Kyrie Irving is one of the top 10 players in the NBA, but Sports Illustrated does not agree.
SI has been releasing its ranking of the top 100 NBA players in installments, and Nos. 11-20 were released Wednesday. The Boston Celtics point guard came in at No. 17, ahead of No. 20 Victor Oladipo, No. 19 Karl-Anthony Towns and behind No. 16 Al Horford, No. 15 Damian Lillard, No. 14 Rudy Gobert, No. 13 Draymond Green, No. 12 Kawhi Leonard and No. 11 Paul George.
First of all, Green, Gobert and George should not be so high. Gobert is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year but makes a small impact offensively and has limited shooting range. George is a phenomenal all-around player, but let’s not forget he scored just five points on 2-for-16 shooting when the Oklahoma City Thunder were eliminated in Game 6 of the first round by the Utah Jazz. Green averaged 11 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting a lackluster 30.8 percent from 3-point range. He’s great defensively, but his overall game is not close to Irving.
Irving is an elite scorer, an underrated passer who proved he could get others involved last season, and takes and makes clutch shots. He also shoots high percentages from the floor overall, from 3-point land and from the foul line. Yes, there are valid injury concerns, but he’s certainly a top 10 player regardless, especially when his playoff success is factored in.
Other Celtics players in the top 100 are Terry Rozier at No. 82, Jaylen Brown at No. 47, Jayson Tatum at No. 39 and the aforementioned Horford.
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images
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