B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Wings Heading into 2016-17

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2016

B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Wings Heading into 2016-17

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    Despite the many great players who line up at other NBA positions, it's often the wings who generate more fan interest: The battle between LeBron James and Kevin Durant is an all-time contest, and Kawhi Leonard has suddenly inserted himself into the conversation. With Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and others bursting onto the scene, the group is gaining even more talent. 

    Does James earn the No. 1 spot heading into the 2016-17 campaign, or is it time for royalty to be dethroned? Is Carmelo Anthony still an elite talent as he prepares to share the court with a studly sophomore (Kristaps Porzingis) and the newly acquired Derrick Rose? Is Paul George an MVP candidate after proving his brutal leg injury is nothing more than a distant memory? 

    We aren't projecting how well everyone will perform during the upcoming season, but where they are as 2016-17 gets underway. Thus, we use the end of last season as our starting point. Not every player starts out on level footing, either; the NBA 200 metric identifies those who performed best during the 2015-16 regular campaign*. Potential doesn't matter, and neither does reputation nor playoff performance (too variable)—it's all about what happened this past regular season only.

    In this edition, we're looking at swingmen (SM), small forwards (SF) and combo forwards (CF). All positions are graded using the same criteria (rim protection was added into the equation for bigger positions), but the categories are weighted differently to reflect changing roles, with max scores in parentheses: 

    • Scoring (22 for swingmen, 20 for small forwards and 25 for shooting guards)
    • Non-Scoring Offense: Facilitating (10 for swingmen and small forwards, seven for combo forwards) and Off-Ball Offense (10)
    • Defense: On-Ball (20 for swingmen and small forwards, 18 for combo forwards), Off-Ball (20 for swingmen and small forwards, 17 for combo forwards) and Rim Protection (five for combo forwards)
    • Rebounding (eight for swingmen, 10 for small forwards, 13 for combo forwards)
    • Durability (10)

    For a full explanation of how these scores were determined, go here. And do note these aren't your father's classifications for each position. Spots were determined by how much time a player spent at each position throughout the season, largely based on data from Basketball-Reference.com, and we're expanding the traditional five to include four combo positions.

    In the case of ties, the order is determined in subjective fashion by ranking the more coveted player in the higher spot. That was done by a voting committee comprised of myself, three B/R National NBA Featured Columnists (Grant HughesZach Buckley and Dan Favale) and a B/R Associate NBA Editor (Joel Cordes).

    There are 56 guards considered, so you can click "Next" to start the whole list or skip ahead to Wings 40-31 if you want.

    Guards are ranked here, with bigs here and our total 200 here.

      

    Note: All statistics come from Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com unless otherwise indicated. Injury information comes from Pro Sports Transactions. In order to qualify for the rankings, players must have suited up in at least 30 games and logged no fewer than 500 minutes. This intro was adapted from last year's edition.

    *Thus, a "retired-in-the-offseason" player like Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant will still show up here as well. Even though they're (sadly) not playing again, they're a valuable placeholder that helps show where 2016-17's bunch stacks up in comparison at the start of the season. 

56. Doug McDermott, SF, Chicago Bulls

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    Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    9/20

    When you're nicknamed "Dougie McBuckets," you must be able to score. Doug McDermott efficiently could, shooting 45.2 percent from the field, 42.5 percent from downtown and 85.7 percent at the free-throw line. But the Chicago Bulls didn't grant him a large role, and averaging single-digit points while playing almost exclusively off the ball only goes so far in this competition. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    McDermott had no trouble draining spot-up jumpers during his sophomore campaign, and defenses acted accordingly by the end of the year, refusing to grant him much space as he floated around the perimeter. It's his passing that holds him back, since he barely looked to set up teammates on the rare occasions the ball found its way to him. 

    Defense

    32/40

    Though he was supposed to become a glaring defensive liability (and offensive superstar) once he left Creighton, McDermott has acquitted himself nicely on the point-preventing side. He's by no means an asset, but there isn't any one area he struggles in so severely that opposing teams can target that weakness.

    Rebounding

    3/10

    Despite his 6'8" frame, McDermott seemed to have zero interest in rebounding. He averaged just 2.4 per game and 3.8 per 36 minutes, failing to hit double digits even once as a sophomore. His perimeter-based role prevented him from grabbing many offensive boards, but a complete lack of desire on the defensive glass was far more detrimental. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Only a sore right knee held McDermott out of the Bulls lineup, and even that kept him inactive for a grand total of one game. His constant activity on offense ensured a high physio load, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights, and his permanent presence in games paid off. 

    Overall

    66/100

    It's no longer difficult to view McDermott as a legitimate NBA player with significant upside, especially now that the defensive concerns have dwindled down a bit. He'll never be a two-way stud, but his spectacular shooting paid dividends during his sophomore season, and he's getting more comfortable with the nuances of off-ball offense. 

55. Jeremy Lamb, SM, Charlotte Hornets

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    Scoring

    13/22

    Jeremy Lamb once looked the part of an intriguing scoring prospect because he could use his athleticism to convert plays around the hoop and his shooting touch to space out a defense. During his fourth NBA season (and first with the Charlotte Hornets), only the former skill was present. Lamb hit just 30.9 percent of his deep attempts, making his biggest weakness blindingly obvious. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/20

    Lamb was mediocre in both elements of this category—off-ball offense and facilitating. He could scare defenders with his cutting ability and ensure they didn't stray too far, but his spot-up work wasn't up to snuff. He could also capably set up his teammates in small doses, but he turned the ball over too frequently and wasn't given many chances to fill a distributing role. 

    Defense

    33/40

    For the first time in his four-year career, Lamb posted a positive defensive box plus/minus (0.1), indicating he was slightly better than a league-average defender. His primary strength came in spot-up situations, where he refused to gamble and did a tremendous job contesting almost every look. Allowing just 0.74 points per possession, he finished in the 93.3 percentile, trailing only Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the Charlotte roster. 

    Rebounding

    4/8

    Lamb put up sterling per-minute rebounding numbers, but he received only 18.6 ticks per game. That makes it impossible to prove he'd have maintained his rates in a larger role, and it doesn't help that a relatively low percentage of his boards came in contested fashion. 

    Durability

    7/10

    A sprained right ankle hampered him at the beginning of the year. Then, a sprained right big toe continuously plagued him during the 2016 portion. Lamb only suited up 66 games and filled a small role for the Hornets, so his activity level wasn't where it needed to be. 

    Overall

    67/100

    Lamb carved out a decent niche for himself with improved defensive effort and multifaceted contributions, but it'll be tough to make the proverbial leap without a convincing jumper. Anyone who splits time at shooting guard and small forward must serve as either a defensive ace, a specialist in some other area or a player who can space the floorLamb wasn't any of those. 

54. Andre Roberson, SM, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Scoring

    10/22

    Andre Roberson was a last resort for the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging just 4.8 points per game and 7.8 per 36 minutes. But he managed to avoid negative plays by rarely taking triples, converting nearly half of his field-goal attempts and occasionally creating his own looks in transition. Calling him an average scorer is a stretch, but at least he's not actively harmful. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    5/20

    Standing in the corners, Roberson was often a non-threatening presence who failed to distract a defense from the scoring exploits of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Plus, it's not like the Thunder wanted him to dribble the ball and attempt distributing. 

    Defense

    37/40

    This is why Roberson received such hefty playing time. When guarding someone with possession, he was one of the NBA's most dangerous defenders. Even when he was working away from the action, he was disciplined and beneficial, rarely engaging in inopportune gambles and still jumping passing lanes at the proper times. 

    Rebounding

    6/8

    Though it's tough to stand out for your rebounding on a squad that boasted board-crashing threats at every position, Roberson still managed to hold his own. Whether he was lining up at the 2 or 3, he wasn't afraid to get physical and box out a bigger player. He could stand to get more efficient with his opportunities, but his relentless nature often paid off. 

    Durability

    9/10

    A sprained right knee limited Roberson to 70 appearances in 2015-16, and his willingness to stand in a corner on offense didn't help this rating. He finished in the 62.77 percentile for total physio load, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights. 

    Overall

    67/100

    The living embodiment of a specialist, Roberson's defense ensured that he received a large role for the Thunder. No matter the situation he landed in, he was capable of making his assignment work. It was just unfortunate that things were so similarly unbalanced on the scoring end. 

53. Terrence Ross, SF, Toronto Raptors

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    Scoring

    9/20

    Every once in a while, Terrence Ross shows flashes: He can drain a few triples in a row, attack the rim with ferocity and create his own shots to give Kyle Lowry and/or DeMar DeRozan a reprieve. But the overwhelming inconsistency of his play makes it tough for the Toronto Raptors to give him time to generate any rhythm. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    Defenses respect Ross' ability to thrive as a spot-up shooter and cutter, which requires near-constant attention when he's working without the ball. His passing, however, leaves much to be desired. It's never a good thing when a wing player struggles to record more assists than turnovers. 

    Defense

    37/40

    Ross can get beaten in isolation and occasionally strays too far from his primary assignment. But he's still an incredibly active defender who always seems to insert himself in possessions with timely help and constant energy. Experience will help him further refine his technique, but the desire to play quality defense—perhaps driven by his need to impress Toronto head coach Dwane Casey—already makes him an asset. 

    Rebounding

    1/10

    It's tough for a 6'7" small forward to be worse on the glass. Ross is almost never involved after a shot goes up, and it seems like he's genuinely afraid of having to grab a board with another player in the immediate vicinity. 

    Durability

    9/10

    His left thumb flared up a few times throughout his fourth NBA season, limiting him to 73 appearances. That, combined with his willingness to serve as a mere decoy on offense, proved too detrimental for him to receive a perfect durability score. 

    Overall

    68/100

    Ross' offensive inconsistency has prevented him from realizing much of his lofty potential, but his newfound willingness to lock down on defense has ensured he remains a quality rotation member. The good news is he's already operating at a solid level. The bad news is a number of distinct weaknesses—none bigger than his woeful reboundingthat he actually needs to work on. 

52. Kobe Bryant, SF, Retired

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    Scoring

    14/20

    We knew Kobe Bryant could still score in volume while creating his own shots—see: final game of career, 60 points. Maintaining any levels of efficiency, however, is another story. Bryant was far too willing to pull the trigger during his age-37 season, and it's impossible to call him an elite scorer when he knocked down just 35.8 percent of his field-goal attempts. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    Not only was Bryant often unwilling to pass to unproven teammates, but defenses quickly realized it was a beneficial strategy to leave him open on the perimeter. 

    Defense

    29/40

    On the ball, Bryant showed flashes of his All-Defensive self from years past. He was willing to lock down in isolation amid a battle of wills, though his declining physical tools made even that difficult. It's away from the action that he struggled most, since he was prone to watching the ball and letting his mark slip away for an uncontested bucket. 

    Rebounding

    3/10

    Bryant averaged fewer than five rebounds only four times during his illustrious career: 1.9 as a rookie, 3.1 as a sophomore, 4.3 over the course of six games in 2013-14 and 3.7 in 2015-16. It's almost like he stopped trying on the glass, willing to sacrifice that skill in an effort to preserve his beaten-down body. 

    Durability

    9/10

    Throughout the season, Bryant refused to succumb to back injuries, sore shoulders, a strained right Achilles and more. Despite all that plagued him in previous seasons—and the fact his shoulder always seemed to be wrapped up after games—he suited up 66 times. It was his diminished role (28.2 minutes per game) and ball-watching, energy-preserving defensive tendencies that prevented perfection. 

    Overall

    68/100

    Don't take this as a shot against Bryant's career as a whole; he'll still go down in NBA history as one of the 15 best players to take the court. Fun as the farewell tour was at various points, it overshadowed the diminished quality of Bryant's play. He devolved into an inefficient shooter who was a clear negative on defense, performing at a role-player level despite his prominence in the Los Angeles Lakers' plans. 

51. Bojan Bogdanovic, SM, Brooklyn Nets

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    Scoring

    14/22

    Perhaps he doesn't play with as much confidence as when suiting up for Croatia, but the Brooklyn Nets are also to blame for not giving Bojan Bogdanovic a significantly bigger role. He can score from all over the court (he'll look even better when his finishing ability improves against NBA defenders), and he's already comfortable creating an impressive number of his own shots. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    Bogdanovic has only spent two seasons stateside, but defenders already know they have to pay mind when he's spotting up on the perimeter. According to ICE data provided by B/R Insights, he tied for No. 80 with Draymond Green for combined effective field-goal percentage in spot-up scenarios and gravitational pull. Just don't ask him to facilitate. 

    Defense

    30/40

    If you wanted to score, you needed to attack Bogdanovic off the ball. He allowed 0.97 points per possession in spot-up situations, which left him in the 49th percentile. The swingman was much more effective in isolation, where those numbers stood at 0.77 and 68.9, respectively. Unfortunately, many teams chose only to exploit the weakness. 

    Rebounding

    3/8

    Producing just 5.4 rebounding chances per game is troubling for a player who spends significant time at the 3. Converting 59.3 percent of them is a huge positive, but we get back to troubling territory when we remember a mere 0.6 successful boards per game came in contested fashion. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Bogdanovic played in 79 games for the Nets, only missing time with a sprained left ankle. He showed two-way intensity during his 26.8 minutes per contest. 

    Overall

    69/100

    Bogdanovic may not become a star—no matter what his Rio performance says—but he's not an atrocious defender, and his offensive tools are diverse. He can create his own look around the hoop, knock down a spot-up jumper or distract a defense for another talented teammate. Bogdanovic is inconsistent and still adjusting to life in the Association, but the tools are there. 

50. C.J. Miles, SF, Indiana Pacers

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    Scoring

    10/20

    Until C.J. Miles converts looks around the basket, he won't maximize his jump-shooting ability. He was uncharacteristically average from beyond the arc in 2015-16, and that was especially troubling while he shot 56 percent from within three feet and 37.8 percent from between three and 10 feet.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    Miles' shooting percentages didn't skyrocket in spot-up positions, since he was often more comfortable creating off the bounce than waiting for offense to come to him. Unfortunately for the Indiana Pacers, that comfort with the rock didn't lead to many assists—he generated fewer than one per game and had even more turnovers. 

    Defense

    34/40

    Though Miles isn't traditionally viewed as a high-quality defender, that didn't stop him from aiding the cause. His off-ball work wasn't anything special, but few wings were better in on-ball scenarios. Miles finished in the 89.7 percentile for isolation defense, and he tended to make the right decisions when caught in pick-and-rolls.

    Rebounding

    4/10

    If Miles happened to be in the area, he had a decent chance of recording a rebound. His innate sense of positioning played well, as did his impressively strong hands. But Miles rarely strayed among the trees, preferring to let teammates crash the glass while he feasted on the occasional long opportunity. 

    Durability

    9/10

    Thanks to a sore right ankle, a sore lower back, illness, an upper respiratory infection, a strained right calf and a sore right shoulder that ended his season prematurely, Miles was only able to suit up in 64 games. No matter how hard he played while on the floor, that's too many absences. 

    Overall

    69/100

    So long as Miles was able to fill his preferred role—isolation responsibilities on defense while creating his own shots on the more glamorous end—he could be valuable to the Pacers. But if you put him in almost any other situation, he blended into the background as a nondescript wing who didn't have a primary calling card. 

49. Kyle Anderson, CF, San Antonio Spurs

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    Danny Bollinger/Getty Images

    Scoring

    6/20

    Averaging only 10.1 points per 36 minutes without sterling levels of efficiency won't cut it at a wing position, but Kyle Anderson's scoring woes stem from two problems. First, he can't shoot the ball, hitting only 32.4 percent of his deep attempts as a sophomore for the San Antonio Spurs. Second, head coach Gregg Popovich rarely puts the team in a situation that asks for Anderson to let fly. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    9/17

    Anderson's saving grace on offense is his court vision, which partially negates his lack of floor-spacing ability and allows the Spurs to put the ball in his hands. While moving in what seems like slow motion, he has an innate ability to perceive action before it occurs and feed the ball into the proper space, which resulted in 3.6 assists and only 0.8 bad-pass turnovers per 36 minutes. 

    Defense

    36/40

    Despite his lack of lateral quickness, Anderson developed into a true stopper, capable of making the right decision in the middle of virtually any scenario. He always seems to be in the proper spot, and his understated strength makes it tough for bigger players to bully him. Anderson even held opponents to 48.2 percent shooting at the rim, which made him one of the better rim-protecting combo forwards we analyzed for these rankings. 

    Rebounding

    9/13

    Anderson doesn't play enough to generate a plethora of rebounding opportunities, but he's one of the league's best at converting chances into actual boards, regardless of which players are in his immediate vicinity. Astoundingly, he had a 66 percent conversion rate as a sophomore on 4.7 chances per game. No member of the Spurs posted a higher percentage. 

    Durability

    9/10

    Injuries aren't what hold Anderson back, as only illness (for a single early-February contest) and Popovich's lineup decisions kept him off the court. It's the extreme lack of playing time that matters here, since it's impossible to post just 16 minutes per game and produce the same total physio load earned by the league's most active players.

    Overall

    69/100

    Anderson could be yet another Spurs franchise centerpiece, asserting himself as a lockdown defender and creative offensive player with a serious nose for rebounding during his sophomore season. Had he spent more time on the floor, he likely would've rocketed up these rankings by virtue of recording more points, assists and boards. Still, it's tough to complain about his placement this soon in his career, especially because developing a consistent jumper remains a distinct possibility (see: Leonard, Kawhi). 

48. Maurice Harkless, CF, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Scoring

    8/20

    Some players struggle to shoot efficiently, and some shoot so poorly their teams are better off if they stop trying. Maurice Harkless fell into the latter category for the Portland Trail Blazers, making only 39 of 140 treys attempted throughout 2015-16. That's a mere 27.9 percent, and his woeful perimeter contributions thoroughly negated his interior work as a finisher. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    8/17

    Unless Harkless was cutting to the hoop—something he did quite well from the wings—he wasn't worth monitoring. Defenses could react accordingly, and they also didn't have to spend much time worrying about his work as a facilitator. 

    Defense

    33/40

    No matter how ineffective a marksman, Harkless retained value because he was an asset on the defensive end. Rip City allowed 0.4 fewer points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, and that's not a fluke created by his teammates. Though he could struggle navigating pick-and-roll sets, he never stopped hustling and often managed to make proper rotations that threw an opponent off its primary plan. 

    Rebounding

    11/13

    Harkless was an aggressive defender as soon as opponents gained possession, and that didn't change after the shot went up. He was always willing to challenge bigger players and aid frontcourt teammates, which led to an impressive number of contested boards. 

    Durability

    9/10

    He may only have missed four games, but his lack of offensive involvement and diminished playing time kept him from racking up a perfect durability score. Without lining up for more than 1,500 minutes over the course of a season, there was only so much he could do. 

    Overall

    69/100

    The bad news for Harkless is that we're not including his exemplary work during the playoffs, which saw him respond nicely to a big increase in playing time without seeing his per-minute efforts decline on either side of the court. The good news is that he still got to leverage that work into a big new contract

47. P.J. Tucker, SF, Phoenix Suns

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    Scoring

    10/20

    Though P.J. Tucker continues to prove his improved marksmanship in 2013-14 was nothing more than a fluke, he has continued to thrive as an off-the-bounce scorer. Only 35.7 percent of his two-pointers were assisted in 2015-16, which supplants his rookie season as the lowest mark of his career. Tucker won't ever blossom into a go-to scorer, but that figure-it-out ability makes him a nice secondary option when sets break down. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/20

    Even though it's been a while since Tucker made his triples at an impressive clip, defenders still respect him—a reputation aided by his slightly better shooting in spot-up situations. Now, if only he could improve as a distributor, since his new career high stands at only 2.2 dimes per contest. 

    Defense

    30/40

    It's impossible to thrive on defense when you're undisciplined away from the primary action. Such was the case for Tucker, who was often eviscerated in spot-up situations that capitalized upon his lack of foot speed and his unfortunate willingness to gamble. Opponents torched him for 1.06 points per possession, which left him in the 30.4 percentile

    Rebounding

    9/10

    Tucker has long been one of the NBA's best rebounding forwards, and that didn't change during his age-30 season. The Phoenix Suns often used him as a primary crasher after a shot went up—an ability stemming from his willingness to seek out contact and record more than two contested boards per game. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A bruised chest caused Tucker to leave a Jan. 21 contest against the San Antonio Spurs early, logging only 6:03 of action. But that was the closest he came to missing a game despite averaging 31 minutes and playing a physical part in Phoenix's plans. 

    Overall

    70/100

    Tucker is no longer on the verge of becoming a three-and-D forward. He struggles shooting from the perimeter and is way too much of a liability in off-ball situations. However, he has his own unique ways of contributing, and his stellar rebounding, isolation defense and ability to create shots within the arc ensure he remains valuable. 

46. Luis Scola, CF, Brooklyn Nets

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Scoring

    8/20

    Volume and complete reliance on his teammates hold Luis Scola back as a scorer. He's wholly dependent on them to create looks for him outside the post, and his old role with the Toronto Raptors didn't allow him to stand out. Though Scola was quite efficient from all areas of the floor, he averaged just 8.7 points—the second-lowest mark of his nine-year NBA career. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    9/17

    Scola has worked on improving his outside touch, and that paid off in 2015-16, as he shot 40.4 percent from downtown while taking 2.1 attempts per game. However, it took a while for defenders to catch on, which means his floor-spacing impact still wasn't where it needed to be. It was, however, still far better than his putrid passing chops. 

    Defense

    31/40

    When Scola was playing power forward, the Raptors couldn't protect the rim without hemorrhaging points. He allowed opponents to shoot 56.9 percent from that area and only contested 3.1 shots per game, both of which make him one of the worst interior defenders at the position. At least he was a bit better when moving out to the perimeter to use his smarts. 

    Rebounding

    12/13

    Even though Scola averaged a career-worst 4.7 rebounds, that number was depressed by his lack of playing time. He produced an incredible number of chances and wasn't deterred by interior physicality. Had he not deferred many of his chances to the rebounding guards and bigs on his team, he could've posted an elite total. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A sore left knee was the only significant injury Scola suffered in 2015-16, though the 36-year-old did sit out a few times to rest for the stretch run. At least in terms of the energy he exerts on a nightly basis, it doesn't seem like this veteran is slowing down. 

    Overall

    70/100

    Unfortunately, the Raptors often misused Scola. There's no way the 6'9" career power forward should be used at the 3 for 29 percent of his minutes—his previous high-water mark was a mere 1 percent in 2008-09—but the myriad big-man options forced head coach Dwane Casey's hand. Scola still held his own, but his role prevented him from looking as strong as he could, especially when he had to space out the floor rather than go to work in the post. 

45. Matt Barnes, SF, Sacramento Kings

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    Scoring

    7/20

    Scoring has never been Matt Barnes' game, and that only got worse in 2015-16 during his final season with the Memphis Grizzlies. For the first time in his career, he failed to make 40 percent of his field-goal attempts, and he didn't make up for the eyesore with extra three-point shooting or work at the charity stripe. Barnes was just a massive liability. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    Barnes' history as a mediocre deep threat yet deft cutter forced defenders to stick with him even as he laid bricks, but he's still no better than average as an off-ball player. Ditto for his passing, which can see him rack up a few assists each game at the expense of a few poor decisions. 

    Defense

    33/40

    It's defense that allows Barnes to keep getting so much work. He's not just a pesky presence on the point-preventing end; he's an intelligent and physical defender who can read and react to almost every scheme. Interestingly enough, one-on-one situations were the lone type of problematic plays, as Barnes finished in the 12th percentile for isolation defense and the 24.7th percentile when guarding post-ups. 

    Rebounding

    8/10

    Barnes has the requisite size (6'7") and toughness to excel on the glass, and that's exactly what he does. His contested rebounding doesn't quite stack up against the best of the bench at small forward, but he still posts respectable totals and doesn't fail in any one situation. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Barnes was suspended twice during 2015-16—once for two games after confronting Derek Fisher away from the court, and once for a single game after he followed John Henson back to the locker room. He'd be losing a point if we were measuring conduct, but those absences—and the three games missed because of his balky hamstrings—weren't enough to detract from actual durability. 

    Overall

    70/100

    Though Barnes' actions make him a bit of an enigma, his value is anything but uncertain. Even when he can't shoot from the outside, he remains a crucial piece because of his athleticism and versatile defensive play. It also doesn't hurt that he's a glass-eating asset. Barnes' reputation continues to lag well behind his actual contributions. 

44. Justise Winslow, SF, Miami Heat

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    Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

    Scoring

    6/20

    Justise Winslow couldn't shoot during his rookie season, knocking down a pathetic 27.6 percent of his three-point attempts for the Miami Heat. He was always dependent on his teammates' passes, and he was often viewed as the last resort in Miami's offensive schemes, since it was rare to find anyone who was less comfortable shooting. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    8/20

    The only positive here is Winslow's athleticism, which sometimes allows him to break free of a defense's gaze and explode to the basket. It's certainly not his limited passing, which isn't aided by his weak dribbling skills. It's definitely not his limited shooting either, since every defender was sagging off him by the end of the year. 

    Defense

    38/40

    It usually takes some adjusting before an elite college defender can dominate in the pros. That wasn't the case for Winslow, who immediately settled in as his team's premier perimeter stopper. Unless an opponent got him caught against a roll man in a pick-and-roll set, he was going to snuff out the opposition's best attempts. 

    Rebounding

    8/10

    Without needing to expend his energy as a scorer, Winslow was free to crash the boards with reckless abandon. He needs to convert at a much higher percentage of his chances going forwardsince his inefficiency is ultimately an unnecessary drain on his tankbut it's impressive enough a first-year player can be so involved and thrive in the face of pressure from bigger players. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A troublesome left ankle kept Winslow out for four games, but that was it. He never seemed to run into the dreaded rookie wall and maintained a sizable role in Miami's plans from day one. 

    Overall

    70/100

    So long as you're willing to look past his woeful shooting, Winslow experienced unbridled success during his rookie year. He immediately settled in as a true lockdown defender, and he was capable of contributing in other ways too—primarily through his rebounding, cutting and occasional passing. If he can find more touch from the outside, he'll become a star. 

43. Lance Stephenson, SF, New Orleans Pelicans

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    Scoring

    14/20

    Lance Stephenson was kept on a leash with the Los Angeles Clippers but broke out once joining the injury-riddled Memphis Grizzlies on a chance to create far more of his own offense. While averaging 19.2 points per 36 minutes—nearly double the 10.8 he produced with LAC—he shot 47.4 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from downtown and 81.5 percent from the charity stripe. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    Even as he thrived on Beale Street, defenses wanted Stephenson to operate without the ball. They afforded plenty of space on the perimeter and used his weak three-point shooting as an excuse to provide extra traps on the strong side. Plus, they wanted to keep him away from the ball so he couldn't make the most of his creative passing. 

    Defense

    30/40

    Stephenson has the physical tools necessary to shine on defense, but he doesn't have the discipline. He loves gambling as much as any player in the NBA, and many risks backfire in a way that leaves his team in a four-on-five situation. If Stephenson was guarding someone in isolation, he was fine. Throw something more complicated in his direction, and his decision-making waned. 

    Rebounding

    7/10

    Stephenson was one of the league's best rebounding guards once upon a time with the Indiana Pacers, but he's struggled since putting on a different uniform, and the transition to small forward didn't help. He plays the same way—recklessly pursuing anything in his vicinity—but his numbers don't quite stack up at the bigger position. 

    Durability

    7/10

    Missing 13 games and logging only 15.8 minutes per contest in Los Angeles doomed Stephenson. Though he played intense basketball at all times, he was on the court so infrequently that his total physio load, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights, left him in just the 15.76th percentile. 

    Overall

    71/100

    The strategy doesn't work for every team, and the Clippers were one such example, given the sheer dominance of their healthy starting lineup. But Stephenson is best deployed as a sixth man who can come in and take the reins on offense, forcing his squad to live with the bad in order to gain the good. For every possession filled with overdribbling and out-of-control decisions, he'll torture a defense with his athleticism and raw skill a few times more. 

42. Lance Thomas, SF, New York Knicks

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Scoring

    10/20

    During his first four NBA seasons, Lance Thomas went a combined 7-of-23 from beyond the three-point arc. In 2015-16 alone, he took 109 attempts and drained 44 for the New York Knicks, good for a 40.4 three-point percentage. Though he still wasn't a volume scorer, struggled to create his own looks and finished poorly around the hoop, that massive improvement alone made him a valuable commodity. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    It didn't take long for defenses to react to Thomas' shooting, since he finished last season as a true marksman with one of his position's higher gravity scores, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights. His passing, however, was virtually nonexistent—he recorded more assists than turnovers in only 33.9 percent of his outings. 

    Defense

    36/40

    Isolation plays and spot-up shooting often give wing defenders the most trouble, but Thomas proved an exception at both. The latter was his weaker scenario, since he allowed 0.87 points per possession and finished in the 77th percentile. But when opponents were foolish enough to challenge this 6'8" small forward in isolation, he held them to a mere 0.58 points per possession—good for the 94th percentile

    Rebounding

    4/10

    Thomas has enough height to become a significant aid on the glass, but he's quite poor at converting his limited chances. He only turned 47.8 percent of his opportunities into actual rebounds, which left him as one of four Knicks below 50 percent—Lou Amundson (45.9 percent), Kevin Seraphin (48.1) and Jerian Grant (48.7). 

    Durability

    9/10

    A sore left knee and a concussion were the first maladies to plague Thomas, but a sprained left MCL in early March was the most detrimental. That injury ended his season prematurely, limiting him to just 59 games to display his relentless two-way energy. 

    Overall

    71/100

    Thomas, by virtue of playing for a nondescript Knicks squad that faded after showing substantial improvement early in the year, flew well under the radar during his fifth professional season. But while other players were drawing attention, he was continuing to improve his defensive chops and cement his reputation as a dangerous perimeter shooter.

41. Stanley Johnson, SM, Detroit Pistons

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Scoring

    11/22

    Stanley Johnson was unable to remain efficient but showed a propensity for creating his own shots. While other first-year wings deferred to their teammates and let opportunities come to them, he actively tried to seize the moment and pick up the scoring slack. Only 34.6 percent of his made two-pointers were the result of assists, though that number would admittedly be a lot more positive if he'd knocked down more than 41 percent of his two-point attempts. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/20

    Why would a defender bother guarding Johnson on the perimeter? So long as he kept him in the periphery to prevent backdoor cuts, he was easy to cheat off. And it's not like he was much better with the ball in his hands, since the sporadic plays he made as a distributor were often negated by his cough-up tendencies.

    Defense

    34/40

    Johnson didn't take long to assert himself as a bona fide stopper. He was fearless from day one, taking on the toughest perimeter assignments and showing no concern when matched up against one of the NBA's established stars. He still needs to better interpret pick-and-rolls on the fly and contest every spot-up jumper his man attempts, but he's well on his way to future Defensive Player of the Year consideration. 

    Rebounding

    6/8

    It's possible Johnson would've recorded even more rebounds if he didn't spend so much time playing alongside Andre Drummond. Not only did he defer to his bigger teammate, but Drummond's presence pushed him to the perimeter in head coach Stan Van Gundy's four-out, one-in schemes. Johnson still showed off his physicality against bigger defenders, as well as his carom-reading ability in space, but there wasn't quite enough of it.  

    Durability

    10/10

    Though a sprained right shoulder knocked Johnson out of the lineup for nine games in late February and early March, that was the lone injury he suffered as a rookie.

    Overall

    71/100

    Don't let Johnson's shooting woes distract from the positive parts of his rookie season. The Pistons would've preferred he remain above basketball's version of the Mendoza Line—he shot just 37.5 percent from the field—but they could live with the rim-clanging ways as he became a standout defender and rebounder who could at least hold his own in many offensive areas. 

40. Jamal Crawford, SM, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

    Scoring

    16/22

    Scoring was supposedly Jamal Crawford's calling card during his latest Sixth Man of the Year campaign, but the numbers don't really support that theory. There's no doubt Crawford's ball-handling ability and shot-making skills allow him to score from anywhere on the floor against any type of defense. But last season, more than ever, he struggled to remain efficient and could sometimes shoot the Los Angeles Clippers right out of a game. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    16/20

    Only his distributing holds him back in this category; Crawford is a turnover-averse contributor. But the swingman didn't often look for his limited teammates off the bench, preferring instead to create his own looks and dribble out an entire possession in search of the right—or, in many cases, least wrong—opportunity. 

    Defense

    28/40

    Crawford wasn't an atrocious defender in on-ball situations, but he was pretty awful. The same can't even be said about his off-ball tendencies, which featured as little effort as possible while he prepared for the next offensive possession. 

    Rebounding

    2/8

    At 6'5", Crawford doesn't possess tons of size against shooting guards. The Clippers still asked him to play 49 percent of his minutes at the 3—even 2 percent at the 4 in super-small lineups—and his lack of verticality was even more apparent. Of course, it's not like Crawford has ever excelled on the glass anyway. 

    Durability

    9/10

    Crawford only missed three games for rest and to let a bruised calf heal, but his lack of activity on defense depressed his overall work rate. According to ICE data provided by B/R Insights, he finished in the 58.42nd percentile for total physio load, making it impossible to earn a perfect durability score.

    Overall

    71/100

    Though Crawford was important to the Clippers as the one bench player they could count on when injuries struck, it still feels a bit strange that he won a major award, especially because the team actually saw its net rating decline by 6.2 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor. Crawford was good in his niche role, but he didn't do much else when he wasn't scoring. 

39. T.J. Warren, SF, Phoenix Suns

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Scoring

    14/20

    T.J. Warren does everything you could want from a low-volume scorer. He can hit from every range on the floor, including three-point territory after an offseason of work between his rookie and sophomore go-rounds. He can finish around the rim. He can create his own looks in small doses and serve as a spot-up threat. It's only a lack of opportunity that holds Warren back, since he was granted just 9.4 shots per game. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    Warren is an incredible scoring force who tortures defenders with some creative finish after starting off-ball. But opponents don't have any reason to fear his passing, since that offensive innovation applies only to his scoring touchWarren isn't a confident dribbler or passer, and that shows. 

    Defense

    32/40

    Warren's thoroughly mediocre in most scenarios, and he's flat-out awful when attacked in an isolation set. But at least he's always willing to try, and that allows him to partake in more off-ball action and make a slightly bigger impact on the Phoenix Suns' stopping ability. 

    Rebounding

    6/10

    Warren has to do a better job converting his opportunities as he continues to develop. He's quite adept at creating them and always seems to end up in the right spot when tasked with working on the interior, but he brings the ball too low and allows other players to steal his boards away when he's not missing the initial try by a fingertip. 

    Durability

    8/10

    It looked like Warren was going to prove himself a durable player during his first full season with the Suns—he bounced between the NBA and the NBA D-League as a rookie. But he fractured his foot after 47 appearances, thus ending his year early and forcing the world to wonder. 

    Overall

    72/100

    Developing a reliable jumper did wonders; Warren was already a creative shooter who could connect on a dizzying array of floaters, push shots and unorthodox finishes inside the arc, but his perimeter marksmanship forced defenses to respect him more than ever. The small forward has to develop on defense and continue proving himself in a bigger role, but it's abundantly clear he's an impressive offensive talent. 

38. Thabo Sefolosha, SF, Atlanta Hawks

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    Scoring

    8/20

    Thabo Sefolosha can score in transition, and he's occasionally good for a spot-up jumper from the corner. But he's by no means a dangerous scoring presence. The Atlanta Hawks handed him a minuscule role and asked him to thrive in it, which is exactly what he did by averaging just 6.4 points but shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 39.9 percent from downtown. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/20

    This is another situation that saw Sefolosha benefit from his willingness to accept a role. He's a perfectly adequate passer when swinging the ball around the perimeter to turn good shots into great ones, and he usually makes the right decisions in transition. But he's never going to serve as an offensive hub, and defenders would prefer he stand on the perimeter as they focus on others. 

    Defense

    38/40

    Sefolosha has staked his reputation on defensive prowess, and 2015-16 may have been his best season ever. He posted a 2.8 defensive box plus/minus, which ties 2009-10 with the Oklahoma City Thunder as his highest mark ever. With a score of 1.62 in ESPN's defensive real plus/minus, he finished No. 9 among small forwards. According to NBA Math's defensive points saved, he was the No. 19 overall defender.

    Rebounding

    6/10

    It's tough for any Atlanta wings to thrive on the boards, since head coach Mike Budenholzer actively has them pass up rebounding opportunities in favor of other responsibilities. But Sefolosha still handled himself nicely when he wound up around the basket, hauling in a respectable number of contested boards and creating plenty of chances. 

    Durability

    9/10

    A pesky ankle injury and a sore right wrist were problematic for Sefolosha, limiting him to 75 games played. But it was even more troublesome that he spent so much time walking around on the perimeter as better shooters dove through screens and tried to free themselves up. 

    Overall

    72/100

    Sefolosha isn't a glaring liability on offense, so his ability to drain the occasional triple and score on athletic cuts to the hoop guarantees that defenders must pay him some mind. Still, he makes his living as a defensive ace, and the 32-year-old was arguably better than ever on that end.

37. Tony Allen, SM, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Scoring

    12/22

    Tony Allen is never the Memphis Grizzlies' first resort on offense. (He's never the second or even the third.) But he can score in transition and finish some slashes in the half court while making up for his merely average ability outside the paint. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    8/20

    According to ICE data provided by B/R Insights, Allen took just 41 spot-up threes throughout the season and hit them at a 36.6 percent clip, allowing defenders to cheat off at all times. And his passing wasn't much better—he struggled to dribble in traffic and recorded more turnovers than dimes. 

    Defense

    37/40

    Though he couldn't repeat his All-Defensive first-team selection from 2014-15, Allen did make the second team. This swingman refuses to regress on the point-preventing end, taking tough assignments every night and using his physicality to make every shot difficult. Even when he's struggling with a one-on-one matchup (something that happened more frequently in 2015-16), his off-ball work still gets the Grizz humming. 

    Rebounding

    7/8

    You shouldn't be surprised that a physical wing such as Allen thrives on the glass. He loves opportunities to box out bigger players, and he typically converts them before getting the ensuing transition kick-started. 

    Durability

    8/10

    Allen's knees and hamstrings gave him trouble throughout the 2015-16 campaign, holding him to just 64 games played—the third consecutive year he's failed to push past the 70-game benchmark. He might've been able to overcome those absences and lose just a single point if he'd been more active on offense, but his ball-watching habits don't pay off. 

    Overall

    72/100

    Allen is by no means the Grizzlies' best player. He just embodies everything "grit and grind" is supposed to entail, sacrificing his body at all times and doing all the little things that help lead to victories. This swingman will never earn All-Star love or throw up gaudy point totals, but he can still make a positive impact on a nightly basis as the team's heart and soul.

36. Eric Gordon, SM, Houston Rockets

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    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    Scoring

    16/22

    Eric Gordon still hasn't developed into a dominant inside-out scorer—he hit only 52.4 percent of his shots inside three feet and struggled to make many of his twos from outside the paint. But he can create many of his own looks and thrives from downtown, which allows him to remain valuable in spite of his stunted development. Few are this deadly from long range while staying so active. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/20

    This may be surprising, but Gordon's gravity doesn't reflect his ability from beyond the arc. That's partially because his spot-up shooting is actually worse than his work off the bouncehe made only 35.3 percent of his spot-up triples in 2015-16, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights. At least his passing helps him find success when he's not scoring. 

    Defense

    34/40

    Perhaps Gordon finally realized he needed to devote some of his energy to defense, as he certainly wasn't using all of it on offense as a secondary piece. He excelled chasing through screens (95.8th percentile) and recovering after a dribble handoff (90.6th percentile). And while he could get a bit too aggressive in the passing lanes, his level of off-ball involvement granted him heretofore unseen defensive value. 

    Rebounding

    1/8

    Averaging 2.2 rebounds per game and 2.4 per 36 minutes is bad enough for a point guard. It's despicable for a player who spent 73 percent of his time at the 2 and 27 percent at the 3. 

    Durability

    8/10

    It's basically a rule that Gordon must get hurt at some point during the NBA calendar, and 2015-16 was no exception. He played only 45 games during his final campaign with the New Orleans Pelicans, missing time to recover from a fractured right ring finger that eventually knocked him out for the season and led to surgery. 

    Overall

    73/100

    Don't be fooled by the negative context surrounding Gordon. It's true he didn't develop into the superstar he was meant to become while with the Clippers. It's beyond dispute that he can't stay healthy and failed to justify the exorbitant salary he previously received. But it's also a fact that he's a legitimately dangerous shooter and distributor who's improving on the defensive end and continuing to carve out a nice role as a secondary offensive threat. 

35. Gary Harris, SM, Denver Nuggets

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Scoring

    16/22

    No longer wandering aimlessly and deferring far too frequently, Gary Harris finally started playing with confidence during his sophomore season. His shooting percentages skyrocketed, but it's even more important that he learned how to pick the moments to attack. Even though his teammates created more of his successful looks in 2015-16, that was because he freed himself from the defense by running through screens instead of passively waiting for something to happen. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/20

    Harris must improve his passing chops to become dominant in this category. He still doesn't seem comfortable dribbling through the teeth of a defense, which means he's content to either swing the ball around the horn or seek his own shot. Until the Denver Nuggets can trust him as an improved distributor, his role will remain limited. 

    Defense

    30/40

    Already undersized for a shooting guard, the 6'4" Harris is woefully overmatched when lined up against opposing 3s. It shouldn't be surprising that he was posted up too frequently and had trouble providing strong contests against players who tended to tower above him. The effort is usually there, but the impact lags well behind. 

    Rebounding

    3/8

    In order to become a beneficial rebounder, Harris will need to grow more comfortable fighting through contact. He was adept at dashing to long caroms and beating bigger players to the right spots, but he rarely skied over the opposition's frontcourt to record anything but an "easy" one. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Only a mid-December concussion hampered Harris, keeping him out for a grand total of six games. That's no reason to complain about his durability after he otherwise stayed healthy while seeing his minutes per game jump from 13.1 as a rookie to 32.1 as a sophomore. 

    Overall

    73/100

    Harris should have received a little more love in the race for Most Improved Player, even if he didn't deserve to actually win the award. He was far more comfortable as a shooter, and that was reflected in the massive improvement that saw him knocking down 46.9 percent of his field-goal attempts, 35.4 percent of his threes and 82 percent of his freebies. There's plenty more room for growth, but Harris quickly went from draft bust to potential centerpiece in no time at all. 

34. Allen Crabbe, SM, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Scoring

    14/22

    While Allen Crabbe is an off-ball scorer who relies on proper feeds from teammates, he's also excellent in that role. He became a strong three-point threat during his breakout season but thrived from virtually everywhere on the floor as well. Whether he was inside three feet (71.1 percent shooting), between 10 and 16 feet (51.4 percent) or at 16 feet to the arc (44.3 percent), he was always efficient in small doses. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    15/20

    It's a shame Crabbe couldn't pass, because he thrived in the other half of this category—off-ball offense. He was rarely used as a facilitator by the Portland Trail Blazers, and he didn't just record a paltry 1.2 assists per game. He also remained so uninvolved that he rarely earned secondary dimes or made passes that led his teammates to the charity stripe. 

    Defense

    31/40

    Crabbe's defense slipped from his sophomore season, though that backsliding stems primarily from his increased offensive responsibility. We've seen this time and time again: Young players often experience regression on one end when they're used more frequently on the other. Crabbe struggled in pick-and-roll coverage and wasn't always involved away from the primary action, but Rip City can expect an upward trend to begin his fourth season. 

    Rebounding

    3/8

    Don't expect Crabbe to make much impact on the boards. He rarely creates rebounding opportunities, and the ones he does stem from situations where he's alone near a missed shot. When another player is in his immediate vicinity, he'll almost never collect the rock. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Despite experiencing a massive uptick in playing time, Crabbe stayed healthy enough to see 81 of the Blazers' 82 regular-season games. Only a brief illness kept him out of the lineup, and it's tough to count that against him. 

    Overall

    73/100

    Crabbe just looked more confident during his third professional season. Maybe it was the hair. Or maybe it was an improved shooting stroke that allowed him to rise and fire from every area of the court, whether he was in a different zip code or right around the iron and trying to fight past bigger players. Sure, he experienced some defensive regression, but Crabbe's offensive strides more than made up for those problems. 

33. Jerami Grant, CF, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

    Scoring

    9/20

    Scoring was a struggle for Jerami Grant during his second season with the Philadelphia 76ers, and he often put up points out of sheer necessity. On an offense with even a bit more talent, his mediocre skills would've been marginalized to the point he wasn't allowed to attempt nearly as many shots—scoring 9.7 points on 7.8 shots per game just isn't ideal. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    8/17

    The positives here are twofold. First, Grant is a capable cutter who distracts a bit of attention on his bursts to the basket. Second, he's a decent passer who can make the proper reads out of the post and when swinging the ball around the perimeter, leading to a respectable number of secondary assists despite just 26.8 minutes per game and lining up at both forward spots. 

    Defense

    35/40

    Grant was a versatile defender who could hang with perimeter players, cut off passing lanes and bang bodies with frontcourt stalwarts. But he was at his best when protecting the rim, allowing opponents to shoot just 46.1 percent at the hoop while facing 4.9 shots per game. Christian Wood was the only Sixer to post a lower number, and he squared off against only 2.8 shots per contest over the course of a meager 17 appearances.

    Rebounding

    12/13

    It's never a bad thing when a player averages 6.3 rebounds per 36 minutes and spends significant time (55 percent of his minutes) at small forward. But Grant's contributions were even more valuable because he was so good at boxing out bigger players and fighting for contested boards. The only thing keeping him from a perfect score is his overaggressiveness when a shot goes up, since he tries to chase some opportunities that are too far out of reach. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Grant fought through a strained left calf, concussion and bruised right knee to miss just five games, and he was relentlessly intense while on the floor. His limited playing time depresses his total work load, but his per-minute rates elevate him right back up. 

    Overall

    74/100

    The Sixers weren't able to use Grant as he was meant to be deployed, but they still squeezed plenty of value from his 6'8" frame. A defensive ace capable of filling many different roles and still finding time to throw down a couple of thunderous dunks, he needs to be a specialist who doesn't feel the need to fire away from beyond the arc. If that happens, or he suddenly morphs into a stretchier player, his ceiling is surprisingly high. 

32. Trevor Ariza, CF, Houston Rockets

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    Scoring

    11/20

    Trevor Ariza hasn't quite been able to reach his old efficiency levels in his diminished role with the Houston Rockets. He doesn't shoot often enough to establish a rhythm, since he's wholly dependent on spot-up passes, and there are usually better options on the floor. Ariza can knock down jumpers when those opportunities arise, but it would behoove him to work on his mid-range game so he could create a few more of his own chances. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/17

    Despite serving as an elite shooter for so many years, Ariza no longer has the same gravitational effect on a defense. According to ICE data provided by B/R Insights, 398 players provided a stronger pull—a number no doubt affected by the constant attention paid to James Harden and the corresponding inability to react to Ariza. That, coupled with his struggles creating for his teammates, dropped him in this category. 

    Defense

    31/40

    Gone are Ariza's days as a lockdown defender. The 31-year-old's declining lateral quickness makes it tougher for him to keep up with smaller players, and the Rockets' desire to play him at power forward doesn't help. Had he qualified for NBA 200 as a small rather than a combo forward, we'd get to ignore his rim protection and avoid docking him three of his nine lost points.

    Rebounding

    10/13

    This is the fourth consecutive season Ariza's rebounds per 36 minutes have trended in the wrong direction, though they still leave him in decent territory for a man who spends some of his time at the 3. That's especially true because he doesn't hesitate to pursue contested boards and is talented at staving off bigger players. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Playing in 81 games? Lining up for 35.3 minutes per contest? Doing this on the heels of nearly identical numbers in 2014-15? Nothing to see here. 

    Overall

    74/100

    Ariza is a player on the decline: His rebounding, defense and shooting all fall short of their peak levels, and that's not just because the Rockets have forced him to spend more time operating as a power forward than ever before. But it's not all bad news, because even this lesser version has remained a key rotation member who can contribute on both ends. 

31. Wesley Matthews, SM, Dallas Mavericks

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    Scoring

    13/22

    Wesley Matthews couldn't quite live up to his previous exploits from downtown, but he was still an above-average three-point marksman. It was inside the arc that was so problematic, since he didn't have the same spring when finishing plays around the basket and occasionally shied away from contact. A field-goal percentage of just 38.8 percent won't cut it while Matthews averaged fewer points than he has since his rookie season with the Utah Jazz. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    15/20

    Primarily serving as a spot-up player, Matthews did a terrific job warping a defense with his mere presence. Even as he struggled for consistency, his reputation allowed him to maintain a strong gravitational pull. He was less talented in the distributing department, as the Dallas Mavericks rarely let him work with the ball long enough to find an open teammate. 

    Defense

    33/40

    Attacking Matthews in isolation is a terrible idea. He allowed just 0.6 points per possession, which left him in the 92.2nd percentile last season. But opponents found a weakness and constantly probed it: Matthews was completely overmatched in the post, giving up 1.11 points per possession (8.4th percentile). Between that and his diminished close-out ability against spot-up shooters, he was no longer quite the standout defender as in years past. 

    Rebounding

    3/8

    Setting a career low in rebounds per 36 minutes (3.2), Matthews often neglected responsibilities on the glass. He wouldn't bother crashing the boards when the painted area was already crowded, and he'd let some longer opportunities slip by him to a player exerting more energy. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Even though Matthews was working his way back from a torn left Achilles, he managed to play in 78 games for the Mavericks. That Achilles only flared up once, and he suffered exactly zero significant injuries during the return campaign. 

    Overall

    74/100

    Achilles injuries are typically devastating to NBA players, and it's not like Matthews is a spring chicken anymore. This was his age-29 season, and his previous levels of durability had ensured his tires had already worn off plenty of tread. Regression was inevitable as he fought to recover his athleticism, and that should make his actual contributions all the more impressive in spite of the noticeable flaws—poor shooting from two-point territory, diminished rebounding and easily perceived defensive weaknesses. 

30. Jeff Green, CF, Orlando Magic

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    Scoring

    14/20

    Based on Jeff Green's play, he fancies himself a scorer who should take every shot available. In reality, he's a volume shooter who needs to cut back on the three-point attempts and learn which looks play to his strengths. Green can create his own offense and put up the occasional big numbers, but inconsistency prevents him from standing out. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/17

    Defenders have to pay attention because Green's so willing to fire away and can balance out his scoring with athletic cuts to the hoop. They don't have to worry about his passing nearly as often, since he rarely posts big assist numbers and has trouble finding open teammates. Far too often, he changes his mind at the last minute and fails to hit his target between the numbers. 

    Defense

    31/40

    At 6'9" and with plenty of athleticism, Green should be a great defender. He's not, and it's probably because he struggles to remain disciplined when chasing shooters around the perimeter. Throw one screen at Green, and he can muscle his way through. Put any more in his area, and he can fall too far behind the action. 

    Rebounding

    11/13

    This is where Green's athleticism pays off. Despite playing on teams that produced fewer rebounding opportunities than the average squad, he fared rather well in every portion of this category. He doesn't produce enough chances to measure against the elites, but he's not dissuaded by contact, grabs an impressive percentage of the available boards and goes for most loose balls in his vicinity. 

    Durability

    9/10

    A lacerated forehead after he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers was the only injury that kept Green out of the lineup, but he played just 28.2 minutes per game and had trouble posting top-tier physio rates because of lackluster defensive effort and his tendency to waste offensive possessions by standing in the same spot. 

    Overall

    75/100

    At some point, teams will realize they have to curtail Green's usage and eliminate his bad habits. He's a talented player who can make positive contributions in diverse areas, but he often tries to do too much and can detract from his team's efforts. It's no fluke the Clippers were 5.2 points per 100 possessions worse when he was on the floor—a fate the Orlando Magic must now avoid. 

29. Al-Farouq Aminu, CF, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Scoring

    9/20

    Don't be fooled by Al-Farouq Aminu's random scoring outbursts and excellent three-point shooting during the Portland Trail Blazers' playoff experience. He's still a limited offensive player who's best around the basket but can struggle when asked to utilize his jumper on a regular basis or create his own shots. The regular-season profile is far more representative of his skill set. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    8/17

    Aminu simply isn't a great spot-up shooter. According to ICE data provided by B/R Insights, he only hit 36.4 percent of his treys in that situation, and his lackluster gravitational pull reflected mediocrity. The same applies to his passing, as he can occasionally make plays on the move but is just as likely to commit an unforced error and create a transition opportunity for the opposition. 

    Defense

    36/40

    It's a bad idea to attack Aminu when he's guarding a pick-and-roll. He'll typically make the right decision when against a ball-handler, forcing him to make an inopportune pass. He's also capable of bodying up against a roll man and preventing an easy feed. He's similarly skilled when protecting the rim, though he fails to stand out against the work of some peers. Aminu doesn't dominate any one area, but distinct weaknesses are tough to find. 

    Rebounding

    12/13

    Some players just know how to use their bodies and play bigger than their frames should allow. Aminu uses his 6'9" frame and his derriere to stave off rebounding pursuits from larger players until the ball is in his mitts. Few players at his position are better at grabbing contested boards.

    Durability

    10/10

    Aminu didn't log even 30 minutes per game, but he didn't miss a single contest for the Blazers while playing with energy on both ends. 

    Overall

    75/100

    Aminu already has six years of NBA experience, so it's tough to remember he won't celebrate his 26th birthday until late September. The combo forward is still getting better, and that was on clear display as his offensive confidence grew later in the year, carrying over into the playoffs. Aminu remains a defensive/rebounding specialist who provides hustle plays on the scoring end, but that reputation may change before too long.

28. Omri Casspi, CF, Sacramento Kings

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Scoring

    14/20

    If you wanted to name Omri Casspi as the NBA's most underrated shooter, you'd get few arguments from us. Despite never getting mentioned as one of the elites from beyond the arc, this member of the Sacramento Kings knocked down 40.9 percent of his triples while taking four per game. More impressive still is the fact he did so while creating 14.3 percent of his own makes. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/17

    Defenses and fans were rather similar, because both failed to recognize the damage Casspi was doing from downtown. Despite his stellar numbers—and he's admittedly better at creating his own looks than spotting up—he didn't produce an impressive gravitational pull, and that prevents him from emerging as an exceptional floor-spacing threat away from the ball. 

    Defense

    31/40

    Casspi is another one of those players who failed to stand out: He was never a game-changing defensive presence, but he also never made the Kings that much worse when on the floor. 

    Rebounding

    11/13

    The 6'9" forward had never averaged more than 4.5 rebounds per game, and it had been four seasons since he'd topped an even four caroms. Until 2015-16 that ishe recorded 5.9 boards per outing while thriving as a contested rebounder. The big difference was his relentless pursuit, since he took it upon himself to treat every moderately close loose ball like a do-or-die situation. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Casspi played only 69 games for the Kings and logged just 27.2 minutes per contest. He missed time for various reasons—illness, sore upper back, wisdom teeth extraction, a sore left ankle and a strained right hamstring that ended his year. Nonetheless, Casspi was so relentlessly intense on both ends that he barely made the cutoff for the perfect durability score. 

    Overall

    76/100

    Talk about being underrated by the public. Casspi never gets discussed as a high-quality rotation forward, but that's exactly what he was during the 2015-16 season. He thrived as a perimeter shooter and maintained his efficiency levels inside the arc; he played solid defense across the board and broke out as a rebounder. There weren't any distinct flaws to counteract the significant strengths, and that leaves him just outside the league's top 100 overall players. 

27. Kent Bazemore, SF, Atlanta Hawks

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Scoring

    12/20

    Kent Bazemore faded down the stretch, but his season as a whole still left him an above-average shooter. He was a bit streaky from the outside and typically relied on the Atlanta Hawks' stellar ball movement to free him up on the perimeter, but his athleticism also allowed him to emerge as a transition threat. This was the first time Bazemore filled a major role for an entire season, and he proved he could thrive as a tertiary scorer. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    15/20

    If he wants to improve, Bazemore must get better as a consistent perimeter sniper and stop turning the ball over too frequently. He can make plays when putting the ball on the floor, but he also has a tendency to attempt overly aggressive feeds that never find their marks. Averaging 2.4 turnovers per 36 minutes isn't a huge negative, but it's worse for a player who rarely works with the ball. 

    Defense

    35/40

    Bazemore's athleticism allows him to provide help defense via weak-side shot-blocking, and he's shown no issue switching positions to take on tougher assignments. His only major weakness is a willingness to gamble in the passing lanes and stray too far from his mark. He allowed 1.11 points per possession to spot-up shooters, which left him no higher than the 19.1st percentile

    Rebounding

    4/10

    Don't be fooled by the gaudy numbers—5.1 rebounds per game and 6.6 per 36 minutes. The vast majority of Bazemore's boards came in uncontested fashion, and that severely detracts from those averages. Athletic as this small forward is, he should be more comfortable elevating in traffic. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A sprained ankle and a bone bruise in his right knee held Bazemore back at various points, but he still suited up for 75 contests. Despite increasing his per-game average by 10.1 minutes during his first full season with the Hawks, he remained quite durable and active. 

    Overall

    76/100

    Bazemore proved he could thrive in a far bigger role: The Hawks trusted him to serve as a floor-spacing, three-and-D presence on the wings. He still has room for improvement, but that ability to avoid the natural trade-off between volume and efficiency was a great start in this burgeoning career. The days of his being known solely for his bench celebrations are now distant memories. 

26. Andre Iguodala, SM, Golden State Warriors

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    Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

    Scoring

    9/22

    Andre Iguodala possesses scoring talent, but his role involved more spot-up shooting and distributing than ever before. This depresses the value of a player with limited perimeter touch but the athleticism necessary to put a defense on its heels. For the second time in his career, Iguodala averaged fewer than 10 points per 36 minutes, and this was the first time since his rookie year. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    16/20

    As a facilitator, Iguodala is beyond reproach. He has the unique ability to break down defenders at bigger positions and hit open teammates in tight spots as he actively looks to fill a playmaking role. All the while, he manages to minimize turnovers stemming from bad passes. It's only his off-ball work that holds him back, since Iguodala's perimeter shooting was often the preferred poison of Golden State Warriors opponents. 

    Defense

    36/40

    Iguodala possesses every tool of a top-notch defender: He has the necessary size (6'6", 215 lbs) and strength, and his instincts are fine-tuned at this stage of his career. He can read and react to almost every situation, though he did get thrown off by the presence of multiple off-ball screens in a quick sequence. Perhaps most importantly, he actually plays like he wants to contribute on defense. 

    Rebounding

    6/8

    Though he doesn't create as many opportunities as some of the league's best rebounding swingmen, Iggy's incredibly efficient with the ones he does generate. An astounding 63.5 percent of his chances turned into actual boards, and that narrowly edges out Draymond Green for Golden State's top conversion rate. 

    Durability

    9/10

    Iguodala's left hamstring and left ankle gave him trouble during the back end of the 2015-16 campaign, limiting him to 65 appearances. That, coupled with a role that afforded him only 26.6 minutes per game, was too damaging for a perfect durability score.  

    Overall

    76/100

    Continuing to accept his role as a sixth man, Iguodala served as a key cog in the Warriors' successful quest for a record 73 wins. His willingness to look for teammates before calling his own number helped spark the second unit and allowed him to play in the vaunted "Death Lineup," while his commitment to defense was similarly huge. Iguodala doesn't get the touches necessary to look like an All-Star any longer, but that doesn't mean he's declined too significantly. 

25. Harrison Barnes, CF, Dallas Mavericks

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Scoring

    11/20

    Though the Golden State Warriors would surely have preferred Harrison Barnes remember how to finish around the hoop, they couldn't complain about his ability to score efficiently in small doses. This North Carolina product was never the first, second or third option in any of the Dubs' offensive schemes, but he was a solid bail-out choice when sets broke down and he was spotting up from mid-range zones or beyond the arc. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/17

    It's impossible to have too strong a gravitational pull on a Golden State squad that already features Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry yanking defenders toward them, but Barnes did his darnedest by serving as a deadly spot-up sniper. Defenses did have to respect his presence, even if they didn't have to feel the same way about his distributing. (It's tough to find open teammates when dribbling requires you look at the ball.) 

    Defense

    32/40

    Barnes was a solid defender against smaller players, switching on most screens without hampering the Dubs' stopping power. But he was overmatched when at power forward in the many small-ball lineups, particularly when asked to defend the rim. As Golden State's last line of defense, he allowed opponents to shoot 59.3 percent at the hoop while guarding 3.3 attempts per game—easily the worst mark of any Warrior who faced at least two shots per contest. 

    Rebounding

    12/13

    Although he occasionally bit off more than he could chew while fighting for contested boards in the midst of bigger players, Barnes was constantly active and quite good at boxing out. He didn't just feast upon easy opportunities while averaging 4.9 rebounds. 

    Durability

    10/10

    For the first time in his professional career, Barnes missed more than four games. He actually missed 16—the product of a nasty sprained ankle early in the season. Even still, his physio intensity was so high, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights, that he finished in the 85.33rd percentile for total physio load, thereby retaining durability perfection. 

    Overall

    77/100

    Barnes collapsed during the NBA Finals, but that doesn't count against him here. Though the experience sullied his reputation and put a magnifying glass to his flaws and stunted growth, it shouldn't detract from the regular season. Barnes was a valuable piece to the record-setting puzzle, spotting up successfully, playing solid defense, doing dirty work on the boards and showcasing versatility that helped make smaller lineups work. Now, he gets to try filling a bigger role with the Dallas Mavericks.

24. Evan Turner, SM, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Scoring

    16/22

    Evan Turner isn't a modern scorer—he struggles to shoot from the outside and would prefer to launch up mid-range attempts created off the bounce. But he retains value because he's good at filling that unorthodox role and goes solo for a tremendous amount of his offense. Few swingmen require assists on only 30.3 percent of their made two-pointers. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    As a spot-up threat, Turner is basically nonexistent. He can make plays as a cutter, but defenses don't have to fear him on the perimeter with his hands on his knees. It's his facilitating that's terrifying, since he's one of the league's best non-backcourt distributors, capable of completing tough passes while moving at full speed across the lane and through traffic. 

    Defense

    33/40

    Turner has stealthily developed into a plus defender, thanks primarily to his intuitive understanding of pick-and-roll sets. The Boston Celtics loved when he got switched onto a ball-handler, since he allowed just 0.62 points per possession and finished in the 92.3rd percentile. This wasn't some low-usage fluke, either. Pick-and-roll ball-handlers accounted for 27.6 percent of his defensive possessions. 

    Rebounding

    5/8

    Despite spending significant time at shooting guard, Turner has never failed to average at least six rebounds per 36 minutes. The vast majority of his boards come in uncontested fashion, and he benefits from playing for a team that produces an above-average quantity of rebounding opportunities, but the sheer volume is indisputable. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Turner was one game shy of achieving perfect attendancean eye injury in early April knocked him out of the lineup. 

    Overall

    77/100

    Turner finished behind four players in Sixth Man of the Year voting, but he should've placed even higher. His ability to control the Boston offense with his passing and unorthodox scoring was invaluable, and his comfort defending pick-and-rolls added a new element to a strong Celtics defense. Turner requires the right system to support his unique talents, but he's capable of becoming a crucial piece when he finds that perfect home. It remains to be seen if the Portland Trail Blazers, his free-agency destination, can provide that. 

23. Otto Porter, SF, Washington Wizards

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    Noah Graham/Getty Images

    Scoring

    12/20

    It wasn't just Otto Porter's three-point shooting that improved during his third professional season. He also became far more comfortable firing away from mid-range. While that's not the NBA's most efficient shot, having a player capable of taking and making those looks does throw off a defense. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    Porter still has plenty of room for improvement as a distributor, but the Washington Wizards have to be thrilled his assist and turnover averages per 36 minutes have trended in the right directions during each campaign. It's exceedingly rare to see Porter turn the ball over with a bad pass, though he could stand to become more aggressive when a teammate is open for a split second. 

    Defense

    34/40

    Remember that video of Porter falling asleep while defending Tony Snell away from the ball late in the 2014-15 season? Apparently, he learned from that mistake. He can give up some easy looks to shooters away from the primary action, but he's constantly on the move and seeking ways to insert himself when not guarding a dribbler. 

    Rebounding

    9/10

    At 6'8", Porter is an effective rebounder, constantly seeking out chances to end possessions. If he's within shouting distance of a carom, he's going to attack the ball with ferocity, boxing out or fighting around bigger players—a pursuit that's successful more often than not. 

    Durability

    10/10

    bruised left thigh and a sore right hip were the only injuries that affected Porter in 2015-16, though they only kept him sidelined for seven games. Between the sheer number of minutes and the two-way intensity he displayed, he was one of the more active players at his position. 

    Overall

    78/100

    Porter played for a lottery team and averaged just 11.6 points, so it's understandable that his substantial improvement flew well beneath the radar. Nonetheless, he improved dramatically on both ends, to the point that he should be expected to burst onto the national scene in 2016-17. There are no obvious weaknesses to his game, and his versatile scoring ability offers up the possibility of a distinct strength that draws the attention of casual fans. 

22. Joe Johnson, SF, Utah Jazz

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    Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

    Scoring

    15/20

    If Joe Johnson would just stop launching long twos, he'd look like an even more talented scorer. He does everything you could want from a veteran small forward—creating his own shots with ease, knocking down a respectable number of triples and finishing around the basket with strength. But he can sometimes grow overconfident and depress his own efficiency levels while simultaneously depressing his coaching staff. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    16/20

    Johnson stopped passing as frequently once he joined the Miami Heat, but he remained quite competent for a player spending nearly all of his time at the 3. Throughout his career, he's been a strong spot-up threat who lured defenders in his direction and a capable ball-handler who could make life easier for his teammates. That didn't change in 2015-16, even if his more limited role made it tougher for him to rack up big numbers. 

    Defense

    32/40

    He's not known as "Iso Joe" because of his ability to defend isolation possessions. In fact, he allowed 1.03 points per possession in that situation, which left him in the 15.8th percentile. But Johnson's overall defensive abilities, while they've declined since he left his prime, still don't make him a liability, even if he's now a bit more prone to conserving energy on a few plays. 

    Rebounding

    5/10

    When a shot goes up, Johnson suddenly becomes afraid of contact. He's capable of beating smaller players to long caroms, but it's rare to see him competing with a frontcourt for a contested board. Producing just 0.8 of those per game won't cut it at small forward.

    Durability

    10/10

    Johnson only played 81 games during the 2015-16 season, but he didn't technically miss a single one he was eligible for. It was only during his transition from the Brooklyn Nets to the Heat that he suffered an absence, and that's because he wasn't yet on the new roster.  

    Overall

    78/100

    Yes, Johnson was waived by the Nets midway through the year, but that's not because he was so ineffective he didn't belong on the team. His contract was bought out so he could leave the middling organization to open up opportunities for younger players while gaining a chance to join a competitive playoff squad. Once he was on the Heat, he immediately settled in as a two-way wing—a role he should continue to fill now that he's joined the Utah Jazz. 

21. Evan Fournier, SM, Orlando Magic

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    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    Scoring

    17/22

    Evan Fournier's lack of opportunity prevents him from emerging as one of the top few scorers at his position. But the diversity of his output is ridiculous, since he thrives in almost every scenario: transition, isolation, as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and a spot-up shooter, on handoffs, as a cutter, off screens, on putbacks and even uncategorized plays. Even if he's less than elite, it's almost impossible to be above average in each area—i.e., exactly what he did during his fourth pro season. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/20

    It shouldn't be surprising that a wing so adept at cutting, using screens, taking handoffs and spotting up drew plenty of attention off the ball. It's a bit more shocking that Fournier was also so solid as a passer, minimizing his turnovers even when he was serving as a secondary distributor for the Orlando Magic.  

    Defense

    30/40

    Though he was respectable when guarding a ball-handler, Fournier was too undisciplined away from the primary action. He often fell asleep and allowed his mark free for an easy look. He also wasn't physical enough to get through screens set in quick succession. Plus, he used defense to get quick breathers as he adjusted to the largest role of his career. 

    Rebounding

    4/8

    The good news is that Fournier grabbed more than half his rebounding opportunities and produced a respectable number of contested boards for a player who often lined up at shooting guard. The bad news is that he was still quite uninvolved after shots went up. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Fournier's penchant for watching the ball on defense made him less active than some other swingmen, but that was completely negated by the number of minutes he played. He only missed three games and logged 32.5 minutes per contest while spending his time on offense in near-constant motion. 

    Overall

    78/100

    Fournier signed a five-year deal for $85 million this offseason to stay with Orlando, and that contract already looks like a bargain. Even if he never becomes an adequate defender and eschews rebounding for transition positioning, he's so good in so many offensive areas that it won't matter. If the Magic can give him a bigger role, he's capable of establishing himself as one of the league's most threatening scorers. 

20. Rudy Gay, SF, Sacramento Kings

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Scoring

    15/20

    The volume aspect of Rudy Gay's scoring is just fine, though he could stand to be a bit less free with his shooting. His ability to create looks for himself is similar, particularly for a player who never lines up in the backcourt. But Gay's percentages are lackluster at best, indicating he's too heavily used for a player with his skill set. The fewer threes he lofts up, the better. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    Even when Gay struggles to shoot from the perimeter, he's capable of altering defensive schemes with his athletic cutting. His size (6'8", 230 lbs) and strength allow him to take advantage of the slightest concentration lapse. His passing, however, is not up to that standard after a season that saw him average 0.3 more turnovers than assists. 

    Defense

    31/40

    Gay's work in isolation and when guarding post-up plays indicates he has the physical tools necessary to serve as a stopper. But discipline has never been his strong suit, and that rears its ugly head when he goes a few possessions without guarding a ball-handler. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    At least he uses his physicality properly in this situation. Not only does Gay produce an incredible number of rebounding chances (11.5 per game), but he converts 56.5 percent of them and stands out alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and P.J. Tucker as one of four qualified small forwards to grab at least two contested boards per outing. 

    Durability

    10/10

    According to ICE data provided by B/R Insights, Gay's combination of minutes and intensity left him just outside the top 10 percent for total physio load. He missed time to recover from gastroenteritis, a shoulder injury, a bruised left heel, a left eye injury, a sprained left ankle and another shoulder malady, but those still totaled just 12 absences. 

    Overall

    79/100

    Gay is a talented basketball player whose strengths more than make up for his weaknesses. But that doesn't make it any less difficult to wonder how much better he could be. If he were willing to cut back on the triples and commit to defense, his impact could be tantamount to that of a bona fide All-Star. As it stands now, he'll have to be content just barely making the NBA's top 70. 

19. Marcus Morris, SF, Detroit Pistons

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Scoring

    15/20

    Marcus Morris' breakout season established him as an ideal forward for head coach Stan Van Gundy. He was a capable spot-up marksman who could help space the floor for Andre Drummond, and he was comfortable creating his own looks when plays broke down. Morris didn't often post gaudy totals, but needing assists on just 34.8 percent of his two-point makes was invaluable. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    15/20

    Morris did a nice job stretching out a defense for the Detroit Pistons' interior offense, but even in a scheme set up to provide plenty of secondary assists, he had trouble generating much and rarely made passes that led to free throws for his teammates. He is a willing passer but is prone to turnovers and not as involved as he could be. 

    Defense

    32/40

    Though Morris has spent his professional career bouncing between forward spots, the Pistons opted to use him at the 3 for 91 percent of his minutes in 2015-16. That did minimize his rim-protecting struggles but also exposed him to defending fleet-footed wings in isolation and pick-and-roll sets.

    Rebounding

    7/10

    Whether we're talking about his ability to grab rebounds in traffic, knack for reading caroms quicker than other players or aggressiveness on the glass, everything about Morris' rebounding is slightly better than average.

    Durability

    10/10

    For the third season in a row, Morris suited up at least 80 games.  

    Overall

    79/100

    Morris should not be used solely as a small forward but rather as a combo forward who can bounce between two positions. The Pistons attempted to pigeonhole him into a role as a 3, and it backfired on the defensive end. He did develop as an offensive threat, with confidence creating his own shots, but would that have happened anyway at his more natural position? Either way, he became one of the better players who failed to capture national attention. 

18. Aaron Gordon, CF, Orlando Magic

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Scoring

    12/20

    Remember all the preseason improvements to Aaron Gordon's shooting? They didn't pay off, as he still shot just 47.3 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from beyond the arc. His dunks were impressive—obviously—and he could produce transition points with ease, but his utter lack of confidence from the perimeter held him back as a sophomore. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    9/17

    This is the weakest part of Gordon's game, bar none. He struggles to threaten defenses when he's not operating with the rock, and it's not like they have many reasons to fear his lackluster passing. The lone positive is that Gordon was great at minimizing turnovers for the second straight season.

    Defense

    35/40

    Even though he's a natural 4 on offense, Gordon seems to fare better guarding perimeter players. He's like a veteran when navigating pick-and-rolls and shows no compunction chasing smaller opponents around the perimeter, contesting every shot imaginable. Guarding the rim is another story, since he allowed the opposition to shoot 52.7 percent and failed to alter many shots. 

    Rebounding

    13/13

    A 6'9" man with springs for legs trying to prove himself at all moments? That's one heck of a combo, and it paid off. Gordon never stopped trying to grab every available rebound and wound up recording 9.8 per 36 minutes despite spending 40 percent of his on-court time at the 3. 

    Durability

    10/10

    The durability concerns that plagued Gordon's rookie season faded away, as he dealt with nothing more than an ankle injury and concussion that combined to keep him away for only four games. His presence on the floor, coupled with his relentless activity on both ends, fared rather well. 

    Overall

    79/100

    It's still unclear what the Magic plan to do with Gordon. He needs a defined role on offense that doesn't ask him to take so many perimeter jumpers, and it would expedite his development to lock him in at a singular position rather than asking him to grow in so many different areas. The offseason additions of so many frontcourt pieces don't make this any clearer. But at least the Magic already know he's a high-quality defender who plays with relentless hustle. 

17. Tobias Harris, CF, Detroit Pistons

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    Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    Scoring

    15/20

    Everything clicked once Tobias Harris joined the Detroit Pistons via midseason trade: He averaged 16.6 points while shooting 47.7 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from downtown and a scorching 91.1 percent from the free-throw line. Allowing him to work more with the ball in his hands paid off in spades. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/17

    Harris' time with the Orlando Magic hurts him again here. His three-point shooting (31.1 percent) allowed defenses to neglect him on the perimeter, and he struggled to record more assists than turnovers on a nightly basis. More control of the rock in Detroit helped with the latter, but it was too late for him to record an elite mark in non-scoring offense.

    Defense

    32/40

    Defense has been a constant point of emphasis for Harris while trying to improve his game, and things looked better in 2015-16. He was far more comfortable against perimeter players as he navigated screens and off-ball motion, and his footwork was better on the blocks. Protecting the rim is a tall task for this 6'9" combo forward, but even that could come around with time. 

    Rebounding

    12/13

    Harris' rebounding prowess didn't change much once he left Orlando, though he was slightly less effective when ceding some of his opportunities to Andre Drummond. Constantly aggressive on the glass, he stood out in traffic thanks to his box-out skills and in open space thanks to his effort. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A sore left ankle was the only injury to hamper Harris during 2015-16, which saw him play a combined 76 games for the Pistons and Magic. Had he not missed opportunities while changing rosters and to sit out the final game of the year to rest, he'd have looked even more durable. 

    Overall

    79/100

    Gone are the days in which Harris was an underrated forward waiting to break out in the right situation. He's now established as a significant offensive threat, and his defense is getting to the point that he's no longer a glaring liability who forces his coaches to shrink his role in the rotation.

16. Luol Deng, CF, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

    Scoring

    13/20

    Almost every shooter occasionally knocks down a triple off the bounce, but Luol Deng was the exception. Of the 88 threes he made during his last season with the Miami Heat, every single one came after a pass from one of his teammates. Deng was similarly dependent on feeds when shooting from inside the arc, which makes it even more troubling that his percentages continued their downward descents.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/17

    Deng rarely asserted himself as a passer, opting to fill a smaller role that didn't involve putting his limited dribbling ability and lack of court vision on display. He could make the proper feeds when his teammates were wide-open, but it was rare to see him actively create for someone else. 

    Defense

    33/40

    Deng's defensive score is misleadingly low because the Heat often played him at power forward. It was the first time in his lengthy NBA career that he spent more time at the 4 than the 3, and that exposed him. He allowed opponents to shoot 56.5 percent at the rim, which was particularly problematic since remaining on the inside took him away from his many perimeter strengths. 

    Rebounding

    12/13

    Always a strong rebounder for his position, Deng posted more rebounds per 36 minutes (6.7) than he had in the previous five seasons. He can occasionally embark upon ill-advised quests after a shot goes up and find himself easily boxed out, but his aggressiveness and penchant for holding off bigger players does typically pay off. 

    Durability

    10/10

    The massive minutes he spent on the court for Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls during his prime years aren't yet holding him back. Deng averaged 32.4 minutes—his 11th consecutive campaign in the 30s—and suited up in 74 games, only missing time for a few minor issues.

    Overall

    79/100

    This 31-year-old forward is no longer in his prime, and he's having trouble remaining a valuable scorer as his percentages slip, despite averaging fewer points than he has since his rookie season in 2004-05. But Deng is still a strong starting option because of his versatility and ability to shut down tough matchups on the defensive end, both of which will play well in his new role with the Los Angeles Lakers. Slotting him solely at the 3 would be beneficial in the future, but his willingness to slide over a spot in the lineup for the betterment of the team speaks volumes. 

15. Chandler Parsons, CF, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Scoring

    15/20

    Even though he creates more of his perimeter offense than many other combo forwards, Chandler Parsons has evolved into one of the NBA's more efficient shooters. Our excitement is a bit tempered by the limited nature of his role with the Dallas Mavericks (which should change now that he's a big signing for the Memphis Grizzlies), but his 49.2 percent shooting from the field and 41.4 percent shooting from downtown (on five attempts per game!) are beyond reproach. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/17

    There's a massive contrast here: Parsons is an excellent off-ball threat and a thoroughly limited passer. As for the former, defenses know they can't let him heat up from the perimeter, but they also can't get too close and run the risk of his making a timely cut to the hoop. As for the facilitating, Parsons isn't typically asked to play distributor because that's not the strength of his game. 

    Defense

    32/40

    On the ball, Parsons is exemplary. He's a disciplined defender who knows how to read the movements of a ball-handler and beat him to spots. Off the ball, he's so much weaker because he doesn't quite have the mobility to hang with quick small forwards and can be physically abused by back-to-the-basket power forwards.

    Rebounding

    10/13

    The sheer quantity of Parsons' rebounding (4.7 per game and 5.7 per 36 minutes) isn't as impressive as the ways in which they're collected. He's not one of the sport's best contested rebounders at his position, but he makes the most of the chances he earns by converting 59.7 percent of his opportunities. 

    Durability

    9/10

    It took a while for Parsons to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair cartilage damage, and his season ended prematurely with damage to the same joint. This time, he needed surgery to repair the medial meniscus. In between, Parsons remained healthy and active. 

    Overall

    79/100

    Parsons entered the league in 2011 as a player who wasn't great (or terrible) at any one facet of the game. He's since carved out his niche as a versatile offensive player who can hold his own in most other areas. His shooting helped the Mavericks immensely while he was healthy, but issues with his right knee have to be past tense if he's to continue trending upward in Memphis. 

14. Danilo Gallinari, CF, Denver Nuggets

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Scoring

    16/20

    When healthy, Danilo Gallinari serves as the Denver Nuggets' unquestioned No. 1 option. It's not the perfect role for him, since he's better suited as a secondary option who doesn't have to deal with extra defenders, but he's made it work by constantly attacking the basket and earning 8.2 trips to the free-throw stripe per game. In fact, Gallinari was one of only seven players to score at least 19 points per game with a true shooting percentage north of 58 percent.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/17

    Only Gallinari's passing proves detrimental here, since no defender will leave him free on the perimeter or neglect to cover him while he's cutting toward the hoop. That's partially because the Nuggets didn't have many reliable options, but it's also a reflection on the Italian forward's skill. 

    Defense

    32/40

    Gallinari is another combo forward who's disadvantaged by lining up at the 4 and being asked to protect the rim when a center is drawn outside the paint. He allowed opponents to convert those interior looks at a 53.7 percent clip, which cancels out a good bit of his perimeter work and skill away from the ball.  

    Rebounding

    10/13

    Denver would benefit from Gallinari showing a bit more aggression when a shot goes up, though it's tough to complain about a player preserving his body when he's suffered so many injuries in recent seasons. Even without that mentality, this forward can grab boards in traffic and convert a high percentage of his opportunities.

    Durability

    9/10

    Gallinari's lofty activity levels allow him to avoid dropping two points in this section, even though most players who suit up only 53 times would receive that type of penalty. He missed time because of a sprained ankle at the end of 2015, and torn ligaments in his right ankle ended his season prematurely during late February. 

    Overall

    80/100

    If Gallinari's reputation hasn't caught up to his actual production, that's because he's unable to stay healthy. Among an ACL tear, a failed rehab, a torn meniscus and torn ankle ligaments, he's spent more time healing than playing for the Nuggets in recent seasons. Fortunately, he's been fantastic while healthy, emerging as a premier scoring threat capable of tough defense on almost every possession. He just needs to showcase that skill for longer durations.

13. Andrew Wiggins, SM, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Scoring

    19/22

    Yes, Andrew Wiggins needs to grow far more efficient if he's to serve as a go-to scorer during his prime years45.9 percent from the field, 30.0 percent from long range and 76.1 percent at the stripe won't cut it. But it also takes an insane amount of talent for a sophomore in his age-20 season to average 20.7 points while creating so much of his own offense. Once Wiggins learned it was best to draw whistles, it was easy to see why he was the No. 1 pick of the 2014 NBA draft. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    Wiggins' cutting and athleticism will forever make him dangerous, but opponents will feast on his non-scoring offense until he develops a reliable jumper or learns how to pass the ball without risking unforced errors. Averaging two assists is by no means a bad thing, except when that's paired with 2.2 turnovers per contest. 

    Defense

    32/40

    Though many all-in-one metrics indicate Wiggins was one of the NBA's worst defenders, context is important. It was tough for him to thrive on a defensively inept team featuring plenty of liabilities, and he often drew tough assignments that he wasn't adequately prepared for. We're more inclined to focus on the fact he didn't have any truly atrocious scenarios. In fact, he was pretty average across the board with occasional flashes of future brilliance. 

    Rebounding

    7/8

    Tony Allen and Wiggins were the lone swingmen to qualify for NBA 200 analysis while grabbing at least 1.5 contested rebounds per game. This young Timberwolf is only kept from perfection by his sub-50 percent conversion rate, which indicates he was more aggressive than he should've been before improving his positioning. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Wiggins missed the first game of his NBA career with a sore right knee in mid-November, but that's hardly something to complain about when he averaged 35.1 minutes. Only seven players spent more time on the floor during 2015-16.

    Overall

    81/100

    While Wiggins wasn't an efficient scorer and struggled to become a positive defensive presence during his second professional campaign, it was still blindingly obvious he has special talent. Few players are capable of filling such a big offensive role so soon, and this swingman always seemed to produce at least one play per game that made it clear just how good he can be. Now, the Timberwolves get to hope a new coaching staff can expedite that development. 

12. Jae Crowder, SF, Boston Celtics

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    Scoring

    14/20

    Before the All-Star break, Jae Crowder averaged 14.1 points while shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from beyond the arc and 82.5 percent at the stripe. After midseason, he upped his scoring average by 0.6, but his percentages all dipped—42.9 from the field, 29.2 from three and 80.9 percent on freebies. A nagging ankle injury is partially to blame, but that's more indicative of Crowder's talent as a limited shooter thrust into a scoring role a bit too big for him. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/20

    Crowder's a solid cutter and manages to minimize his mistakes with the ball (only 39 bad-pass turnovers all year), but he doesn't come close to qualifying as a playmaking forward. Until he is able to shoot threes with more consistency and actively set up his Boston Celtics teammates, opponents won't show too much fear. 

    Defense

    37/40

    If you expect Crowder to take a possession off on defense, you're sorely mistaken. He shows constant energy both on and off the ball, unleashing athleticism and instinctual schematic understanding by jumping passing lanes, getting his hands in to interrupt a dribbling pattern and contesting everything in his vicinity. 

    Rebounding

    6/10

    Though Crowder is physical against bigger players and shows relentless effort when a shot goes up, he's betrayed by his lack of size. At 6'6", he doesn't measure up against many of the league's small forwards, and there's only so much he can do after expending energy to contest shots. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A sprained right ankle was the only injury that plagued Crowder during his first full season with the Celtics, but it only knocked him out of the lineup for nine games. For the other 73, he exerted one of the most impressive physio intensities at his position, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights. 

    Overall

    81/100

    Even without a consistent perimeter jumper, Crowder has asserted himself as one of the NBA's best values. When Boston signed him to a five-year deal worth $35 million, it knew he was bubbling over with untapped potential. Rapid growth has made him a fringe All-Star candidate pretty early on; his defense alone justifies the money he's owed. 

11. DeMar DeRozan, SM, Toronto Raptors

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Scoring

    21/22

    DeMar DeRozan isn't a threatening outside shooter, and it's even worse that he compensates for that weakness by launching plenty of long twos. A jumper from just inside the arc shouldn't be your modern go-to offense, but DeRozan makes it work: He can make those looks, he's adept at creating them off the bounce, and his athleticism allows him to dart past overextended defenders and get to the basket, where he can either finish or draw a whistle. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    More so than ever before, DeRozan realized how valuable he could be as a distributor. Even though calling his own number was always the top priority, he kept his eyes scanning the half-court set for open teammates and could find them at a moment's notice. If only we had so many nice things to say about his floor-spacing ability...

    Defense

    31/40

    There's no reason for DeRozan to struggle on defense when he's ridiculously athletic and often lining up as a 6'7" shooting guard. He should overpower players when not moving his feet to stay in front of their driving attempts. Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors, he was beyond atrocious working away from the ball, even if he was decent on it. Allowing 1.11 points per possession to spot-up shooters, he finished in just the 17.8th percentile

    Rebounding

    6/8

    DeRozan was often content allowing other players to do the heavy lifting on the boards, but he remained efficient when choosing to pursue a loose ball. He converted a high percentage of his opportunities, regardless of whether there was another player in the vicinity. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Logging 78 appearances and 35.9 minutes per game, DeRozan spent more time on the floor than the vast majority of NBA athletes. Only 11 players topped his total. 

    Overall

    81/100

    It's easy to look at DeRozan's point totals and think this swingman is an All-Star lock. But his offense comes without efficiency when officials swallow their whistles, and his defense is usually detrimental to the Raptors. He can bounce between frustrating opponents and frustrating his own fans in no time at all, and he won't earn that lock status until he gains more consistency. 

10. Gordon Hayward, SF, Utah Jazz

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    Scoring

    17/20

    Gordon Hayward is another small forward who thrives with the ball in his hands—he created 68 percent of his twos and 20.3 percent of his threes in 2015-16—and spent plenty of time at the stripe, but he won't emerge as an elite scorer at the position until he shores up his jumper. He instead relies on his free-throw shooting as a buoy against live-action inconsistency.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    16/20

    In spite of his perimeter inconsistencies, Hayward excels in this category because he's often used as the primary ball-handler in pick-and-roll sets. With his ability to make the right decision and kick to an open shooter on the wing or throw a pocket pass to a rolling big, few players at his position are this comfortable serving as the primary playmaker. 

    Defense

    33/40

    When he's not committing ill-advised and unsuccessful gambles, Hayward can be an impactful defender because of his willingness to get involved. He doesn't take as many possessions off as some of his peers, and that allows him to make subtle plays that negate some of his mistakes. Sheer volume can be beneficial when playing off-ball defense.

    Rebounding

    5/10

    It's less than ideal when your small forward—who stands 6'8", no less—can't even record a single contested rebound per game. Hayward tends to stay out of traffic after a shot is lofted up, generating most of his opportunities away from the paint or when the opposing bigs have been lured out to the perimeter.

    Durability

    10/10

    According to ICE data provided by B/R Insights, Andre Drummond was the NBA's lone player to post a higher total physio load. Hayward was active on both ends, played 80 games and averaged 36.2 minutes. 

    Overall

    81/100

    Versatility is the name of the game. Hayward managed to contribute in every area imaginable. Even without a consistent perimeter jumper, he can create his own offense and serve as the unquestioned No. 1 option for the Utah Jazz while also accounting for the (previous) lack of pure point guards on the roster with his playmaking.

9. Khris Middleton, SM, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Scoring

    18/22

    There are only two knocks against Khris Middleton's scoring profile: He's quite dependent on set-up passes when shooting treys, and the Milwaukee Bucks didn't give him enough opportunities to serve as the featured scorer. Otherwise, he's everything you could want. Of the 86 qualified players who posted a true shooting percentage of 56 or better, only 12 averaged more points. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    18/20

    Middleton, who was already a top-tier off-ball threat, blossomed as a passer during his breakout season. He averaged an additional 1.4 assists per 36 minutes without a proportional rise in turnovers, and the cough-ups often stemmed from areas other than passing. In 2014-15, he averaged 0.85 bad-pass turnovers per 36 minutes, and that number only rose to 0.95 in 2015-16.

    Defense

    31/40

    Though Middleton has served as a plus defender, his increased offensive responsibilities detracted from his point-preventing ability. He still tried to remain active away from the primary action and did a respectable job fighting through screens, but he just didn't have the same spring in his step. It was far easier to beat him in isolation or take advantage of his diminished reaction times. 

    Rebounding

    5/8

    Averaging 3.8 rebounds per 36 minutes and spending significant time at small forward isn't a good combination. Middleton wasn't particularly active on the glass, preferring to spend time outside the paint and hoping that long misses would bounce all the way out to his spot. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A strained left thigh was the only injury Middleton suffered in 2015-16, and he wound up playing 79 contests while logging 36.1 minutes per outing. That's obviously going to earn a perfect durability score when coupled with an above-average physio intensity for his position, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights.

    Overall

    82/100

    Middleton still flies beneath the radar, but that should change while he continues to thrive as a volume-scoring wing who plays with plenty of efficiency. He's developed into an all-around threat capable of leading an offense and setting up teammates, and his second season in that role could see a return to form on the defensive side. 

8. Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Scoring

    16/20

    Giannis Antetokounmpo has no idea how to knock down perimeter jumpers, and the Milwaukee Bucks dissuaded him from even trying during his third NBA campaign. Nevertheless, his "Eurostepping" in transition and incredible length still allowed him to experience a career year as a scorer. His ability to knock down shots around the basket and earn free-throw attempts even allowed him to remain efficient. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/20

    It's a tale of two subsections: Opponents often neglected him on the perimeter, trying to bait jumpers because that was the worst possible offense for the Bucks. But Antetokounmpo's passing was unbelievable, to the point that head coach Jason Kidd made him a de facto point guard late in the season and watched as he averaged 7.5 assists over his last 26 games. 

    Defense

    35/40

    It's not just that Antetokounmpo averaged 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks—one of only eight qualified players to hit those marks in 2015-16 (as well as the lone wing or guard). He was always active and engaged, and it was brutally difficult to score against him in isolation. He allowed just 0.65 points per possession, which put him in the 88.2nd percentile. The one major flaw was his willingness to help unnecessarily and leave his mark in space. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    Yes, he's only listed at 6'11", despite the fact he's still growing and has pterodactyl arms, but Antetokounmpo better be good at rebounding. He was: averaging 7.8 per 36 minutes and thriving with other players in his immediate vicinity. Among the small forwards studied for NBA 200, no one else averaged more than 2.1 contested boards; he posted 2.4 per game. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A one-game suspension at the start of the year for a hard playoff foul in the previous postseason and a one-game absence to let a sore knee heal were the only reasons Antetokounmpo missed games. Given his near-constant presence on the court and the intensity with which he played, he finished in the 97.01st percentile for total physio load, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights. 

    Overall

    82/100

    The Greek Freak continues to live up to his nickname. He's well on his way to full-fledged superstardom via offensive creativity and an incredible ability to finish around the hoop, all while supplementing offense with impressive defensive play. Throw in some of the most Vine-worthy moments produced by any NBA player, and it's not hard to see why he's quickly becoming such a fan favorite. 

7. Nicolas Batum, SM, Charlotte Hornets

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    Scoring

    15/22

    As a scorer, the best news for Nicolas Batum is that the Charlotte Hornets let him handle the rock more than the Portland Trail Blazers ever had. He showed off his proficiency running pick-and-rolls and ended up requiring assists on only 42.9 percent of his two-point makes—easily the lowest mark of his career. Batum could stand to get more efficient from the perimeter, but he filled his role nicely and added a new element to the Charlotte offense. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/20

    Batum was a better shooter in spot-up situations, knocking down 36.6 percent of his triples, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights. That forced defenses to respect his presence, though his off-ball offense still lagged well behind his facilitating. Turnovers could occasionally get Batum in trouble, but his vision and passing ability are nearly unmatched at his position. 

    Defense

    35/40

    Don't try to fool Batum by running him into a pick-and-roll set. While covering ball-handlers in that situation, he allowed just 0.69 points per possession, which was good for the 83.5th percentile. It was easier to fool him elsewhere, but his length and quickness allowed him to thrive all over.

    Rebounding

    6/8

    Batum does a nice job converting most of his many rebounding chances, but it's the manner in which he earns them that holds him back. While some swingmen are willing to put their bodies on the line and box out bigger players, he typically waits and feasts on the easier opportunities. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Various injuries to Batum's lower extremities kept him out of the lineup for a dozen games, but he picked up the slack by averaging 35 minutes and remaining in near-constant motion. He was on the brink of losing a durability point, but that two-way intensity pushed him just over the top. 

    Overall

    83/100

    It's not that Batum was a bad player while in Rip City, so much as the Portland coaching staff failed to use him like the Hornets did. During his first season with Charlotte, he was allowed to serve as a primary ball-handler, creating shots for both himself and his teammates while enjoying something close to autonomy. That newfound freedom allowed him to make the proverbial leap into All-Star territory, even if he ultimately didn't receive that honor for the Eastern Conference. 

6. Carmelo Anthony, CF, New York Knicks

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    Scoring

    18/20

    Scoring has always been and will always be Carmelo Anthony's primary strength. Whether he's torturing opponents in the post, jab stepping to create space for a jumper or putting the ball on the floor and attacking the basket, he's more than capable of impressive point totals. That doesn't mean we can just look past his diminished output—the result of his making a concerted effort to share the ball with his younger teammates—and ineffectiveness from beyond the arc. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/17

    Even though Anthony struggled to establish a rhythm with his jumper, defenders knew they couldn't leave him open on the perimeter and wait for him to heat up. It was in their best interest to contest his catches and force him to use his solid—and improving—distributing skills.

    Defense

    30/40

    Given Anthony's reputation as a defensive sieve, you might expect him to be porous in every situation. But while he struggled to protect the rim as a power forward and often ball-watched away from the primary action, he was at least somewhat comfortable guarding ball-handlers in pick-and-roll sets (58.4th percentile) and showed nicely in isolation defense (79.7th percentile).

    Rebounding

    13/13

    Always among the best rebounders at his position, Anthony fared rather well in 2015-16 even when matched up against power forwards with distinct size advantages. He thrived in every part of our criteria—creating plenty of opportunities on the glass (11.1 per game), converting a high percentage (an astounding 69.4) and grabbing plenty of contested boards (1.9 per contest).

    Durability

    10/10

    An unspecified illness, a sprained right ankle, a sore left knee and a migraine all kept Anthony out of the lineup in 2015-16 but only for a total of 10 games. He was almost always active and spent the vast majority of those outings on the floor. 

    Overall

    84/100

    Anthony changed in 2015-16, and the results led to lower scoring outputs that gave a misleading impression he was on the decline. In reality, he was willing to sacrifice his individual glory for the betterment of the team by facilitating the growth of his teammates, becoming a more willing passer and sliding over to the 4 (as he had a few years prior). His season was beneficial in the present, and it should set the table for even more growth going forward. 

5. Klay Thompson, SM, Golden State Warriors

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    Scoring

    18/22

    Few shooters like Klay Thompson have ever graced the NBA. He made 42.5 percent of his triples while taking 8.1 attempts per game in 2015-16—numbers matched only by a fellow Splash Brother throughout league history. The only issue here is his universal dependency on the rest of the Golden State Warriors, since the strength of his teammates frees him up and their passes put him in the right position to succeed. That's not to say Thompson couldn't lead a team in a different situation—just that context hurts him in this metric. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    18/20

    As one of the league's deadliest shooters, Thompson gets a perfect score in off-ball offense. Let's just get that out of the way. It's his facilitating that's less than perfect, as he experienced some backsliding after his progress in 2014-15. He generates plenty of secondary assists in the Dubs' movement-heavy schemes but rarely serves as the initial playmaker. 

    Defense

    37/40

    The best thing about Thompson's defense is his willingness to guard the toughest assignments at multiple positions. He's listed as a swingman here because he spent the vast majority of his time bouncing between shooting guard and small forward, but he was perfectly willing to switch over to a point guard and show off his lockdown ability there. 

    Rebounding

    5/8

    For the first time in his professional career, Thompson was an above-average rebounder for his position. He's still not great at converting the opportunities he produces, but to his credit, he was willing to box out bigger players and grab tougher boards than ever before. 

    Durability

    10/10

    A sore back and a sprained ankle kept Thompson out for one game apiece, but that was it. The rest of the season, he was on the floor for 33.3 minutes per contest and spent that time in constant motion. His defensive responsibilities and off-ball work on offense ensured an incredible work rate for the position. 

    Overall

    88/100

    There's no longer any doubt Thompson has emerged as one of the league's best two-way players, even if he's a limited facilitator and does the majority of his scoring in an off-ball setting. Few players have ever been able to shoot this well, and the list dwindles further when you include this swingman's ability to lock down multiple positions. He wasn't the MVP, but the Warriors wouldn't have hit 73 wins—or come close to the record—without him. 

4. Paul George, CF, Indiana Pacers

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    Scoring

    18/20

    Paul George couldn't maintain sterling percentages while he averaged a career-best 23.1 points, but his ability to get to the free-throw line and convert those looks at an 86 percent clip allowed him to retain impressive efficiency levels. George still struggles to knock down mid-range attempts, but that is nearly negated by shot-creating prowess and the volume of his contributions. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/17

    Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Those are one of George's few offensive flaws, since he averaged 3.4 per 36 minutes despite not filling the role of a traditional playmaker. He's capable of playing like a point forward, but he forces the Indiana Pacers to live with plenty of mental mistakes when he grows too aggressive. 

    Defense

    36/40

    The most detrimental part of George's defense came while at power forward and left as the last line of defense. The 6'9" combo forward allowed opponents to shoot 54 percent in that scenario, 2.9 times per game at the hoop.

    Rebounding

    12/13

    George has always been a strong rebounder, and last season was no different. Though he could occasionally be overaggressive and challenge those clearly in a superior position, his desire often paid off, resulting in more chances per game than any other qualifying combo forward.

    Durability

    10/10

    The concerns over George's horrifically broken leg are now firmly rooted in the past. Not only did he play 81 games, missing just one to recover from a lower leg bruise, but he also spent 34.8 minutes per contest on the floor. In no time at all, he went from staving off injury concerns to finishing in the top 10 for total minutes played. 

    Overall

    90/100

    No matter where the Pacers played George, he was excellent. Early in the year (read: prior to Myles Turner's development into a rotation big), he spent more time at the 4 and tortured bigger players with his quickness and shot-creating ability from the perimeter. Late in the season, he slid back to his natural 3 spot and thrived as a ball-hounding defender who could run the show as a dual-threat option on offense. It all worked. 

3. Kevin Durant, CF, Golden State Warriors

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    Scoring

    20/20

    If you went into a lab to engineer a player who could score more effectively than Kevin Durant, your ideal model would probably be an inferior version. Durant has every tool imaginable, given his size (6'9", 240 lbs), strength, speed, instincts and skill. He's a matchup nightmare for any defender, and he nearly joined the 50/40/90 club again while averaging 28.2 points and creating much of his own offense. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/17

    Durant's perfection doesn't end with scoring. The mere threat of him on the wings is enough to alter a defensive scheme, and ICE data provided by B/R Insights indicates his combined spot-up effective field-goal percentage and gravitational pull were greater than nearly every other player's. As if that's not enough, he's blossomed into a phenomenal playmaker who always puts teammates in advantageous positions. No combo forward had a higher score in our facilitating metric.

    Defense

    34/40

    With his lanky arms and inhuman quickness, Durant has the tools to serve as a disruptive defensive force. He can occasionally show lackluster effort levels as he conserves energy for offensive exploits, but he's an above-average player in every situation tracked by SportVU—in isolation, against pick-and-roll ball-handlers, roll men, post-ups, spot-up shooters, hand-offs and players coming off screens.

    Rebounding

    12/13

    Durant was already a tremendous rebounder, yet he upped his game by averaging a career-best 8.2 boards. Though he benefited from playing for an Oklahoma City Thunder squad that created the most rebounding chances throughout the NBA, he was one of the best at converting his own opportunities. Durant produced 11.3 chances per game and converted a staggering 72.6 percent. 

    Durability

    10/10

    Even though he entered the season with legitimate concerns about the long-term health of his troublesome foot, Durant played 72 games while filling a huge role for OKC. Better still, it wasn't even his foot that kept him out of the lineup. That job belonged to a strained left hamstring and sprained right big toe.

    Overall

    93/100

    Given how good Durant was in 2015-16, it's staggering that four players finished ahead in the MVP voting, including one of his own ex-teammates (Russell Westbrook). That wasn't held against a player fighting to acquit himself of an injury that's proved so devastating to players with Durant's size. He re-asserted himself as one of the NBA's deadliest offensive threats while providing across-the-board contributions, which no doubt has his new Golden State Warriors rather excited. 

2. Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Antonio Spurs

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    Scoring

    18/20

    Remember when Kawhi Leonard's biggest weakness coming out of San Diego State was lack of shooting ability? So much for that. In his fifth professional season, he averaged 21.2 points on 50.6 percent from the field, 44.3 percent from downtown and 87.4 percent at the stripe. He's now on the verge of joining the most exclusive club (50/40/90) while posting gaudy scoring totals. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/20

    Leonard has developed into a fearsome off-ball threat, but his facilitating isn't quite up to that same standard. The San Antonio Spurs don't use him as a primary playmaker, instead letting his assists stem from the ball-sharing system head coach Gregg Popovich has fine-tuned over the years. 

    Defense

    39/40

    Even though the award is traditionally reserved for big men, Leonard has now won Defensive Player of the Year during each of the last two seasons. He's as close as it gets in a league where no player is a perfect defender against NBA-caliber wings. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    A 6'7" small forward with upper-tier hops is a huge advantage. So too is having hands so large you could palm a beach ball. If a rebound is in Leonard's vicinity, there's a great chance he's going to come down with it, no matter how many inferior players get their smaller mitts on the leather.

    Durability

    10/10

    Leonard played 72 games, missing time to recover from an upper respiratory infection, gastroenteritis, tightness in his left calf and a bruised right quadriceps. When healthy, he played so many minutes and was active enough that he still finished in the top 20 for total physio load, per ICE data provided by B/R Insights. 

    Overall

    94/100

    Tim Duncan retires, and San Antonio replaces the future Hall of Famer with a player on a trajectory toward Springfield. Leonard is already that good, winning Defensive Player of the Year while becoming one of the league's most dangerous offensive presences. According to NBA Math's total points added, he added 386.04 points to the cause—the No. 6 score in 2015-16, as well as a total that beats out all but two of the single-season scores produced during Duncan's legendary career.

1. LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Scoring

    19/20

    LeBron James had trouble scoring outside the paint, hampered by an ineffective jumper and defenses that did everything possible to keep him from the rim. It still didn't matter. His overwhelming physicality allowed him to work into the restricted area, seemingly at will and to the point he still averaged 25.3 points with a true shooting percentage of 58.8 percent—numbers only 25 other qualified players have matched throughout the Association's history. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/20

    Even though his assist totals don't match the leagues leaders, James may be the NBA's best passer. His ability to make cross-court feeds and hit his targets perfectly while barreling to the basket at full speed is unsurpassed. Unfortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the same can't be said about his floor-spacing acumen. According to ICE data provided by B/R Insights, he finished behind 255 players in combined effective field-goal percentage on spot-up shots and gravitational pull. 

    Defense

    38/40

    After allowing for a bit of defensive slack the last few years, James played like he was on a mission in 2015-16. He thrived in every set imaginable, though he did still take a few possessions off to recover and prepare for his typically immense offensive burden. Perhaps most impressive is that he finished in the 87th percentile when guarding spot-up shooters—an area that high-usage players often struggle in because close-outs require so much effort. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    James pulling down a defensive rebound and then jump-starting a fast-break opportunity, sans outlet feed, is a pretty common sight in Northeast Ohio. So too is him bursting to the basket for a second-chance opportunity. Along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gay and P.J. Tucker, he was one of four players to qualify as a small forward and record over two contested boards per game.

    Durability

    10/10

    Remember when the world was fretting over the health of James' back? So much for that. He missed only six games in 2015-16, and his absences stemmed solely from maintenance-related rest rather than any specific injuries. 

    Overall

    94/100

    When James leaves it all on the court, as he did while steering the Cavaliers to their historic come-from-behind NBA title, there's no one better. Even when he's pacing himself during the regular season, he's a once-in-a-lifetime presence. This forward simply does everything well, with the lone exception of perimeter shooting. And though that's such a key part of modern offense, it almost doesn't matter for a player who can get to the rim at will during and beyond his age-31 season.