Ah ha! A list of who will be the best players in 2017 made by basketball experts. Who's on top for the Pistons? Which teams will stack up best overall? Who are the unsung or unknown up-and-coming players that will emerge? All these questions were answered and more!
The review was posted in groups of ten. It took pain staking, grueling effort to extract what team will be on top, and where were our favorite team's players among them. Alas, I stayed with this daunting task and emerged with the answers we're all waiting for!
Although there was quite a bit of commentary surrounding this pick, Andre Drummond was listed as the #3 overall best player in the NBA by 2017. Most of the experts projected this as a stretch guess, but as a Piston fan it simply brought tears to my eyes! Ah hope! I have to mention that he was listed just after LeBron James, and before Russell Westbrook.
A little further down the list was Greg Monroe at #28. He was listed just after Derrick Favors, but before yet to play, and awaiting a future draft to enter the NBA, Jahlil Okafor. The reviews were all solid and quite complimentary of the big man, although some imagined that he would be playing for a different team by this time. For my part, all I can say is I certainly hope not. Pairing the two bigs would lead me to believe that the Pistons would a force to reckon with in 2017!
Josh Smith was therefore ranked #85 and followed by Cody Zeller. It is worth noting that other notable forwards that followed Smith in this ranking included #90 Rudy Gay, #91 Paul Millsap, #94 Jeff Green, and #97 Otto Porter. There were some experts indicating that Smith could prove to be even better than this ranking if he acclimated particularly well to playing with Monroe and Drummond.
So, in all, four Pistons were ranked in the top 100. I suppose we could wish for one or more being added in the future via the draft - as many as eleven of the future top 100 have yet to play in the NBA, or perhaps, a free agent will yet come our way.
Another hope might be for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to ascend to the list. He'd have plenty of other shooting guards to compete with for a spot. On the list I noted: #9 James Harden, #38 Bradley Beal, #39 Dwayne Wade, #44 Victor Oladipo, #47 Eric Gordon, #48 Tyreke Evans, #65 Ben McLemore, #72 Kobe Bryant, #74 Dennis Schroder, #78 Avery Bradley, #80 Gordon Hayward, #83 Klay Thompson, #88 OJ Mayo, #93 Terrance Ross, #98 Lance Stephenson, and of course, one of the other stars that might end up moving to this position over time.
Future draftees that the experts predict will ascend the list by 2017 include: Isiah Austin, Ivan Rabb, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, Tyus Jones, Dante Exum, Andrew Harrison, Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, and Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins, who is projected to be next year's top draft pick, was projected to be #8 on this list!
As the list is allocated to the team's throughout the NBA, the top two teams were New Orleans and Cleveland, each with five players making the top 100 list. I thought that perhaps most notable was Oklahoma City with four, but with three of the top twenty players on the list. OKC's top players include: #1 Kevin Durrant, #4 Russell Westbrook, #19 Serge Ibaka, and #50 Lamb. With Detroit having four players including the third best overall, it seems likely to hope that the team would be among the elite four or six teams in the league. Yet, I have to also mention that Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver, and Houston also have four players ranked in the top 100, so their standing in the top four will definitely filled with challenges.
All in all, there is room for hope, and of course there is lots of room for speculation as to who was not on the list that may emerge, as well as whether the ranking of players is reasonably accurate. It's possible that some of the players on the list won't be around by 2017 - will Kobe Bryant still play when he's 39? Will any of the players succumb to injuries and simply not be available to their team in 2017? Is a yet unknown rookie going to emerge over the next four years?
I thought that providing some summation of the lists would be fun and hopefully even a bit encouraging to see. Obviously it was fun to read. We will still have to wait and see just how clearly the experts see the future.