On Monday afternoon, SBNation released a list of the players they believe will be the top 100 players in the league by 2017. The picks were made by respected bloggers/writers like Paul Flannery, Mike Prada, Jonathan Tjarks, Tom Ziller, Conrad Kaczmarek and Ricky O’Donnell.
Rajon Rondo(34), Avery Bradley(78) and Jeff Green(94) were the only current Celtics to make the list. While I’m glad they recognized those three as top 100 players I can’t help but feel that some of them were ranked a little low and here’s why.
Rajon Rondo: Rondo came in at 34 and was probably the one I agreed with the most.
Here’s what Paul Flannery had to say about Rondo:
“I’ve long ago given up ranking Rondo by conventional measures. He’s been the best player on the court in playoff games with certain Hall of Famers and verified All-Timers, and he’s disappeared at other times. My biggest concern is his lack of a consistent jumper as he ages, especially coming off an ACL injury that could begin to erode his dynamic first step.
All of that and considering the fact that Rondo will have turned about 31 by 2017 and be in his 11th season. The biggest problem with Rondo going forward, as Flannery said, will be compensating for a projected loss of athleticism with a game that relies heavily on it. For someone who at this point in his career is dependent on elite level speed and athleticism it’s hard to see him continuing his success with out developing reliable jumper. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before(See Kidd, Jason) and he’s already improved his mid range jumper but the three point shot will be a vital addition to Basketball aging.
Avery Bradley(78): Coming in at 78, Avery’s ranking while not too outrageously low I thought could’ve been moved up a few spots. Being behind both Dennis Schroeder & Javale Mcgee was a bit of an undersell.
Tom Ziller weighed in on Bradley:
“He’s a stud defender, and if Tony Allen has taught us one thing, shutdown perimeter defense is mighty important, even in the absence of offensive touch. Bradley will be valuable throughout his career so long as he continues to make life Hell from his marks.”
Defensively we all know how important Avery was to the Celtics. His return to the Celtics jump started a previously mediocre defense in the start of the season to a top 5 defensive club. While his defense is incredibly valuable, his offense and durability may hurt his chances to sustain a long career.
Offensively he’s already shown a penchant for being able to score on cuts— he scored 1.15 ppp last season on cuts, per Synergy Sports —- and knock down the occasional spot up corner 3 —- he scored 0.93 ppp on spot up shots and shot 37% on spot up 3s —- but at this stage of his career he’s still dependent on playing with an actual point guard. He displayed last year that he’s definitely not ready to be counted upon to be the primary ball handler or facilitator both things which may sway his value upwards as his career goes forward but now he’s still incredibly dependent on playing with Rondo and feeding of off cuts to the Basketball and open jumpers.
With the way Avery plays you still have to be worried about his durability. In the past 2 season he’s missed 50 games due to injury and it almost like his intense style of full court defense could be a factor in his injury problems. I’m not suggesting that he completely alter the way he plays defense but maybe for the longevity of his career he should pick and choose his spots more carefully.
Jeff Green(94): This was probably the most interesting ranking of the three and one that I can’t really agree with putting him that low but I understand the reasoning for doing it.
Here’s Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog basically summing up my thoughts on Jeff Green:
“I can’t tell yet if Green is a Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none or a versatile future star. I think it all boils down to consistency, and only time can determine that one way or the other”
If there’s one Celtic worthy of being described as enigmatic –whose name isn’t Rajon Rondo–Jeff has definitely earned it. It’s not so much that his personality is a mystery, it’s just that no one ever knows which Jeff we’re getting. We could be watching him drop 40+ points on the Miami Heat or we could watch him be indifferent and undecided in his moves.
He’s shown significant improvements in both defense and outside shooting but he hasn’t given us a large enough sample size to determine whether or not those improvements will hold up over time. It’s also unknown how this “new” version of Jeff Green will handle playing with Rondo. Green’s best games came after Rondo suffered the ACL injury and after he gained a bump in his usage. There are many unknowns in Green’s game but physical ability is there and all he needs is for the consistency to catch up.
There were no major gripes about SBN’s list here on my end. They captured the state the league is heading towards adequately sans a few disagreements. Their analysis on the three Celtics was spot on and I recommend that you give it a read.