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Top 100 Players For The 2021-22 NBA Season: 100-51

Top 100 Players For The 2021-22 NBA Season: 100-51

Numerous candidates can make the top-100 players in the NBA. The rankings were determined by a combination of data and subjective evaluation. Players were looked at for their skills and taken out of their team contexts. These rankings were specifically for the upcoming season and do not take into perspective what their long-term outlook is

Availability due to injury was taken into account, so players like Kawhi Leonard and Jamal Murray were omitted. This is not a representation of a player’s trade or market value either. The list tries to take into account a player’s impact on offense, defense, and overall skill set. The rankings begin with 100-51 with the rest following soon. Hope you are ready to debate!

100. Alex Caruso

Caruso is good enough to start in the league. After all, he was the starting point guard for the 2020 Los Angeles Lakers championship team. With all the talent that made up the roster last year, Caruso came off the bench in a different role. As he switches gears and joins the Chicago Bulls, he will look to provide a similar role.

While Caruso’s game is limited to dunks and midrange jumpers, his defensive abilities will help improve a Bulls team that lacked defensive guards. If Caruso started all year, he would receive votes for All-Defensive Team honors. Instead, he is going to do all the dirty work and non-recognizable parts of the game to help his team win.

99. Rui Hachimura

The buzz around the Russell Westbrook trade has centered around Montrezl Harrelll, Kyle Kuzma, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Many forget that Hachimura had a fine season last year. In 57 games, Hachimura averaged 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds, while shooting 47.8% from the field. The 23-year old enters his third season in the league and should be entering his best season.

The talent that was brought in should make him a better player. Assuming that he can stay healthy, the Wizards should have one of the better power forwards in the league.

98. Dwight Howard

The way Howard closed out the season last year, showed that Howard has plenty left in the tank. While Howard is long away from his All-NBA and Defensive Player of the Year honors, he remains one of the best centers in the league. Howard brings a type of physicality to the team when he enters the game. He makes it tough for centers, especially if the team is playing small, to guard him.

Howard averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds last year. If Howard was starting and playing 30 minutes per game, he would be averaging a double-double. Instead, Howard has accepted his role coming off the bench, so averaging double-digit rebounds for the first time in 2017 is unlikely. With that said, his production in limited time makes his overall team better.

97. Derrick White

In his second full season, White averaged 15.4 points in 29.6 minutes of action. While White’s contributions are not as large as some of his Spurs teammates, we saw flashes of White being a consistent offensive option for the team. White shot nearly 50% when he took corner three-point shots. If White can improve defensively, maybe he can grow into being a PJ Tucker lite.

White is 27 years old despite feeling like he is a young prospect. With this being his third full season in the league, we should expect to see a transition towards his best season yet.

96. Will Barton

We are going to see Will Barton have the best year in his career. With Jamal Murray out until at least February, Barton will have an increased role on the offensive floor. Barton will need to be the third-best option alongside Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. In 2017-2018, Barton averaged 15.7 points and 5.0 rebounds. We will likely see a jump this year.

Barton shot his best three-point field goal percentage last year at 38%. This will also be the first time that Barton shoots over 40%. The opportunity is there and his skillset is growing. The 30-year old is going to continue to help the Nuggets contend for the playoffs.

95. Tyler Herro

Everyone wanted to dismantle Herro for being a “distraction” that they were too busy not realizing that he improved from his rookie season. Everyone thought Herro was going to take off and become the next Steph Curry overnight for his performance in the 2020 NBA Finals. What everyone forgot was that Herro was only a rookie at the time.

Herro averaged 15.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 54 games and 30.3 minutes of action per night. Those are solid numbers for a 21-year old. This could be the first season that Herro averages 20 points. With an influence like Kyle Lowry in the locker room, we should expect great things this year.

94. Chris Boucher

With Pascal Siakam battling injuries, Boucher saw his minutes increase to 24.2 per game. Boucher played well averaging 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, including a 51.4% shooting clip. His defensive awareness included 1.9 blocks as well. All of these numbers were career highs.

With Kyle Lowry of the mid-30s the team, the Raptors are limited offensive, which means the team will look to Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Boucher. Assuming he keeps his role eating big minutes, we could see a big jump in Boucher this season.

93. Jusef Nurkic

Nurkic is finally healthy, which easily means he is a top-100 player. Despite playing a combined 45 regular-season games the last two years, Nurkic has displayed enough to convince us that he is a top center in the league. In 37 games, Nurkic averaged 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks.

Nurkic also brings defensive value. In the playoffs, Nurkic was tasked with guarding MVP Nikola Jokic, which took away parts of his offensive game. Chauncey Billups has been on record saying he will look to expand Nurkic’s role, so that will be exciting to see what that looks like.

92. Tim Hardaway Jr.

In the last two seasons, Hardaway has come close to shooting 40% from three-point range but has come up short at 39%. When the Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis and Hardaway, the team stumbled upon two future starters in 2018. Despite not averaging over his career-high 19.1 points the last two full seasons, Hardaway has developed into the third-best shooter on the team.

Overall, Hardaway is a deep-ball threat, but the Mavericks would like to see him average closer to 20 points after giving him a new contract extension. That would also include him shooting over 40% from deep for the first time in his career.

91. Larry Nance Jr.

At one point, Nance was contending for leading the league in steals until he got injured. In 35 games, Nance averaged 1.7 steals to go with 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds. His overall athletic ability is going to help the defensive front in Portland, which is why the team dealt a first-round pick for his services.

Nance is going to like Draymond Green in Portland but without the rebounding abilities. He is going to do whatever it takes to win from a team perspective. With Nance and Jurkic in the frontcourt, this team could have a very improved defensive front.

90. Gary Trent Jr.

The Raptors acquired Trent for Norman Powell before the deadline. In 17 games, Trent averaged 16.2 points and shot 35.5% from the three-point range. His percentage was significantly lower than his shooting percentage of 39.7% with Portland, as well as his 41.8% from the year before.

The team swapped two players in contract years, but the Raptors got the better building piece as Trent is 22 years old. As the Raptors transition towards a new regime of players, Trent will be a core player moving forward. With the tandem of Trent and Fred VanVleet, the Raptors could have the best depth at pure shooting guards.

89. Norman Powell

Powell was rewarded a lot of money for someone that has never made an All-Star team. ​​In 27 games after being acquired from Toronto, Powell averaged 17.0 points. With that said, his three-point shooting percentage decreased from 43% to 36% in those games. The Trail Blazers will need more from him to compete at a high level.

Powell was a key contributor to the Raptors’ championship team in 2019. His ability to shoot the deep ball is why he was considered a key acquisition by the team. For the last three years, Powell has shot close to 40% from outside.

88. Duncan Robinson

Robinson is the modern-day Kyle Korver. After shooting above 40% from three-point range for the second straight year, Robinson was rewarded with a massive contract extension by the Miami Heat. He is vital to that offense as their primary outside shooter in the starting lineup.

In three seasons, Robinson has already surpassed a career-high set by Korver during his playing days. He never averaged over 12.1 points per game, while Robinson averaged 13.1 last year. With a ceiling unknown, it’s going to be fun to see how far up he can go.

87. Carmelo Anthony

Speaking of streaky outside shooters, Anthony proved to the world that he still belongs in the league and is a top-100 player. In 24.5 minutes per game, Anthony tied a career-low for points per game with 13.4 as he came off the bench, but connected on 40.9% of his outside shots.

The three-point field goal percentage was a career-high. Imagine this. Anthony has played in the league since 2003. He has won a scoring title, made numerous All-NBA appearances, and played in big moments. Last year was the best he ever shot from outside. If that isn’t evolving, then we don’t know what is.

86. Tyrese Haliburton

This is an interesting player to keep an eye on this year. After a stellar rookie season that saw him average 13.0 points and 5.3 assists, the Kings point guard looks to take the next step in his development. His shooting percentages are also consistent with the league averages, including his 40.9% clip from deep.

With Halliburton in the fold, we could see a huge season from De’Aaron Fox as that allows him to free up more in a scoring role. It will be a couple of years before Haliburton fully develops, but he is making a case for being considered as one of the better point guards in the NBA.

85. Goran Dragic

Everyone has to be wondering what is taking the Mavericks so long to try and make a deal for Dragic. After being traded to the Raptors in a sign-and-trade with Kyle Lowry, Dragic remains on the team for now. Dragic could easily look to have a reunion with the Heat after averaging 13.4 points and 4.4 assists.

What Dragic brings to the table is a winning attitude. Dragic might be 35 years old, but he remains one of the better backups in the league.

84. Richaun Holmes

It was a career season for Holmes, who averaged 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and shot a near career-high 63.7% from the field. Holmes shot 64% from the field in his previous year, making it two straight years that Holmes converted on 60% or better of his shots.

While Holmes is not as dynamic of a player as DeMarcus Cousins in his heyday, he is the long-term answer at center for the Kings. Holmes was also dynamic on the defensive side of the ball, averaging 1.6 blocks.

83. Keldon Johnson

Last year, Johnson did enough to impress Gregg Popovich to join the Olympic team. In his second season in the NBA, Johnson averaged 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds. At 21-years old, Johnson is one of the more exciting young players to watch this season.

Johnson can play both power forward and small forward. Now, we just need to see him become a playmaker. The Olympic experience had to be good for his development despite averaging 1.0 points in four games. At the end of the day, he is still a gold medalist and was already coming off a successful season.

82. RJ Barrett

We are at an intriguing crossroads with Barrett in his development. Barrett could either stay the same or make a bid for an All-Star team this year. Barrett averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and shot 40.1% from deep. Not to mention, he was a great defensive piece in the Knicks’ team defense.

When thinking of old players, Barrett shows glimpses of a player like Luol Deng when he plays. Deng was an All-Star caliber player with the Bulls, who once averaged 18.8 points per game his third season in the league. With Barrett approaching his third season, could we see a similar jump?

81. Dejounte Murray

Last year, Murray broke onto the scene and is making a push towards being a top-80 player. In 67 games, Murray averaged 15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.5 steals. At times, Murray was the best overall offensive player on the team when DeMar DeRozan was out. For now, he is a lock as the team’s starting point guard moving forward.

Murray has a very limited shooting stroke but fills in his role as the team’s primary playmaker. With young pieces all around him, Murray will continue to facilitate, but we could see his best years ahead of him as he enters his prime at the age of 25 years old.

80. Derrick Rose

Rose should be a contender for Sixth Man of the Year this season. Down the stretch, especially in the playoffs, Rose was the team’s best player on offense. What is more impressive is that Rose is a perfect fit for the team on offense. In 35 regular-season games after being traded by the Pistons to the Knicks, Rose shot over 40% from three-point range for the first time in his career.

The former MVP is healthy and is trending towards having a season like Lou Willims back in his prime. Williams was a 20-point scorer that could contribute about five assists each night. With a full offseason to prepare, Rose could be on that level this year.

79. Harrison Barnes

If the Kings don't compete this year, keep an eye on Harrison Barnes at the trade deadline. Barnes makes $20 million this season and $18 million next year. That is relatively average for a player that is averaging 16.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, and shooting 39.1% from three-point range.

Barnes is similar to players like Grary Trent Jr., and Norman Powell. The only difference is that Barnes has won a championship dating back to his days playing with the Golden State Warriors.

78. Devonte’ Graham

Fans in New Orleans should love this move because you are getting a 26-year old point guard that once averaged 18.2 points and 7.5 assists per game when he was the primary ball-handler. When the Charlotte Hornets drafted LaMelo Ball, it impacted his overall numbers, but Graham still shot consistently from the field and three-point range.

Graham is going to have a field day playing alongside Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Graham has the potential from an offensive standpoint to play like Jrue Holiday. If he can be a lite version of Holiday, as well as improve his defense, the Pelicans will have an exciting trio.

77. OG Anunoby

Before getting hurt, Anunoby was having one of the best offensive seasons in his career with 15.9 points and a 39.8% clip from deep. Speaking of elite players, Anunoby is a pure hustler player like Bam Adebayo. At 24 years old and an increased role, we could see similar comparisons; although, Anunoby is the better outside shooter.

Defensively, he has the upside to make the All-Defensive team. With an increased role with Lowry gone, the combination of Anunoby, Boucher, and Siakam could help vault the Raptors back to the top of the standings in defensive efficiency.

76. Jordan Clarkson

The 2021 Sixth Man of the Year took off last year with the Utah Jazz. Clarkson averaged a career-high 18.4 points. Clarkson was the leader of the second unit and allowed players like Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley Jr. to take a rest and keep the offense rolling.

What is holding Clarkson back is his outside shooting. His 34.7% clip from three-point range is not good enough. With that said, Clarkson is a great finisher with a solid midrange game. If he makes that minor tweak to his game, he will be a top-70 player for sure.

75. Evan Fournier

Fournier sneaks into the top-75 based on efforts with the Magic and Celtics last year. While many want to complain that he averaged six fewer points with the Celtics, you have to understand that he went from being the main offense in Orlando to being a key piece of the team in Boston. For those believing that Fournier will average 20 points with the Knicks, he could do that given the talent around him.

Fournier has the potential to do that based on his last 1.5 years with the Magic. However, when looking at his 16 games with the Celtics, what sticks out was his ability to shoot 46.3% from three-point range. With a team that will shoot the three many times this year, Fournier will have plenty of chances this year.

74. Montrezl Harrell

The 2020 Sixth Man of the Year was not used right in Los Angeles. Harrell went from being a starter to backup to not being involved in the rotation during the playoffs. Harrell gave the Lakers a solid stat line of 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and finished shooting above 60% from the field for the fifth time in six seasons in the league.

For now, Daniel Gafford is viewed as the starting center in Washington, but that could be the best-case scenario for Harrell. He played better in a non-starting role. We could see a push for Harrell to win Sixth Man of the Year again.

73. Brook Lopez

Lopez is the perfect glue guy for the Milwaukee Bucks. He can play inside, outside, you name it. He does just enough defensively to hold down the fort. All in all, the 33-year old is so vital to the team’s offensive rotation, which included shooting more than 50% from the field for the first time since 2015.

Lopez added 1.5 blocks last year to prove that he is just not a big body on the floor. Given his ability to knock down outside shots, he is one of the most versatile big men in the game.

72. Buddy Hield

The longer Luke Walton coaches the Kings, the more potential money Hield loses in future earnings. Walton and Hield are not a good combo as his last two years of sinking statistics have proven that. Hield is one of the game’s best outside shooters but has not been set up for a chance to succeed.

Hield is going to cost a team a first-round draft pick if the Kings don’t contend. In 71 games, including 34.3 minutes per night, Hield averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and shot 39.1% from three-point land in contrast to his overall 40.6% shooting clip. The Kings need to find a way to make this offense work or give Hield a new home.

71. Bojan Bogdanovic

Many people forget that in 2020 that Bogdanovic was averaging over 20 points per game until he got hurt and missed the playoffs. With Bogdanovic healthy, the Jazz surged to earning the No. 1 seed thanks to his offensive efficiency. Bogdanovic is very similar to Hield in terms of style of play, but the only difference is that he is on a winning team.

The Jazz love having his outside shooting on the floor. With Donovan Mitchell forcing team defense to collapse on him, it frees up a lot of space. In the end, Bogdanovic has proven that he can convert on those opportunities.

70. Lonzo Ball

We previously mentioned players that could be like Jrue Holiday lite and that is exactly what the Bulls are hoping for with Lonzo Ball. Last year, Ball had his best offensive season in his career with 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists. That also included his three-point shooting around 37% for the second straight year, which has steadily increased since shooting 30% his rookie year.

Ball is also one of the better wing defenders in the league. If he stays healthy, he could compete for a spot on the All-Defensive Team. For the first time in a while, the Bulls have a true point guard. Let’s see how much he can grow under a proven NBA coach in Billy Donovan.

69. Malcolm Brogdon

Brogdon is just two years removed from making the 50-40-90 club. Last year, he enjoyed a career-high in points with 21.2 to go with 5.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists. In regards to extra stats, Brogdon is one of the best rebounding point guards in the league thanks to his large frame. His defensive skills are honed thanks to that.

The Pacers are going to be interesting because Brogdon would be a player potentially traded if the team can’t compete. Brogdon is worth at least one first-round pick, but could he be worth two? The former Rookie of the Year has hit his prime in the offensive category and remains in his prime at 28 years old.

68. Anthony Edwards

If LaMelo Ball had not returned from injury, Edwards would have run away with Rookie of the Year. Despite finishing second, Edwards was at times the best offensive player for the Minnesota Timberwolves. In his rookie year, the former No. 1 overall pick averaged 19.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists.

Edwards did not shoot the ball well from outside (32.9%). However, we are giving him the benefit of the doubt as he plays on a non-competitive team. Assuming that Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell can stay healthy, Edwards could benefit from playing alongside two former All-Stars. We always see progression in Year 2, so we are expecting a lot more this season.

67. Jonas Valanciunas

He had a career year last year averaging 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds. Valanciunas established himself as one of the best rebounding centers in the league. He was also a standout finisher, converting 59.2% of his shots and well adding a 36.8% clip from deep.

For those reasons, the Pelicans swooped in and made a trade with the Grizzlies to pair him alongside Zion Williamson. Valanciunas will gobble up every board and allow Williamson to flourish in a new role in transition.

66. Terry Rozier

The 20.9 points per game was a first for Rozier in his career. Since joining the Hornets, all Rozier has done is prove doubters wrong that he was not worth a big contract. Instead, he is one of the better shooting guards in the NBA. With this being his third season in Charlotte, we could see Rozier continue to get better.

Going into this season, Rosier won’t have to worry about splitting up time with LaMelo Ball and Devonte’ Graham. What stands out the most is that Ball is going to be better. Rozier is going to have a lot of open shots. How he converts on those shots will determine if he goes up or down in these rankings.

65. Mikal Bridges

When Bridges entered the draft, his comparison was to Otto Porter Jr. In Porter’s fourth season, he averaged 13.4 points, shot 51.6% from the field, 43.4% from three-point range, and added 6.4 rebounds. In Bridges’ third season last year, he averaged 13.5 points, shot 54.3% from the field, 42.5% from three-point range, and added 4.3 rebounds.

Bridges is a far superior defender compared to Porter, but in regards to the offensive game, he is right around what Porter did in his fourth season in year three. As Bridges enters a contract year, we should see his best season yet.

64. Dennis Schroder

The 2020 Sixth Man of the Year runner-up proved he is a starter in this league. His 5.8 assists were his highest total since 2017. As he enters the Boston Celtics lineup, he will provide stability at the point guard position with the departure of Kemba Walker. Schroder can score, given by his 18.9 points per game in 2020.

Schroder should be able to thrive in an offense that will allow him to play freely. With the Lakers, the team featured some ball-dominant players. Brown and Tatum are two players that can produce without the ball in their hands, which will allow Schroder to return to his old self.

63. Fred VanVleet

VanVleet averaged a career-high 36.5 minutes per game and averaged a career-high 19.6 points per game. His three-point shooting percentage was down by three percent from two years ago, but his role has increased. VanVleet remains a deep threat three-ball shooter but also contributes 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds.

While his stats are not as eye-popping from his championship season two years ago, you have to remember that he is a key contributor on an offense with limited talent. With that said, if the Raptors are healthy, we might see a dip in VanVleet’s points total, but an increase in his shooting. He proved two years ago when he is not forcing shots, he can be highly efficient.

62. Bogdan Bogdanovic

Once upon a time, Bogdanovic was going to join the Milwaukee Bucks before the sign-and-trade was nulled and he eventually joined the Atlanta Hawks. Instead of winning a championship, Bogdanovic came close playing alongside Trae Young. By the end of the regular season, Bogdanovic still had the best season in his career.

The 16.4 points and 43.8% shooting clip from three were products of playing with talented teammates. With that said, Bogdanovic is a great fit in Atlanta and is geared towards another great season. It would not surprise anyone if he led the league in three-point field goal percentage this year.

61. Jaren Jackson Jr.​​

Call it a bold prediction, but Jaren Jackson Jr. is going to play a full season and show his raw potential. Jackson has never played more than 58 games in a season, but that will change in a contract year. In 11 games, Jackson averaged 14.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks for the Grizzlies. The combination of Ja Morant and Jackson is going to be a tough duo to stop.

Jackson remains raw in regards to NBA talent, but this appears to be the first time that he is fully healthy heading into a season. If healthy, Jackson is a top offensive power forward. We could finally see Jackson’s average numbers like Myles Turner, but better offensive value.

60. Caris LeVert

In 12 games with the Nets, LeVert looked like a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate after averaging 18.5 points and 6.0 assists per game. Then, the team traded for James Harden and LeVert was shipped to Indiana, which saved his life when the medical team found a mass. When that was removed, LeVert reverted to his productive self.

Assuming he stays healthy, LeVert is poised for a big season. In 35 games with the Pacers, he averaged 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. The 20.7 points would be a career-high, but since it was for half the season, we will stay until he still has something to prove.

59. Collin Sexton

In a contract year, we are going to see the best from Sexton. It’s a hunch based on the fact that he has steadily improved each of his last three seasons. Last year, Sexton averaged 24.3 points and shot one of his best averages of the year. Sexton’s move to shooting guard is also a primary factor too.

Sexton proved to not be a good enough playmaker to run the point, but his ability to score on all parts of the court makes him an intriguing trade chip this year. The Cavaliers have not made an inclination that they will re-sign him. If the Cavaliers are in the midst of another losing season, teams could be calling about Sexton.

58. D’Angelo Russell

Russell has played 54 total games for the Timberwolves but remains a borderline All-Star caliber player if he stays on the court. In 42 games last season, Russell averaged 19.0 points, 5.8 assists, and shot a career-high three-point field goal percentage. At 25 years old, Russell is entering his prime seasons with hopes of leading the Timberwolves out of the cellar in the Western Conference.

When evaluating Russell’s worth, he remains an enigma. Individually, Russell is an All-Star talent. When put on a team, he has made the playoffs once. Since these are player rankings, Russell’s time to shine is on this list.

57. Marcus Smart

Who is the best two-way guard in the league? Smart should come to mind as he is one of the best defensive guards in the league, as well as someone that can help put points on the board. Offensively talented, Smart’s outside game is limited, but he can draw contact and free up space for his teammates, evidenced by his 5.7 assists per night.

Smart’s real value comes from the defensive side of the ball. He is a lockdown defender that can still have enough energy to help produce on the offensive side of the ball. Look for Smart to contend for All-Defensive Team with Dennis Schroder running the point this season.

56. Klay Thompson

It’s been two years since Thompson has played a regular-season game. Two years ago, Thompson averaged 21.5 points and shot 40.2% from long range. Even though it has been this long since Thompson has played, he remains one of the best players in the league until proven otherwise.

The Splash Bros are back and that should excite everyone that is a fan of the NBA. With Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green, there are pieces to help keep Thompson successful. It will be interesting to see how Thompson returns to play after this long absence.

55. Gordon Hayward

Hayward needs to stay healthy and if he does, the Charlotte Hornets could contend for a playoff berth. In 44 games, Hayward looked like the version of himself that made the All-Star Game in 2017. His 41.5% three-point shooting clip tied a career-best in 2012. The 19.6 points were his best since making an All-Star appearance.

This production is what the Celtics thought they were getting in 2017-2018 before his freak injury cost him two years of his career. After years of sub-par play, Hayward’s production last year showed that he appeared to finally be back to his borderline All-Star self.

54. Clint Capela

Capela is on pace to contend for an All-Star appearance this season. After leading the league in rebounding (14.3), as well as a career-high in blocks (2.0), Capela was a dominant center for the Hawks. It’s hard to believe that this was the first season of Capela’s tenure with the Hawks. Imagine this year now that he has had a full season to develop chemistry with Trae Young and John Collins.

Looking ahead, Capela is putting up numbers similar to another great Hawk in Dikembe Mutombo. Granted, Mutombo was a far superior shot-blocker, but the double-double machine is putting up just as good numbers. If the Hawks want to make a return to the Conference Finals, Capela will need to repeat last year’s success.

53. Kyle Lowry

The tenacity alone that Lowry brings to a team will make this partnership with Jimmy Butler must-watch television. Lowry is the ultimate team player, but also a pretty good individual player as well. His 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists were an impressive line for a 35-year old.

Lowry is walking a similar career path as Chris Paul, older guards that are competing at a high level in their mid-30s. Lowry is going to go from playing with Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet to Butler and Bam Adebayo. This could be a very big year for Lowry.

52. Deandre Ayton

Ayton has been a productive offensive player in the league, but Chris Paul’s influence on the defensive end is what propelled Ayton to being a borderline top-50 player in the league. While Paul and Ayton are not recreating “Lob City” from his playing days in Los Angeles, the influence of Paul helped Ayton finish with the best field goal percentage of his career with 62.5%.

Ayton averaged 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds to go with 1.2 blocks. Ayton is eligible for a five-year, $173 million contract extension but remains unsigned. Draft mates Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have gotten their money while Ayton remains unsigned. To prove his worth, Ayton will have to shine like he never has before. With another year of Paul on the team and what is at stake, expect a huge season from the 2018 No. 1 overall pick.

51. Tobias Harris

Harris has averaged at least 18.0 points per game for every team he has played for since 2017. What made last year different was that it was the first time he averaged the points with a field goal percentage over 50%. Harris is no slouch. He puts up shots each night he plays, so for him to convert 51.2% is impressive.

Throw in the 39.4% shooting from three and the 6.8 rebounds, you have a pretty reliable small forward/power forward combo on your team. Harris had to pick up the offense when Joel Embiid wasn’t connecting, which is exactly what his job is. When Embiid and Harris are both hitting from all cylinders, the 76ers are hard to stop.