San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: ESPN ranks Kawhi Leonard No. 3 player in NBA

By Rob Wolkenbrod
WASHINGTON, DC -  NOVEMBER 26: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots a free throw against the Washington Wizards on November 26, 2016 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC -  NOVEMBER 26: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots a free throw against the Washington Wizards on November 26, 2016 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The controversial NBA player rankings came to an end, as ESPN released its top 10 players for the 2017-18 season. Where did San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard rank?

Multiple San Antonio Spurs players have been involved in ESPN and Sports Illustrated’s top 100 player rankings for the NBA. Both lists were revealed this week, leading to controversy, scrutiny and a bevy of other reactions mostly toward New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

There hasn’t been much negative press around the Spurs’ placement on either list. Rarely is there an issue that goes public, however major or minuscule it might be.

On Friday, ESPN revealed its top 10 players for the 2017-18 NBA season. Kawhi Leonard made the list at No. 3, only falling below LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

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ESPN’s full top 10 can be seen below, without controversy:

  1. LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  2. Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
  3. Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
  4. Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
  5. Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
  6. Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
  7. Chris Paul (Houston Rockets)
  8. James Harden (Houston Rockets)
  9. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
  10. Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)

It’s a Western Conference-dominated list, with eight from the western part of the NBA. The only two from the Eastern Conference are James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Given the list that Sports Illustrated revealed, the middle of the pack is interchangeable. On it Curry was ranked ahead of Leonard, Harden was No. 5, and Anthony Davis was No. 8. However, both top-10’s had the same 10 players.

Next: Ranking the 2017-18 season roster

While there will be plenty said of these top 100 player lists, it comes down to the play on the court. The lists are on paper, but the game is played in person and in front of millions. That won’t stop debate, either, about who the best players in the NBA are. Who is the best, though?

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