBA players before the 2017-18 season. Where did San Antonio Spurs players place in the earliest reveal?
The 2017-18 season is fast-approaching, with the San Antonio Spurs beginning its prep for another attempt at an NBA championship. The team missed on it in 2016-17, after losing the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors.
The Spurs team of then and now hosts some of the NBA’s best players, one of which is arguably top-five in the league. This is around superstars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
ESPN.com recently broke down the first group of its top 100 NBA players of 2018. There’s a group of Spurs involved, who are intertwined with other players. Where do they all rank?
- 59. Danny Green – Green slotted just two spots below Andrew Wiggins (57) and one above Devin Booker (60). Defense and 3-point shooting resulted in his high placement.
- 67. Patty Mills – Eight spots after Green is Mills. He’s two spots below Marcus Smart (65) and three behind Carmelo Anthony (64).
- 80. Pau Gasol – Gasol placed below big men like Patrick Patterson and Gorgui Dieng.
- 99. Manu Ginobili – Ginobili cracking the top-100 is interesting, as he’s 40-years-old and coming off maybe his worst NBA season. He’s in between Dion Waiters (98) and Ryan Anderson (100).
ESPN has yet to release its top 50 players for the 2017-18 NBA season. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are the two most obvious Spurs that will crack the list, it’s just a matter of where they do and who it’s above or below.
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As for the released players above, Green missed out on the top 50 by just nine spots. Despite his below-30 percent shooting, he remains one of the best 3-and-D players.
Mills’ rank at No. 67 is somewhat aggressive, as he’s exclusively been a bench player. With a starting role likely on the way in October, improved production should justify this spot.
Gasol slides back to No. 80, after one of the lowest statistical seasons of his career. Another year of similar production (approximately 12 points, seven rebounds) might lower his spot on future lists.
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Let’s see how the rest of this list plays out. Did ESPN get it right with Gasol, Mills, Green and Ginobili?