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NBA PL: Hornets - Magic

With only one week left in the 2021-22 regular season, we\u2019re beginning to get a sense of what the playoffs might have in store. We know the pretenders, we know the contenders, and more than that, we know the favorites.\nNow, looking back on the season as a whole and forward to the playoffs and beyond, it\u2019s time to rank the top 100 players in the NBA.\nLast time we did this, Kevin Durant earned the No. 1 spot, while the Sixers had five players (including Ben Simmons) crack the list. Much has changed in the months since. Let\u2019s start with the honorable mentions.\n\nHonorable mentions: Jordan Poole, Reggie Jackson, Markelle Fultz, Josh Giddey, Will Barton, Dorian Finney-Smith, Bobby Portis Sr., Jalen Green, Marcus Morris Sr., Andre Drummond, Cole Anthony, Herbert Jones, Steven Adams, Keldon Johnson, P.J. Tucker, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder\n\n \n \n \n 100\n \n \n Caris LeVert\n SG,\u00a0Cleveland Cavaliers\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 100. Caris LeVert, Cavaliers\nCaris LeVert has settled into the sixth man role in Cleveland, which is somewhat surprising given the price Cleveland paid at the trade deadline. All season, LeVert has been in something of a funk, never fully unlocking the dynamic on-ball creation we once saw flashes of in Brooklyn. He will get better with time to get healthy and more time in Cleveland\u2019s system, but it\u2019s hard to ignore LeVert\u2019s notable flaws at this point.\u00a0He\u2019s a talented scorer on middling efficiency, and doesn\u2019t bring much else to the floor. And, since arriving in Cleveland, his scoring is down. So there\u2019s real concern, even if he still deserves the benefit of the doubt and a spot on the top 100.\n\n \n \n \n 99\n \n \n Franz Wagner\n SF,\u00a0Orlando Magic\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 99. Franz Wagner, Magic\nFranz Wagner will make the All-Rookie first team, and he might just be the future of the Orlando Magic. The Magic have a lot of interesting young talent, but Wagner\u2019s multi-faceted contributions on the wing signal All-Star upside. Wagner is already an accomplished second or third scorer, with the shooting touch, passing instincts, and physical tools to become a real offensive hub in time. He\u2019s already an important part of the Magic defense, too \u2014 a defense that ranks second in the league since the All-Star break.\n\n \n \n \n 98\n \n \n Terry Rozier\n SG,\u00a0Charlotte Hornets\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 98. Terry Rozier, Hornets\nTerry Rozier has officially made the leap from \u201cfun bench guy\u201d to legitimate starter and secondary scorer. He has no doubt benefited from a favorable situation, but Rozier\u2019s 3-point efficiency, dynamism attacking off the catch, and unfettered confidence each and every night makes him a handful for opposing defenses.\n\n \n \n \n 97\n \n \n Kyle Kuzma\n PF,\u00a0Washington Wizards\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 97. Kyle Kuzma, Wizards\nKyle Kuzma has really impressed in Washington. Playing a career high in minutes, Kuzma has maintained his standard efficiency on increased volume, and has looked especially impressive in the wake of Bradley Beal\u2019s season-ending injury. Washington relies on Kuzma quite extensively, and he is generally up to the task of No. 2 or 3 scorer. Combine that with more invigorated defensive effort and impressive rebounding numbers, and Kuzma has earned this spot.\n\n \n \n \n 96\n \n \n Jusuf Nurkic\n C,\u00a0Portland Trail Blazers\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 96. Jusuf Nurkic, Trail Blazers\nThe Blazers are in a tailspin, either temporarily or perpetually. With the team\u2019s future uncertain, so is Jusuf Nurkic\u2019s individual future. The veteran center has done his part this season \u2014 efficient finishing, nifty passing, elite rebounding, and physical post defense. He\u2019s somewhat outmoded in the modern NBA, and certain schemes can play Nurkic off the court, but he\u2019s elite in his role and brings so shortage of competitive fire.\n\n \n Next:\u00a0Nos. 91-95\n \n"},"title":"NBA: Top 100 players, end-of-season rankings","permalink":"https:\/\/\/2022\/04\/04\/nba-top-100-players-end-season-rankings\/2\/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t(Photo by Mitchell Leff\/Getty Images)\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\n \n \n \n 95\n \n \n Jakob Poeltl\n C,\u00a0San Antonio Spurs\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 95. Jakob Poeltl, Spurs\nThe Spurs\u2019 defense starts with Jakob Poeltl, who has developed into one of the NBA\u2019s best rim protectors. His broad-shouldered frame, nimble feet, and excellent instincts make him supremely effective out of drop coverage. He\u2019s also a constant presence on the glass and an efficient pick-and-roll partner for the Spurs\u2019 guards. San Antonio isn\u2019t the flashiest group, but Poeltl deserves immense praise.\n\n \n \n \n 94\n \n \n D'Angelo Russell\n PG,\u00a0Minnesota Timberwolves\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 94. D\u2019Angelo Russell, Timberwolves\nD\u2019Angelo Russell is a well-documented getter of buckets. The dude can score with the best of them when he\u2019s tuned in. The defense is a lingering problem, and he can sometimes be a little too tuned in to scoring, but the natural talent is undeniable. Russell is poet running the pick-and-roll and he has settled nicely into his niche with Minnesota.\n\n \n \n \n 93\n \n \n Andrew Wiggins\n SF,\u00a0Golden State Warriors\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 93. Andrew Wiggins, Warriors\nAndrew Wiggins made his first All-Star appearance (and start) this season, and it was not merely an inexplicable whim of the fan voting body. Wiggins has been an integral part of a top-4 seed in the high-octane Western Conference, blending efficient 3-point shooting and high-level, versatile wing defense. He still has his shortcomings, but Wiggins has settled nicely into his well-defined role with Golden State.\n\n \n \n \n 92\n \n \n Spencer Dinwiddie\n PG,\u00a0Dallas Mavericks\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 92. Spencer Dinwiddie, Mavericks\nSpencer Dinwiddie looked washed for two-thirds of the season before getting shipped to Dallas at the trade deadline. Now, he\u2019s playing the best basketball of his career. Fresh off a serious knee injury, Dinwiddie was never going to get right back into shape. He\u2019s a dynamic shot-maker and driver at the point guard spot, who\u2019s now well-positioned to attack off the catch next to Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson. We should expect sustained productivity from the former Sixth Man of the Year candidate.\n\n \n \n \n 91\n \n \n Tobias Harris\n PF,\u00a0Philadelphia 76ers\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 91. Tobias Harris, Sixers\nTobias Harris\u2019 shortcomings are well-documented in Philadelphia. He\u2019s a sluggish decision-maker on both sides of the ball, too often falling victim to unforced errors in judgement. Even so, after his early-season shooting slump, Harris has relocated his touch from 3-point range, and he\u2019s starting to make more definitive choices offensively. He is still more talented than a lot of fourth options, even if he\u2019s not perfectly engineered to a role player\u2019s workload.\n\n \n Next:\u00a0Nos. 86-90\n \n","title":"NBA: Top 100 players, end-of-season rankings","permalink":"https:\/\/\/2022\/04\/04\/nba-top-100-players-end-season-rankings\/3\/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tHarrison Barnes, Kings (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson\/Getty Images)\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\n \n \n \n 90\n \n \n Harrison Barnes\n SF,\u00a0Sacramento Kings\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 90. Harrison Barnes, Kings\nHarrison Barnes is the unsung hero in Sacramento, where it\u2019s generally difficult to work up excitement. The Kings are just perpetually in disarray and have no clear direction as a franchise, but Barnes shows up every night and plays his part well. He\u2019s an excellent leader on and off the court, scoring efficiently in a tertiary role and providing versatile defense on the wing.\n\n \n \n \n 89\n \n \n Gary Trent Jr.\n SG,\u00a0Toronto Raptors\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 89. Gary Trent Jr., Raptors\nGary Trent Jr. has come on strong in his first full season with Toronto, a team notoriously good at developing its players. Trent has trimmed some of the fat from his game. He\u2019s hitting 3s at an absurd rate, playing elite defense at the guard positions, and not much else. And that\u2019s more than enough when you consider his standing in the Raptors\u2019 offense. Trent\u2019s 3-and-D profile should make for a long and fruitful career.\n\n \n \n \n 88\n \n \n Collin Sexton\n SG,\u00a0Cleveland Cavaliers\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 88. Collin Sexton, Cavaliers\nA knee injury has cast a cloud over Collin Sexton\u2019s future, but whether he\u2019s in Cleveland long-term or moved elsewhere in the offseason, he should be able to recover and show out. Before the injury, Sexton has showing promise in a smaller role. Getting Sexton to play off teammates and impact winning was always the next step in his development, and there\u2019s reason to believe the Cavs \u2014 or his next team \u2014 can bring that out of him. Regardless, Sexton has no problem putting the ball in the basket. That much is certain.\n\n \n \n \n 87\n \n \n Joe Harris\n SF,\u00a0Brooklyn Nets\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 87. Joe Harris, Nets\nJoe Harris is another \u201cstar in his role\u201d type of player. He has lost the season to injury, but when healthy, Harris is an important piece of Brooklyn\u2019s championship puzzle. He\u2019s one of the best off-movement shooters in the league, but at 6-foot-6, he also has the size to defend a couple positions and to offer versatility on defense. Assuming Harris doesn\u2019t fall out of rhythm with his shot, it shouldn\u2019t take long for him to resume his productive ways in 2022-23.\n\n \n \n \n 86\n \n \n Alex Caruso\n SG,\u00a0Chicago Bulls\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 86. Alex Caruso, Bulls\nA wrist injury put a wedge in the middle of Alex Caruso\u2019s regular season, but before the injury, he was a legitimate anchor for Chicago\u2019s defense and an exceedingly strong Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Now, since his return, Caruso has quickly reasserted his value in Chicago\u2019s rotation. He\u2019s one of the best guard defenders in the NBA, with the instincts, communication skills, and effort level that can swing a playoff series. He\u2019s also a productive 3-point shooter and secondary playmaker offensively.\n\n \n Next:\u00a0Nos. 81-85\n \n","title":"NBA: Top 100 players, end-of-season rankings","permalink":"https:\/\/\/2022\/04\/04\/nba-top-100-players-end-season-rankings\/4\/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tSeth Curry, Nets (Photo by Steven Ryan\/Getty Images)\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\n \n \n \n 85\n \n \n Aaron Gordon\n PF,\u00a0Denver Nuggets\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 85. Aaron Gordon, Nuggets\nAaron Gordon\u2019s elite versatility is crucial to the Nuggets\u2019 defense. At 6-foot-8, he is one of the better answers to LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and some of the NBA\u2019s most forceful and physical scorers. Gordon has also assumed outsized responsibilities on offense this season in lieu of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., to varying degrees of success. He\u2019s a great fourth-best player, if not perfectly cast as the impromptu second-best player.\n\n \n \n \n 84\n \n \n Seth Curry\n SG,\u00a0Brooklyn Nets\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 84. Seth Curry, Nets\nSeth Curry is pretty much untouched as a spot-up shooter. He has ratcheted up his volume this season and seen his efficiency \u201cdrop,\u201d and he\u2019s shooting 42.2 percent from deep. Curry\u2019s gravity behind the 3-point line opens up so much for the Nets\u2019 offense, and his growth attacking off the catch only makes him more difficult for defenses to contain. Curry has a legitimate pull-up and floater game now, and back in Philly, he played spot minutes at point guard early in the season. He\u2019s a poor defender, but the offensive value is off the charts.\n\n \n \n \n 83\n \n \n Tyler Herro\n SG,\u00a0Miami Heat\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 83. Tyler Herro, Heat\nTyler Herro is going to run away with Sixth Man of the Year. He is Miami\u2019s top scorer on a lot of nights, and while his \u201csixth man\u201d label is more nominal than actual (he\u2019s playing 32.6 minutes per game), it speaks to Miami\u2019s depth that Herro doesn\u2019t start games. He can traverse screens and bury off-movement 3s, or he can push the iso button and create his own offense. Herro\u2019s quick-twitch scoring leaves a lot of defenses scrambling. Unfortunately, he falls in the Seth Curry camp of being particularly exploitable on the defensive end.\n\n \n \n \n 82\n \n \n Jalen Brunson\n SG,\u00a0Dallas Mavericks\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 82. Jalen Brunson, Mavericks\nJalen Brunson is pretty darn unique. He\u2019s a 6-foot-1 guard who is shooting 50 percent from the field and supplying heady, irksome defense on a nightly basis. His efficiency as the secondary ball-handler next to Luka Doncic has been key to Dallas\u2019 surge to the No. 3 seed. He\u2019s the ultimate Villanova product \u2014 just ridiculously smart, level-headed, and competitive. The perfect complementary guard.\n\n \n \n \n 81\n \n \n Kristaps Porzingis\n C,\u00a0Washington Wizards\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 81. Kristaps Porzingis, Wizards\nThe Wizards acquired Kristaps Porzingis in what feels like a half-hearted effort to sway Bradley Beal\u2019s looming free agency decision. Porzingis isn\u2019t really good enough to convince Beal to stay or go \u2014 ultimately, that will rest on Beal\u2019s commitment to Washington, not the perpetually undermanned roster around him. That said, Porzingis can still produce amply on both sides of the ball. He\u2019s a towering shot-blocker at 7-foot-3, and despite multiple injuries slowing him down, Porzingis can still score the rock in impressively varied ways.\n\n \n Next:\u00a0Nos. 76-80\n \n","title":"NBA: Top 100 players, end-of-season rankings","permalink":"https:\/\/\/2022\/04\/04\/nba-top-100-players-end-season-rankings\/5\/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tLonzo Ball, Bulls (Photo by Elsa\/Getty Images)\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\n \n \n \n 80\n \n \n Derrick White\n SG,\u00a0Boston Celtics\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 80. Derrick White, Celtics\nDerrick White is easily overshadowed in Boston, where he has been \u201cdemoted\u201d to the sixth man role after co-starring to a certain extent in San Antonio. That said, White\u2019s prodigious guard defense and well-rounded offensive contributions deserve more praise. He is an underrated part of what is currently the best defense in the NBA, and when called up, he can give you 20 points or double-digit assists.\n \t\n \t\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tgoogletag.cmd.push(function () \n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tgoogletag.defineSlot(\"\/175840252\/\/TheSixerSense\/mpu\",[300, 250], \"minutemedia_slideshow_inline_300x250__desktop__tablet\")\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t.addService(googletag.pubads());\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tgoogletag.enableServices();\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tgoogletag.display(\"minutemedia_slideshow_inline_300x250__desktop__tablet\");\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t);\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t\t \n\t\t\t\t\t\n \t\n \t\n \n\n \n \n \n 79\n \n \n Scottie Barnes\n SF,\u00a0Toronto Raptors\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 79. Scottie Barnes, Raptors\nScottie Barnes has one of the strongest Rookie of the Year cases. He has been an essential part of Toronto\u2019s postseason push, contributing across the board, on both sides of the ball. He\u2019s already an excellent defensive backbone, which is rare for even the best two-way rookies. At 6-foot-7, he can switch all over the place, he communicates, and he\u2019s not heavy on mental lapses. On offense, Barnes has done a little bit of everything, just as he did at Florida State. Sometimes he\u2019s a guard, sometimes he\u2019s a big. His shooting has already improved tenfold since college. He\u2019s going to be a big part of the future in Toronto.\n\n \n \n \n 78\n \n \n Gordon Hayward\n SF,\u00a0Charlotte Hornets\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 78. Gordon Hayward, Hornets\nGordon Hayward pretty much flies under the radar at this point. He\u2019s a productive, efficient fourth option in the Hornets\u2019 dynamic and at times explosive offense. He\u2019s not flashy. He\u2019s not the All-Star he was before the infamous broken leg in Boston. But he\u2019s still a consistently impactful and varied contributor for a play-in level team. He sees the floor, plays within himself, and provides good defense at multiple positions.\n\n \n \n \n 77\n \n \n Lonzo Ball\n PG,\u00a0Chicago Bulls\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 77. Lonzo Ball, Bulls\nThe injury bug struck Lonzo Ball at the most unfortunate time. He was off to an excellent start in Chicago, with his visionary passing and elite complementary skills unlocked in new ways next to DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. He was also the linchpin of, at the time, a top-10 defense, which is exceedingly rare for a guard. Hopefully Ball gets back sooner than later. He stuffs the stat sheet, he hits a lot of 3s, and he\u2019s always one of the smartest players on the floor.\n\n \n \n \n 76\n \n \n Wendell Carter Jr.\n PF,\u00a0Orlando Magic\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 76. Wendell Carter Jr., Magic\nWendell Carter Jr. is a bright fluorescent spotlight in the darkness for Orlando. The Magic have a lot of interesting young talent, but none have clicked quite like Carter clicked this season. He looks like the foundation upon which Orlando can build \u2014 not only a steadfast defensive anchor, but a versatile offensive contributor with room to grow still. Carter is an excellent spot-up shooter, and off of that, he has developed into an excellent face-up scorer. He can attack closeouts, make quick reads as a passer, or just bully mismatches in the post. Carter is Orlando\u2019s best player right now.\n\n \n Next:\u00a0Nos. 71-75\n \n","title":"NBA: Top 100 players, end-of-season rankings","permalink":"https:\/\/\/2022\/04\/04\/nba-top-100-players-end-season-rankings\/6\/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tTyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff\/Getty Images)\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\n \n \n \n 75\n \n \n Dillon Brooks\n SF,\u00a0Memphis Grizzlies\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 75. Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies\nDillon Brooks\u2019 efficiency has dipped amid injuries this season, but when right, he\u2019s an integral part of Memphis\u2019 contending core. He\u2019s the team\u2019s most polished scorer next to Ja Morant, and he thusly plays an important role in crunch time. He\u2019s also one of the league\u2019s most underrated wing defenders \u2014 a strong-bodied, physical presence at the point of attack.\n\n \n \n \n 74\n \n \n Bojan Bogdanovic\n SF,\u00a0Utah Jazz\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 74. Bojan Bogdanovic, Jazz\nThe Jazz are starting to come apart at the seams, but Bojan Bogdanovic\u2019s production is steadfast. He fulfills his specific role at the highest level \u2014 hitting 3s at a high volume, taking advantage of mismatches at the four spot, and playing respectable defense. His spacing is important to Utah\u2019s offense, and when called upon in years past, we have seen him step up on big stages. He plays winning basketball.\n\n \n \n \n 73\n \n \n Tyrese Maxey\n PG,\u00a0Philadelphia 76ers\n \n \n \n\nTop 100 NBA players \u2014 73. Tyrese Maxey, Sixers\nThe Sixers\u2019 secon


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