Sports Illustrated has been releasing its list of Top 100 NBA players of 2017 throughout this month. The Top 10 players haven’t been named yet, but you can expect that Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant will be toward the top.
As for the Wizards, John Wall was ranked 17th on the list. Though he dropped a bit from 13th last season, Wall still ranked higher than some other notable NBA point guards like Damian Lillard (21st) and Kyrie Irving (25th).
Kyle Lowry (14th) is the point guard who is ranked higher than Wall though he wasn’t in 2016 (34th). One reason why would be because he posted career high scoring numbers and the Raptors also advanced to their first-ever Eastern Conference Finals last season.
The other players who are now ranked higher than Wall but weren’t last year include Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (18th in 2016 to 16th in 2017), Hawks forward Paul Millsap (32nd in 2016 to 15th in 2017), Warriors forward Draymond Green (16th in 2016 to 13th in 2017) and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (14th in 2016 to 12th in 2017).
In regard to these rankings, I would say that Sports Illustrated gave a fair assessment. Yes, Wall fell a few spots, but a drop off of four spots may not really be a drop off. Sometimes, some players — like Lowry — make a huge jump during a big season for their teams. But at the same time, other players like Cousins and Green play different positions and a slight bump or drop in the rankings isn’t exactly an indication that Wall has regressed. So, you should be happy that Sports Illustrated recognized that.
Beal, Gortat, and Mahinmi make the Top 100 list, Morris is completely missing
In addition to Wall, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat were ranked 58th and 55th best players respectively. These are slight increases from their 2016 rankings of 62nd (Beal) and 63rd (Gortat). Ian Mahinmi also made the list by ranking 76th. For the most part, these player rankings imply that Sports Illustrated is respecting the Wizards’ talent despite their underwhelming 2015-16 season.
One player who saw a significant drop off however was Markieff Morris. He was ranked last year at 64th (somehow all the Wizards not named John Wall are clumped together), but didn’t make the list this season. In fact, he wasn’t even listed as a snub. Former Washington big man Nene was.
Perhaps Morris’ lower shooting in percentage with the Phoenix Suns at the start of the 2015-16 season may explain why. But now that he’s playing in D.C. with one the NBA’s best point guards, perhaps he’ll show more reasons why he should be playing at the level he was in the 2014-15 season when he averaged a career high 15.3 points a game and be in that conversation once again. He just turned 27 and hasn’t really regressed from last season.