After 15 days of deliberation and some nail-biting finishes, we’ve finally reached the conclusion of our 2017 Roster Ranking series. With another year in the books, we’d like to thank everyone who participated and helped create what is always an enjoyable and useful exercise. Before we get into some of our staff’s opinions about the final list, here’s the official rankings for your reference:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
2. Khris Middleton
3. Jabari Parker
4. Malcolm Brogdon
5. Thon Maker
6. Greg Monroe
7. Tony Snell
8. D.J. Wilson
9. Matthew Dellavedova
10. Sterling Brown
11. Mirza Teletovic
12. John Henson
13. Rashad Vaughn
14. Spencer Hawes
15. Gary Payton II
Okay everyone, any rapid reactions to the list as a whole?
Adam: I think it’s tough to quibble with most of the top eight, they align relatively close with who I protected in our mock expansion draft exercise, sans Greg Monroe. I think there’s an argument to be made that Thon could be over Brogdon given his upside and despite the gulf between their production last year. Brogdon’s been getting a lot of love in the NBA player rankings from media outlets though. Otherwise most of it seems on target, even if Mirza seems a bit underrated in my opinion.
Greg: John Henson is too high. His contract is paying him the exact opposite of what his production is. I get that Rashad Vaughn has not done much of anything, but at least his contract isn’t a headache like Henson’s will be as extensions and signings become more critical to the franchise’s success.
Kyle: Henson lasting as long as he did was a shock, it seemed like his voters were always more vocal. I am surprised that Jabari made the Top 3 considering injuries but he is one of the most talented players in the squad.
Who did you think was most overrated and who was most underrated?
Adam: I think Delly might be the most overrated. Yes he can fill minutes, but I thought he had a truly horrid year last year. If his 3-point percentage ticks up he’ll be a bit more useful this year, but the defensive presence he was purported to have didn’t translate to Milwaukee. Conversely, his equally high-paid 2016 free agent signee, Mirza Teletovic, seems to be underrated the most in my eyes. This is based primarily off my prediction he’ll have a much better shooting year than last, but I think his spacing impact was still felt and the Bucks flat out played better with him on the court. I also think a contender would love to take a Ryan Anderson-lite for a stretch run. He’s a more valuable asset than Brown and Delly in that respect.
Greg: I won’t pick on Henson again, so I will echo Adam and say Delly is the most overrated on this ranking. I think the guy that sits below Dellavedova in the ranking, Sterling Brown, is the most underrated. If he can play defense and shoot threes similarly to how Tony Snell can, then his value increases tremendously.
Kyle: I’m not the biggest Mirza fan, but I think he should have been higher. I feel like he will improve his shooting and if he is utilized correctly, it will make a big impact on the bench squad. For overrated, I also will have to side with Adam and Greg and say Delly. Yes he is gritty, but grit doesn’t mean you should get paid as much as he does.
Who will make the biggest leap in next year’s rankings?
Adam: I doubt anyone will make the type of vault that Malcolm Brogdon did this past season, but I’d bet on Brown potentially making a modest leap up the rankings. If he performs adequately at all his cheap contract makes him an extra valuable asset, not to mention the fact Greg Monroe will most likely be out of the equation. That, coupled with any down year from Snell with his fancy new contract could be enough to give Brown a decent boost. Then again, he could wash out completely.
Greg: I have not been too high on D.J. Wilson yet, but I think he can make the biggest leap. Monroe will be out of the picture and if Wilson is able to contribute meaningful minutes with a modicum of consistency, he will be on the cusp of a Top 5 ranking. He will shoot past Snell and the aforementioned Monroe - he might even be able to sneak into the Top 5.
Kyle: Famous last words here but I’m going with Vaughn, I don’t think he is going to make a leap to the Top 5, but I think he will be a serviceable player and with a cheap contract might be able to make it into the top 10.
Who could tumble furthest in next year’s rankings?
Adam: If I had to guess, I’d say either Dellavedova or Tony Snell could see the furthest dip. If Delly’s game regresses again this year, Bucks’ fans ire will assuredly whip him down the pecking order on this ranking. Snell I’m less sure of, but getting a big payday after a career year always causes a bit of consternation. If his shooting dips down or he doesn’t provide the steadying presence he did last season, his fat new contract could drop him like a weight around his ankle.
Greg: Jabari. We will have such a small sample size to go off of in regards to how his game has rehabbed after a second ACL tear and his contract will likely be more than what it should be. His extension will handcuff the little salary cap room the Bucks have to maneuver with. If Brogdon and Thon develop like we are all hoping they will, then Jabari will find himself battling for a Top 5 spot with Wilson and/or Snell. If Wilson and Snell have superb years, their contract situations make them more valuable than Parker.
Kyle: D.J. Wilson. I think he is going to struggle a bit and it might cause fans to turn on him like what happened to Vaughn. He hasn’t shown much physicality and I think his minutes will be going to Mirza as the season goes on.