Over the last month or so, ESPN has slowly unveiled their ranking of the Top 500 NBA players (from Eddy Curry to LeBron James) according to a panel of 104 “experts.” For the most part, I’d say they’ve got it right, but the method they used to get there – arbitrarily rating each player from 0-10 – is a little ridiculous.

Nonetheless, regardless of whether the rankings actually tell us anything about the “current quality of each player,” as panelists were asked to judge the players on, given that so many high profile NBA media people and insiders were involved in the ranking, the list does, at the very least, give us a good indication of how each player is perceived heading into the 2012-13 season.

For the purpose of this blog, I’ve compiled a list of where each Raptor ranked in the panel’s eyes, and have included the player each Raptor is preceded by and followed by, to give you an idea of the kind of company each Raptor is keeping in these rankings.

In addition, I’ve included where five Raptors (Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas) rank by position and where Toronto’s three rookies rank among first year players.

So without further ado, here’s how 104 ESPN-titled experts see the 16 Raptors compared to the rest of the NBA:

Kyle Lowry – 51st Ahead of Nene, behind Ryan Anderson

Andrea Bargnani – 58th Ahead of David Lee, behind Marcin Gortat

Jose Calderon – 96th Ahead of Brandon Bass, behind Kawhi Leonard

DeMar DeRozan – 112th Ahead of Chris Kaman, behind Jamal Crawford

Landry Fields – 164th Ahead of Nick Young, behind Marvin Williams

Amir Johnson – 207th Ahead of Omri Casspi, behind Jonas Jerebko

Linas Kleiza – 217th Ahead of Jordan Crawford, behind Josh Howard

Ed Davis – 233rd Ahead of Jonas Valanciunas, behind Lavoy Allen

Jonas Valanciunas – 234th Ahead of Shannon Brown, behind Ed Davis

John Lucas III – 278th Ahead of Trevor Booker, behind Andre Drummond

Aaron Gray – 287th Ahead of Derek Fisher, behind Daequan Cook

Terrence Ross – 307th Ahead of Willie Green, behind Perry Jones III

Dominic McGuire – 376th Ahead of Andrew Goudelock, behind Royal Ivey

Quincy Acy – 448th Ahead of Justin Harper, behind Bernard James.

Jamaal Magloire – 451st Ahead of Lance Thomas, behind Jerome Jordan

Alan Anderson – 469th Ahead of Jerome Dyson, behind Lester Hudson

***

If we assume that the ideal scenario is to have a starting lineup of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas if and when Valanciunas proves he’s ready to start, then according to NBA Rank, the Raptors would be starting the league’s 12th-best point guard, 18th-best shooting guard, 30th-best small forward, 15th-best power forward and 35th-best centre.

As far as the Raptors’ rookies go, Valanciunas is ranked seventh among first year players, Ross is ranked 15th and Acy 44th.

A bit of discussion, why not? A healthy Bargnani should easily find himself in the top-50, and if Kyle Lowry has the kind of season that I think he’s capable of, I could see him jumping 20 spots on this list by next year. Having said that, as of right now, I can’t really fault anyone for not having a Raptor in the top 50. If anything, this list is yet another indication of how this Raptors’ roster is deep, has a couple of nice complimentary type players, but is still sorely missing a top-tier talent.

In the bottom half, all three Raptors rookies should make noticeable gains in terms of NBA recognition over the next year, and while we can expect more rookie contributions from Ross and Valanciunas, I actually see Acy making the biggest leap, just based on the fact that he’s ranked so close to the bottom right now.

***

Lastly, let’s finish with my own personal ranking of the 16 Raptors currently on the roster.

Just like the panelists were supposed to do, I’ll rank the players on their current quality, with no points given for their potential, future ceiling, etc. Before I reveal this list, however, know that I’m ranking these 16 players in terms of how I view them as overall basketball players, with no bias for offence or flash.

Here’s my “Raptors Rank”

1. Kyle Lowry

2. Andrea Bargnani

3. Jose Calderon

4. Landry Fields

5. DeMar DeRozan

6. Amir Johnson (Amir just narrowly edges Davis right now, but I believe that changes soon)

7. Ed Davis

8. Linas Kleiza

9. Jonas Valanciunas (If he adjusts to the NBA quickly, he could be top-three or four on this list next year)

10. Terrence Ross

11. Aaron Gray

12. John Lucas III

13. Quincy Acy

14. Dominic McGuire

15. Alan Anderson

16. Jamaal Magloire

That’s my take, what’s yours?

Comments (13)

  1. Maybe putting Lucas up a bit more other than that its solid for our team.

  2. I think derozan should definetly be before fields

  3. I’d move Calderon ahead of Bargnani, because I think he has a more positive effect on the team. I’d also put Amir ahead of DeRozan. While Amir isn’t going to give you much scoring, he brings more overall than DeRozan, at this point. In fact, I’m starting to think he’s going to be the most underrated Raptors, this year.

  4. My only objection would be that seems low for Amir, as he was both our best defensive player and by far our most efficient scorer from the field last year. My rankings

    1 Lowry
    2 Bargnani
    3 Calderon
    4 Amir
    5 Fields
    6 Derozan
    7 Ross
    8 Kleiza
    9 Gray
    10 Davis
    11 Valanciunas
    12 McGuire
    13 Magloire
    14 Lucas III
    15 Acy
    16 Anderson

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Ross is our best wing player either immediately or within a few months. I think he’s NBA ready

  5. 1. Andrea
    2. Lowry
    3. Derozen
    4. JV
    5. Klieza
    5. Fields
    6. Ross
    7. Lucas
    8. Gray
    9. Anderson

    Calderon , amir, and mcgloire all gone by ASG

    • I choose to believe you’re trolling when you state that John Lucas III and Alan Anderson are better basketball players than Jose Calderon and Amir Johnson. I choose to believe that because I like to believe that total morons don’t read this blog.

    • “Calderon , amir, and mcgloire all gone by ASG”

      Then they’re keeping the wrong players. But maybe they’d be doing Calderon and Amir a favour not having to subject them to the mediocrity.treadmill.

  6. Unrelated to this post, but super duper interesting, Daryl Morey did a Reddit AMA earlier today. His answers are forthright and insightful. I particularly liked his thoughts regarding strategy for building a team, and his decision not to tank, but there’s much more than to read about.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/10mrkx/iam_the_houston_rockets_gm_ama/

  7. To the true hoops fans, the Raptors are looking on paper like a young OKC. Ross is going to be a young a Ray Allen { Has an eye for the shot }, Fields { hungry } will show NYC, once again they didn’t give a good player the touches needed to become a great player. Gray is a no back down guy at the C spot, which will give Davis,Bargnani,Valan,Johnson, the hit and bang needed to get better, before and during the season. Lowry is going to push this team into a new speed, and to a new level…Best believe it!!!!!! Which plays to the song of Fields’s game , running the court playing the wing. Say 3′s. All other players just gotta get in line and grind, but one. Derozen, has to let the game come to him this season, DO NOT SHOOT TO GET YOUR SHOTS!!!!!! This is the problem with any young player, that was on a young team and then four players are on your team, that are better than you are. Derozen has to drive to the hoop every time to open up the court, dish, get hit, break down the D with his quicks and drive to the hoop. If open yeah shoot, but this team can and should be able to do this to any team if all on the same page to win. Oh, Calderon will be the one to say men ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch and learn PPL.

    • The Raptors (on paper) are looking like “a young OKC”? How do they even compare, they aren’t even close to looking like OKC.

      First off, I like Lowry. I’m a big fan of him, and his game. But let’s be realistic, he is no Russell Westbrook. Similar, but I would say Westbrook is by far the better player.

      Second, and most important, the Raptors have no one that even comes close to Durant. The Thunder are an elite team in large part to Durant. Without him, the Thunder with its roster are probably only a borderline playoff team.

    • I stopped reading as soon as you said Terrence Ross would be Ray Allen lol fucking idiots don’t know basketball.

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