With the preseason starting, here is a look at our sixth installment to our NBA Top 100 list for 2016-2017. We will continue to move down this list as we get closer to the regular season, so watch out for more articles. For updates on this project or other articles of ours, check out our Twitter. This list will be released 10 players at a time every 5 days.
50. PF Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers
With all the questions over whether or not he was worth giving a contract last summer, much has been called into question about his play. What you cannot question is his pure hustle and work ethic. He is not the most talented player on this list by a long shot, but he will out-hustle almost everyone else. He uses his height and athleticism the most of anyone else in the league to make contributions to his team. He is a constant shot blocking threat and grabs rebounds unlike many other big men. Whether or not you think he was worth the contract, there is no calling into question how much his hustle and heart contributes to his team. -Evan.
49. PF Tobias Harris, Detroit Pistons
Tobias has bounced around a few times in his career, but I think he’s found himself a home in Detroit. He is a very solid all-around forward with a superstar in Andre Drummond as a teammate. He might not be a top scoring option for the Pistons, but his influence on every game is what warrants this top-50 placement. Tobias does so much for this rising team in the East that is looking to compete for a title in the coming years. Don’t forget that this man is still just 24. -Lukas.
48. SG Dwyane Wade, Chicago Bulls
One of the most explosive players ever and a consistent top-5 player during his peak, Wade has definitely lost a step. Years of knee injuries and other aliments have taken their toll on his body. But still, Wade is talented and can consistently get to the rack. His jumper still isn’t great, but Wade is a great scorer, defender, and the new veteran leader of the Chicago Bulls. His fit alongside Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler is suspect, but if anyone can make it work, it would be the grisly veteran out of Marquette. -Mike.
47. SG Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
After a reasonably disappointing year, Beal has still managed to find his way into the top 50 for 2016-2016. Although there have been chemistry issues revolving around John Wall and Beal, I think that they get it together this year and Beal gets up to 20 points per game as the Wizards find a way into the playoffs. His numbers dipped last season mainly due to injury, but when healthy, the former #3 overall pick is a dangerous shooter and creator from anywhere on the court. -Lukas.
46. PG Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns
As announced today, Eric Bledsoe will be the starting point guard for the Suns this season, leading him into a great season. Bledsoe has been riddled with injuries in his career, but a healthy season for him would be a great step for the Suns as a whole. With backcourt mates like Brandon Knight and Devin Booker, there is plenty of competition to keep Bledsoe working hard every day. If the Suns have a good season this year, Bledsoe for the All-Star Game might be a legitimate campaign. -Lukas.
45. SG J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers
Ever since coming out of Duke many years ago, J.J. Redick has been one of the best shooters in the Association. His shooting form is as pure as it comes, leading to high-efficiency clips from both the field and the free throw line. Now a Clippers veteran, LAC will be relying on him to spread the floor and allow room for Chris Paul to drive and kick as well as allowing Blake Griffin to go to work. His defense has always been somewhat lackluster, preventing him from being higher in these rankings, but nevertheless, Redick is a great team player who helps whoever he plays for much more than he hurt them. -Mike.
44. SG Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics
This Celtic guard is approaching his 7th year in the league with high hopes of winning Defensive Player of the Year. Last season, Bradley was named to the NBA’s All-Defense First Team and was in the conversation for DPOY. A lot of the Celtics recent success has come from Bradley’s impact on the defensive end, but he also has proven to be a reliable scoring option next to Isaiah Thomas. Last season, the Celtics finished 5th in the East and this season they can look to make a deeper run in the playoffs with the return of Avery Bradley and the addition of Al Horford. -Adam.
43. C Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Gasol is one of the best all-around players in the NBA. He is a great low-post scorer, he can pass, and he can rebound. Now getting up in age, Marc is still a towering figure in the lane. Although not the highest paid player on the team (*cough* Mike Conley *cough*), Gasol is the face of Memphis. He is what keeps that team running and they might not make the playoffs without him. Now rooted in a core with Z-Bo, himself, Conley, and Chandler Parsons, the Grizzlies are looking to make a surprising push out West. -Lukas.
42. SF Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets
Batum has been a solid defensive player throughout his career. He brings so much talent to the Charlotte Hornets that effects them in a lot of ways. Along with his defensive presence comes an all-purpose offensive wing with the ability to shoot from mid-range, rebound, and dish the ball. With the absence of Al Jefferson, expect to see Batum explore his potential as a primary weapon. Batum has certainly been a multi-purpose player in the past, and will no doubt produce on both ends of the court this coming season. -Zach.
41. SG DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
DeRozan had another solid season last year, averaging 23.5 points per game, but it is his three-point shooting and defense that leaves him this low on the list. Although a solid mid-range shooter and awesome slasher, he has not developed that three-pointer yet. DeRozan is the #2 man in Toronto and with his partner in crime Kyle Lowry, the Raptors will once again be a top team in the East this year. -Lukas.
Be on the lookout for players 40-31 on October 7th.