Every year, Sports Illustrated does a comprehensive ranking of the top 100 players in the NBA, as well as list 25 “snubs” who just missed the list. While it’s usually just the opinion of one or two writers, it’s probably the best such pre-season ranking list, with a clear amount of time and effort spent into the researching and writing of it. As such, it’s always interesting to read and see what informed national media members think of the Clippers players.
This year, Rob Mahoney, who penned the piece, placed three Clippers in the 51-100 range: Pat Beverley at 81, Montrezl Harrell at 77, and Lou Williams at 53. Additionally, Landry Shamet and JaMychal Green made the “snubs” list, missing out on the top 100 due to lack of diversity in game and quietness of contributions respectively.
On the whole, I think the general rankings are pretty accurate. I’d probably have all of the Clippers players a bit higher, but the range is roughly correct. Pat is not quite versatile enough offensively at an offensively-geared position to be much higher than he is, and Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams’ defensive deficiencies keep them from placing too high. Now, Lou has been a near All-Star level player the past two seasons, so I’d argue that he should be placed in the top 50, but I do understand that between age and defense there’s an argument against it.
I think the more interesting argument revolves around Shamet. He was certainly a better player than Andrew Wiggins (ranked 100) was last year, and considering he’s just going into his second year, is much more likely to improve. Again, I do recognize that his lack of overall game is somewhat limiting, but he’s such a great shooter that I think he’s worth a spot on the top list.
Additionally, I believe there are arguments to be made that Ivica Zubac, Moe Harkless, and Rodney McGruder could have made the snubs list as well. Harkless and McGruder were starters on playoff teams who are smack in the middle of their primes, and Zubac turned the Clippers’ defense around last season while showing tons of room for improvement. Zubac wasn’t a top 125 player in the 2019 season, yet could easily be such this year if he improves his rebounding and post defense against interior presences. I wouldn’t say that they were “snubbed” to be left off the snubs list, but they definitely could have been placed on it without complaint.
Considering who has been ranked, and not ranked, so far, the Clippers almost certainly only have two players left on the board - Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Kawhi is a lock for the top 10, while George will presumably be somewhere in the 8 to 13 range. It will be interesting to see how high those guys are placed, especially considering George’s injury and Kawhi’s load management.
Stay tuned for further updates on SI’s ranking, and give your own thoughts on the rankings below!