Sports Illustrated released their top 100 players for the 2018 NBA season, its a somewhat prestigious list, that has drawn the ire of NBA players that have been left off the top 100 in years past. Luckily for the Jazz, they’ve received a very favorable ranking for their starting five by Rob Mahoney and Ben Golliver.
57. Ricky Rubio – Rubio gets a very generous ranking from SI, and frankly, I don’t know if its accurate. Rubio is a plus defender, and a great distributor, but still struggles shooting the ball. After the All-Star break he shot 43% from the floor, and 40% from the three point line, and if he can keep that up, he’s deserving of the ranking, but he’s never come close to that for a season. He had a great first round series against OKC, the Jazz need that for 82 games.
56. Joe Ingles – Ingles is deserving of this ranking because of his shooting alone, where he’s one of the most accurate perimeter shooters in the league. Now he’s mostly a spot up shooter, but has added a running floater, and improved finishing at the rim, and is a better than adequate defender.
51. Derrick Favors – Favors is the best back up center int he NBA, and a very good starting PF. His fit next to Gobert isn’t perfect, and the Jazz went away from it in the playoffs each of the last two seasons with Joe Johnson and Jae Crowder, which lets you know what the Jazz may ideally prefer in the future. Still, with Gobert’s injury risk, having Favors around to start at center in a pinch is a who advantage for the Jazz, and Favors is ultra-consistent.
34. Donovan Mitchell – Mitchell is ranked too low, at least he will be by the end of the season, as I’d be stunned if there are 33 better players than he on Earth. Mitchell can take over quarters like few others in the league, and I would be willing to bet we see him take over entire games early and often in 2018. Mitchell’s shooting numbers need to improve, but simply getting more respect from the referees will improve his offensive impact.
14. Rudy Gobert – Gobert is the Jazz best player, and is widely underrated by most outlets, expect SI apparently. Being ranked in the top 15 is a true honor, but well deserved by the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Gobert is one of the league’s most efficient offensive players, and changes the game defensively more than anyone else in the league. He’s just now entering his prime, and should continue to improve.
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