SI.com is proud to offer our list of the Top 100 NBA players of 2017, an exhaustive exercise that seeks to define who will be the league's best players in the 2016-17 season.
Given the wide variety of candidates involved and the deep analytical resources available, no single, definitive criterion was used to form this list. Instead, rankings were assigned based on a fluid combination of subjective assessment and objective data, including: per-game and per-minute statistics, splits, advanced metrics, play-type data and more. This list is an earnest attempt to evaluate each player in a vacuum. As a result, future prospects beyond this season did not play a part in the ranking process. Our sole concern was how players are likely to perform in the coming season alone.
Injuries and injury risks are an inevitable component of that judgment. Past performance (postseason included) weighed heavily in our assessment, with a skew toward the recent. First-year players were not included for that reason, among others. A predictive element also came into play with the anticipated improvement of certain younger players, as well as the possible decline of aging veterans. Salary was not taken into consideration. Otherwise, players were ordered based on their complete games—offense and defense both, along with everything in between.
This season’s list welcomes 23 newcomers while sending off Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and a host of others. Some players who had made every previous Top 100 cut fell out of the mix entirely. A few made unexpected pushes for first-time inclusion. Injuries and age-related decline also shook up the middle of our ranking dramatically, transforming tiers that had previously been dominated by Top-100 mainstays.
Even with all those changes, rounding out the top 100 included some tough calls. The list of notable omissions is dotted with players both well regarded and largely deserving, though lines ultimately had to be drawn somewhere. For those interested in understanding more about the ranking process and the limitations of this exercise in general, make a quick detour here.
Please feel free to take a look back to SI.com’s Top 100 Players of 2016,2015 and 2014. A special thanks, as always, to those resources that make researching a list like this possible: Basketball-Reference, NBA.com, Nylon Calculus, Synergy Sports, and 82Games.