This summer ESPN’s NBA editors undertook a project to rank every player in the NBA based on their current ability, a process that involved 91 experts including members of the TrueHoop Network.
Then one by one from 500 down to one the editors have revealed the names on Twitter and solicited reader feedback, which has then been displayed on ESPN.com.
Today the final member of the Phoenix Suns was revealed, with Steve Nash at the ripe old age of 37 being named the 14th best player in the NBA, just behind No. 13 Amare Stoudemire.
@_rs tweeted: “Not a lifetime achievement award. Nash legitimately had an MVP-type season last year with that weak Suns roster.”
@RobBJacobs added: “My question is would Amare be ranked higher than Nash if they were still on the same team?”
I feel like No. 14 for the two-time MVP is very fair coming off a season when he was downright spectacular when healthy. Around the All-Star break some advanced metrics pegged Nash as one of the best players of the first half, just health prevented him from being the same guy in the second half.
Nash may no longer be the top-10 player he was earlier this decade, so No. 14 seems right for a guy who means so much to the Suns.
I’m not surprised that Marcin Gortat and Grant Hill are the next two Suns on the list, but I am surprised that Hill ranked ahead of Gortat at No. 67 to the Polish Hammer’s No. 86. I had Gortat higher on my ballot, and I’m certain if he follows up his stellar 2010-11 with more excellent play next season he will be threatening top 50 status in no time.
Hill’s superb defense makes him a debatable top-70 player but I feel a bit of lifetime achievement played into his ranking.
I’m also not a fan of the order of the next three Suns: Aaron Brooks at No. 118, Vince Carter at No. 121 and Jared Dudley at No. 133.
Of his rank Dudley tweeted: “Yo #NBArank I wanna know which expert game me the lowest score lol It’s an honor to be rank this high, I’ll try an crack top 100 nxt yr!!”
It took the Suns’ coaching staff long enough to prefer Dudley to Carter in the starting lineup likely for the same reason Carter got the edge in #NBARank: reputation. Dudley is more productive in an underrated sense, but I am confident that JD will soon crack the top 100 as he hopes.
Brooks is a guy who would have been a no-brainer top 100 guy a year ago but after his down season last year No. 118 even seems a little high.
Next are Channing Frye at No. 160, Robin Lopez at No. 163, Mickael Pietrus at No. 166 and Josh Childress at No. 175.
The only complaint there would be the fact that there were certainly more than 162 players more productive than Lopez last season, but with his size and success in 2009-10 perhaps Lopez will play like a top 163 player next season.
Moving on Hakim Warrick checks in at No. 230 and Markieff Morris a tie for No. 349. I’m confident Morris will soon be much higher than that but rookies on a whole were undervalued in #NBARank so Morris’ ranking is well in line with a typical rookie rank.
Finally Gani Lawal (No. 445), Zabian Dowdell (No. 468) and Garret Siler (No. 492) round out the #NBARank Suns.
The final tally gives the Suns three top 100 players (albeit two of them nearing their 40th birthdays) and 10 in the top 175 whereas the average team would have less than six.
If these rankings are to be believed, the Suns lack top shelf talent aside from Nash but they have a whole bunch of pretty good players with seven guys between 118 and 175.
Sounds about right to me.
Amare piles onto Sarver
Stoudemire believes Suns owner Robert Sarver “for sure” is a hard-line owner and that he is “probably the main guy that’s pushing for this lockout,” according to a report by Newsday’s Alan Hahn.
However, David Stern told Newsday that accusation is “contrary to every fact.”
“And I’ve been in every bargaining session and every internal meeting,” Stern said. “Nothing could be further from the truth, and although I’ve seen it written, including what this newspaper is about to do, I’ve never seen any reliable source that could possibly confirm it, because there is no source.”
Hahn also tweeted that Amare said of Sarver: “It wouldn’t have been a big deal if he had just re-signed some kid named Stoudemire. Then he’d be in good shape.”
Tell us how you really feel, Amare.
Suns to train at GCU
Whenever training camps begin in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns will hold theirs at Grand Canyon University’s new arena, according to The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro.
GCU, a marketing partner of the Suns, recently opened a 5,000-seat stadium in Phoenix on Camelback Road and 35th Avenue.
The Suns have traveled to San Diego and Tucson in previous years for their week-long training camps.