On the first full week of each month this season, I’m going to rank the top 10 NBA players at each position based on how I expect them to perform in the coming month. If a player is injured and is expected to miss most of the month, then they probably won’t make the list regardless of his value when healthy. I’ll rank the point guards on Monday, the shooting guards on Tuesday … you get the picture. Your feedback is welcome, even if you want to tell me how incredibly, irredeemably clueless I am.
If you’ve been reading these rankings since I started doing them in November, you might have noticed that the player who is ranked first gets to have his photo at the top of the post. Since Mr. Durant is up there, that means the most talented player in the NBA isn’t number one at his position this month. Unless you’ve been in a coma for the past week, you probably know why.
10. (9.) Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns — 2010-11 stats: 60 GP, 30.8 MPG, 13.7 PPG, 2.5 APG, 4.5 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG, .485 FG%, .405 3P%, .843 FT%, 15.5 PER
According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston, Grant Hill leads the NBA with 49 offensive fouls drawn. Is that because of his veteran savvy or because the refs call a lot of “50/50 moments” in his favor? I’d say it’s a little of both. Being a class act has its advantages.
9. (New entry) Gerald Wallace, Portland Trail Blazers — 2010-11 stats: 54 GP, 38.2 MPG, 15.2 PPG, 2.3 APG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG, .431 FG%, .339 3P%, .738 FT%, 15.2 PER
Free at last! After six-and-a-half seasons in Charlotte with just one playoff series appearance to show for it, Crash has taken his talents to the town where the ’90s never died. Wallace is surprisingly sour about his “betrayal” by the Bobcats management, but based on his renewed vitality on the court, his resentment is only inspiring him to play as hard as ever. I’m not entirely sure what Blazers coach Nate McMillan is thinking in bringing Wallace off the bench, but I assume he’ll come to his senses before the playoffs.
8. (10.) Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz — 2010-11 stats: 57 GP, 31.9 MPG, 12.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, 5.4 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 1.2 BPG, .477 FG%, .368 3P%, .774 FT%, 16.9 PER
It’s been flying under the radar with all the drama taking place in Utah these days, but AK-47 has been a bright spot as the Jazz struggle to adjust to life without Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams. Along with his career-high three-point percentage, he’s been blocking shots and grabbing steals lately like the fantasy monster he used to be.