It's Year 5 for #NBArank!
Who will be the best ballers in the NBA this season? Here are players 31-35:
31. Zach Randolph
Insider profile: Observers keep waiting for Randolph to make some concession to age as he reaches his mid-30s, and Randolph keeps on defying it. In fact, 2014-15 was by almost any measure his best season since 2010-11, the last time he averaged 20 points per game. Read more »
32. Gordon Hayward
Insider profile: Hayward emerged last season as the Jazz's go-to player and one of the league's best all-around wings, all at age 25. The key to Hayward's development was shot creation. In addition to pushing his usage from 23.1 percent of Utah's plays to 26.2 percent, Hayward was assisted less frequently (43.8 percent of his field goals, down from 50 percent, per NBA.com/Stats). Read more »
33. Joakim Noah
Insider profile: Last year, Noah looked like a player in decline. Now, entering a contract year, he finds himself in a precarious situation. The hope for Noah, and the Bulls, is that his drop-off in 2014-15 was entirely due to ongoing knee trouble. Read more »
34. Kyle Lowry
Insider profile: Although he doesn't necessarily have a single great skill, Lowry is good enough across the board to be dangerous in the pick-and-roll. He is a threat to pull up when opponents go under the screen (he shot just 33.8 percent on 3s last year but was at 38 percent the year before), can get to the basket and take contact and is a willing passer. Read more »
35. Pau Gasol
Insider profile: Gasol's ability to play a European face-up game in addition to a traditional low-post role should play well in the system of new coach Fred Hoiberg. Unfortunately, Gasol's declining defense will further muddle what is already a complicated frontcourt depth chart. Read more »
ESPN is ranking (almost) every NBA player and counting them down on Twitter (@ESPNNBA), from No. 400 to No. 1.
Who will be the best player this season?
To get the final ranking, we asked the panel to vote on pairs of players.
We asked, "Which player will be better in 2015-16?" To decide, voters had to consider both the quality and quantity of each player's contributions to his team's ability to win games. More than 100 voters weighed in on nearly 30,000 pairs of players.
We'll roll out the results during the next five weeks. If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along @ESPNNBA and on Facebook.