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NBA World Reacts To Sports Illustrated's Top 15 Players

NBA stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving take the court for the Brooklyn Nets.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 13: Kevin Durant #7 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets look on with the referee during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center on December 13, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

This week, the staff at Sports Illustratedput together its list of the Top 100 NBA players ahead of the 2021-22 season. This morning, the final 10 players on the list were revealed.

In something of a surprise, the No. 1 spot goes to Kevin Durant. The Brooklyn Nets superstar had something of an abbreviated 2020-21 season, but proved that he's still the elite scorer that he was before tearing his Achilles back at the end of the 2019 season.

"...In the 35 games he did play, KD looked like the same guy, with a statistical profile that either matched or exceeded most of his career averages," SI wrote. "Then the playoffs happened. In them, Durant submitted the most impressive series of his career, averaging a hyper-efficient 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists against the Bucks, eventual world champs that had zero answer for his excellence. It was pantheon worthy, and made debate over if we’ve ever seen a more ruthless iteration completely justifiable."

KD beat out Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and last year's MVP Nikola Jokic. Here is the full top 15 ranking:

Durant is an incredible player. However, he did lose in the playoffs to Giannis, who went on to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA title. Giannis didn't deal with the rash of injuries that the Nets had down the stretch, but some fans have a real issue with KD edging out Giannis when you consider what happened at the end of the season.

On the other hand, many believe another Brooklyn Net got snubbed. Kyrie Irving was pretty sensational last year, and some a lot of fans can't believe he was left out of this top 15 entirely.

The enigmatic point guard wasn't the next player on the list either. Fellow guards Devin Booker, Trae Young, and Chris Paul landed spots before Kyrie came in at No. 19.

These lists are designed to generate debate like this, and when it comes to individual stars, no sport does it like the NBA.

Check out Sports Illustrated's full ranking, starting at No. 100, here.