Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017

2017-18 NBA player rankings: 20-11

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theScore staff

17m ago

Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

Ahead of the 2017-18 season, theScore’s basketball editors ranked the top 30 players in the NBA, with the cumulative rankings to be unveiled over the course of this week. As a reminder, these rankings are based solely on how we project players to perform in the coming season.

Related: Players ranked 30-21

20. Klay Thompson

A long list of teams wouldn’t hesitate to make Thompson one of their franchise stars. Golden State is extremely fortunate that someone with his gifts is willing to put his ego aside to be a lesser option on a historically dominant squad. Let’s not wait for him to drop 37 in a quarter or 60 in 29 minutes to recognize his greatness. – Chris Walder

19. Kyrie Irving

Who else would you rather have with the game on the line? Irving is by no means a complete player and he’s yet to lead a successful franchise on his own, but there’s no denying his abilities. Not a single player in the NBA can guard him one on one. – William Lou

18. Rudy Gobert

The Stifle Tower finished sixth in rebounds, third in rejections, and first in defensive plus-minus last season while serving as the backbone of Utah’s third-ranked defense. Gobert will now be called upon for more offense with Gordon Hayward in Beantown. That shouldn’t be too difficult as long as the Jazz look to feed the 7-footer even more in the pick-and-roll game. – Walder

17. Damian Lillard

The perpetually overlooked Lillard just keeps getting better. He dropped 27 points per game in 2016-17 and has improved his scoring average in each season to date. Save for Stephen Curry, there isn’t a more lethal pull-up shooter in the league than Lillard, who’s a constant threat to pull up from 30 feet off a high screen. – Lou

16. Blake Griffin

Griffin has missed 83 games over the last three seasons and hasn’t made an All-Star team since 2015, but he still cruises to 21 points, eight rebounds, and five assists; has added a semi-respectable 3-point shot; and could be in for something of a renaissance now that he’ll be thrust into a larger role without Chris Paul. – Joseph Casciaro

15. DeMarcus Cousins

A short fuse continues to hold Cousins back from being the most unstoppable center in the league. When he’s focused, Cousins can do just about anything. His 3-pointer has become a legitimate weapon, he’s a great interior defender, he passes and handles like a wing player, and he’ll run over anyone in the post. – Lou

14. Paul George

There’s going to be a feeling-out process for George as he adapts to playing with two studs in Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. He’s too skilled not to figure it out, though. Only a handful of 3-and-D wings in the Association on his level can score with such ease and come up with key stops on the other end. – Walder

13. Jimmy Butler

Butler gives you 24 points a night with elite defense and improved playmaking, but it’s the intangibles that truly make him elite. He leads by example as one of the league’s hardest-working players and he’s never shy about taking the last shot. Butler will do wonders for the Timberwolves. – Lou

12. Draymond Green

Why excel at one facet of the game when you can excel at pretty much all of them? Green thrives as the ultimate glue guy for the reigning champs, a role he takes great pride in occupying. He’s a Defensive Player of the Year who can also facilitate, shoot from distance, and body any player of any size and hold his own. – Walder

11. Chris Paul

Younger, more explosive guards have edged past the Point God, but few players alive can orchestrate a game the way Paul can. By sharing the backcourt with James Harden, CP3 can showcase one of the most underrated aspects of his arsenal – his devastating spot-up shooting. – Casciaro

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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