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Cody Zeller was the only member of the Charlotte Hornets to record a higher defensive box plus/minus (DBPM), and ESPN.com's defensive real plus/minus (DRPM) indicated that only four small forwards were better on the less glamorous end.
If Kidd-Gilchrist was able to show even a hint of progress as a scoring wing, he'd leave the tail end of the rankings in his rearview mirror. Thabo Sefolosha, SF, Atlanta Hawks Thabo Sefolosha was never going to maintain his early-season success on offense.
He's a bona fide stopper against opposing shooting guards and small forwards, and he dropped in 37.9 percent of his deep attempts while taking 4.6 per game—6.2 per 36 minutes.
He could stand to improve that percentage and start contributing in other facets, but the Spurs can't complain while he sticks to his specialities. Eric Gordon, SG, Houston Rockets At one point the favorite for Sixth Man of the Year in spite of his woeful defense, Eric Gordon spent the second half of the season backsliding.
He never quite got his shot to fall, leading to a drop-off of 3.6 points per game from 2015-16, but he helped mitigate the damage by becoming a much more disciplined defender. That's partially due to context (covering up for Isaiah Thomas, taking on tough assignments, etc.), but Bradley was far less impactful this year, and his placement at No.
Now, it's time to mix everyone together, with only a few necessary caveats. The goal is to identify those we'd most want to build around based on results from the current campaign, so long-term upside and prowess in the distant past are irrelevant.
Players are listed at the position at which they were featured in their individual edition of these rankings, and the order of those countdowns must stick here. Impressive as Harrison Barnes' scoring average may be during his first full season as the leader of an offense, the points largely qualified as empty ones.
But at least he can still thrive on the offensive glass, creating plenty of second-chance opportunities for a dynamic Cleveland Cavaliers offense and finishing a number of glass-cleaning plays on his own.
Father Time is undefeated, but Manu Ginobili is giving him a run for his money.
The 39-year-old shooting guard is occupying a smaller role than ever for the San Antonio Spurs, but that's allowed him to stay remarkably efficient on a per-minute basis.