2024 #JBLRank Top 50
- By The Commissioner, Day 1, 2024
Rather than taking a purely advanced stats approach, the approach for this ranking is: would I prefer to have, right now, the player above or below for this upcoming season? Who is likely to have a better season or the biggest impact?
#50 (Last Year: NR)
Victor Olajakpoke (Kings)
Defensively is developing well and this is where his value lies. Looks ready to take the next step. If he can hit 45+ FG% he'll be a 3&D stalwart.
#49 (Last Year: 49)
Kelvin Black (Cyclones)
Great defensive year as always and can still contribute 20-12-3b. Could be the spiritual leader of the 2024 Cyclones (or he could be traded); it could go either way.
#48 (Last Year: NR)
Josiah Robinson (Mustangs)
My hottest take of the year*: I'm predicting a big year for Josiah who is being given the keys to the Mustangs (literally). Do-it all face-to-the-basket post player with range.
*This will probably blow up in my face.
#47 (Last Year: NR)
Donnell Wallace (Blizzards)
His value just keeps increasing as teams move further out to the perimeter. Any time you have a guy who shoots 11 threes a game and makes 41%, you give him the ball as much as you can. Had ten games of >= 8 3PM last year.
#46 (Last Year: NR)
Ivan Obradovic (Warriors)
Can't go past The Hammer after what could have been an All-JBL 3rd team selection. One of the top 10 analytics players last year. His out of position passing gives the Warriors the ability to move off the ball and get easy baskets.
#45 (Last Year: NR)
Isiah Evans (Bullets)
Surprisingly living up to the hype (so far). Projects as being a Jevon Novak-style dominating outside player. Outside shooting, quickness and basketball IQ have translated well from the college game.
#44 (Last Year: NR)
Juwan Hughes (Jaguars)
Did anyone think he'd be this mature already? (Future MVP?) Hughes has the DNA and had an excellent rookie year. Finals experience could mean he leaps quicker than most. Expect 25+ PPG within three years.
#43 (Last Year: 47, Up +4)
Idris Berkley (Barons)
Plateaued a little, but still projects to be a big scorer when he hits his peak. Freeing him from Jamar Strickland will likely see his value rocket up. Still only 21 (!).
#42 (Last Year: 41, Down -1)
Brandon Terry (Huskies)
Ever-reliable (which is what the Huskies need) but needs to have a big season if the the team is going to win the title. The fourth piece that is often forgotten but does everything he needs to well (20p, 10a, 41% 3FG, 1.5s).
#41 (Last Year: 36, Down -5)
Antoine Hall (Lightning)
Big questions this year as he enters FA. Where does his true value lie? Had a career year at a new team with larger usage — can he do it again with a young squad around him? If he gets moved, does his value hold?
#40 (Last Year: 39, Down -1)
Jamaine Curry (Fireballs)
Explosive scorer. Should do well with LaCruz double teams when he isn’t shouldering the full load. Expect a big year now the pressure is off and a lot of off-screen outside shooting.
#39 (Last Year: 35, Down -4)
Akieem Martin (Lumberjacks)
Heart and soul of the 'Jacks and made his first All-Star team last season. Has developed a surprising offensive arsenal around the basket. Best thing about him is his willingness to play the team game.
#38 (Last Year: 9, Down -29)
Tezale Craig (Skyhawks)
Largest drop of the year for this future Hall of Famer, but some could still consider it too high (although his rebounding at SF will always be valuable). Will still put up close to 20 PPG; hopefully that satisfies him…
#37 (Last Year: NR)
Richmond Benson (Kings)
Can't deny he doesn't belong in the top 50 based on his analytics. Adds value everywhere, defensively tough and is developing a surprising offensive game. His undersized nature will likely hold him back from a future in the top 20.
#36 (Last Year: NR)
Detrez Owens (Kings)
Ready for the next level. He needs to prove he belongs in the top ranked guards by having a Lamar Francis style season. Expecting 23 PPG+ (the only stat).
#35 (Last Year: 26, Down -9)
Rubin Wingfield (Skyhawks)
Has peaked but still provided 20-10 last season. His 2017 MVP season feels like a lifetime ago but as long as he can throw oops to Hunter he’ll look good. His leaky defense is going to be the question going forward.
#34 (Last Year: 30, Down -4)
Leon Bowen (Hurricanes)
Huge inside as always in 2023, but can he do any more with what he has on the roster? 22 PPG at insane efficiency but does nothing to stretch the defense which is starting to hurt against stretch bigs.
#33 (Last Year: 43, Up +10)
JaDante Hicks (Mustangs)
Here’s a fun question - who has the better season: Hicks or Derrick Griffin? Hicks looking like a top 5 defensive wing going forward with slightly more offense. Likely a top 50 3&D player for a long time the way he is going.
#32 (Last Year: 45, Up +13)
Odell Bracey (Dragons)
Fantastic playmaker at the 2 and a great Robin to Novak’s Batman. Had a down year but developing more efficiency. Expect a rebound season. Must hit 35%+ from three this year. Once he gets more of the ball he will dominate.
#31 (Last Year: 25, Down -6)
Rasheem Fisher (Vultures)
Eats For A Lifetime is the new Rubin Wingfield. The engine room of the Vults, but question remains whether he is capable of much more than where he is now. Would love to see him more aggressive going to the basket.
#30 (Last Year: 42, Up +12)
Antonio Vega (Jaguars)
THE main reason the Jags made the Finals. Has surprised everyone after looking like a reach at #3 early on. Does a bit of everything and is could be a top 3P shooter in the league — just needs a creative PG to maximise his game.
#29 (Last Year: 29)
Derrick Griffin (Scorpions)
Could be the best perimeter defender in the game with his wingspan and defensive IQ. His two-way value is only increasing. There is a question whether he can truly develop to the max in a stacked LVS.
#28 (Last Year: 31, Up +3)
Josh Gamble (Cyclones)
Getting better every year (although it cannot be denied that Devon Harrell has surpassed him). With the changes in Miami, will probably have a career year as he takes on more of an offensive role. Miami will want 23-10 this year.
#27 (Last Year: 34, Up +7)
Vionte Houston (Huskies)
The quiet assassin. Probably should take on bigger role on offense. Hot take: he could be better valued than Barry in a few years due to the dearth at SG and defense. Could project to be at Antoine Peeler level offensively.
#26 (Last Year: 37, Up +11)
Jamaal Adams (Jaguars)
Gets a boost for his leadership of the Jags last year but is at the stage where he can take his game to the next level. Love his athleticism and creativity and forces the Jags to play uptempo. Good finisher and scheme breaker.
#25 (Last Year: 33, Up +8)
Quavius Williamson (Huskies)
Stats don't tell the true story of his value in Toronto (7th in WS/48, just under LaCruz). Just needs that final offensive leap and consistency; expect that he does both this year. 16-10-5-1-2 is the target.
#24 (Last Year: 12, Down -12)
Keydren Carter (Jailbirds)
Still providing great scoring (shooting a phenomenal 50-38-80) but his defensive numbers have started to dip as he gets older. Once he loses that first step (likely at 32), will need to develop some new moves. Can he?
#23 (Last Year: 20, Down -3)
Jerome Bradley (Renegades)
Likely at his peak. Should start to share the ball more with his rising star teammates. Probably unfairly criticised, he remains an effortless scorer and is ever reliable for 25PPG but can see that dipping to 22 this year.
#22 (Last Year: 23, Up +1)
Reggie Goodwin (Bullets)
Probably the best true 3&D off-ball wing in the league. Primed to do very well this year and is only 24. With the Bullets system changes, he will probably get more of the ball. Lockdown defender with his height and wingspan.
#21 (Last Year: 27, Up +6)
Kahlil Hooker (Jaguars)
Young center who was a vital part of the Jaguars Finals run. Defensively great; doesn’t quite have the flexibility of some of the other centers — he needs to develop an outside shot to be truly dominant.
#20 (Last Year: 22, Up +2)
Dameon Clarke (Scorpions)
Had a huge half of the year as the Las Vegas pick and pop player. Fits the current LVS team make up perfectly. Team option at $22m next year at 32 - will it be exercised? With his advancing years, could be a trade candidate.
#19 (Last Year: 13, Down -6)
Antoine Peeler (Lumberjacks)
Was probably ranked too high off of his career year in 2022, but still one of the best catch-and-shoot wings. Catches fire like no one else; shot 44% from three on the 'Jacks. Expect a big year now he’s settled.
#18 (Last Year: 24, Up +6)
Mark Hunter (Skyhawks)
Massive year in 2023 at 25p-10r-2.7b and even bigger second half. Loved having a true point guard throw him the ball. Still just 23 and hasn’t come close to his true potential. Dad could teach him a few moves this year.
#17 (Last Year: 16, Down -1)
Darius Barry (Huskies)
Shot 51-41-72 last season at 27.5ppg. If he develops a bit more defense and fewer turnovers, he could be a top 10 player. Almost there, but not quite.
#16 (Last Year: 17, Up +1)
Aaron Honeycutt (Bullets)
All tools guy with true offensive ability, which is rare. Does everything well. Defensively underrated. Put up 26ppg next to Hawes, proving he can produce no matter who is next to him. Will be settled and fired up this year.
#15 (Last Year: 14, Down -1)
Ainsley Tucker (Thunder)
Defensive Player of the Year. There will always be knocks on his offense (unfairly), but when you're this good at defense (and have Phifer or Sowder as a teammate) you don't need to be more than a 20 PPG scorer.
#14 (Last Year: 15, Up +1)
Lamar Francis (Scorpions)
Big athletic scorer just hitting his peak now. Three point shot was his biggest weakness and he has finally developed one. (Side issue: How will Francis survive without RKG's encouragement after every game in the locker room?)
#13 (Last Year: 11, Down -2)
Isaiah Clarkson (Bullets)
Quad double threat. Down year in 2023 given the trade turmoil; this year he needs to prove he deserves this and past rankings. We all know he is supremely talented, but now needs put it all together and become a leader.
#12 (Last Year: 10, Down -2)
Drayton Banks (Vultures)
Took a slight step back as the Vults faltered in the playoffs -- another player who needs to prove this year he is the main man to lead this team. There is a growing undercurrent that he sometimes puts up empty stats.
#11 (Last Year: 21, Up +10)
Jevon Novak (Dragons)
Surprising he has reached this elite peak (despite being a #1 pick). Cheaney-lite with insane creativity, ball wizardry and gravity. Ranking jump will be his last but still impressive that rookies are now being compared to him.
#10 (Last Year: 18, Up +8)
Taquan Slattery (Devils)
After he started slow, averaged over 32 the last few months of the season. Big post scorer, feasts on a bevy of undersized forwards. Needs to show leadership to bring the Devils to where the Knights are. This could be his year.
#9 (Last Year: 19, Up +10)
Devon Harrell (Crusaders)
Point guard of the future with supreme two-way capabilities. Primed for an All-JBL year; just needs other players around him to complete the puzzle and give him someone to pass to. Right now, do you take MVP LaCruz or Harrell?
#8 (Last Year: 8)
Omar Grant (Scorpions)
There may not be a better consistent defender in JBL history, although at 30, this could be the apex of his career.
#7 (Last Year: 7, -)
Marcus Ivory (Tritons)
Should probably have moved down a few, but the guys below him didn’t deserve this spot. This is the year that could make or break the 2019 MVP. Max contract and the entire team/history of franchise resting on his shoulders. No pressure.
#6 (Last Year: 1, Down -5)
Dontay Sowder (Thunder)
Literally a career defining year. Still incredibly versatile, but this could be the beginning of the end. With the pressure to be "the man" off, he could revitalise himself. If he wins one more he’s top 5. (No pressure.)
#5 (Last Year: 6, Up +1)
Andre Phifer (Thunder)
THE premier pure scoring guard in the league, winning his first scoring title and second All-JBL 1st/All-Defensive 1st berths. (Yes, he can also play defense). The guy you turn to when the chips are down. Just a monster right now.
#4 (Last Year: 3, Down -1)
Jason Cheaney (Jailbirds)
Only reason Phifer is below him (it was close) is that, if the Jailbirds play to his strengths, could be even better this year as the primary PnR ball handler. Pound for pound the most damaging perimeter player in the league.
#3 (Last Year: 5, Up +2)
Chris LaCruz (Fireballs)
His 2023 MVP season was a sight to behold -- will be difficult to replicate in 2024 but he is unlike any other (cheat code) in terms of carrying a team right now. Will he ever get tired of not going deeper in the playoffs though?
#2 (Last Year: 4, Up +2)
Alonzo Weaver (Warriors)
With a championship already under his belt, get ready for lift off. This is Weaver’s simulation — we’re all just living in it. He basically has no weaknesses. Remind you of anyone?
#1 (Last Year: 2, Up +1)
Kelvin Hawes (Knights)
Best player in the league now and the new #1. At the peak of his powers and the ONLY reason KCK are a playoff team. The only guy who can truly Thanos opposition teams out of existence. Deserved spot but may not hold it for long…
On the Outer
Last Year: #28
Reggie Fortier (Dragons)
Seemingly has maxed out where he will be (which is still good, but not top 50). Has instilled a great fighting spirit at the Dragons, but his offensive game now holds him back.
Last Year: #32
Orpheus Swayda (Vultures)
Right on the bubble. A tough one as his defense is surprisingly still solid and incredibly underrated. But he hasn't got long left; could be his last year. He’ll want to go out on top rather than sitting on a bench somewhere.
Last Year: #38
Reggie Dawkins (Warriors)
Still solid but age could hit him this year. As long as he shoots 55% and grabs 10 boards, the Warriors will be happy.
Last Year: #40
Tyson Kuberka (Colonels)
guns Guns GUNS! Could be (probably is) the top five worst contracts in the league. Waive and stretch was made for you, Tys.
Last Year: #44
Aaron Rowland (Thunder)
Didn’t develop as expected in a new role, but still plenty of time for him to get back into this list.
Last Year: #46
Quinton Rice (Rockets)
Should have had Owens instead of Rice last year. Great scorer but needs to provide other value on the court.
Last Year: #48
Demetric Vaughn (Vipers)
JBL legend on his retirement tour.
Last Year: #50-T
Isaiah McCarty (Mustangs)
Can still hit them, but will probably be a bit part on the Mustangs this year compared to years past.
Last Year: #50-T
Wesley Sherman (Dragons)
Lack of opportunity, true role, trade movement and no halo effect results in him dropping out (and the latter likely for his 2023 inclusion).