On Thursday, Sports Illustrated posted a list of their top 10 NBA players to finish their top 100 list for the 2016 season. Anthony Davis was ranked third, ahead of Stephen Curry and James Harden but behind Kevin Durant (#2) and LeBron James (#1). Below is their reasoning:
The tradeoff in giving Kevin Durant the benefit of the doubt as the No. 2 player in our rankings is that it underrates Davis. Fit this one with an asterisk for upward mobility; no other player in the NBA can quite match Davis’s plausible upside as a still-growing 22-year-old MVP candidate. It seems only a matter of time until Davis becomes the consensus choice for the best in the game—a reality that could come to fruition as soon as this season. For now, we prefer LeBron James and a healthy Durant. For tomorrow, we unquestionably prefer Davis.
Logical arguments could probably be made for each of their top 5 ranked players to be placed in any slot, but their final result does seem to be a bit of a head scratcher. Steph won the Most Valuable Player Award last season, but he's ranked fourth? Harden finished with the second highest amount of MVP votes, but he's fifth?
Meanwhile, Durant is coming off a lost season in which he had three procedures done on the same foot. Jones' fractures are not friendly to players who hover around 7 feet tall, just ask Yao Ming, Bill Walton or Brook Lopez.
Against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, LeBron James was the best player on the floor most of the time; however, that fact should not exclude he missed 13 games last season nor that he's going to be 31 years old in December.
Oh well, at least AD now has some bulletin board material, especially when he faces the couple of names picked ahead of him.