Numbers Game: Rankings Reveal
Numbers Game: Rankings Reveal

This article is part of our Numbers Game series.

It's mid-August. The true NBA offseason. The time of year when Reddit's r/NBA posts 1700 motifs on the history of Dwight Howard's shoulders. It's been weeks since a free agent signing, months since the draft, and preseason mini-camps are still about a month away. They say the NBA has become a year-round league. That's inaccurate. August remains outside of their grasp.

The quiet, however, provides a great opportunity for analysis. Freed from the day-to-day noise, we can sit back and spend a few days quietly burrowing into stats and tape. We can throw out our old ranks and start fresh, creating a brand-new top-150.

I didn't look at anyone else's ranks while making these.

I didn't even look at my own "way-too-early" ranks that I made back in April.

This is a totally clean slate.

A few notes:

  • The rankings assume nine-category rotisserie leagues, since that is still Yahoo's default setting (side-note: 8-cat is more fun). Some players would move for 8-cat or head-to-head leagues – Russell Westbrook would receive a big boost in either setting, for example – but most players would barely move at all.
  • I also indicate which players start and end new tiers, to give a sense of where I see big cut-offs in value. Generally speaking, within a tier I'm willing to draft out of order to better fit my team's needs, but I'm unlikely to draft someone from Tier 8 if there is still someone from Tier 7 available.
  • After we finish the top 100, there are no more tiers. At that point, the difference from one player to the next is pretty consistent – and that difference is usually small.
  • The tier names are just for fun. Domantas Sabonis is in the "counting on situation to elevate medium talent" tier, but he is incredibly talented. The name fit most of the other guys there, and the name doesn't really matter.
  • These ranks will almost certainly change as we get closer to the season.

Players who narrowly missed the cut (in no order): Tyler Herro, Wesley Matthews, Malik Beasley, Michael Porter Jr., Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Alex Len

Players who could reasonably jump into the top-120, or higher, during the preseason: Ish Smith, Isaiah Thomas, JaMychal Green, Nerlens Noel, Jarrett Culver

RankName 
1Giannis AntetokounmpoThe Clear First Pick tier
2Karl-Anthony TownsThe I Feel Great About This tier
3James Harden 
4Anthony Davis 
5Stephen CurryEND OF TIER 2
6Nikola JokicThe I'm Getting a First-Round Talent tier
7Kawhi Leonard 
8Jimmy Butler 
9Damian Lillard 
10Bradley Beal 
11Joel Embiid 
12Paul George 
13Kemba Walker 
14Andre DrummondEND OF TIER 3
15Rudy GobertThe Comfortable, Top-End Building Blocks tier
16Kyrie Irving 
17LeBron James 
18Mike Conley 
19Luka Doncic 
20Deandre AytonEND OF TIER 4
21Ben SimmonsThe I'd Rather Have Them a Round Later But I'm Running Out of Names tier
22Pascal Siakam 
23Nikola VucevicEND OF TIER 5
24Trae YoungThe I'd Be Happier With Them in the Fourth but They Won't Be There tier"
25Devin Booker 
26Kristaps Porzingis 
27Brook Lopez 
28Mitchell Robinson 
29Clint Capela 
30Jrue Holiday 
31Zion Williamson 
32Chris Paul 
33Myles Turner 
34DeMar DeRozan 
35Al Horford 
36Kyle Lowry 
37Draymond Green 
38LaMarcus AldridgeEND OF TIER 6
39Russell WestbrookThe Now This is Starting to Feel Like Great Value tier
40John Collins 
41Buddy Hield 
42Tobias Harris 
43Kelly Oubre Jr. 
44Donovan Mitchell 
45Lauri Markkanen 
46Khris Middleton 
47Blake Griffin 
48Robert Covington 
49Danilo Gallinari 
50De'Aaron Fox 
51C.J. McCollum 
52Jamal Murray 
53Jaren Jackson Jr.END OF TIER 7
54Otto Porter Jr.The Vastly Underappreciated tier
55Thomas Bryant 
56Kevin Love 
57Eric Bledsoe 
58Derrick Favors 
59D'Angelo Russell 
60Malcolm Brogdon 
61Jayson TatumEND OF TIER 8
62Victor OladipoThe "I'm now willing to take some big swings on astronomical upside" tier
63DeMarcus Cousins*NOTE: Cousins suffered a torn ACL and will likely miss the entire 2019-20 season.
64Marc Gasol 
65Bam Adebayo 
66Larry Nance Jr. 
67Zach LaVine 
68Hassan WhitesideEND OF TIER 9
69Joe InglesThe Betting on Talent to Overcome Situation tier
70Lonzo Ball 
71Julius Randle 
72Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 
73Serge Ibaka 
74Josh Richardson 
75T.J. Warren 
76Marvin Bagley III 
77Jonas Valanciunas 
78Gordon Hayward 
79Paul Millsap 
80Jerami Grant 
81Aaron GordonEND OF TIER 10
82Justise WinslowThe Counting on Situation to Elevate Talent tier
83Ricky Rubio 
84Steven Adams 
85JaVale McGeeNote: McGee moves into the mid-60s in the wake of Cousins' injury.
86Wendell Carter Jr. 
87Domantas Sabonis 
88Cedi Osman 
89Derrick Rose 
90Bojan BogdanovicEND OF TIER 10
91Ja MorantThe Go Get Your Guys tier
92Enes Kanter 
93Terry Rozier 
94Rui Hachimura 
95Derrick White 
96Dwight Powell 
97Jonathan Isaac 
98Willie Cauley-Stein 
99Marcus SmartEND OF TIER 11
100Rudy Gay 
101Jarrett Allen 
102Terrence Ross 
103J.J. Redick 
104Mikal Bridges 
105Brandon Ingram 
106Dario Saric 
107Dewayne Dedmon 
108DeAndre Jordan 
109Coby White 
110Jaylen Brown 
111Dejounte Murray 
112Jeff Teague 
113Miles Bridges 
114Evan Fournier 
115Delon Wright 
116Nicolas Batum 
117Montrezl Harrell 
118D.J. Augustin 
119Andrew Wiggins 
120Patrick Beverley 
121Lou Williams 
122Jusuf Nurkic 
123OG Anunoby 
124Trevor Ariza 
125Danny Green 
126Gary Harris 
127Rajon Rondo 
128Fred VanVleet 
129Tomas Satoransky 
130Klay Thompson 
131Thaddeus Young 
132Jeremy Lamb 
133Josh Okogie 
134Landry Shamet 
135Brandon Clarke 
136Caris LeVert 
137Spencer Dinwiddie 
138Collin Sexton 
139Harry Giles 
140Kevin Huerter 
141Zach Collins 
142Kyle Kuzma 
143Jabari Parker 
144Kevon Looney 
145Elfrid Payton 
146Ivica Zubac 
147RJ Barrett 
148P.J. Tucker 
149Monte Morris 
150Joe Harris 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Rikleen
Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball and was a nominee for the 2016 FSWA Newcomer of the Year Award. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living outside Boston.
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