To close its ranking of the top 100 NBA players, Sports Illustrated placed San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in the top five.
On Thursday, Sports Illustrated unveiled the final part of its top 100 NBA players for the 2017-18 season. The only San Antonio Spurs player that remained unranked (who was a foregone conclusion to be ranked) was Kawhi Leonard. He was part of the top 10 players, and came in at No. 4.
SI’s article noted the debate for No. 3 and 4 was between Leonard and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. Curry was awarded the No. 3 ranking.
Let’s look at how the rest of the top 10 played out, along with Leonard’s ranking:
- LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
- Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
- Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
- James Harden (Houston Rockets)
- Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Chris Paul (Houston Rockets)
- Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
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It’s a gaudy top 10 of young players, along with long-time veterans LeBron James and Chris Paul, who remain among the NBA’s elite. James grabs this title as he enters his age-33 season (2003 was a very long time ago, folks), while Paul slid in at No. 7, as he enters his first year in Houston.
As for Leonard, he wasn’t the only Spur involved in the ranking. LaMarcus Aldridge (31), Pau Gasol (65), Danny Green (75) Patty Mills (92) all made SI’s list. Manu Ginobili was the only difference between this and ESPN’s list. Rudy Gay was a notable absence from both lists, as he failed to crack the top 100. Tony Parker missed the cut, too. He’s rehabbing a torn quad.
What do you think of these recent player rankings before the 2017-18 season starts? Did these websites get it right?