#NBARank Analysis: 50-41

Right now we’re about a week and a half away from the start of NBA training camps. Fall is in the air and the summer is now just an afterthought unless you’re the Lakers. Teams and players are starting to get in contact with one another again, as its time to get back to the grind.

Bloggers, writers, and talking heads are getting ready for the NBA season too. Right now, we’re all putting together our season previews and our player ranking lists. There is no player ranking list with more clout than ESPN.com’s NBA Rank that they’ve done annually for the past two seasons. This is what creates debate in NBA circles.

Right now its winding down to the top 50 and people are anxious to see where some of their favorite players are on the list. Most importantly, they’d like to see who they are behind. And that’s why we’re doing this analysis. During Saturday’s show we’ll get more into the NBA rank and who should be where and all of the good debate that you all love to hear. So, lets dig in.

Today, I’m going over the NBA rank’s 50-41 slots and the players who were snubbed out of the top 50. The list’s 50-41 spots are as listed below.

50: Ryan Anderson
49: Greg Monroe
48: Ty Lawson
47: Ricky Rubio
46: Monta Ellis
45: Andrew Bogut
44: Al Jefferson
43: Amar’e Stoudamire
42: Demarcus Cousins
41: Serge Ibaka

From this crop of players, I have some burning questions. I hadn’t taken much issue with this season’s NBA Rank–outside of O.J Mayo making the top 100–but this set of 10 managed to get me fired up.

I have no issue with Ryan Anderson or Greg Monroe sitting in their respective spots. However, the next two I have a problem with. When did Ricky Rubio, who didn’t even manage to play a whole season, get better than Ty Lawson? Lawson is the best player on what is a playoff team. He was the leader of the team that managed to push the Lakers to a seven-game series during the postseason.

I can’t fathom Rubio, who shot an awful 35% from the field, being a better player than Ty Lawson. Lawson shot 48% himself as one of the smallest guards in the NBA. Rubio only managed a 14.1 PER last season next to Lawson’s 19.4 PER as well. Rubio wasn’t efficient from the field at all and had an eFG of .398 which is way below the league average of .489. Lawson, on the other hand, posted an eFG of .535 and has managed to stay above .500 for the duration of his career.

While Rubio did manage to maintain an 8.2 assist average–which is very good for a rookie–I think that many writers were too in love with that total. Rubio came in at 47 while John Wall–who’s averaged over 8 assists for his career–came in at 55 on the NBA Rank. His production, also, was clearly better than Rubio’s. I don’t know how Rubio managed to land a top 50 spot, but it happened.

I don’t really have any issue with anything else on this particular part of the ranking. I think Serge Ibaka may be a tad bit overrated, but I’m willing to live with that. Also, I was very elated to see Al Jefferson had landed a top 50 spot after barely missing it last season at 52. Coming in at 44 shows how valuable of an asset he is. Whether he continues to play for the Jazz remains to be seen, but he will still be productive.

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