Archive for the ‘Positional Power Rankings’ Category

Derrick Rose

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.

There are two new entries on this month’s list, with Raymond Felton falling off because he got too shot-happy (and they stopped falling) and Andre Miller’s age has started to catch up with him so he’s not a particularly good defender anymore.

10. (New entry) D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats — 2010-11 stats: 50 GP, 34.3 MPG, 14.9 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.0 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.0 BPG, .435 FG%, .377 3P%, .902 FT%, 17.2 PER

Not that many of you have likely noticed, but D.J. Augustin is one of the most improved players in the league this season, particularly since Paul Silas took over as Bobcats coach in December. I never thought he could be a top-10 NBA point guard — and it’s obviously debatable whether he is — but the fact that it’s even debatable shows how far he’s come.

9. (New entry) Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors — 2010-11 stats: 41 GP, 34.0 MPG, 19.1 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG, .480 FG%, .424 3P%, .938 FT%, 20.5 PER

Warriors owner Joe Lacob talked about the possibility of trading Curry on a radio show a couple of weeks ago, but he’s since apologized to Curry and said he’ll be a Warrior “for a very long time”. Whether or not a Curry-Ellis backcourt can be a winning formula going forward is up for debate, but if the Warriors are going to build around one of them, I’d stick with Curry.

8. (9.) Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets — 2010-11 stats: 46 GP, 32.7 MPG, 16.5 PPG, 5.4 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .432 FG%, .444 3P%, .919 FT%, 18.5 PER

Billups isn’t as much of a playmaker as he used to be — his assists per game average is its lowest since his 2002-03 season — but he’s even more of a killer than ever from long range. Check out his three-point shooting numbers from the last four Nuggets wins: six-for-nine against the T-Wolves, four-for-seven against the Blazers, three-for-six against the Cavs and six-for-nine against the Pistons. Chauncey’s clutch reputation has always been disproportionate to reality, but there’s no denying the man is a killer shot.

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Patrick Ewing and Dwight Howard

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.

Four new gifted giants on the center rankings this month — Pau Gasol and Amar’e Stoudemire moved to the power forward rankings, Joakim Noah is out until February and Roy Hibbert is in a pretty bad slump at the moment.

10. (New entry) Marcus Camby, Portland Trail Blazers — 2010-11 stats: 33 GP, 28.5 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 2.2 APG, 11.5 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 1.8 BPG, .443 FG%, .000 3P%, .660 FT%, 17.1 PER

No, I’m not putting Camby on the list to appease angry Blazers fans. Let’s just say his pair of 20-rebound games within the last week have made an impression on me. It appears that Camby is going to follow the Dikembe Mutombo route of continuing to be a rebounding and shot-blocking force into his 40s — as long as Camby chooses to play that long. If Portland trades him, he might consider retiring.

9. (New entry) Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz — 2010-11 stats: 36 GP, 35.5 MPG, 16.4 PPG, 1.7 APG, 8.6 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 1.9 BPG, .471 FG%, .000 3P%, .787 FT%, 17.4 PER

Big Al had his first 30-point game of the season on Dec. 29 against the Clippers, which is significant because he used to have two of those games a month when he was a healthy Timberwolf. For a guy who grew up studying the post moves of Olajuwon and Shaq, it has to feel good that his soft touch is coming back to him.

8. (New entry) DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings — 2010-11 stats: 33 GP, 25.9 MPG, 12.8 PPG, 1.6 APG, 7.7 RPG, 0.8  SPG, 0.6 BPG, .437 FG%, .250 3P%, .674 FT%, 14.6 PER

If you watched DMC in college or summer league, you knew that the only thing that could keep him from becoming a top-five center in the NBA is the looseness of his cannon. Presumably, a productive Cousins is a happy Cousins because I’m not hearing any complaints about him now that he’s starting to dominate. If you haven’t watched a full game with him yet, make sure you do. You’ll be amazed that somebody that big is so agile and fluid with the ball. He reminds me of a larger Chris Webber.

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Kevin Love and Blake Griffin

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.

This was the hardest list I’ve had to compile yet this season. Instead of struggling to figure out who is actually good enough to be considered the 10th best player at his position like with my shooting guard rankings, I put myself in the unenviable position of deciding who has to be left off the top 10 rankings of what might be the deepest talent pool at any NBA position of my lifetime.

I can’t believe it’s come to this, but I had to cut Tim Duncan. He’s slowed down, he’s only playing 29 minutes per game, and he can’t really guard athletic big men very well anymore. Please understand that I’m well aware that not only is he still really freakin’ good, he’s also the greatest power forward in NBA history. It’s just that, well… read the rankings. Let’s not make this any weirder than it already is, OK?

10. (7.) Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz — 2010-11 stats: 35 GP, 34.6 MPG, 17.5 PPG, 2.3 APG, 8.0 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 0.9 BPG, .551 FG%, .571 3P%, .747 FT%, 21.5 PER

You wouldn’t know from his per-game average, but when I watch Millsap he seems to go for the block on defence more often than a player his size probably should. As a result, his rebounds per 36 minutes are lower than they’ve been in any of his previous four seasons. He’s still scoring well, though.

9. (3.) Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks — 2010-11 stats: 38 GP, 34.1 MPG, 15.8 PPG, 3.6 APG, 8.6 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 1.9 BPG, .473 FG%, .394 3P%, .715 FT%, 19.6 PER

Josh has gone from dabbling in three-pointers earlier in the season to becoming practically obsessed with them lately. He attempted seven three-pointers all of last season and he had 11 attempts from that range through the first 10 games this season. In his last 10 games, he’s jacked 26 treys and made just nine of them. Now I remember why Hawks fans and coaches get so frustrated with him. Can somebody ask the guy behind “Hey Larry Hughes, Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots” to set up a similar site for Josh Smith?

8. (New entry) Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls — 2010-11 stats: 19 GP, 31.6 MPG, 19.7 PPG, 2.4 APG, 9.9 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.4 BPG, .536 FG%, .000 3P%, .704 FT%, 21.9 PER

He’s played about as well as you could expect to play in his 19 games back from injury, but there may be trouble on the horizon as Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has taken to benching him occasionally when he has defensive trouble. One would assume this won’t be as much of an issue when Joakim Noah returns.

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LeBron James

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.

A whopping three new entries this month, while Richard Jefferson, Gerald Wallace and Andre Iguodala drop off from last month. Controversy: I court it!

10. (New entry) Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns — 2010-11 stats: 32 GP, 30.5 MPG, 14.8 PPG, 2.5 APG, 4.9 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.4 BPG, .524 FG%, .300 3P%, .829 FT%, 18.2 PER

It’s definitely remarkable that Grant Hill can play at this level at the age of 38, but it probably has something to do with the fact that he’s “only” played 31,527 minutes over his career. Dirk Nowitzki has played in 3,000 more minutes in his career and he’s just 32 years old. Anyway, Grant thinks he has another couple of seasons in him: “I’d like to be playing when I’m 40.”

9. (New entry) Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls — 2010-11 stats: 33 GP, 39.0 MPG, 18.0 PPG, 2.1 APG, 5.9 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG, .457 FG%, .375 3P%, .696 FT%, 14.9 PER

The Chicago Bulls are one of the top defensive teams in the league right now and Deng is a major reason for that. None of his individual numbers stand out, but he’s a solid all-around player and probably a top-five defender at his position.

8. (6.) Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers — 2010-11 stats: 31 GP, 36.7 MPG, 21.1 PPG, 2.5 APG, 5.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG, .416 FG%, .359 3P%, .842 FT%, 16.7 PER

Granger is dropping down these rankings because he’s just not shooting the ball particularly well this season. It’s becoming increasingly evident that he’s simply not cut out to be a first offensive option on a good team.

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Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade

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.

What happened to all the great two-guards in this league? There is a huge dropoff after the top three on this list. By the time I got to the bottom of the list, I was almost shrugging and saying, “I guess he could go there.” It’s really a shockingly mediocre group right now.

10. (8.) Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks — 2010-11 stats: 33 GP, 32.1 MPG, 15.4 PPG, 4.5 APG, 1.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .437 FG%, .350 3P%, .843 FT%, 15.9 PER

I’ve noticed that Jason Terry has become prone to awful shooting nights against elite teams. He went 3-for-15 against the Bulls on Nov. 19, 3-for-12 against the Heat on Nov. 27, and 3-for-16 against the Spurs on Dec. 30. I guess he’s always been a pretty streaky shooter, but you’d like him to get hot against good teams more often, right?

9. (4.) Jason Richardson, Orlando Magic — 2010-11 stats: 33 GP, 32.2 MPG, 17.7 PPG, 1.5 APG, 4.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .465 FG%, .410 3P%, .765 FT%, 17.8 PER

He’s been in a bit of a shooting slump with his new team and he’s attempting around four fewer field goals per game in Orlando than he was in Phoenix. If he can return to making 40 percent of his treys, he’ll contribute exactly what Magic GM Otis Smith was hoping for.

8. (New entry) Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks — 2010-11 stats: 27 GP, 36.4 MPG, 17.6 PPG, 5.7 APG, 4.1 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG, .399 FG%, .266 3P%, .803 FT%, 16.2 PER

It’s admirable that he returned early from elbow surgery to try to help his team, but Joe Johnson still has trouble straightening out his shooting arm and that’s doing some serious damage to his accuracy. When he regains a full, fluid range of motion in his shooting form, he’ll almost certainly shoot up this list.

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Chris Paul and John Wall

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.

Two new entries lead off the first positional power rankings of the year, while Stephen Curry and John Wall get temporarily dropped due to their recurring injury problems and the fact that their individual numbers are overshadowed by the awfulness of their teams.

10. (New entry) Andre Miller, Portland Trail Blazers — 2010-11 stats: 33 GP, 32.7 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 7.5 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 0.0 BPG, .447 FG%, .053 3P%, .858 FT%, 18.9 PER

Sure, he never really developed a solid J but he never misses a game, he makes up for his lack of athleticism with his craftiness, and opposing point guards usually finish below their season averages when they face him. Now that Greg Oden and Brandon Roy are out for the season, Miller is arguably the second-best player on the Blazers and they’ve won six of their last eight games.

9. (New entry) Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets — 2010-11 stats: 27 GP, 33.3 MPG, 16.8 PPG, 5.4 APG, 2.2 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .412 FG%, .423 3P%, .908 FT%, 17.7 PER

He’s baaaack! Maybe he sensed that Ty Lawson was gunning for his job, but whatever the reason he’s been playing out of his mind lately. In his last six games, Billups has averaged 25 points while shooting 59 percent from the field. Yeah… I might have written him off a little bit too soon.

8. (Last month: 9.) Raymond Felton, New York Knicks — 2010-11 stats: 33 GP, 39.0 MPG, 17.9 PPG, 8.7 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .444 FG%, .345 3P%, .860 FT%, 18.2 PER

Now-deposed Bobcats coach Larry Brown is probably wondering where this Raymond Felton was when he played in Charlotte. Guess you should have loosened up the reins a little bit, eh, Brownie?

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Dwight Howard

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.

You’ll notice that neither Andrea Bargnani nor Brook Lopez are in these rankings even though they’re respectively second and fourth in scoring at the position. It’s my philosophy that scoring ability is less important than defense and rebounding at this position, and it’s fairly well-established how poorly those two have performed in those areas this season.

10. (New entry) Nene, Denver Nuggets — 2010-11 stats: 18 GP, 30.8 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 2.3 APG, 7.0 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG, .621 FG%, 1.000 3P%, .784 FT%, 20.0 PER

The Nuggets are a respectable 13-8 right now in spite of the trade rumors circulating around Carmelo Anthony and the steep decline of Chauncey Billups. Nene deserves a lot of the credit for Denver still having a top-10 Offensive Rating (points scored per 100 possessions) as he’s scoring 14 points per game while leading the league in field goal percentage. It’s weird that someone as athletic as him doesn’t rebound better or block more shots, though.

9. (9.) Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies — 2010-11 stats: 22 GP, 33.0 MPG, 11.8 PPG, 2.7 APG, 7.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 1.3 BPG, .615 FG%, .000 3P%, .756 FT%, 18.3 PER

As I noted last month, it’s criminal that the Grizzlies don’t involve him in the offense more. He takes fewer field goal attempts per game than any of the other Grizzlies’ starters even though none of those four guys (Randolph, Gay, Mayo and Conley) are even shooting 50 percent from the field while Gasol easily converts 60 percent of his scoring attempts. Memphis will have a tough decision to make about how much they value Gasol when he becomes a restricted free agent this off-season.

8. (New entry) Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks — 2010-11 stats: 21 GP, 26.4 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 0.4 APG, 9.0 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 1.3 BPG, .631 FG%, .000 3P%, .802 FT%, 17.7 PER

Can you be considered the second-best player on a team with an 18-4 record when you only attempt four field goals per game? The Mavericks have improved from 12th in the league in Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) in 2009-10 to fifth overall this season and Chandler deserves a lot of the credit for that. If he can stay healthy, he deserves consideration (along with Kevin Garnett) for Defensive Player of the Year.

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