Sure, everyone knows how much money in contracts agents have negotiated, but they don’t know how adept agents are at finding talent. Sports Agent Blog ranks the top eight agents based not on lump contracts sums negotiated, but on the pure talent they represent. After parsing through all the players represented by each agent, we composed a starting lineup, and ranked them using a mix of stats (shoutout NBA.com and Basketball Reference) and subjectivity.
This list of eight agents was determined by an initial glance at top dollars negotiated lists on HoopsHype and RealGm, which gave me a good idea on who the top agents were. After researching all the clients for each agent, these eight representatives were in a tier of their own in terms of the quality of talent they represented. Have fun with this list. Don’t get too heated. Hopefully you will get a better idea on who represents who after reading this.
8. Aaron Mintz (CAA)
D’Angelo Russell, Gary Harris, Paul George, Trevor Ariza, Julius Randle
Very solid starting lineup for Team Mintz, who sports three multi-positional defenders in Harris, George and Ariza, a rebounding and scoring machine in Randle, and an inefficient yet talented lead guard in Russell. While they are a tad small (Ariza and Randle usually play down a position), the NBA’s shift toward positionless basketball works in their favor. George is a bona-fide superstar who is averaging 24 points, 3 assists and 6 rebounds this season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he can carry this team. Harris, only 24-years-old, is quietly one of the best defenders at his position and has grown as a scorer each and every season. Ariza is getting up there in age (33-years-old), but all he has to do is knock down threes as the fifth option on offense and guard the opposing teams third best scorer. Randle may not be a quality rim protector, but he’s a ravenous rebounder (team-high 25.9 defensive rebounding percentage) and a freight-train when attacking the rim on offense. Russell, a former no. 2 overall pick, has failed to live up to expectations so far. His defense leaves much to be desired, as does his field goal selection. Overall, Team Mintz features a quality collection of talent that should compete every game.
7. Bill Duffy (BDA Sports Management)
Mike Conley, Josh Richardson, Luka Doncic, Nikola Mirotic, DeAndre Ayton
A very balanced team on both ends of the ball, but as of now, no superstar to carry them. Doncic and Ayton both have high chances to one day live up to a superstar’s billing, but seeing as both are just rookies, that’s asking too much for now. Conley will serve as the leader of this team, since he’s the oldest player and one of the league’s best teammates. No one in the starting lineup averages less than 17 points per game, a truly impressive mark of consistency. Richardson, a gritty 3-and-D player who has slowly tacked on more playmaking responsibility over the years, is perfect for this team of grinders. Mirotic is having a career year so far, averaging 23.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and converting a sizzling 45.5 percent of his 3-point attempts. With no weak links on both sides of the ball, Team Duffy has a super-high floor, but it’s almost impossible to win big in the NBA without a superstar, so their ceiling is capped.
6. Mark Bartelstein (Priority Sports & Entertainment)
Bradley Beal, Joe Ingles, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Kuzma, Enes Kanter
Here’s the book on Team Bartelstein: They are going to be an offensive powerhouse, with four excellent 3-point shooters and creators, plus a beast at center. On defense however, they are going to get slaughtered. Kuzma and Kanter are sieves, plus Hayward is still acclimating himself after missing basically all of last season after his gruesome leg injury. Beal and Ingles are both quality defenders, but that’s simply not enough to field a competitive defense. Beal is a safe bet for 20 plus points per game, Ingles’ team is currently outscoring opponents by over 10 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court and Hayward can feasibly return to his peak and become the team’s alpha dog. Kuzma is one of the most versatile scoring bigs in the league and Kanter bludgeons opponents in the post and on the offensive glass. Bartelstein has composed a really solid team thats lack of defense will be its undoing.
5. Aaron Goodwin (Goodwin Sports)
Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Will Barton, Kevon Looney, Dwight Howard
Unlike the above teams, Team Goodwin is top heavy and has some weak links. But when your “top” is Damian Lillard and DeMar Derozan, you’re just fine. Will “The Thrill” Barton has emerged as an electric scoring option off the wing who can spice it up with some dribbling savvy. Looney and Howard, while stout defensively, clog up the floor on offense and struggle to defend out on the perimeter. Lillard is currently averaging a ridiculous 33.8 points, 6.6 assists and 6 rebounds, while DeRozan has upped his game to another level with the Spurs, pouring in 27.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and a career-high 7.8 assists. Those two alone can carry a team. Add Barton’s spurts of greatness and you have a high voltage offense. Unfortunately, the bigs drag this team down. Looney is a high-character player who has two rings to his name, but offers little on offense. Howard’s theatrics are well-documented, and while he should provide some much-needed rebounding to Team Goodwin, he craves to post up way too much, doesn’t space the floor and could fray at the team’s locker room chemistry.
4. Jeff Schwartz (Excel Sports Management)
Kemba Walker, CJ, McCollum, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Nikola Jokic
Schwartz, who has negotiated a league-high $407 million worth salary, unsurprisingly has a stacked team. Walker is off to a white-hot start to the season, averaging 31.7 points and outscoring opponents by 7.5 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court. He’s sports one of the best handles in the league, is an excellent 3-point shooter and can get into the lane at will. McCollum is pretty much the shooting guard version of Walker. He’s shifty coming off picks and has a beautiful stroke along with a great podcast. Griffin has gotten off to a blazing start to the season, culminating in a masterful 50 point performance over the 76ers last week. Love is a scoring and rebounding monster, and fits right in with this high-powered offense. Lastly is Jokic, who has become a top-15 NBA player out of nowhere. He is quite possibly the best passing big man in history. Team Schwartz’s glaring issue though, is its porous defense. Jokic and Love are both below average at their position, Griffin will be stretched a bit thin chasing around small forwards and McCollum and Walker are no stoppers themselves. While immensely talented, this team won’t be able to get enough stops.
3. Jeff Austin (Octagon)
Steph Curry, Trae Young, Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Team Austin definitely has one of the most unconventional teams, since they represent three pure point guards. Young has a bright future, but for now he can serve as a secondary ball handler and lights out spot up shooter. Although he is inefficient and has a broken jump shot, Schroder can push the pace and score in transition while also giving Team Austin yet another creator off the dribble. Matthews is a little small for a power forward, but he’s lost a chunk of his speed since his achilles injury so his defense and shooting will fit in just fine. Giannis is best deployed sparingly as a center, but the team’s personnel thrusts the Greek Freak into that role full time, where he should dominate of course. This team is very unorthodox with three players below 6’3, but Steph and Giannis form an indestructible duo that is going to obliterate a lot of some more-well rounded teams above them. The two are probably the 4th and 5th best players in the league, and putting them together is unfair. Try to visualize a Steph-Giannis pick-and-roll. Press up on Steph and he will sice into the lane and lob it to Giannis. Fall back and you’re conceding an open 3 to the best shooter in history. Seems unwise. Try to switch and that leaves two exploitable mismatches. These two will overcome whatever roster deficiencies surround them and proceed to burn everyone else into the ground.
2. Leon Rose (CAA)
Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Robert Covington, Karl Towns, Joel Embiid
This team loaded. Paul is obviously a top 3 point guard in the league. His mix of passing, shooting and defense make him one of the most well-rounded players to play the game. His competitive spirit is also a boost to a team with a few pouters *murmurs the name Karl Towns indistinctly*. Everyone can space the floor on Team Rose, and that is huge. Booker is only 21-years-old and one of the best pure scorers in the league already. He can ease playmaking duties off Paul for stretches as well. Covington offers no off-the-dribble juice, but his defense is top notch. Towns and Embiid form one of the most imposing front-court duos on this list. They’re unicorns who can cover for eachother. While Towns struggles protecting the rim, Embiid excels. Where Embiid can be a bit streaky from deep, Towns shoots a sweet 44 percent. With three elite defenders (Paul, Covington, Embiid) and four elite offensive players (Paul, Booker, Towns, Embiid), Team Rose is a balanced force to be reckoned with.
Rich Paul (Klutch Sports Management)
John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Ben Simmons, LeBron James, Anthony Davis
Team Paul is a powerhouse. The combined athleticism of this lineup alone will overwhelm many opponents, not to mention its ability to field four plus playmakers. When he locks in on defense, John Wall is a rock. On offense, he consistently paces the league in assists while driving into the teeth of defenses with ease. Bledsoe was embarrassed by Terry Rozier in last year’s playoffs, but has entered this season a new man, with the Bucks outscoring opponents by over 21 points per 100 possessions when Bledsoe is in. Ben Simmons is electric in the open court and a vitruvian man on defense. Those three players are….the three worst players in the starting lineup. That is how obscenely good Team Paul is. Lebron and Davis are two of the three best players in the league. They’re both great defenders when they try and they’re averaging a combined 54 points, 22.2 rebounds, 13.1 assists, 4.5 steals and 4.1 blocks on 51 percent shooting. Team Paul’s one weakness is floor-spacing, seeing as Bledsoe and Wall are below-average shooters and Simmons seems allergic to the very thought of shooting threes. LeBron is streaky as well from deep. But with this much combined talent, they can figure that out later. For now, Team Paul is the winner.