20. Al Jefferson- Jefferson is someone who alot of people dislike and it’s arguable that he’s should be lower on the list but a couple things make me believe he should be in this ranking.
1. He was progressing very well pre-injury. Jefferson in 2007 and 2008? 20 and 11. He was becoming one of the the best post players in the NBA. He developed moves that allowed him to score in effective and efficient ways.
2. This will be year 2 off the ACL injury. Last season he averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds last season off the injury. This season will be year two off the injury. That’s when the explosiveness and the mobility comes back.
The one thing I’m not overrating is the move from Minnesota to Utah. I said on the podcast that Jefferson could be a dark horse MVP candidate but now I’m backing off that. He’s going from a triangle offense to a pick and roll offense which I don’t know helps or hurts his game. Can he be as mobile as Carlos Boozer was in the system?
19. Joe Johnson- Had you asked me before the season, Johnson would have been closer to 10 then 20. Now? Man, he’s slipping. Johnson ( since 2003) has been consistent with Minutes ( since 2003, his lowest mpg has been 38.0) and his points ( 5 20 point seasons in a row) but something really hurt Johnson.
For one, his playoff performance this past season was TERRIBLE. The averages (17-5-5) won’t show you anything but the shooting ( 38 FG%, 22 3pt%) were bad.
The biggest thing- He’s all about the money. I don’t blame Atlanta from offering him a max contract ( Johnson had 3 90 million dollar deals on the table ready for him) but Johnson deciding: I will take my money and play for a team who has little to no chance to win a title? What does that say about Johnson?
18. Paul Pierce- Before a Mr. Carmelo Anthony came into the NBA, Paul Pierce was my favorite player. His game was smooth and at the time of high flying dunks, killer crossovers- Pierce was the guy who would just beat you with his skill. No gimmicks to get past you, no jumping over you, Pierce just told you what was coming, slowed it down for you and killed you.
Pierce deserve this ranking because he’s one of the players who even though he’s slowing down a bit, Pierce isn’t dropping at a dramatic rate. At 32, 18ppg, 4rpg and 3apg is not bad. He played just as well in the playoffs (18ppg, 6rpg, 3apg).
What can I say: Pierce belongs over Joe Johnson right now. He’s the better player overall.
17. Andrew Bogut- Bogut is 25 years old and made huge strides last season. The numbers for Bogut last season: 15 points, 11 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. I think we can all agree that Bogut was the reason Milwaukee didn’t make it to the 2nd round and defeat Atlanta.
Andrew Bogut could arguably the 2nd best Center in the East when healthy. The arrival of one Brandon Jennings also helps as well. If Bogut can remain healthy and develop the kinship with Jennings, I could see him being a little higher on the list.
16. Rajon Rondo- First off: The Boston Celtics got a Steal in Rondo for 55 million.
Rondo is the best PG in the East for me and it’s not close. Rondo does everything but shoot well. He can provide some solid scoring, Rondo is a amazing playmaker and he’s good on defense ( 2.3 steals last season). I debated last season that Rondo was the #1 guy for Boston based off his postseason numbers in 2008 ( 17-10-10) and built upon it with a amazing regular season and postseason.
The arguable thing has been: Would Rondo do this on another team and would he have developed without the Big 3 in Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce? I think we would have developed slower then he has but would have reached top PG status.
Would I be wrong to expect 13 ppg, 9 apg, 5 rpg and 2 spg next season? Oh wait, he’s been doing that for the past 2 seasons now.
15. Chris Bosh- Bosh over Rondo? Let me explain.
Chris Bosh has been a 20 point- 9 rebound guy since he was 21 years old. He’s a solid post player ( low and mid) and has was the number one player on a team since 2004.
Let me ask you this: On Chris Bosh’s playoff teams- who were his teammates? Look at his teammates in 06 and 07
2006- T.J Ford, Anthony Parker, Juan Dixon, Jose Calderon, Jorge Garbajosa and a rookie Andrea Bargnani.
2007- Anthony Parker, T.J. Ford, Jose Calderon, Carlos Delfino and Anthony Parker.
Let’s agree Bosh never even had a #3 option with him on a playoff team with him. Yes, Bosh is the man who lucked out and got to join Wade and James on the Miami Heat but he has been in some sense underrated. When noone on your team averages more then 14 points in the regular season and playoffs? Something is wrong there. Bosh is one of the best offensive PF’s in the NBA and has commanded double teams and earned respect in the NBA.
On defense, he’s not a good player. He has almost no defensive ability and is almost a weak link on that side of the ball. But on offense? He’s worth the 100 million dollar contract.
14. Amare Stoudemire- I’m not overrated STATS, I think he is a legit top 15 player. Of his 8 seasons in the NBA, 6 of them has been 20 point seasons and 7 of them has been 8 rebound seasons. He’s been probably the Shawn Kemp of the new era with his explosive dunks.
I will agree, Steve Nash helped his career a bit but what does it say that Amare averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds with Stephon Marbury, Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson? He stepped it up to the next level with a passer like Steve Nash but I wouldn’t say Nash put his career on the map and got him this contract with New York.
What to expect from Amare next season? I would say he could be 21-9 next season but the decrease in point guard ability from Steve Nash to Raymond Felton is something to keep your eye on.
13. Steve Nash- With the team success, Nash had a little bit of a rebound season. His assists hit double digit again and he had some more hockey moments last year. Nash had 16ppg, 11apg and 42% 3 point shooting. Losing Amar’e Stoudemire will hurt Nash next season. Who’s Nash main scoring guy next to him? Jason Richardson? Scary.
The one thing about Nash for next season: If the Suns make it to the playoffs, Nash should get some MVP consideration. Josh Childress, Jason Richardson, Hakim Warrick, Hedo Turkoglu, Channing Frye, Goran Dragic and Robin Lopez are good but not a great supporting cast.
12. Brandon Roy- One of the toughest players to rank. From one view, Roy is the best 2 man in the West not named Kobe. He’s clutch, he’s shown you he’s gritty and willing to win. Overall, he’s a top 15 player. The issue? I would say is he a #1 on a title team? For me right now? I don’t think so. He’s only 25 so he has the time to develop that but he has to increase his scoring to the 23-25 range for Portland to get to the next level.
Another thing- Why is it that the Blazers think playing Andre Miller next to Roy instead of Jerryd Bayless? It’s obvious that Roy is a playmaker who should have the ball. Roy is someone who can pass the ball effectively. Portland would develop Bayless and allow Roy to get the slashing guard he needs opposite of him.
Overall, Roy should be a top 10 player next season when he’s healthy and the team is completely healthy.
11. Pau Gasol- 3 seasons ago, Pau Gasol was just another above average player in the NBA. Playing for the Grizzlies and never getting a playoff WIN. Now? Pau is a potential HOF candidate who probably the best sidekick in the NBA.
Since Gasol’s move to LA, Gasol has posted 18, 9 and 2 blocks to earn the respect of tons of many NBA anyalists. In 2008, he was seen as soft due to Kevin Garnett playing him and beating him downlow. In 2009, he dominated Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard. In 2010? He had arguably the best game for the Lakers in Game 7 vs Boston.
It’s arguable Gasol could be in the top 10. Players 9 and 10 could be swapped with Gasol but this year? I like Gasol at 11.
Check out 10-1 tomorrow!