Before every NBA season gets underway, the TrueHoop Network and ESPN.com team up to rank every player in the league from No. 500 all the way up to No. 1 via Twitter with 104 experts using the hashtag #NBARank.
These rankings are always controversial and never avoid creating a healthy debate over which players should be amongst the best in the league.
Last year, ESPN ruffled the feathers of most Los Angeles Lakers fans by ranking Kobe Bryant as the seventh best player in the league behind the likes of Kevin Durant (6), Dirk Nowitzki (5), Chris Paul (4), Dwyane Wade (3), Dwight Howard (2) and LeBron James (1).
There’s no doubt that this season’s ranking of the five-time NBA champion will once again create some debate, but the in the meantime the experts involved in the rankings have only gotten up to the player rankings for 121-140 with a current Laker, Metta World Peace, and former teammate Lamar Odom on the list.
World Peace comes in at 137 with a score of 4.94 after posting poor numbers last season with 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and an awful shooting percentage of 39 percent. The former Defensive Player of the Year definitely stepped up his game towards the tail-end of the regular season, but was a disappointment throughout the majority of the year.
As for Odom, it’s somewhat of a surprise to see him ranked as high as he is for the disaster season he had with the Dallas Mavericks after being traded by the Lakers. Odom may have been the reigning Sixth Man of the Year while in Dallas, but his numbers were forgettable to say the least, as he was averaging 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds while shooting an ugly 35 percent from the floor.
Despite coming off his worst season in the league, Odom was ranked 130 with a score of 5.00.
It’ll be interesting to see whether or not both of these players can turn things around in the upcoming season with Odom heading back to the Los Angeles Clippers and World Peace bound to get his fair share of wide open shot with opposing defenses focusing on Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Kobe.
Other current and former Lakers also made ESPN’s list with the following rankings and scores:
#146: Ramon Sessions, Charlotte Bobcats (4.84)
#156: Antawn Jamison (4.77)
#219: Jordan Hill (4.13)
#229: Matt Barnes, Free agent (4.04)
#239: Steve Blake (3.90)
#248: Jodie Meeks (3.80)
#288: Derek Fisher, Free agent (3.42)
#304: Josh McRoberts, Orlando Magic (3.28)
#350: Devin Ebanks (2.90)
#351: Earl Clark (2.88)
#355: Troy Murphy, Free agent (2.86)
#358: Chris Duhon (2.86)
#377: Andrew Goudelock (2.73)
#431: Luke Walton, Cleveland Cavaliers (2.31)
#455: Darius Morris (2.15)
#456: Darius Johnson-Odom (2.14)
#491: Robert Sacre (1.65)
The current Lakers left to be ranked are Kobe, Nash, Gasol and Howard.
Of those left, Howard and Kobe will almost certainly crack the top 10 followed by Nash and Gasol considerably lower.
Although the ranking for Nash and Gasol will be intriguing, everyone will be waiting for Kobe’s ranking and whether it is higher or lower than seven after averaging more than 27 points per game last season and seemingly turning back the clock. Howard on the other hand should likely land in the top five and possibly even as high as last year’s ranking behind LeBron at the second spot.
In case you missed it – Dwight Howard talks about starting over in Los Angeles.