People like to rank things and then argue about them.
In a world defined by — and dependent on — math and structure, maybe debating numerical assignments given to people, things, movies, etc. in nonsensical manners makes us feel human.
It’s a tame way of bucking the system (except when said debates lead to fights). Rankings and such especially hold immeasurable value in the sports and entertainment world, as they’re often cycled and recycled in a regurgitation of pixels. But also, comparisons are, well, sort of fun.
It’s with that introduction that we talk about ESPN’s #NBArank. What is it? 104 “experts” associated with ESPN were asked to rank all NBA players (including rookies and free agents) on the scale of 0-to-10 based on “the current quality of each player.” I participated last year but neglected to do so this year; TAI’s John Converse Townsend did, however, weigh-in on the 2012 edition.
Through Tuesday, players ranked 261 through 500 had been posted for public consumption. Today, rankings 260 to 241 are being periodically revealed. First, let’s take a look at those Wizards who have yet to be released… I’m betting that all of their rankings, even Wall’s, will be lower in 2012 (while being curious about where Beal will rank since he’s a rookie).
Nene (#31 in 2011)
John Wall (#40 in 2011)
Emeka Okafor (#71 in 2011)
Trevor Ariza (#113 in 2011)
Jordan Crawford (#210 in 2011)
Bradley Beal (NR, 2012 rookie)
Now let’s review the Wizards rankings released so far…
First Note: Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, released today, are ranked 254 and 257 respectively; try to digest that absurdity (in comparison with the rankings below) without hurting yourself too much. Blatche is ranked above Trevor Booker, but I’d have a hard time ranking Blatche above “Booker,” the late-80s/early-90s television show starring Richard Grieco that lasted all of 21 episodes.
#266 Jan Vesely – ranked 313 last season, “Honza” has now ascended to somewhere between Baron Davis (#265) and rookie Jeremy Lamb (#267), which is fascinating on so many levels. Meanwhile, Jared Jeffries has slipped from 264 to 268. My money is on Jan cracking the top 225 before next season… actually, let’s make that the top 200.
#279 Trevor Booker – ranked 321 in 2011, people remember Booker’s improved play last season, but the guy has to stay healthy. Being ranked behind Vesely, likely Booker’s top competition for burn next season, probably fuels some fire under the former Clemson Tiger… have you seen some of his recent mobile phone camera dunks? Booker has potential to crack the top 225 as well, but for now he falls just behind Andre Drummond and John Lucas III. Ouch.
#281 Kevin Seraphin – ranked 435 last season, Seraphin has come a long way, but considering his late season progression for the Wizards, it’s kind of surprising that he’s ranked behind Vesely and Booker. Seraphin has legit ability to score in the post that’s more rare than the all-around hustle and basketball sense that Jan and Trevor provide. (Those, too, can be a rarity in the NBA — at least the Wizards organization.) Seraphin is ranked ahead of Andris Biedrins (#284), so don’t say Ernie Grunfeld doesn’t know how to get the most out of his dollar. Seraphin could be a top 200 player when the season is over (or even top 175), but that’s also probably contingent on the health of Nene and Okafor.
#292 Martell Webster — ranked 231 last season, Webster has his work cut out for him if he expects to be in the top 250 again. He’s immediately behind Marquis Daniels (#291), rookie Royce White (#290), and another player rumored to have been on the Wizards’ radar, Anthony Tolliver (#289).
#360 Chris Singleton – last season Singleton was ranked… No. 360. Again? Uh oh. Right behind the trio of Sasha Pavlovic, Chris Duhon and Quincy Pondexter, but ahead of Yi Jianlian, D.J. White, and Jon Leuer this year, the odds that Singleton will be ranked No. 360 once again next season are probably better than the odds of him cracking the top 300.
#396 Shelvin Mack – ranked 469 last season, Mack has been majorly boosted, now ranked behind France-bound Shelden Williams (#393), but above Johan Petro (#397), rookie shooter from Vandy John Jenkins (#398, surprisingly), and village elder Tony Battie (#399). Mack is creeping near the “just happy to be ranked” category.
#435 Cartier Martin – A Cartier Affair actually dropped from 432 last season — how dare people put him behind James Singleton (China bound, perhaps?), Miles Plumlee, and Mike James (homeward bound?). Cartier is most certainly in the “just happy to be ranked” category, but when all is said and done, he could be amongst the more “ready to contribute” players ranked between 400 and 500.
Stay tuned for more #NBArank, in addition to a future #WizardsRank, where the TAI crew will rank all of the Wizards who played for the franchise over the last five season (which happens to be the very age of this here website).