Four years ago, SB Nation predicted the top 101 NBA players of 2017; Monday’s headline for their reflection on that list summarized the outcome pretty well:
The difficulty of that task is summarized in one simple fact about that previous futures list: there were 42 players they completely missed, including 16 players in the top-100 today hadn’t even played a game in the NBA back in 2013.
We missed a number of players who hadn’t yet played in the NBA in addition to Towns and Gobert, including: Nikola Jokic, C.J. McCollum, Kristaps Porzingis, Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, Clint Capela, Myles Turner, Gary Harris, Steven Adams, Robert Covington, T.J. Warren, D’Angelo Russell, Andre Roberson, and Rodney Hood.
That’s not even to mention guys like Draymond Green, who was a second pick and backing up David Lee back in 2013.
Without the benefit of a crystal ball, there simply isn’t any way to get this list right. But when we were sent a preview of where Golden State Warriors players were ranked, we immediately focused on who was left out instead of celebrating the four players in the top 40.
SB Nation has been releasing the list throughout the week and won’t release the portions of the list with Warriors players on it until later this week, but we’re going to offer our initial thoughts on the players who were left out because we found it completely unacceptable.
The following is a piece of the conversation that ensued when I sent the list to the Golden State of Mind staff.
Daniel Hardee: I almost can't even write anything in response to that list. That is so insanely disrespectful to our YOUNG core who will all be squarely in the middle of their primes.
I don't know where to begin.
Charlie Stanton: Why isn’t Jordan Bell in the top 101? Dare I say top 50! Hold me back.
Nate P.: Forget Bell. The whole list was invalid to me when I saw that Patrick McCaw was left off.
Charlie: Oh my god, you’re right. Top 20 or go home.
Brady Klopfer: Only explanation is that McCaw is pulling a 1993 MJ and retiring because he has been so dominant that it’s time to try something new.
Nate: Wait...did McCaw pick up a gambling problem in college?
Daniel: He’s been betting on himself since day one baby! #CASHOUT
Ok, ok...we were just joking about that...I mean, sort of ...
Even the SB Nation panel that selected the top 100 admitted that Patrick McCaw was a snub, with Mike Prada listing him among the 11 biggest snubs from the list:
PATRICK MCCAW: Because the Warriors always find diamonds in the rough that become way better than we all expect.
And don’t even get me started on the fact that former Warriors player Harrison Barnes is ranked ahead of McCaw. I refuse to accept this, but I’m so biased on both sides of that issue that I should just let it go.
Regardless, this list does bring up an important question as the Warriors move forward trying to navigate a salary cap minefield: with promising young talents like McCaw and Jordan Bell, how good can we expect the Warriors young players to be in four years? Does anyone outside of the obvious Warriors’ foursome have a shot at being among the top 101 players in 2021?
As they wrote in their explanation of why they’re doing this, this thing is just for fun for basketball geeks who need something to fixate on — it’s just the offseason and there’s never much real NBA news to talk about at this point in the year (beyond Kevin Durant’s Twitter habits and which big men might develop a 3-point shot). On a more serious note that they also mentioned, I do think it’s an interesting exercise in examining what we value in a player and how we imagine those values playing out over time.
So check out SBN’s full list here and drop your thoughts in the comments.