Who are the 15 best NBA players in 5 years?

Dime Magazine came out with a great piece on Wednesday about who the best fifteen NBA players will be five years from now.

It's a very interesting topic to look at, especially for the rebuilding Boston Celtics, who should be willing to go head over heels to get their hands on one or more of these players. More importantly that Danny Ainge maintain the assets he has to bring one to Boston without blowing them on acquiring average talent.

Not surprisingly 11 of the players have been lottery picks… and the other four are about to be lottery picks. The list:

15. Russell Westbrook        
14. Damian Lillard
13. Marcus Smart
12. Julius Randle
11. Andre Drummond
10. Blake Griffin
9. Jabari Parker
8. James Harden
7. Kevin Love
6. Andrew Wiggins
5. Kyrie Irving
4. Paul George
3. Anthony Davis
2. LeBron James
1. Kevin Durant

Sorry Green Teamers but no Rajon Rondo. Rondo should probably find himself in the top 30, but it just proves the point that he is a nice 2nd best player/3rd scoring option, not a franchise building block. And to the readers in the comment section who said they would not include Jared Sullinger in a Kevin Love trade here, come on guys!

With that said this list is not perfect in my mind. Blake Griffin is not even list worthy, we are not ranking box office draws here. There is MUCH more I need to see from Wiggins to put him up at six, I'll buy into some of the hype and put him at the back end of the list though. Jabari Parker on the other hand slides up to three on my list. He is the next big thing in basketball, Parker already has the entire package and can only develop.

We can argue all day about who should be on the list. What is not up for debate is that starting in five years, the team that wins the NBA title each year for a long time will probably have at least one of these players. That means we need to bring one to Boston.

There are seven players above that could be considered obtainable right now or in the near future. One of them is Blake Griffin - no thanks. Four of them will be acquired by tanking… right now that is not looking promising, but it's a long season. This leaves us with two: Kevin Love and Andre Drummond.

If you are not on board with a trade (referenced on the link above) that revolves around Jared Sullinger and draft picks for the potential 7th best player in the NBA in 2018, pairing him with Rondo, we don't see eye-to-eye. I understand Sullinger's potential and like him a lot as a player, but it is a superstar's league and Love accomplishes having one of those all important players on your team. The only way this is a bad trade is if one of those draft picks turns into a player on this list.

Now on to Drummond. No reason to dance around the big question, so the answer is no, there is no way to acquire him without parting ways with Rondo. The answer to your next question is yes, it is still well worth it.

As unique as Rondo is, you can still find point guards in this league. What you can't  find are seven footers as physically imposing as Drummond with as much room to grow as he has. That is why a player like Drummond who has only shown flashes thus far is ranked 11th on as elite a list as the one above, and is well worth the cost of Rondo - even if a first round pick or two goes along with him.

Rondo is best friends with Josh Smith and the two would be happy to play together. Boston would have to take back a contract from Detroit to make it work, but this is a deal to explore earlier rather than later… Drummond is only getting better. Sully and Drummond in the front court? Scary good down the road. Still plenty of draft picks and cap room left to build the rest of the team. A wing scorer not named Jeff Green and a point guard not named Jordan Crawford would be necessary ASAP.

What do you guys think of Dime's list? And better yet how do we get some of these guys to Boston?

Source: Dime Magazine

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