For the past couple of weeks, ESPN has been running a pretty cool countdown where they rank all 500 players in the NBA and count them down via Twitter (and also post it on ESPN.com).
I’m sure you’re wondering how it’s possible to rank every single NBA player. To quote ESPN directly:
“We asked 104 experts to rate each player on a 0-to-10 scale, in terms of “the current quality of each player.”
You’re probably also wondering what’s up with the hashtag. Well,
“#NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use if you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along.
You can also follow along here: @NBAonESPN“
They’ve just about crossed the halfway point with the countdown so I thought it would be a great time to look at the Warriors who have made the list, their ranking and their overall score from the experts.
I’ll also include whether I think they should be higher or lower than they’re actually ranked (as well as the reasoning why) and any notable names that they are ahead of.
Here we go.
#499 – Kent Bazemore, 1.46
The undrafted rookie out of Old Dominion is a very unknown commodity to the majority of the NBA universe (unless you’re Bob Myers or Kent’s mother) and this is likely why he didn’t get many favorable scores. However, Bazemore dazzled Warriors execs at Summer League with his tenacious defense, which was on full display against the Bulls’ Summer League team where he put up 11 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and seven blocks. For a guy who’s only 6’5, registering seven blocks is pretty spectacular and was enough for Golden State to take a flyer on him and ink him to a partially guaranteed contract. Perhaps if his contract was fully guaranteed he would’ve moved up a few slots.
Higher or lower: Higher (The dude had seven blocks in one game. Seven. I know it was SL, but still. Seven!)
Notable players he’s ahead of: Eddy Curry (#500)
(Yes, you may commence laughter and any Eddy Curry jokes you know off the top of your head)
#429 – Festus Ezeli, 2.32
Ezeli was selected #30 out of Vanderbilt by the Warriors in this year’s draft and figures to play a prominent role in the frontcourt almost immediately (as Bogut’s backup). While his game offensively is fairly suspect, his defensive prowess is what caught the team’s attention. He averaged 2.6 and 2.0 blocks per game in his final two years at Vandy and has a big body that will be useful in clogging up the lane and rebounding.
I’m assuming the Warriors are hoping that over time he develops some semblance of an offensive game. But if he protects the rim the same way he did in college and shows the same toughness and hustle that was on display at Summer League, he can shoot with his feet for all they care.
Higher or lower: About right
Notable players he’s ahead of: Dan Gadzuric (#430) , Luke Walton (#431)
#394 – Jeremy Tyler, 2.60
Watching Tyler play basketball is somewhat of an adventure. You don’t quite know what to expect out of him. That probably has a lot to do with him dropping out of high school to go overseas and play professionally. Obviously, there is the red flag of inexperience and lack of learning more about the game and developing his talents at the high school and college level. But then there’s a part of you that thinks, “Hey, this guy played professionally with other…professionals and therefore should be better than we’d think!”
After about a year and a Summer League of watching him play, the arrow is pointing more towards the “inexperienced” side rather than the “diamond in the rough” side. On both sides of the floor – more often than not – Tyler looks extremely lost and tries to hide that by giving 112% energy. Unfortunately, that results in a lot of bad footwork and some very questionable shots.
There is obviously some potential with this guy which is why the Warriors took a chance by purchasing his draft rights in 2011 but it remains to be seen whether or not he will reach a fraction of that potential. Expect to see a lot more of Festus this season than Jeremy.
Higher or lower: Lower (Until he can, at the very least, catch the ball cleanly with any consistency, he’s too high)
Notable players he’s ahead of: Johan Petro (#397), Tony Battie (#399)
#370 – Charles Jenkins, 2.77
Jenkins proved a lot of people wrong toward the end of last season when he was thrown into the starting lineup following the plague of injuries that struck the Dubs’ locker room. At the very least, he showed that he was a capable backup point guard in the league which is basically what you hope to get out of a guy when you take him in the second round. The knock on him is that he is less of a traditional point guard and more of a scoring one (which was evident his senior year at Hofstra when he averaged 22.6 ppg) and also seems to love the long two-point shot.
However, in the last 5 games of the 2011-12 season he averaged 8.8 assists to go along with 15.2 points proving that he can be a playmaker when he needs to be. With Jarrett Jack as the primary option to backup Steph Curry, Jenkins likely won’t get the same opportunities he did last season but as far as third-option point guards go, he’s not a bad one to bring off the bench.
Higher or lower: Higher (He’s shown he can be a viable backup in the league)
Notable players he’s ahead of: Greg Oden (#372), Maurice Evans (#374)
#334 – Draymond Green, 3.08
My first reaction to seeing Green’s name here was that it was a tad high for a second-round pick who hasn’t even played his first regular season NBA game yet. I’m assuming that the majority of the voters went off of his reputation that he established during his career at Michigan State. It’s hard to blame them though. Green averaged a double-double his senior year with 16.2 points and 10.6 boards.
He slid into the second round of this year’s draft likely due to not having a defined position in the NBA (the dreaded “tweener” label) but clearly people still think he can overcome that and become a productive NBA player. He brings the willingness to do whatever it takes to win, whether that means playing defense, rebounding or diving for a loose ball which is exactly what the Warriors need. He does possess a little bit of long-range ability but with names like Curry, Thompson, Barnes and Rush on the roster, I doubt he’s going to have any opportunity to show that.
With a loaded frontcourt and wing position, it’s hard to see right now how Green will carve out playing time but if he can continuously bring the intangibles Shane Battier-style, Mark Jackson will find a place in his rotation for him.
Higher or lower: Lower (he’s unproven)
Notable players he’s ahead of: Donte Green (#336), Chris Wilcox (#340)
#284 – Andris Biedrins, #284
Maybe I’m rushing to judgement here but it’s hard to justify this guy being towards the top half of the league when: 1) he forgot how to play basketball, 2) he appears to not care about not being good at basketball and 3) he’s getting paid $18 million over the next two years to not be good at basketball.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Biedrins was an up-and-coming big man who the Warriors thought could be a cornerstone of their franchise. Somewhere along the way, either the Space Jam aliens came and stole his talent or he personally took his talent, dragged it into a dark alley and shot it right in the face.
The narrative the past couple of seasons has been the hope that Biedrins would find his game and become at least a shadow of who he used to be. That hope is now all but gone and the man formerly known as “Goose” will likely ride off into the Latvian sunset when his contract ends in 2014.
At least he’ll have left us all with some good memories like his gelled hair and awful free throw form. That alone is worth $63 million.
Wait, no it isn’t.
Higher or lower: Lower (Have you seen him play?)
Notable players he’s ahead of: Derek Fisher (#288), Chris Anderson (#297)
As more Warriors names get released, I’ll be sure to keep track and post another one of these for you.
To see the complete list thus far, click here.
Until next time.