Sports Illustrated ranks 3 Minnesota Timberwolves in top 100 players

D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Sports Illustrated Top 100 Players list is out, and three Minnesota Timberwolves were ranked.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had three players on all of the prominent top 100 players lists released to this point. Sports Illustrated’s version gave the Wolves’ trio their best cumulative ranking yet.

When ESPN released their rankings just last week, all three Wolves players were listed too low, as we noted here at Dunking With Wolves.

This time around, however, Sports Illustrated did a great job with their rankings, and each Wolves player is at least in the neighborhood of where they should be ranked.

Sports Illustrated ranks Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio at No. 82

Ricky Rubio was ranked No. 93 by ESPN. Here’s what yours truly said about that ranking:

"…ranking the likes of Mitchell Robinson (No. 92), Buddy Hield (No. 87), and former Jazz teammate Joe Ingles (No. 91) ahead of Rubio seemed to be … suspect, at best. There are some other questionable ones, too, including John Wall coming off a major injury at No. 81 and Josh Richardson at No. 80, to name a couple.To be clear, Rubio’s ranking isn’t egregious. Something around the No. 80 mark, slightly higher than last year’s placement, seems about right."

So, there you go. No. 82 counts as “something around the No. 80 mark” in my book.

Indeed, after shooting a career-best 36.1 percent on 3-point attempts and being a major part of a resurgent Phoenix Suns squad shouldn’t cause him to fall far in any player rankings.

Indeed, Rubio ranked No. 73 last year on’s list, and falling nine spots is exactly what he did on ESPN’s player ranking as well.

On this list, Rubio beat out Goran Dragic by one slot and Buddy Hield by two. Mitchell Robinson, who was a spot ahead of Rubio in ESPN’s rankings, was not ranked by Sports Illustrated.

Sports Illustrated ranks Minnesota Timberwolves’ D’Angelo Russell at No. 46

D’Angelo Russell was all the way down at No. 69 on ESPN’s list. Yes, that was way too low, just as his No. 24 ranking in 2019 on the same site was far too high.

Sports Illustrated, on the other hand, got it exactly right, ranking him No. 46.

ESPN ranked Russell behind Miami’s Tyler Herro (No. 59) and Chicago’s Zach LaVine (No. 56). On SI’s list, Herro was nowhere to be found and LaVine was down at No. 75.

There’s no world in which Russell deserved his No. 26 ESPN ranking back before last season. Similarly, there is no scenario in which he should be No. 69. The No. 44 ranking feels exactly right.

To be clear, Russell needs to improve defensively this year and continue to grow his offensive game if he is to continue being perceived as a top 50 player in the league. If he can do that, the Wolves will be a legitimate contender for a playoff spot come May.

Sports Illustrated ranks Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns at No. 18

Karl-Anthony Towns‘ No. 23 ranking by ESPN was absurdly low for the best shooting big man in the league.

Yes, Towns has been fairly dinged for his defensive issues, but his offense is so good that it’s almost impossible to say he isn’t a top-20 player. A year after ranking Towns all the way up at No. 13, Sports Illustrated dropped KAT five spots to No. 18.

If the Wolves make the playoffs this year, Towns will be universally considered a top-15 player. He’s that special, and the defensive issue goes hand-in-hand with a lack of team success — a lack of team success sans Jimmy Butler, that is.

Towns beat out Kyrie Irving, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, and Donovan Mitchell on the list, and that feels about right. Adebayo would be the only player on that list who could make a clear argument that he’s a better all-around player, the three aforementioned perimeter players have all had their own challenges on the defensive end of the floor.

Next. 3 Wolves futures bets worth considering. dark

At the end of the day, if the Wolves improve as a team this year, all three of these players will see their respective rankings rise. Here’s hoping that’s the conversation we’re having prior to the start of the 2021-22 campaign.