The Substance Report is an official rankings that I thought was necessary to come up with to determine which players throughout the league are most valuable to their team. Each day, for the next week or so, there will be an article dedicated to a single player that demonstrates both his value to the league, but more importantly, the weight on his shoulders on his own team.
An example of the rhetorical questions to ask yourself throughout the readings of the ranking is something along the lines of, "What would the Warriors look like without Stephen Curry? How much worse off would they be as a team? Could they still win an NBA Championship if they just released him to the depths of a fiery hell? Would Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson's efficiency go up because they would have more shot opportunities with Steph out of the rotation?" and other important meditations similar to that nature.
This is what the rankings look like so far.
30. Lou "Two Girls and They Get Along Like I'm Lou Will" Williams
29. Domantas "Arvydas's Son" Sabonis
28. Montrezl "Holy Shit That Guy Tries Hard" Harrell
27. Mike "Never Leaving Memphis Because Cash Rules Everything Around Me C.R.E.A.M.!" Conley
26. Klay "Not Just Steph's Sidekick" Thompson
25. Trae "Ugliest Player in the League" Young
24. Ben "Kendall Jenner's Bae / Fresh Prince" Simmons
23. Nikola "Diet Jokic" Vucevic
22. Karl-Anthony "Who Was the Last Good Player With Two First Names?" Towns
21. Blake "Pray My Knees Will Be Okay Come April" Griffin
20. Devin "Should I Just Become a Point Guard?" Booker
19. Anthony "'I'll Tell On You To Rich Paul!' / AD" Davis
18. Russell "I Didn't Know a Professional Could Take Their Job Too Seriously / Why Not?" Westbrook
17. Joel "The Cameroonian Clown / The Process" Embiid
16. Bradley "Will Somebody Please Trade John Wall Already?" Beal
15. Donovan "Still Salty About His 2nd Place Spot In The ROTY Contest / Spida" Mitchell
14. Kemba "Can Do Cool Crossovers But May Never Win A Playoff Series" Walker
13. Luka "Thick and Slick / Halleluka" Dončić
12. Kawhi "Typically Silent, But Mostly Deadly / Klaw" Leonard
11. Kevin "Will Tell You He's Not Going To New York, But He's Probably Going To New York / KD" Durant
10. Stephen "How Does The Greatest Shooter Ever Not Have An Actual Usable Nickname Yet? / Chef" Curry
9. LeBron "Will Trade You In a Heartbeat / King" James
8. Rudy "Frenchman Who Looks Like He Can Lay Some Serious Pipe / The Steiffel Tower" Gobert
7. D'Angelo "Instagram Is My Second Profession / Loading" Russell
6. De'Aaron "Now You See Me, Now You're Admiring My Luscious Hair" Fox
5. Paul "Smoother Than Silk Until The Playoffs / PG-13" George
T-4. Damian "Dame Dolla / Dame Time" Lillard
T-4. Kyrie "Swerving" Irving
3. Giannis "Golf Ball Dunking Lookin' Ass / The Greek Freak" Antetokoumpo
Giannis Antetokoumpo has come a long, long, long way. The length of his journey to the top of the NBA's individual ranks is paralleled by only the length of his own body. His arms, and fingers, make normal humans look like insects. He is the most appealing person in the NBA to stare at, and has taken that ridiculous physicality and transformed it into an unstoppable body-bashing rim threatener.
If you haven't seen TNT's documentary "Finding Giannis" yet, then I highly encourage you to take 22 minutes out of your day and check it out. It's a moving piece that greatly exemplifies just how low the odds were for a Nigerian kid from Greece to become an MVP candidate in the world's best basketball league.
Now that he's arrived, and has introduced himself to the world as the most unstoppable freight train since Miami LeBron: He's become the face of basketball (fuck Steph Curry).
Watching Giannis play basketball is a gift, and we as fans, critics, and basketball advocates should treat him as such. He's a jump shot away from becoming one of the ten best players of all-time. If he ever gains a vision of the game that is 60% of LeBron's, then he'll catapult himself to the top of the pyramid alongside the likes of Jordan and James. It goes without saying that passing ability isn't something that you just learn, it's more of a God-given gift. But Giannis defies all reality, and is essentially the NBA's version of Thor.
The Greek Freak averaged a career high in assists this season (5.9) and that's largely due to Coach Budenholzer's pace and space system being put in place. Giannis has more weapons around him now than ever: Bledsoe, Middleton, Mirotic, Revolutionized Lopez, and Brogdon. Those are five borderline All-Star players (Lopez is a former All-Star and Middleton earned his first All-Star bid this season) that can compete with some of the best in the game in at least one area.
Check out how efficient each of these top six players are when it comes to effective field goal percentage. Middleton has the lowest one with only 51.9%, and he was one of the five best wings in the Eastern Conference all season long.
Simply put, the dudes surrounding Giannis can fucking ball. This is definitely not a 2017-18 Cavs situation where there's one superstar surrounded by a bunch of bums. If the Bucks are going to be a legitimate Finals contender, then it's up to Giannis to take them to the promise land. It's all on his broad shoulders to deliver the city of Milwaukee a championship, and he really has no excuses (aside from running into the unstoppable Golden State empire).
If there were a basketball purist who was also a talented chemist that attempted to build a perfect basketball player out of chemicals from outer space in order to defeat the Golden State Warriors, then Giannis is what would come out of that deranged lab.
He's almost 7 feet tall with quickness that is awe-inspiring which makes him the perfect Kevin Durant counter
Can attack the rim at will, and GSW only has one elite rim protector in KD (Draymond has been above average this season, but has lost some of his fire in that area)
Averages over 10 defensive rebounds per game, which would eliminate a lot of second chance points for the Warriors
Is one dunk away from ending human existence (which would in turn eliminate everybody aside from him, so he's kind of more Thanos than he is Thor in this regard)
If the Rockets can't beat the Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals, then Giannis is really the only other hope. He is the Jedi who was chosen to defeat this evil empire of Silicon Valley douchebags. And if he does succeed in fulfilling his destiny, then he will surely hold the title for the best basketball player in the world, and we should all worship him wholeheartedly.