Sports Illustrated ranks 4 Toronto Raptors in top 100, did they get it right?

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Serge Ibaka (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Serge Ibaka – Ranked 80th

Ranked immediately below him: Julius Randle, Jusuf NurkicMontrezl Harrell 

Ranked immediately above him: Patrick Beverley, Marcus Smart, Jaren Jackson Jr.

In general, the farther you go down on the list, the more variability you can expect. The gap between the 3rd and 13th best player is much more significant than the gap between 83rd and 93rd.

While some of the names both above or below Serge might be incorrect. In general, 80th feels about right.

The players below Ibaka are nearly impossible to grade against him. Patrick Beverley and Marcus Smart have an obvious contrast in position. Meanwhile, Jaren Jackson’s growth could make any positioning on this list look objectively ridiculous one year from now.

Due to positional scarcity, I’d rank Smart and Beverley ahead of Ibaka (there are a lot of good centers), but it’s pretty close to a coinflip call.

As for the players ahead of him, their ranking largely depends on what you value.

Jusuf Nurkic is coming off a career year in which he was one of the best centers in the entire NBA. He’s also coming off a nasty leg injury which may take away the limited amount of explosion he did display. If you value stability, you’ll take Serge. If you want the high upside option, you’d take Nurk.

As for Harrell and Randle, both represent offensively gifted bigs who are significant liabilities on the other end of the floor. Ibaka can’t score with the same volume or efficiency of either player; he also can’t create his own looks like either guy.

But Serge does provide a backline of defense and spacing as an ELITE mid-range shooter — Ibaka finished in the top 85-percentile at his position in mid-range shooting each of the past eight seasons and has never finished below the 77th-percentile (according to cleaningtheglass).

If you’re trying to win regular season games and beat below-average opponents, Harrell and Randle are your best options. If you want to raise your team’s ceiling, you’ll want Serge.

Overall ranking – pretty close to correct