For those that can’t figure it out, this is a list of the top 10 players that have been drafted thus far is the sim league. I will take into account their future (potential) as well, and can only use the information on potentials that I am aware of.
1. Tyson Chandler – 3rd overall pick, 2001.
Tyson Chandler came into the league as a 19 year old and in just over a season has established himself as one of the best power forwards in the league. Known as a defensive player and a rebounder, Tyson has worked on his offensive game this summer and the results are an increase of 6 PPG early on. He’s already a top 10 rebounder, efficient scorer, solid post defender and likely has a potential in the 90 range as well. There’s no telling how good he can be in a few seasons.
2. Pau Gasol – 1st overall pick, 2001.
Pau and Tyson were neck and neck for the #1 spot, but in the end I gave the edge to defense. Pau is a better scorer at this point of his career mainly because of what he can do outside of the paint and at the free throw line where he shoots over 80%. He put up more than 20 points a game as a rookie and is likely to improve on that this season. He can get stronger on the interior when it comes to defense and rebounding, even though he does block nearly 2 shots a game, his man-to-man defense probably has a lot of room to improve. Thankfully for the Wizards he too likely has a potential around 90 and will get better and better in the years to come.
3. Amare Stoudemire – 2nd overall pick, 2002.
Amare is the first rookie to find himself on this list and it’s because he has the best offensive game of any first or 2nd year player. He is already scoring over 22 PPG and has a B+ inside rating, which is almost unheard of for a rookie. Yes his defense and rebounding can use some work, but he is averaging more than 10 boards thus far. Another guy with potential around 90, he will get significantly better in the coming seasons.
4. Yao Ming – 1st overall pick, 2002.
Another first on this list as Yao is the first player who I have no stats to use while evaluating him. Spending this season in Europe we won’t know exactly how good he is until next season, but if the ratings are any indication he’s every bit as good as the top 3 big men on this list. Yao’s potential isn’t as high as the others, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see 20-10 and 2 blocks out of him next season.
5. Joe Johnson – 2nd overall pick, 2001.
I’m pretty disappointed with Joe so far this season. He was Euro’d last year so this is the first action we are seeing of him and I was expecting better than his current numbers. Sure 19-7 and 5 assists is great, but when you look a bit closer he’s shooting low percentages and is averaging more than 4 turnovers a game. It’s a very small sample size but it’s all I have to go on at the moment. With that being said, he too still has a potential around 80-85 I’d imagine and those numbers can straighten out a bit as the season goes on.
6. Raul Lopez – 9th overall pick, 2001.
I’m basing this on what I think his potential is, as well as the position he plays. I feel like PG is a very thin position in this league right now, and we all know how important they are to a teams success. He played 40 games in preseason and had some mixed results. He scored better than I thought he would but only dished out 5.6 assists. His team is very bad though and he limited turnovers to under 2, which is a great number. Overall I think he’s the best young PG in the game and it should be fun to see what the Hawks can surround him with.
7. Jason Richardson - 6th overall pick, 2001.
JRich might be the best pure offensive guard that the youngsters have to offer. He’s put up a mildly disappointing 15.2 PPG so far but his accompanying numbers are nice. If my memory serves me right his potential is around 80, so just as everybody else on this list he’ll continue to get better. If he really wants to climb up this list though he’s going to need TC to be generous to his defense.
8. Kwame Brown – 7th overall pick, 2001.
Kwame is the only top young guy to have been traded so far as he was dealt to the Spurs for Tim Duncan. Obviously he has big shoes to fill, and I think he had one of the top potentials at draft time so we definitely has a chance to become an all-star one day. He seems set on the defensive end, but I worry that he has a limited offensive game.
9. Gilbert Arenas – 14th overall pick, 2001.
Gil is a very nice looking player. I don’t think he has quite the potential of these other guys, but he should still grow nicely into a 20-5-5 player. The only worry here is the defense, but he should be a nice cornerstone for Cleveland.
10. Jamaal Tinsley – 21st overall pick, 2001.
This is quite easily the lowest pick to make the list. Tinsley has had a pair of great TCs which is a bit surprising when you take into account what his potential was at draft time. It’s not a big surprise though that it was a commish who found him, so this may have been a bit more predictable had everyone been able to see his full scout. Seems like Tinsley will be your classic pass first PG and can play good defense and chip in with the scoring as well, very complete player.
Just missing out (no particular order)
Tony Parker – Has great potential, but is just a notch below the other PGs that made the list.
Zach Randolph – Putting up some of the best numbers out of these players and as I’m writing this I’m thinking he should have had Arenas’s spot, but I’ll keep him here because his potential is probably more around 70. Very nice player though and keep in mind his team sucks.
Samuel Dalembert – Should be a great defensive presence for a long time to come, but not sure how the rest of his game will shape up with his potential in the 70s.
Carlos Boozer – Great offensive game for a rookie, but the defensive end is a huge concern with the lowest defensive rating out of everyone named thus far.
Steven Hunter - If he doesn’t have high potential he probably doesn’t belong here, but I have no idea what it is. He has a pretty decent overall game. Looking like a steal at 27.