Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ESPN's most underrated players

Continuing with the theme from my earlier post, #nbarank underrated a vast many players. Some of their rankings are so out of touch with reality, it makes me question anything that comes out of ESPN regarding NBA analysis.

Here are the most underrated players as compared to ESPN's #nbarank:

1. Ryan Anderson - Criminally underrated. He is already one of the best pick-and-pop forwards in the league. It is a rarity to have a big man with his abilities on the offensive end and not be limited defensively. Effectively, a better Rashard Lewis offensively and defensively (ESPN ranked 144, I ranked 225); he is a nice pairing with Dwight Howard.

Krank #44; ESPN #167
2. Amir Johnson - Johnson is likely the best player on the Raptors. That's not saying much, but the NBA has a larger talent pool than ESPN seems to think. Johnson has the potential to be an All-Star. If they could pair him with someone outside of Bargnani, they would be in a much better position. If I were the GM of the Raptors, moving Bargnani to fill in the void at SF would be my biggest priority.

Krank #52; ESPN # 90

3. Gerald Henderson - Henderson is underrated due to playing for Charlotte. That is it. He unexpectedly came into his own late last season. A very solid starter -- two-way player. Not a fringe bench player. His ESPN rank is alarmingly out of whack, and it shows how ignorant the average ESPN writer is in regards to players outside of the top media markets. If you ever think you're not as smart as an ESPN writer -- think again. They're hired for their ability to whet a hardened piece of colon cyst into copper-zinc-some other worthless metal.

Krank #73; ESPN #242
4. Kevin Garnett - Garnett's aging has been incredibly smooth, and his 'decline' has barely raised its ugly head. He is still an All-Star and probably a top 10 player. I understand the aging concern, but he is a player likely to play well into his aging. He is no longer a banger. His defense is largely based on his length. He is a pick-and-pop forward with outstanding range and skill that doesn't require him to throw his thinning frame around in the low post. And the ESPN #nbarank was based on RIGHT NOW -- not three years into the future. Give me KG over Stoudemire any day of the week.

Krank #7; ESPN #22
5. LaMarcus Aldridge - Incredibly underrated. He is probably the most dangerous low post threat outside of Dirk Nowitzki. In fact, he may be a better low post threat -- Dirk just has more range and more ability facing the basket. Aldridge should be a household name, and that is the only thing holding him back from an elite ranking in #nbarank.

Krank #9; ESPN #23
6. Josh McRoberts - This is another case of big market writers not watching smaller market teams. McRoberts and Hansbrough were nearly split on minutes for power forward through the year for the Pacers, and McRoberts actually outplayed Hansbrough for most of it. Hansbrough is ranked 122 by ESPN -- which is likely not good enough as well. Considering Hansbrough is over 2 years older than McRoberts and clearly has a limited upset potential, I would take McRoberts over him 9 out of 10 times.

Krank #90; ESPN #250
7. Jeremy Evans - Evans, when given playing time, was an incredibly efficient offensive and defensive player for a rookie. The key is playing time. His inconsistent minutes led to inconsistent play. He has the ability to be a solid sixth man right now. Not a player who is barely making a team. I would take him over Diaw or Marvin Williams any day. Being able to dunk at-will is far more effective than being an out-of-shape has been passing big or a lottery bust. Yet #nbarank thinks it's kosher to give him a value that is on par with players such as washed up acts like Malik Allen, garbage like Brian Scalabrine, and unknown rookies such as Norris Cole. He is likely the most horribly ranked of the entire bunch here, but his lack of starting role makes him less sexy in my own rankings.

Krank #91; ESPN #430

8. Danilo Gallinari - Gallinari being ranked in the 60s is an enigma, largely in that he brings to the table everything Bargnani was supposed to bring to the table. Scrappy euro-defense. High level of decision-making. Incredibly effective triple-threat skills. Knock-out shooter. He IS the complete offensive package. Understandably, his usage isn't incredibly high yet like most star players, but he has the skillset. I imagine Denver will use him heavily this year.

Krank #29; ESPN #68

9. Kris Humphries - ESPN has a tendency to overrate scrubs on good teams and underrate stars on bad teams. In the middle, the roleplayers and starters on these bad and mediocre teams, you will find a wide swing of valuations. Humphries falls into the pack of undervalued starters. As a power forward, his offensive abilities are limited -- but this is offset by Brook Lopez. Humphries bangs where Lopez shies away. This sort of player is invaluable, and he is likely better than a fringe starter as ESPN seems to think.

Krank #63; ESPN #145
10. Manu Ginobili - Manu has been underrated throughout his career, which is surprising considering his pedigree and number of championships under his belt. He is better than Kobe Bryant. I said it. That demarcation is a huge hurdle for some people, but Ginobili has not declined anywhere near the rate of Kobe, and Ginobili plays FAR better defense to make up for any declination. I think Kobe is still a better offensive threat, especially in the triangle offense, but Manu is the better all-around player.

Krank #8; ESPN #18

11. Greg Oden Krank #78; ESPN #174
12. Paul George #92; ESPN #205
13. Trevor Booker #148; ESPN #321
14. Louis Williams #81; ESPN #173
15. Damion James #154; ESPN #352
16. Chase Budinger # 79; ESPN #170
17. Marcin Gortat #41; ESPN #86
18. Andre Miller #43: ESPN #89
19. Tyrus Thomas #61; ESPN #123
20. Raymond Felton #40; ESPN #80
21. Dorell Wright #77; ESPN #152
22. Greg Monroe #69; ESPN #132
23. Ekpe Udoh #158; ESPN #300
24. Anthony Morrow #111 ESPN #209
25. Gerald Wallace #26 ESPN #48