Yesterday afternoon SB Nation dropped an interesting off-season project on the basketball masses.
It's a "Top 100 NBA Players" list, but with a twist.
It's set in the year 2017.
Yes, the year when cars become obsolete, everyone is rocking Google glasses, and...wait...that's only four years from now?
Nevertheless, SB Nation's basketball braintrust decided to do some future-gazing and came up with a pretty comprehensive list of who they think will be the league's elite come 2017...including three current members of the Toronto Raptors.
The highest ranked was Jonas Valanciunas, coming in at 18, with Rudy Gay and Terrence Ross nearly missing the cut.
Here were the breakdowns:
I was a big fan of Ross coming out of Washington, enough so that I'm not overly concerned about his underwhelming rookie numbers. He's got great size (6'7 and 200 pounds), he's a good outside shooter and he's a spectacular athlete. That's a solid foundation to build his game over the next few years. In 2017, he'll be 26, just coming into his prime. Getting minutes in Toronto may be tricky over the next few years, but I like him more than DeMar DeRozan, a shooting guard who can't shoot 3's. -TJARKS
Gay will be 31 in 2017, so right at the edge of his peak. And this is thing I've always said about Rudy Gay: he's not awful. He's not even bad. He's bad for an $18 million contract. The argument has always been about his value to a team at that price point; folks who mark for him tend to make it about the fact that he obviously looks like an elite basketball player. He just doesn't perform like one, and that's where the issues arise.
That said, the 90th best player in the NBA would be on the 18th team All-NBA, and I'm comfortable with projecting Gay there in 2017. If this eyesight thing was actually a big deal, he'll be way higher. He's primarily discounted now because he's a scorer who can't shoot. -ZILLER
I'm a little concerned about Valanciunas's rebounding, but he projects as an awesome defender and scorer. That's a rare combination for big men, and he'll be 25 in 2017, hitting his stride ... if all goes according to plan. -ZILLER
No DeMar DeRozan? No Kyle Lowry? No Amir Johnson?
WAIT! NO QUINCY ACY?
From my side, the exclusion of Kyle Lowry is the most glaring omission but based on his past few seasons, it's not impossible that he doesn't pull a Marcus Banks and become the bane of coaching staffs league-wide, relegating him to overseas play. Taking Terrence Ross over DeMar DeRozan is interesting as well, and is likely both an indictment of how little the jury believe in DeRozan, and how coveted someone of Ross' skillsets is, despite little guarantee he develops as we all hope.
But we want to hear from you folks. Any egregious omissions or inclusions, either Raptors or non-Raptors-related?