Six SB Nation editors and writers got together and made a list of whom they think will be the top 100 players in 2017. Obviously this is a difficult task for anyone but I think they did a decent job.
Four Rockets were on the list, and I'll spoil it for you now, with some players that came before and after the Rockets players. To be fair, I didn't list any high school players in the ahead of or behind portions, because honestly no one knows with these kids. And saying, "They like Julius Randle over Dwight Howard" doesn't mean much when no one has seen Randle outside of some Youtube clips, as is my case.
81. Terrence Jones
I was surprised to see Jones on this list, as most of his upside is still predicated on his college game rather than the few flashes he's been able to show in the NBA. He'll get a better chance to showcase those skills this coming season, whether he wins the starting job or not.
Ahead of: Cody Zeller and Josh Smith
Behind: Gordon Hayward
54. Chandler Parsons
Parsons fully deserves to be on this list, and 54 seems like a reasonable spot. The interesting thing here is that a bunch of small forwards took leaps last year (at least in the media's estimation), but Parsons didn't get too much credit like the rest. That's visible in his ranking and those ranked ahead of him.
Ahead of: Danilo Gallinari, Nicolas Batum
Behind: Kawhi Leonard, Harrison Barnes
15. Dwight Howard
I'll admit this would be a wet dream for the Rockets if Howard is still one of the top 15 players in the league when he's 32. Howard will have to learn how to play in the post without putting the wear and tear on his body that put guys like Patrick Ewing in the training room once they hit their 30s. So while I'm skeptical that Howard will be the 15th best player in the league in 5 years, I completely agree with where he ends up on the spectrum of big men, with the younger stars ranked higher.
Ahead of: Jonas Valanciunas, Brook Lopez
Behind: Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond
9. James Harden
Here's where I disagree. We've been talking a lot about how in five years Harden should be the best shooting guard in the NBA, and there's little reason to deny that happening, unless one of the new guys like Wiggins moves to the two spot and dominates. They dock Harden for defense, which I get. But then they rank Kevin Durant at number one, and Durant has never been a shutdown defender either. Either way, Harden's old-man game is timeless, and Harden will be 28 in 2017, so he'll be at his athletic prime with a game that doesn't even rely much on athleticism.
Ahead of: Paul George, Stephen Curry
Behind: Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Kevin Durant
And just to completely spoil the top 10, here they are:
10. Blake Griffin
9. James Harden
8. Andrew Wiggins
7. Anthony Davis
6. Kyrie Irving
5. Derrick Rose
4. Russell Westbrook
3. Andre Drummond
2. LeBron James
1. Kevin Durant.
What do you guys think? Should Jeremy Lin be on the list? What about Omer Asik? Were any of the Rockets placed too low or too high? And for God's sakes where is Reggie Williams???