#NBArank 26: C.J. McCollum

For the sixth season in a row, ESPN.com is ranking the top players in the NBA. Who will be the best player this season?

To get the final ranking, we asked our expert panel to vote on pairs of players.

LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry. Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant. Damian Lillard vs. Chris Paul.

We asked, "Which player will be better in 2016-17?" To decide, voters had to consider both the quality and the quantity of each player's contributions to his team's ability to win games.

We'll roll out the rest of our top 200 players over the next week. If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along @ESPNNBA and on Facebook.

On to the list ...

26: C.J. McCollum

Insider profile: Few Most Improved Player awards have been easier to predict than McCollum winning last year. He had broken out late in 2014-15, averaging 17 points as the short-handed Blazers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs, and was due for more minutes and more shots after the team's offseason makeover. Still, don't underestimate the step forward McCollum took in his development to average 20.8 points and 4.3 assists, production that earned him a four-year, $106 million extension which will take effect in 2017-18. Read more »

#NBArank 21-30