His rebounding proficiency also helps account for Al Horford's problems in that department, thereby unlocking more possibilities on both ends for the Eastern Conference's No. He could even switch onto wings and guards for short spurts, helping make up for the limitations of some veteran backcourt members.According to ESPN.com's DRPM, he was one of the league's five most effective defenders, regardless of position. Tristan Thompson, C, Cleveland Cavaliers The lack of development from Tristan Thompson is staggering.But alas, availability is a skill in and of itself, and Lin's ability to boost the team's net rating by 4.2 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor—all the way to a much-more-respectable minus-2.9—was partially negated by his inability to suit up in more than 36 contests. Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic The script flipped for Nikola Vucevic in 2016-17, as the center traditionally known for his offensive acumen and deft touch from the blocks/elbows suddenly found himself struggling on offense but thriving on defense. But his defense was legitimately troublesome off the ball, leading to a below-average finish in both ESPN.com's real plus/minus (RPM) and NBA Math's total points added.He never quite got his shot to fall, leading to a drop-off of 3.6 points per game from 2015-16, but he helped mitigate the damage by becoming a much more disciplined defender. That's partially due to context (covering up for Isaiah Thomas, taking on tough assignments, etc.), but Bradley was far less impactful this year, and his placement at No.And even if he showed a newfound proficiency for hitting pull-up jumpers after a single dribble, his overall numbers still slipped after leading the league in three-point percentage last season.Redick took six shots per game from downtown and connected at a 42.9 percent clip, which would've looked much better if it wasn't coming in conjunction with fewer trips to the stripe and a drastically diminished ability to convert around the rim. Tobias Harris, PF, Detroit Pistons Two things are keeping Tobias Harris from potential stardom.
The young guard still experiences plenty of momentary mental lapses, but they're typically trumped by his preternatural skill as a shot-creator and distributor.Cody Zeller was the only member of the Charlotte Hornets to record a higher defensive box plus/minus (DBPM), and ESPN.com's defensive real plus/minus (DRPM) indicated that only four small forwards were better on the less glamorous end.If Kidd-Gilchrist was able to show even a hint of progress as a scoring wing, he'd leave the tail end of the rankings in his rearview mirror. Thabo Sefolosha, SF, Atlanta Hawks Thabo Sefolosha was never going to maintain his early-season success on offense.Few guards are this comfortable squeezing the ball into tight spaces and hitting pull-up jumpers before celebrating their 22nd birthdays, which Russell won't get to do until the 2017-18 seasons is nearly complete. Jeremy Lin, PG, Brooklyn Nets Had Jeremy Lin been able to stay healthy, the Brooklyn Nets would've found more success.And correspondingly, he would've fared better in these rankings. Avery Bradley, SG, Boston Celtics Avery Bradley's reputation would have him ranked much higher, especially during a season in which he took five triples per game and connected at a 39 percent clip.