ESPN.com unveils its top 5 of #NBArank for 2013-14 on Tuesday, and in its third year of organizing players in order prior to the start of the season, it's interesting to see how names change. Ultimately, the list is about context: where you've been and where we expect you to be this season. Within this framework, we see some players ascend in stature while Father Time simultaneously claims others.
For example, in the first incarnation of #NBArank, in 2011-12, James and Paul were joined by Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki. While we can reasonably expect a return to prominence by Howard (as he continues to recover from 2012 back surgery), the reality is Wade and Nowitzki likely will never see those heights again.
If there can be such rampant change in the span of two seasons, it makes one wonder what the top 5 will look like in five seasons' time. Here are 10 players who have never been in the top five but who have the chance to be there in 2018-19.
Barring devastating injury, Irving is a mortal lock to make this list, most likely a lot sooner than 2018. Last season, I wrote about what made him so special, as well as what stands in his way of becoming a truly great player. In five years, he'll be a ripe old 26 years of age, the prime of his career, and hopefully will have corrected his defensive flaws, or at the very least improved from bad to mediocre. The Cavs have retooled the roster significantly this season, so now is the time for Irving to step up in his effort and attention to detail.