Predictably, ESPN’s ranking of all 500 players in the NBA this “season” sparked widespread debate. Some of the rankings made me, for instance, look up players only to realize they were much better/worse than I expected. Others made me double-take with full knowledge of their true capabilities. Note that we don’t know the results of individual writers and bloggers, so I can’t call anyone out for their voting. But some of the Sixers’ rankings were off to me, both favorably for Sixers and unfavorably. The Sixers rarely appeared on national television, and the lack of notice showed in some instances. So here I will highlight the most egregious errors, from the overrated to the underrated.
Ranked Too High
197 – Andres Nocioni
Okay, so how many of you predicted I would immediately go to Andres Nocioni? Probably everyone. I can’t state often enough how terrible Noce was last year. Seriously, the Sixers were outscored by an average of almost 8 points per 48 minutes with him on the floor. He shot below league-average from behind the three-point line, previously one of his redeeming qualities. He would have struggled to cover a statue. The only thing he did remotely well while on the floor was rebound, and even then the 76ers have better players than him at his position to do that. But according to NBArank, Noce is roughly the seventh best player on an average team.
Noce is arguably the single most-overrated player in the entire rankings, about 125 spots too high for my liking.
171 – Evan Turner
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the NBA in recent years, it’s that progress should not be assumed. For example, for about 6 years we’ve expected Andre Iguodala’s jumper to improve. That never happened. We expected Lou Williams to become a true point guard under Andre Miller. He’s still the same Lou we’ve always known. We’re still expecting Mo Speights to “get it” anytime now. Not sure that’s ever going to happen.
The truth is, while progress is sometimes made, oftentimes what you get in the beginning is what you get in the end. Potential, more often than not, goes unrealized. Assuming that Evan Turner’s shot will improve or that his body will become more athletic with an off-season full of workouts is premature in my eyes. I certainly hope that happens. But I’m not willing to bet on it. That’s why this is a little too high right now, to me, by about 20-30 spots.
Ranked Too Low
274 – Jodie Meeks
It seems as if about no one noticed that Jodie Meeks played a significant role on a playoff team. Players that barely played ranked higher. Noce ranked higher. Mo Speights ranked higher. Some other very terrible players ranked higher. While Jodie is limited in what he can do (really, shooting and some defense is it), he does those things very well. 273 is about 70 spots too low, in my eyes.
173 – Lou Williams
Lou may not play defense on most nights, but he was better than Evan Turner. Right? I mean, he’s not the most efficient field goal shooter (though his true shooting percentage is much greater), but few can match his scoring in his playing time- heck, I have tried to make the case before that Lou was Monta Ellis with fewer minutes and more of a conscience. At least 30 spots too low.
62 – Elton Brand
Yes, I actually think Elton Brand was underrated in this ranking. For example, look at the next four highest players: Chauncey Billups (washed-up), Brandon Jennings (who isn’t any better than 83rd ranked Jrue Holiday, and you can look that up), Brandon Roy (without knees), and James Harden (I love his beard, but seriously?) . None were better or as productive as Elton Brand. Add in Jason Terry and some others that get massive bumps from being on winning teams, and you get Brand being about 10 spots too low.
Ranked About Right, Give or Take a Few Spots
34 – Andre Iguodala, 83 – Jrue Holiday, 84 – Thaddeus Young, 219 – Spencer Hawes, 236 – Mo Speights, and the under-300 guys (Kapono, Battie, Vucevic, Brackins, Allen)