One of these players was not properly ranked by ESPN this summer.
For the most part ESPN's #NBArank did a good job slotting every player in the league into a particular ranking, but as can be expected the list wasn't perfect.
Looking specifically at the Los Angeles Clippers, there are several players on the Clips roster that the (extravagantly large) panel either overvalued or undervalued. Let's take a look at what the experts got wrong.
ESPN rank: No. 308
Reasoning: Not sure how Green dropped 32 spots after submitting the best season of his career. Green posted career highs in PER, true shooting percentage (tied for 14th among all NBA guards), effective field goal percentage, offensive rating and win shares. He may not be anything close to a star, but there's no way there are more than 300 players in the league better than him.
ESPN rank: No. 122
Reasoning: This one hurts my heart because I've absolutely loved Eric B. since his college days. His energy and athleticism were invaluable to the Clippers during the playoffs, but he has yet to learn the point guard position and is just too raw offensively to be ranked this high. He'll get there (and surpass it) one day—he's just not there yet.
ESPN rank: No. 111
Reasoning: Though the word on Crawford is that he fell off sharply last season, he wasn't quite as bad as everyone has made him out to be. Once you get past the abysmal shooting numbers—and I know, they're difficult to get past—his production was in line with his career numbers.
He averaged more assists per 36 minutes than any season since 2008 and more steals per 36 minutes than any season since 2006, and put up his best defensive rating since 2004.
He even shot a career-best percentage from the foul line, leading the entire league at nearly 93 percent. Crawford will bounce back nicely this season and prove that he's still a top-100 player in the NBA.
ESPN rank: No. 110
Reasoning: Billups has been in decline for the past several seasons now. People forget that before his injury last season he was on his way to his worst season in over a decade. When you factor in his advanced age (just turned 36) and the fact that he's coming off a major injury (remember how an Achilles injury derailed Elton Brand's career—and he was in his prime) a near-50 spot drop in the rankings still isn't enough.
I'd definitely take Crawford —who's ranked one spot behind Billups—over Mr. Big Shot at this stage in their respective careers.
ESPN rank: No. 86
Reasoning: Sure, Jordan has improved a little bit every year in his career, but he still provides nothing on the offensive end besides highlight dunks on which he's spoon-fed by Chris Paul. He's still a major liability at the free-throw line as well.
He is an excellent rebounder and fearsome shot-blocker. but his propensity to go out of his way to chase blocks often leaves him exposed and out of position, ultimately hurting his team on defense nearly as much as he helps them.
When you're sitting on the bench during crunch-time of playoff games watching the immortal Reggie Evans gobble up your minutes, you're probably not one of the best 100 players in the league.