10.) Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis would be the Rookie of the Year if Karl-Anthony Towns wasn’t drafted first overall. The 20-year-old averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and dropped 21 double doubles. He was booed at the NBA draft and now a cornerstone player on the New York Knicks. Have we found Dirk Nowitzki’s successor? Knicks fans think so.
9.) Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Two NBA power forwards averaged a double double in 2015-2016; Anthony Davis and Julius Randle. Davis and Kevin Love were the only power forwards to total more double doubles than Randle in 2015-2016. Randle averaged 11.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He was a double-double machine in Kentucky and that part of his game translated well into the NBA. The rookie joins a solid Lakers core with Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell.
8.) Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried has been a consistent NBA player his entire career. In 2015-2016, Faried had a PER of 21.06. Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap are the only players ranked higher on my list with a greater PER. He also led all power forwards with a 55.8 field goal percentage. Faried is wasting his best years on a terrible team.
7.) Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz
Derrick Favors is making the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets regret trading him for Deron Williams in 2011. Favors averaged a career high 16.4 points per game in 2015-2016. He has increased his point per game total in every season over his six year career. Quin Snyder’s teamwork coaching style has changed Favors career. Expect Favors numbers to keep improving.
6.) Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
The 37-year-old has averaged at least 17.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game since the start of the 1999-2000 season. Dirk Nowitzki averaged 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game over 2015-2016. Nowitzki led a Dallas Mavericks team to the playoffs that was projected not to make it. We will get to see Nowitzki at least one more season as he is set to return to the Mavericks in 2016-2017.
5.) Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Love looked much more comfortable in his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He totaled six more points, 17 more assists, 31 more rebounds, two blocks, seven steals and 14 more three-point made baskets from his totals in 2014-2015. His health and improvement gave LeBron James the teammates he needs to win an NBA title. Love has silenced the doubters on his five-year/$110 million contract.
4.) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans were decimated with injuries and Anthony Davis was the icing on the cake. He is the NBA’s most unlucky star who plays with no other star and is surrounded by injury prone role players. Davis averaged 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Those ranked most above NBA power forwards. I believe Davis is the NBA’s best power forward, but his 61 games played dropped him to fourth based on his regular season.
3.) Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
Paul Millsap is no longer the NBA’s most underrated player. Millsap averaged 17.1 points per game and averaged career highs in assists and rebounds per game during the 2015-2016 season. In is three seasons in Atlanta, Millsap dropped 74 or more three point shots. That expansion in his game makes him a true star. Expect to see Millsap in the All-Star game for years to come.
2.) LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge has found a home in his first year in San Antonio. He played efficient Spurs basketball shooting a career high 51.3 percent from the field. His points and rebounding totals per game dropped, but that was expected. Aldridge took 370 less shots from his previous season in Portland and joined a much better defensive team. Gregg Popovich is teaching Aldridge how to win.
1.) Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green placed second in Defensive Player of the Year votes behind Kawhi Leonard two consecutive years. He is the force, energy and passion behind the Golden State Warriors dominance over the last two seasons. Green averaged a career high 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game with 13 triple doubles. Steve Kerr turned the 26-year-old into a star.