Putting together a list of the top 100 players in the NBA means inevitably a group of talented players will miss the cut. Trying to isolate players from their teams and figure out how valuable they are in a vacuum will always be an inexact science—especially once you start trying to properly weigh the contributions of role players. To follow tradition, rookies were not considered, and several second- and third-year players will find themselves on the Watch List that will be revealed later this week.
So with all that said, here are just a few of the most notable snubs from SI’s Top 100…
Kevin Huerter and Robert Williams
Huerter and Williams are two young players right on the cusp of the Top 100. Williams is still a little raw at this stage of his career, and he needs to prove he can handle a bigger, more consistent minutes load. His promise was certainly enough for Boston to ink him to a four-year, $54 million extension before the season. Meanwhile, Huerter was one of the tougher cuts from the list, as his shooting would provide a boost to any team in the league. His playoff run also inspired confidence. His relative lack of responsibility in Atlanta’s offense means he has more to prove.
John Wall and Victor Oladipo
Two players who were thrilling at their peaks whose careers have been beset by injuries. Wall has played in only 113 games the last four seasons. Oladipo has played in only 88 in the last three. Oladipo appears to be in a position to succeed if he can get healthy, as the Heat can be more judicious with his minutes bringing him off the bench next season. Wall actually averaged 20.6 points a night for Houston in 2021, and at times flashed some of what made him one of the most exciting players in the league. If Wall and his massive contract can actually be moved to a team not thoroughly tanking, he very well could make a positive impact on somebody’s fortunes.
Kevin Love and Al Horford
Both Love and Horford are two playoff-tested bigs who were most recently stuck in irrelevant situations. Love is currently toiling away for a rebuilding Cavaliers team, while Horford was basically asked to stay home by the Thunder last season. Horford is now back with the Celtics after a two-year hiatus, and has a chance to be back in the Top 100 by providing steady play for an Eastern Conference contender. Love could also use a chance to contribute to a team trying to win now, though a departure for him seems tricky. Ultimately, Love and Horford can both be one of the 100 best players in the NBA on a given night, it’s more a matter of them finding the right roles to showcase what they can do.
Griffin found a home in Brooklyn after a dispiriting end to his tenure with the Pistons. When asked to play off multiple superstars, Griffin thrived. What hurts his Top 100 case is how overmatched Griffin looked when he was tasked with being a No. 1 option for Detroit. It feels like many players could thrive in Griffin’s current situation as a safety valve for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. While Griffin can clearly still be an important piece for a contender, his value diminishes the more you ask him to do.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Andre Drummond
Aldridge and Drummond are two useful players who seem to need a specific context to thrive. Both are rightfully backups at this stage in their career, and they’ll each have an uphill climb to ever make it back on this list. Aldrige for his age, and Drummond for the general marginalization of bulky bigs.
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Eric Bledsoe, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Danny Green
Bledsoe, KCP, and Green all mean something to a contender and much less to anybody else. Play any one of these three off superstars and they can help a team win, though Bledsoe’s shooting makes him a little shakier in a playoff series. Though all of had their moments in the NBA, their relatively narrow scope of maximization keeps them off the Top 100.
Steven Adams and Richuan Holmes
Adams and Holmes are solid players stuck in an era of basketball that discriminates against most centers. Both can be steady members of a starting unit, though they’ll also cramp your spacing and place a ceiling on the variety of your defensive coverages. Teams aren’t upset to have either of these gentlemen on their roster. They just won’t really determine how far your team will go.
In a scoring-first league filled with explosive guards, it’s hard to justify putting one so limited offensively in the Top 100, even one as even-handed, respected, and handsomely bearded as Rubio.
More NBA Coverage:
- SI Top 100: Counting Down 100-51
- NBA Offseason Report Cards: Eastern Conference
- NBA Offseason Report Cards: Western Conference
- NBA Power Rankings: Where Each Team Stands
- The Most Exciting Matchups to Watch Next Season
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