NBA Top 100 player rankings, a team-by-team breakdown: Pelicans boast the most, Lakers' depth could be a concern

After a significant amount of player movement during the summer, the landscape of the NBA looks completely different heading into the 2019-20 season. Some teams improved considerably through free agency and trades, securing a handful of players on our Top 100 list, while other teams -- like the Charlotte Hornets -- lost their lone All-Star, leaving them with no representation from the top 100 best players in the league.

One interesting takeaway from this team-by-team breakdown is seeing the after effects of the Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers obviously got the guy they wanted, but at the cost of losing all their youth and depth. Therefore, they only have three players -- Davis, LeBron James and Danny Green -- on their team from our Top 100 list, although two happen to sit in the top five! The Pelicans, on the other hand, are the only team in the league to have six players represented in our Top 100, thanks largely to that blockbuster Davis trade, as well as drafting Zion Williamson and adding JJ Redick in the offseason.

On paper, it shouldn't concern the Lakers too much, considering they are title contenders, and the Pelicans likely won't make the playoffs in the West. However, the lack of depth could hurt the Lakers in the postseason, when role players become a huge factor in team success. That's why teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers are favored more heavily to win the championship, because both of those teams have five players on the Top 100 list.  

These breakdowns aren't the end-all determiner of team success this season, because we know having LeBron James on your team covers up a significant amount of weaknesses. But for teams like the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, knowing they have four guys from the Top 100 list on their team is a positive sign when their goal is to get back to the playoffs. 

Team with six players in the Top 100


Top 100 Players: Jrue Holiday (20), Zion Williamson (67), Brandon Ingram (76), Lonzo Ball (79), Derrick Favors (83), JJ Redick (84)

The Pelicans will feature essentially an entire new lineup after trading away Anthony Davis, who landed them a lot of young talent in return. Zion Williamson may command most of the spotlight this season, but Jrue Holiday is the leader of this team, and could will New Orleans into fighting for a playoff spot in the West. Last season, the Pelicans ranked second in the league in pace (103.89), and with a new crop of talent they could look to rank near the top again with a more well-rounded team.

Teams with five players in the Top 100


Top 100 Players: Kemba Walker (16), Jayson Tatum (37), Gordon Hayward (48), Marcus Smart (53), Jaylen Brown (55)

Out with Kyrie Irving, in with Kemba Walker and the Celtics are still one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Continued improvement from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be a good predictor of how far this Celtics team will go in the postseason. Gordon Hayward made steps toward becoming the player he was before his gruesome ankle injury in 2017. If he's able to return to averaging 21 points a night that made him an All-Star in Utah, Boston could challenge for a top three seed in the East.


Top 100 Players: Kyrie Irving (15), Caris LeVert (61), Spencer Dinwiddie (91), Joe Harris (99), Jarrett Allen (100)

If Kevin Durant was healthy, the Nets would join the Pelicans with six players on the Top 100 list. Without Durant, though, the Nets are adding Kyrie Irving to a talented young core that challenged a Philadelphia 76ers team in the first round of the playoffs last season. Subbing in Irving in place of D'Angelo Russell will give the Nets more star power, as well as a proven winner who already has a championship on his resume. Harris is coming off a season where he led the league in 3-point percentage, while Caris LeVert has barely scratched the surface on what he's capable of becoming.


Top 100 Players: Nikola Jokic (10), Jamal Murray (40), Paul Millsap (51), Gary Harris (59), Jerami Grant (95)

The Nuggets were underestimated all season, and played their way into the No. 2 seed in the West behind the efforts of All-Star Nikola Jokic. Denver traded for Jerami Grant in the offseason for a first-round pick, providing it with another scoring option who just came off a career year with the Thunder, averaging 13 points and five rebounds a game. The Nuggets could have six players on this list by the time the 2020-21 season starts, depending on how Michael Porter Jr. fares in what will be his first season, after sitting out his entire rookie year. The West might be getting tougher and tougher every year, but Denver is bringing back a majority of its roster and looking to make a deeper run in the postseason. 


Top 100 Players: James Harden (6), Russell Westbrook (19), Clint Capela (56), Eric Gordon (69), P.J. Tucker (70)

The Rockets will have to figure out how James Harden and Russell Westbrook fit together in a Mike D'Antoni offense, but for the time being they've got two of the top 20 guys in the league in their backcourt, and few teams have that. D'Antoni has been known to bring the best out of players, and if Russ buys into the system, the Rockets might be able to challenge the top teams in the West. If not, they'll be back in the same position they've been in for years.  


Top 100 Players: Kawhi Leonard (2), Paul George (8), Lou Williams (50), Montrezl Harrell (78), Patrick Beverley (80)

A fully healthy Clippers squad is arguably the best team in the entire league. Paul George will be out until some point in November -- and that's being optimistic -- after having surgery on both shoulders in the offseason. Even without George, though, the Clippers will still have Kawhi Leonard, who already announced that he wants to play the entire season. We won't know what this Clippers team is capable of until George is back to 100 percent. When that happens, Leonard may become the first player to win an NBA championship with three different teams.


Top 100 Players: Joel Embiid (7), Ben Simmons (21), Al Horford (29), Tobias Harris (41), Josh Richardson (63)

That Game 7 loss to the Raptors last season may just fuel the 76ers for the entire season to get to the Eastern Conference finals. Joel Embiid will be the healthiest he's ever been in his career. Ben Simmons actually said he'll take a 3-point shot if it's a good look, and Philly added the only man that's been capable of stopping Embiid in Al Horford. They lost some shooting with the departures of JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler, but getting a young player like Josh Richardson in return is a bonus. 


Top 100 Players: Pascal Siakam (28), Kyle Lowry (34), Marc Gasol (65), Fred VanVleet (88), Serge Ibaka (97)

The Raptors could be a very different team after the trade deadline. Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are all on expiring contracts, and unless Toronto wants to extend any one of those aging players a contract past next year, it'd be wise to trade them in order to get something in return. Pascal Siakam is the next player the Raptors must try to build around, and he'll be playing for that max contract this season, so Toronto better start thinking about the next few years instead of the upcoming season.


Top 100 Players: Rudy Gobert (17), Mike Conley (24), Donovan Mitchell (27), Joe Ingles (66), Bojan Bogdanovic (72)

Utah upgraded at the point guard position by swapping out Ricky Rubio for Mike Conley, and adding Bojan Bogdanovic to its bench. The Jazz are as rock solid as they come on defense, but in order for this team to survive the first round of the playoffs they'll need Donovan Mitchell to take that leap into becoming an All-Star-caliber player.

Teams with four players in the Top 100


Top 100 Players: Lauri Markkanen (75), Zach LaVine (77), Otto Porter Jr. (81), Thaddeus Young (87)

Surprisingly, the Bulls have a lot of young talented players, but that hasn't translated into wins yet. Getting Otto Porter Jr. for a full season will provide some much-needed production, and adding Thaddeus Young to play the veteran leader to this group of 20-somethings was a smart move by franchise. This team hinges on the development of players like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen to step up and become the cornerstone pieces in Chicago. With their sights set on the playoffs, Bulls fans may see competitive basketball played on a nightly basis for the first time in what feels like forever.


Top 100 Players: Stephen Curry (3), Draymond Green (12), Klay Thompson (26), D'Angelo Russell (44)

The Avengers of NBA teams may be no more, but the Warriors still have Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and --depending on his rehab -- a semi-healthy Klay Thompson. Without Thompson in the lineup until at least the All-Star break, this Golden State team is still a playoff team. The fit of D'Angelo Russell raises a lot of questions. He may soon be a trade piece for the Warriors if it doesn't work out, but don't count them out this season. Curry could very well produce another historic season on his way to yet another MVP trophy.


Top 100 Players: Victor Oladipo (25), Myles Turner (42), Malcolm Brogdon (62), Domantas Sabonis (71)

The Pacers only got so far without Victor Oladipo in the playoffs last year. While they won't have him for a large portion of the season, they did add Malcolm Brogdon from Milwaukee. Indiana is fortunate to be in the East, where it should be just fine without Oladipo, though it's a completely different team without him on the floor.


Top 100 Players: Jimmy Butler (14), Justise Winslow (82), Goran Dragic (92), Bam Adebayo (98)

The Miami Heat are interesting again after trading for Jimmy Butler. The Heat -- like most teams in the East -- are lucky to be in the weaker conference, because while they do have a solid crop of talent, their starting five would not be any better than the eighth-best team in the West. If the Heat do pull off a trade for Chris Paul, though, they would automatically be vaulted into the conversation as one of the top teams in the East. 


Top 100 Players: Giannis Antetokounmpo (4), Khris Middleton (30), Eric Bledsoe (47), Brook Lopez (49)

The Bucks have the reigning MVP, and last season is likely the worse we'll ever see of Giannis. They took a hit when they let Malcolm Brogdon walk to Indiana, but they made the smart move in signing Khris Middleton to an extension. This season is as much about getting to the Finals as it is about making sure Giannis feels he can win a championship with this franchise before his impending free agency in 2021. 


Top 100 Players: Chris Paul (31), Danilo Gallinari (46), Steven Adams (57), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (93)

After shipping off Russell Westbrook and Paul George, the Thunder are left with enough draft picks to field a whole team, along with talented assets like Gallinari and Gilgeous-Alexander. Oh, and the remainder of Chris Paul's hefty contract. Depending on what Oklahoma City does with Chris Paul will define its season; will it try to make a run at a playoff spot, or ship Paul off somewhere else and collect the reward?


Top 100 Players: De'Aaron Fox (38), Buddy Hield (64), Marvin Bagley (74), Harrison Barnes (89)

Sacramento was nine games back from sneaking into the playoffs last season, and will return largely the same team to take another step toward becoming a playoff contender. De'Aaron Fox took a huge leap last season after having an average rookie year, and Buddy Hield has thrived as Sacramento's go-to guy. One name not on the Top 100 list who could very well be there next year is Bogdan Bogdanovic. He had an amazing summer playing in the FIBA World Cup, and if used correctly in the Kings' system, could be their secret weapon off the bench.

Teams with three players in the Top 100


Top 100 Players: LeBron James (1), Anthony Davis (5), Danny Green (90)

The Lakers finally got their second star to pair with LeBron. Only problem, they lack depth throughout the rest of the roster. Kyle Kuzma was the last man standing after the trade package that landed Anthony Davis, and he's not even on the Top 100 list. If LeBron is healthy, and Davis can mesh well with him, the Lakers will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs. If neither one of those guys can stay healthy, then it's another year watching postseason basketball at home for the NBA's most polarizing franchise.


Top 100 Players: Nikola Vucevic (35), Aaron Gordon (54), Jonathan Isaac (96)

Orlando shocked everyone and made it to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2012. The Magic are returning a majority of their team, and added a couple pieces that could make them a consistent playoff team for years to come. This team is so young and filled with untapped potential that there's a possibility the Magic could have a few more players on the Top 100 list next year.


Top 100 Players: LaMarcus Aldridge (36), DeMar DeRozan (43), Derrick White (73)

Every year the Spurs are supposed to be "done," they string together another winning season and are back in the playoffs. Even last year, when they were bitten by the injury bug, San Antonio prevailed and made the postseason. With those injured players set to return this year, and Gregg Popovich still calling the shots, it doesn't look like the Spurs will be going anywhere anytime soon.

Teams with two players in the Top 100


Top 100 Players: Trae Young (45), John Collins (58)

The Hawks are an incredibly young team, and because of that only have Trae Young and John Collins on the Top 100 list. In a couple years, they could also add Kevin Huerter, De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish to the list. Atlanta likely won't crack the top eight teams in the East this year, but it will definitely be a team to watch on a Tuesday night when there's nothing else on.


Top 100 Players: Luka Doncic (22), Kristaps Porzingis (33)

A lot of what the Mavericks could become hinges on the health of Kristaps Porzingis. Dallas doesn't have a cabinet full of young talent like the Hawks or Pelicans, and it doesn't have that proven superstar to anchor the team. Luka Doncic had a near-perfect rookie season, and if he continues to rise to become what many expect to be an MVP-caliber player, then Dallas won't have an issue building around him. If Porzingis can't stay on the court, then that max deal will look grim in a few years. This season is a lot of "wait, and see what happens" for the Mavericks, but if everything goes according to plan, then Dallas will have one of the best young duos for years to come.


Top 100 Players: Blake Griffin (18), Andre Drummond (60)

The Detroit Pistons are fueled by Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. They added Derrick Rose to give those two some help, but at the end of the day, the Pistons will only go as far as their talented bigs will take them. Which apparently, is a four-game sweep in the first round of the playoffs.


Top 100 Players: Jaren Jackson Jr. (52), Jonas Valanciunas (94)

After trading Mike Conley to Utah, the Memphis Grizzlies are officially post grit-n-grind era. Now, they've got a talented young duo in Jaren Jackson Jr. and rookie Ja Morant, who could very well crack this list as soon as next year. The Grizzlies are planning for the long-term future for the first time in a while, and with the return they received from the Conley trade, it ensures that they'll at least remain interesting and competitive for the 2019-20 season.


Top 100 Players: Karl-Anthony Towns (11), Robert Covington (68)

Once again, the Timberwolves made no significant moves to put them any closer to becoming a consistent playoff team. Karl-Anthony Towns had to watch as his close friend D'Angelo Russell was whisked away to the Bay Area after Minnesota couldn't get a deal done to bring the point guard to Minneapolis. The bright side, however, is the Wolves have assets they could use to get Towns some help. It may not be this season, but give it another year and Minnesota could be a functioning team again.


Top 100 Players: Devin Booker (32), Deandre Ayton (86)

At the very least, the Suns will be competitive for the first time in a very long time. Devin Booker is a borderline All-Star, and Deandre Ayton put together a solid rookie season. Phoenix finally addressed its point guard issue by adding Ricky Rubio, and trading for Dario Saric on draft night was a smart move for a team that lacks any real talent around Booker. The Suns won't be challenging for a playoff spot this season, but they'll look competent, and that's a start.


Top 100 Players: Damian Lillard (9), CJ McCollum (23)

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum -- but largely Lillard -- willed this Portland team to the Western Conference finals last year. Always the underdog, the Trail Blazers will look to prove their critics wrong again with a slightly different team in an even tougher conference.

One player included in the Top 100


Top 100 Player: Kevin Love (39)

Similar to his days in Minnesota, Kevin Love is again the only All-Star on the Cavaliers, although it looks like Cleveland is looking past Love and focusing on its young guard duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Cleveland is just a few moves away from leaning all the way into a rebuild, but for the time being, this is Love's team to lead.


Top 100 Player: Julius Randle (85)

The Knicks' big plans to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving didn't come to fruition, and instead they pivoted to signing Julius Randle and a few other forwards to add to the mix. They didn't commit themselves to any long-term, pricey contracts, but how many times will we hear that "this is the summer" before the Knicks actually sign an All-Star?


Top 100 Player: Bradley Beal (13)

The NBA season could quickly shift depending on if the Wizards look to deal Bradley Beal. Right now, it doesn't look like they're interested in that, but anything can happen over the course of the season. John Wall won't be brought back until he's 100 percent from an Achilles injury, so Washington will once again be competing with the Knicks and Hornets as the worst team in the East.

The only team without a player in the Top 100


For years, the Hornets could count on Kemba Walker as their lone representative on any top players list. Instead of trading Walker to ensure they received something in return, Charlotte opted to let him walk free. Then, in an odd move, the Hornets signed Terry Rozier to be the new face of the franchise, because they had to give someone that money. The Hornets should start making their draft boards for the next few years, because barring some huge deal to land them some young talent, this team will be headed to the lottery for the foreseeable future.

Jasmyn Wimbish has been closely following the NBA since Dirk Nowitzki hit his sweet signature jumper to send the Miami Heat packing in 2011. She's a graduate of the University of Kansas and Northern Arizona... Full Bio

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