After a significant amount of player movement during the summer, the landscape of the NBA looks completely different heading into the 2019-20 season. Some teams improved considerably through free agency and trades, securing a handful of players on, while other teams — like the Charlotte Hornets — lost their lone All-Star, leaving them with no representation from the top 100 best players in the league.
One interesting takeaway from this team-by-team breakdown is seeing the after effects of the Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers obviously got the guy they wanted, but at the cost of losing all their youth and depth. Therefore, they only have three players — Davis, LeBron James and Danny Green — on their team from our Top 100 list, although two happen to sit in the top five! The Pelicans, on the other hand, are the only team in the league to have six players represented in our Top 100, thanks largely to that blockbuster Davis trade, as well as drafting Zion Williamson and adding JJ Redick in the offseason.
On paper, it shouldn’t concern the Lakers too much, considering they are title contenders, and the Pelicans likely won’t make the playoffs in the West. However, the lack of depth could hurt the Lakers in the postseason, when role players become a huge factor in team success. That’s why teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers are favored more heavily to win the championship, because both of those teams have five players on the Top 100 list.
These breakdowns aren’t the end-all determiner of team success this season, because we know having LeBron James on your team covers up a significant amount of weaknesses. But for teams like the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, knowing they have four guys from the Top 100 list on their team is a positive sign when their goal is to get back to the playoffs.