Miami Heat Players That ESPN's #NBARank Overvalued and Undervalued

Allen LevinCorrespondent IIOctober 4, 2012

Miami Heat Players That ESPN's #NBARank Overvalued and Undervalued

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    If you are an NBA fan, you surely have seen ESPN.com and TrueHoop Network’s #NBARank, in which they rank every NBA player, starting from No. 500 all the way to No. 1. They announce the rankings in groupings and then allow people on Twitter to chime in with a comment about a specific player’s ranking.

    There are 104 “experts” that rate each player on a scale of 0-to-10 in terms of “the current quality of each player.” Naturally, these ratings are biased and not everyone will agree with the number at which each player ends up.

    Some players are ridiculously over hyped, while other players don't get the fair number for their value.   

    For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on the Miami Heat and break down which players were over and undervalued in ESPN’s #NBARank.

    Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree. 

Rashard Lewis- No. 257

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    Undervalued: Two years of nagging knee injuries have forced the former All-Star to play just 60 games over the past two seasons.

    Lewis averaged 23.9 percent shooting from the three-point line last season, his lowest since his rookie season. With constant injuries bothering Lewis, I don’t think 257 accurately represents his current value.

    A healthy Lewis, which he claims to be this season, will show that he is still a three-point threat to be reckoned with. I don’t expect him to regain his form from his Seattle days, however having league MVP LeBron James and Dwyane Wade penetrating the basket, Lewis will get plenty of open looks.

    I think Rashard Lewis will warrant a top-250 ranking when this season concludes.

James Jones- No. 252

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    Overvalued: When James Jones signed a five-year contract with his hometown Heat before the 2008 season, he was expected to make a decent impact on the offensive end with his shooting.

    However, James has averaged just 4.5 points per game in four years with the team and has fallen out of the rotation numerous times during his tenure with the Heat.

    Last year, he averaged just 13 minutes per game, his lowest since his rookie year. While his three-point shooting has remained constant around 40 percent, he hasn’t played enough for it to really matter.

    Jones has had his games, but I don’t think there is anyway to justify a ranking of 252.

    Jones is no longer a top-300 player in the league, especially with better players like Charlie Villanueva and Nate Robinson behind him. 

Joel Anthony- No. 209

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    Overvalued: If you are a top-250 player in the NBA, that would probably imply that you have at least some offensive skill set.

    Well, that’s not the case for Joel Anthony.

    Anthony’s ineptness on the offensive end makes him a liability when he’s on the floor, as opposing team’s treat it like it’s 5-on-4. He has terrible hands, making it hard to get him the ball even when he’s wide open, as he constantly mishandles what would be great passes.

    There is no doubt Anthony is great on the defensive end, with a career average of 1.3 blocks per game.

    However, even his defensive skills can be hampered by his height. At 6’9”, he is more of a power forward then center and usually gets beat by taller centers in the league, and I don’t mean just the obvious choices like Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum.

    I think a 250-300 ranking would be more appropriate for “the Warden.”

Shane Battier- No. 107

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    Undervalued: After Shane Battier’s dynamic postseason performance, I think it’s a robbery that he didn’t crack the Top 100.

    While Battier’s regular season numbers of 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game were underwhelming, he certainly stepped up in the playoffs.

    Battier averaged 7 points per game in the postseason, while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. However, that doesn’t quite portray just how valuable Battier was to the Heat in the postseason, especially the Finals.

    He came alive in the Finals, averaging 11.6 points and 3 three-pointers per game in the Heat’s five-game series win over the Thunder. He shot 58 percent from deep in the series and did an excellent job defending much bigger guys like Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka.

    Not to mention, Battier remained one of the better defenders in the league throughout the year, and he really proved his worth with his defensive versatility in the playoffs.

    Naturally a small forward, Battier was utilized as a power forward for most of the postseason, successfully guarding taller guys like David West, Amare Stoudemire and Kevin Garnett.

    I think he deserves a top-100 ranking.

Ray Allen- No. 64

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    Undervalued: I think Allen is SLIGHTLY undervalued.

    There’s no doubt that Allen has declined in the last year after losing his starting spot, averaging nearly a career low in minutes and points and suffering from bone spurs in his ankles.

    However, I don’t think the NBA’s greatest three-point shooter of all time fell 29 spots in the #NBARank from last season to this season.

    At the end of the day, Allen still averaged a career-best 45.3 percent from the perimeter and was an integral part of the Celtics run to the Eastern Conference finals. I think in a Heat system, where his sole responsibility will be to knock down open threes, he will put up huge numbers.

    With the way the Heat play, where three-point shooters are very welcome, Allen will have plenty of opportunities to prove he’s better than No. 64.

    When LeBron and Wade are driving and stretching the floor, Allen will be left wide open for catch and shoot opportunities.

    Truthfully, this might be the most open Allen will ever be in his career, and that’s a scary thought for the all-time leading three-point shooter.

Dwyane Wade- No. 8

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    Undervalued: So a couple of injuries and a non D-Wade like playoff performance warrants him being plummeted five spots in the #NBARank?

    I don’t think that’s fair at all.

    One of the Tweets last year about Wade’s No. 3 ranking read “Dwyane Wade is the best pound-for-pound player in the NBA.” So in one year, he has dropped five spots and is behind a Derrick Rose, who didn’t even play in the postseason?

    Throughout the entire last season, there was this opinion that followed Wade that he was no longer the player he once was.

    From analysts to ESPN anchors to sports writers, people suddenly started to say Wade was aging, on his decline and didn’t have the same pop in his game. So from the time the 2011 NBA Finals ended to present time, Wade has fallen off that much?

    I don’t think so.

    I think a lot of that judgment has to do with the fact that he handed the Heat’s reigns over to LeBron James and from the simple fact that he is the second-best player on this team. Is Wade as athletic as he was when he was 24?

    Of course not.

    However, I don’t believe No. 8 accurately represents his current value. He suffered from some nagging injuries and due to his style of play, he may have aged faster than other players.

    Still, the guy is only 30!

    There are plenty of greats that play well into their thirties. If Wade takes proper care of his body, there is no doubt in my mind that he is a top-five player. His overall game of athleticism, ability to drive, rebound, assist and outstanding defensive skills makes him a top-five player in the NBA.

    Plus, Wade is at his best when people doubt him, so this No. 8 ranking might just propel the former Finals MVP into "Flash" mode.