10.) Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks were an upset this season, but Khris Middleton still put together a solid season. He improved by 4.8 points and 1.9 assists per game from last year and made 143 more three-point shots. The 24-year-old is progressing well next to the Green Freak and Jabari Parker. The Detroit Pistons are really kicking themselves for moving him in the Brandon Jennings deal.
9.) Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets
Nicolas Batum does more than just score. He tied James Harden with a shooting guard most 6.1 rebounds per game. Batum also placed second among shooting guards, trailing James Harden, with 5.7 assists per game. Many wondered how Batum would respond in Charlotte after a career-worst season in Portland. Charlotte looks ready to sign Batum for the long run.
8.) Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
Andrew Wiggins is one season closer to stardom. Wiggins averaged 20.7 points per game. That is 3.8 point per game more than his rookie season. The reason he isn’t yet a star is his three-point shooting and defense. He shot 30% from the three-point line and didn’t improve his steals and blocks per game numbers. That will change under Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau will turn Wiggins into a star.
7.) J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers
2015-2016 was J.J. Redick’s career best NBA season. He shot a career high 47.5% from the three-point line. That ranked second in the NBA. Troy Daniels ranked first, but only made 59 three-point shots and didn’t start a single game. Redick developed into Chris Paul’s perfect compliment.
6.) Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade played the most games in 2015-2016 since the 2011 NBA season. On the contrary, he shot a career worst 15.9% from the three-point line. He still averaged 19 points per game. His veteran leadership brought the Heat together and earned the third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs after Chris Bosh’s season-ending injury. Wade is still dominant as he grows older.
5.) C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum was voted Most Improved Player of the Year. From last season, McCollum averaged 14 points, 3.3 assists and 1.7 rebounds more per game. He also shot career highs from the field and three-point line. McCollum gives the Portland Trail Blazers a top-5 backcourt in the NBA. The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t just Damian Lillard.
4.) Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
For the third season in a row, Jimmy Butler played less than 68 games. He was on pace to rank third on my list, but he couldn’t lead to the Chicago Bulls to the playoffs. Butler still had a good season ranking top-5 in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals among shooting guards. His 67 games played dropped him below DeMar DeRozan.
3.) DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
DeMar DeRozan is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and made his case for deserving a max contract. DeRozan averaged a career high 23.5 points per game. He shot a career high 33.8% from behind the arc and 85% from the stripe. Kyle Lowry and DeRozan is the second best backcourt behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Toronto would be wise to keep that tandem together.
2.) Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Klay Thompson is the second best three-point shooter in the NBA. The only one ahead of him in his teammate, Stephen Curry. Thompson drilled a career high 276 three-point shots. He also shot a career high 47% from the field and made more than 30 points 17 times in 2015-2016. No one can be left open on the Warriors.
1.) James Harden, Houston Rockets
James Harden is the clear-cut best shooting guard in the NBA. Harden averaged 29 points, 7.5 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game. All three averages rank first among shooting guards in the NBA. His only flaw is turnovers. The NBA single-season turnovers record was broken by Harden in 2015-2016. Once Houston signs a point guard, Harden’s turnovers will drop.