Will Kevin Durant Leave the Warriors?
The Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant will be a free agent next summer. Will he stay or will he leave the Warriors?
The NBA Top 50 players list is starting to become more clear. I have ranked players 50-21. In case you are just tuning into this list, here's who has been ranked so far: 50. Andre Iguodala, Guard, Golden State Warriors, 49. Malcolm Brogdon, Guard, Milwaukee Bucks, 48. Goran Dragic, Guard, Miami Heat, 47. Brandon Ingram, Forward, Los Angeles Lakers, 46. Dennis Schroder, Guard, Atlanta Hawks, 45. Al Horford, Center, Boston Celtics, 44. Khris Middleton, Guard/Forward, Milwaukee Bucks, 43. Jonas Valanciunas, Center, Toronto Raptors, 42. Andrew Wiggins, Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves, 41. Steven Adams, Center, Oklahoma City Thunder, 40. Kemba Walker, Guard, Charlotte Hornets, 39. Kyle Lowry, Guard, Toronto Raptors, 38. Dirk Nowitzki, Forward, Dallas Mavericks, 37. LaMarcus Aldridge, Forward, San Antonio Spurs, 36. Clint Capela, Center, Houston Rockets, 35. Jayson Tatum, Forward, Boston Celtics, 34. John Wall, Guard, Washington Wizards, 33. DeAndre Jordan, Center, Dallas Mavericks, 32. Carmelo Anthony, Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder, 31. Donovan Mitchell, Guard, Utah Jazz. 30. Gordon Hayward, Forward, Boston Celtics, 29. Bradley Beal, Guard, Washington Wizards, 28. C.J. McCollum, Guard, Portland Trail Blazers, 27. Blake Griffin, Forward, Detroit Pistons, 26. Victor Oladipo, Guard, Indiana Pacers, 25. Kristaps Porzingis, Forward, New York Knicks, Andre Drummond, Center, Detroit Pistons, 23. Devin Booker, Guard, Phoenix Suns, 22. Kevin Love, Forward/Center, Cleveland Cavaliers, and 21. DeMar DeRozan, Guard, Toronto Raptors.
Which players are ranked 20-11?
20. Nikola Jokic, Center, Denver Nuggets: Jokic is just 23 years old and he is one of the best inside outside players in the game. Jokic can shoot from anywhere on the floor and he is a very good defender. Jokic is a double-double waiting to happen every night and he even recorded 10 triple-doubles last season with the Denver Nuggets. Because of his play, Nikola Jokic signed a max contract with the Denver Nuggets. He is currently the face of the franchise. Jokic was a second round draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft (41st overall). He averaged 18.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 6.1 APG, 0.8 BPG, and 1.2 SPG last season.
19. Ben Simmons, Guard, Philadelphia 76ers: Simmons missed the entire 2016-2017 season because of a foot injury. He was the number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and I thought he was going to be a bust. Simmons was the complete opposite of one during his rookie season. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award over Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Boston's Jayson Tatum. Ben Simmons made his teammates better and is an elite defender already. He was one of the reasons why the Philadelphia 76ers won 52 games during the regular season and claimed the number three seed in the east. Simmons could be a top 5 to top 10 player one day at the NBA level. He needs to work on his outside shooting and if he ever knocks it down from the outside, Simmons will be impossible to stop. He averaged 15.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 8.2 APG, 0.9 BPG, and 1.7 SPG.
18. Damian Lillard, Guard, Portland Trail Blazers: Lillard might be the most forgotten super star in the entire NBA. All he does produce and make his teammates better. Lillard also has a knack for taking over games. If he played in the eastern conference, Lillard would probably be the best point guard out there, but he's like the fifth or sixth best point guard in the western conference. There is no question how good Lillard is. He averaged 26.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.6 APG, 0.4 BPG, and 1.1 SPG.
17. Karl-Anthony Towns, Center, Minnesota Timbewolves: Towns wasn't known for his outside game as well as his post game, but he does both effectively. Because of this, Towns is one of the best big men in the game. Jimmy Butler has questioned his work ethic, but all Towns does is put up numbers night in and night out. He could win the MVP Award one day. Karl-Anthony Towns averaged 21.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.4 BPG, and 0.8 SPG last season.
16. Jimmy Butler, Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves: Butler is an elite defender and he is the second best shooting guard in the NBA behind Golden State's Klay Thompson. Butler missed part of the 2017-2018 NBA season because of a torn meniscus in his knee. He was a key veteran inside the Minnesota Timberwolves locker room last season. Butler was one of the reasons why they made it to the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-2004 season. It is possible he will leave the Minnesota Timberwolves in free agency after next season because he doesn't like Towns's and Wiggins's work ethic. Jimmy Butler averaged 22.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.9 APG, 0.4 BPG, and 2 SPG, in 59 games last season.
15. Draymond Green, Forward, Golden State Warriors: Green is the glue piece to this Golden State Warriors team. He is the heart and soul of the team and brings energy every night. Green has a habit of being T'd up often, but it doesn't take what talent he has. Green is one of those players that whatever you ask him to do, he will do it. Whether that's scoring 30 points or scoring only four points and grabbing 20 rebounds. Green is also a very underrated passer, three-point shooter, and defender. He was a second round pick 2012 NBA Draft. Green has won three championships with Golden State in the past four years and if he didn't get suspended in 2016, it is quite possible they could be going for five straight titles. Draymond Green also recruited Kevin Durant to Golden State after blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Green averaged 11 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, and 1.4 SPG last season.
14. Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers: Embiid has had a history of injuries throughout his NBA career so far. Embiid missed the entire 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons with foot injuries and he was drafted third overall in 2014. His health was in much better condition during the 2017-2018 season, but he missed 19 games. That is a lot better than it has been. Even despite his health issues, Embiid received a contract extension. When healthy, Embiid is one of the most dominant forces in the NBA. He can defend, score from the inside, and score from the outside. Embiid isn't scared of anybody. He believes that he can lead the Philadelphia 76ers, along with Ben Simmons to an NBA title one day. Joel Embiid averaged 22.9 PPG, 11 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.8 BPG, and 0.6 SPG, in 63 games.
13. DeMarcus Cousins, Center, Golden State Warriors: Cousins is the best big man in the game despite having attitude problems. He signed a one-year deal worth $5.3 million to play for the Golden State Warriors. Cousins was looking for a max contract, but he didn't get one. Cousins has never played in a playoff game before. His season was cut short last season because he suffered a torn Achilles in January with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans made it to the playoffs last season with 48 wins and they claimed the number six seed. New Orleans swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round and lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors in the second round. DeMarcus Cousins averaged 25.2 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.6 BPG, and 1.6 SPG, in 48 games last season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
12. Chris Paul, Guard, Houston Rockets: Paul was a Pit Bull last season for the Houston Rockets. He was one of the reasons why the Houston Rockets won 65 games during the regular season and claimed the number one seed in the western conference. Paul showed his leadership and he actually showed a killer instinct this past season. Paul is known for being a pass first point guard but when he had to make a clutch basket, he made it. If Chris Paul didn't injure his hamstring in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors and if he was able to play in Game 6 or Game 7, the Houston Rockets would not have lost that series. Paul co-existed very well with James Harden. Chris Paul is 33 years old and he received a max contract. In 58 games last season, Chris Paul averaged 18.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 7.9 APG, 0.2 BPG, and 1.7 SPG last season.
11. Paul George, Forward/Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder: George was traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2017 offseason. He was a free agent early this offseason and a lot of people didn't know where George would play. A lot of people thought he would head home and play for the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, Paul George decided to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder and sign a four-year max contract. It seemed as if George and Russell Westbrook struggled to co-exist, but they didn't seem to after all. Paul George is one of the best two-way players in the NBA. He is very good at playing on the wing. Paul George averaged 21.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.5 BPG, 2 SPG.
Stay tuned next week for rankings 10-1.