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A pair of Warriors make an appearance in the top 50 of ESPN’s Best 100 Players

Draymond and Klay land in the Top 50. Were they ranked too high, too low, or just right?

2019 NBA Finals - Game Four Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

ESPN has released the rankings for numbers 50-26 of their Best 100 NBA Players List on Wednesday. The Golden State Warriors welcome 2 more players in addition to small forward Andrew Wiggins who was named No. 77 on this list earlier in the week. Warriors power forward Draymond Green comes in at No. 37 and shooting guard Klay Thompson comes in at No. 32. Let’s take a closer look on each player’s ranking.

Draymond Green No. 37

Draymond has always been a vital part of the team. His ability to quarterback the Warrior’s defense was important to the team’s success last season and earned him a spot on the 2020-21 All-Defensive First Team. While his scoring has dipped over the past couple of years, his chemistry with point guard Stephen Curry was on full display last season as he continuously found ways to set him up for open shots.

From ESPN’s Nick Friedell:

Swing skill: Will his offense reappear? Green showed that he can still play at an extremely high level on the defensive end and is a playmaker for the Warriors offensively in helping set up the best ways for Curry to go off. The question is whether he will be able to consistently hit the open looks he’s being given by opposing defenses. — Friedell

At this point last year, Draymond was ranked No. 44 on this list. That ranking came after he averaged 8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in a season where the Warriors were mostly injured and not very competitive. Forward to this year, and Draymond has moved up 7 spots, averaging 7 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 8.9 assists during a more motivated and competitive season.

Here’s more context to Draymond’s ranking:

3 Players Ranked Before:

40. Domantas Sabonis PF/C

39. Nikola Vucevic C

38. Pascal Siakam SF/PF

3 Players Ranked Ahead:

36. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander SG

35. Deandre Ayton C

34. De’Aaron Fox PG

*Honorable Mention: 28. Ben Simmons

Draymond’s 3 Previous Rankings:

2020: No. 44

2019: No. 38

2018: No. 16

3 Players Previously Ranked at No. 37:

2020: Marcus Smart PG/SG

2019: Al Horford C

2018: Jaylen Brown SG

Klay Thompson No. 32

Klay Thompson is a great player and a fan favorite of basketball fans everywhere. However, he is coming off 2 consecutive seasons of devastating leg injuries. During the 2019 NBA Finals, Klay tore his ACL. During the day of the 2020 NBA Draft, Klay tore his Achilles in an offseason workout. Everyone knows how great Klay can be when he is healthy, but will he be able to get back to his pre-injury form? Here’s what ESPN has to say about his ranking

From ESPN’s Nick Friedell and Kevin Pelton:

“One big question: Arguably the single biggest question mark in the league is whether Thompson will return to form after missing two years because of ACL and Achilles injuries. If he does, the Warriors believe they can vault themselves back toward the top of the Western Conference. If he doesn’t, any hope the Warriors have of being title contenders in the near future is gone. — Friedell”

“Why he rose from unranked: Because of his Achilles rupture, Thompson wasn’t eligible for 2020 NBArank. He returns 14 spots lower than 2018, before the ACL tear he suffered in that season’s NBA Finals. Given the combination of injuries, that seems optimistic, though former teammate Durant showed it’s possible to come back from an Achilles injury as good as ever. — Pelton”

Last year, Klay was unranked because he was still recovering from his torn ACL. His most recent appearance on this list was 2 years ago in 2019 where he ranked No. 49. In that season Klay averaged 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 40.2% from the 3-point line.

Here’s more context to Klay’s ranking:

3 Players Ranked Before:

35. Deandre Ayton C

34. De’Aaron Fox PG

33. Zach Lavine SG

3 Players Ranked Ahead:

31. Ja Morant PG

30. CJ McCollum SG

29. Russell Westbrook PG

Klay’s 3 Previous Rankings:

2020: N/A

2019: No. 49

2018: No. 19

2017: No. 19

3 Players Previously Ranked at No. 32:

2020: Jaylen Brown SG

2019: Chris Paul PG

2018: John Wall PG

Draymond and Klay will have to play important roles for the team if the Warriors want to become true contenders this season. Having 3 of their starting 5 players in the top 100, plus 1 more presumably in the Top 5, is a great sign for their title hopes this upcoming season.

What do you think? Are Klay and Draymond ranked too high, too low, or just right?