2012 NBA Season: Predicting Next Season's Biggest Movers in ESPN's NBA Rank
Every year, a panel of ESPN NBA columnists vote on the top 500 players in the NBA. In this list, there are always players that significantly rise from the previous year and also players that fall significantly.
This year, some notable players that improved by 150 or more spots are: Kenneth Faried (from 331 to 71), Jeremy Lin (from 467 to 78), and Ersan Ilyasova (from 235 to 72). Some notable players that dropped by a significant amount are: Gilbert Arenas (172 to 320), Greg Oden (184 to 372), Tyrus Thomas (from 123 to 253), and Amare Stoudemire (from 13 to 43).
So who are candidates to be next year's Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire? Here are eight candidates for having a significant rise or fall in next year's ESPN NBA rank.
Miles Plumlee (2012 NBA Rank: 433)
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Miles Plumlee was selected 26th overall in the 2012 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. Many people were surprised that Plumlee was selected in the first round, but Plumlee began to prove his doubters wrong with his stellar summer league play.
Plumlee averaged 13 points, 6.6 rebounds, and one block per game during the Orlando Summer League. These are impressive stats, even though it wasn't against the toughest competition.
With Plumlee, the Pacers know what they are getting a tall, athletic center who will be a good rebounder and an average scorer. However, that is more than most teams get in the late first round.
Look for Plumlee to jump significantly in next year's ESPN NBA rank.
2013 NBA Rank Prediction: 215
Tristan Thompson (2012 NBA Rank: 200)
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Although many people overlooked Tristan Thompson because of Kyrie Irving's terrific rookie year, Thompson played well during his rookie campaign with the Cavaliers. Thompson posted a solid total rebounding rate of 15.5 last season, to go along with a 13.4 player efficiency rating.
Thompson will also benefit from playing alongside a great playmaker in Kyrie Irving. In addition, with the loss of Antawn Jamison, Thompson is locked in as the starting power forward for the Cavs next season.
Look for Thompson to make huge strides in his sophomore season.
2013 NBA Rank Prediction: 105
Damian Lillard (2012 NBA Rank: 211)
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Damian Lillard is another rookie who was stellar in summer league play. Lillard averaged 26.5 points per game and took home co-MVP honors in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Although some may argue that he will have a tough transition from Weber State to the NBA, Lillard's skill set is perfect for the NBA game.
In addition, Lillard is almost guaranteed to take over as the Trail Blazers' starting point guard from day one, which will help him quickly get acclimated to the speed of the NBA. Look for Lillard to have a meteoric rise in the 2013 NBA rank.
2013 NBA Rank Prediction: 45
Jose Calderon (2102 NBA Rank: 96)
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Jose Calderon had a very good 2011-2012 NBA season for the Toronto Raptors. In fact, Calderon had the third highest assist rate in the NBA last season.
However, the Toronto Raptors traded him for point guard Kyle Lowry in the offseason, and he is expected to take over as the new starting point guard. This makes Calderon a backup guard on a below-average NBA team.
Although I think that Calderon's stats per 48 minutes will not drop by much, his per-game stats will see a significant dip. In the end, Calderon's drop in minutes will cause him to drop in ESPN's NBA rank next season.
2013 NBA Rank Prediction: 163
Shane Battier (2012 NBA Rank: 107)
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Shane Battier was a crucial player for the Miami Heat during the 2012 NBA finals. However, Battier had a major dip in production last season.
Not only was he worse in most statistical categories, but also he was also notably slower on the defensive end of the floor. If Battier has a similar drop in production next season, he will drop in next year's NBA rank.
In addition to his drop in production, Battier will likely see fewer minutes next season with the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. In the 2012 NBA rank, Battier was overrated because of his play in the NBA finals.
2013 NBA Rank Prediction: 202
Jason Kidd (2012 NBA Rank: 157)
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Jason Kidd is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. However, he has become old and unproductive.
Kidd was signed by the Knicks to be a mentor and leader for some of the younger Knicks, but not for his play. Kidd averaged just six points and five assists last season, far below his career averages.
Kidd will also see far less playing time, as he is now just a backup to Raymond Felton in New York.
2013 NBA Rank Prediction: 250
Vince Carter (2012 NBA Rank: 185)
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Vince Carter is another aging veteran whose play has dropped off in recent seasons. Carter was once one of the most electrifying scorers in the game, but now he is just a shell of what he once was.
With the addition of O.J. Mayo, the Mavericks have decided that Carter can no longer be an effective starting shooting guard. Although Carter still has a little left in the tank, he will see a big drop in both minutes and production.
2013 NBA Rank Prediction: 275