Ranking the Top 15 Players in the NBA Entering the 2016-17 Season

Ranking the Top 15 Players in the NBA Entering the 2016-17 Season

We have Melo higher than 15.

Published October 13, 2016

Carmelo Anthony took issue with SLAM ranking him as the 15th-best player in the NBA on its top 50 list entering this upcoming 2016-17 season.

And we can't blame Melo for feeling slighted. Despite the New York Knicks' nine-time All-Star forward entering the twilight of his career, at 32-years-old he remains one of the best scorers in the league, delivering buckets to the tune of 21.8 points per game last year.

No wonder he thinks Slam is playing themselves, placing him No. 15.

Melo's clapping back at the magazine motivated BET.com to put together our own rankings. Here, we present the NBA's top 15 players entering this season ... and we must say that we have Melo ranked higher. 

Did he crack the top 10, though? See below.

  1. Kawhi Leonard
    (Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    A back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year winner who still puts up 20-plus points per game (21.2)? Yeah, the "Claw" is in the top tier of the league — no doubt.

  2. Chris Paul
    (Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)

    Still being the consummate floor general at 31 years old, averaging 19.5 points and 10 assists per game — as he did last season — is nothing to scoff at nor take for granted. We see you, CP3.

  3. Kyrie Irving
    (Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Can anybody in the league stand in front of Kyrie Irving's slippery handles for days and stop the Cleveland Cavaliers' point guard? Well, we know from last year's NBA Finals that Stephen Curry can't. After draining the winning shot of the Finals, we expect Uncle Drew to come back that much nicer this season. Wait for it ...

  4. DeMar DeRozan
    (Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

    Still sleeping on DeMar DeRozan? Well, the 23.5 points per game he dropped last year should be a reason for you to wake up. The Toronto Raptors' All-Star shooting guard continuously finds ways to get buckets.

  5. Paul George
    (Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

    Paul George didn't show any signs of that gruesome August 2014 compound leg fracture last season, averaging 23.1 points per game for the Indiana Pacers.

  6. Carmelo Anthony
    (Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    We thought long and hard about what Carmelo Anthony's true ranking should be entering this season. In the end, we gave him the slimmest edge over Paul George to crack the top 10. At 32, Melo is still a scoring machine ... and that's not too shabby.

  7. Klay Thompson
    (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    Sharing the same back court as back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry makes it easy to sometimes overlook how good Klay Thompson is. But don't ever play yourself. The Golden State Warriors All-Star shooting guard is capable of catching fire better than anybody in the league — including Curry — as evidenced by his unreal shooting displays last postseason. Eleven 3-pointers in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals? Are you kidding? Light 'em up, Klay!

  8. Damian Lillard
    (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    Talk about the best point guard in the NBA and Stephen CurryRussell Westbrook and Chris Paul will probably be the names that come out your mouth first. As they should. But Damian Lillard's 25.1 points and nearly seven dimes per game with the Portland Trail Blazers on his back shouldn't be overlooked.

  9. Anthony Davis
    (Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

    With time, Anthony Davis could be the best baller in the league, period. For now, 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and two blocks per game has the New Orleans Pelicans' power forward just looking into the top 5 on our ranking.

  10. DeMarcus Cousins
    (Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    Boogie is one bad, bad man. Nearly 27 points per game with 11.5 boards and 1.4 blocks? Franchise center, indeed.

  11. James Harden
    (Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

    On a late-game isolation, we want the rock in the hands of James Harden. Buckets upon buckets. Fear the "Beard" ... a perennial threat to win the scoring title.

  12. Russell Westbrook
    (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    There's not a player in the league who goes as hard and is as relentless as Russell Westbrook. The back-to-back All-Star MVP with the busiest motor in the NBA — as evidenced by his 18 triple-doubles last year — should even play with a bigger chip on his shoulder since Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to join Golden State. We could be looking at a 2016-17 season, in which Russ wins the MVP.

  13. Kevin Durant
    (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    KD averaged damn-near 30 points per game last year. Playing with three fellow All-Stars should have him that much more in his bag in what could be the best season of his career — not to mention that elusive first title he's been chasing.

  14. Stephen Curry
    (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    The back-to-back MVP returns after leading the league in scoring (30.1 points per game) and making the Golden State Warriors the most-winning team in NBA history with a 73-9 record, coming up just one game shy of clinching another title. The pressure's on, but guess who isn't gonna crack? Pardon, but Chef Curry had to laugh at that.

  15. LeBron James
    (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    King James had to fly into the frame during Game 7 of the NBA Finals and block Andre Iguodala to seemingly remind everyone that he's the best player on the planet. Willing the Cleveland Cavaliers to a championship by averaging a near-triple-double didn't hurt his cause either. Bow down to King James.

Written by Mark Lelinwalla

(Photos from left: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, Al Bello/Getty Images)


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