In July, when they signed Kevin Durant, the Warriors became the third team ever to add a former NBA MVP to a group coming off the league’s best record.
Take into account that Golden State’s regular-season mark last season was the best in league history, and it was clear that the 2016-17 Warriors would boast talent of perhaps unrivaled proportions. So it was no surprise Thursday, when Sports Illustrated published the final part of its annual ranking of the Top 100 NBA players, that Golden State was well represented.
Five Warriors players made the top 50, including four in the top 20 and two in the top three. The only player in the world better than Durant and Stephen Curry, according to SI, is the man who beat Golden State in the 2016 Finals: LeBron James.
Here is a look at where each Warriors player checked in on SI’s list:
Andre Iguodala, No. 44
Last year: No. 44
SI excerpt: “Iguodala barely scores but aces nearly every other criteria—leading first and foremost with defense. The most dangerous wings in the league are Andre Iguodala’s purview. He sizes them up and plays to their tendencies as precisely as any defender in the league, beginning with where and when they’d like the ball.”
Klay Thompson, No. 19
Last year: No. 26
SI excerpt: “There are a million terrifying things to consider about the 2016-17 Warriors, but here’s one more: Klay Thompson is the perfect No. 2 option, a lights-out shooter with permanent confidence who never kills his team’s flow, never steps on the alpha dog’s toes, and remains ready to take over at a moment’s notice if the offense stalls out. Well, that perfect No. 2 option just became the most overqualified No. 3 option in the NBA.”
Draymond Green, No. 13
Last year: No. 16
SI excerpt: “The 26-year-old Green was one of the driving forces behind the most successful regular-season team in history, a hybrid big man whose skillset and ultra-high motor defy comparison. In fact, his overall stat line—14/9/7/1/1—has not been matched in all five categories in NBA history, and the closest all-around comparison is Larry Bird during his 1987 MVP season.”
Stephen Curry, No. 3
Last year: No. 4
SI excerpt: “Curry was unequivocally the best player in basketball last year. He took what was the best shooting season in league history and blew it out of the water—in part by taking the range of a plausible jumper to terrifying new depths and in part by obliterating his own three-point record (by 116 makes!) to hit 402 in total.”
Kevin Durant, No. 2
Last year: No. 2
SI excerpt: “Perhaps the single most exciting reason to watch the NBA this season is to see what Durant is capable of once he’s immersed in a smart, unselfish and balanced attack. … Durant’s size and two-way positional versatility give him an edge over Curry in the ‘vacuum’ test.”
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I think Iguodala is a special player with his versatile skill set and acceptance of not being a major offensive player. Really will be great to see this team perform and to see how Durant plays. The way the team plays compared to OKC should allow Durant to have it easier and be even more efficient.