Which Golden State Warriors Players Did ESPN's #NBArank Twitter Tag Miss On?

Scott Burns@Follow @ScottInTheBayCorrespondent IIIOctober 9, 2012

Which Golden State Warriors Players Did ESPN's #NBArank Twitter Tag Miss On?

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    ESPN.com and TrueHoop Network recently dropped their annual player rankings which naturally stir controversy among fans and NBA observes—especially on the Twitter hashtag, #NBArank.

    The up-and-coming Golden State Warriors have a wide spectrum of ranks, starting with Stephen Curry at No. 40 to bench player, Kent Bazemore sitting at second to last at No. 499. 

    The Warriors starting five are looked upon as average with Curry earning the highest score of 6.97 and Barnes earning a 4.57 for the low out of a 0-to-10 scale.

    The system was established in 2011 and ranks every single player against each other, no matter what position they play.  The rankings are based on the interpretations of 104 experts who rate the current quality of each player. 

    Since the Dubs are not yet making headlines nationally, there is some discrepancy in their individual rankings.

    Let’s take a closer look at the Warriors’ most overvalued and undervalued players in this year’s version of the rankings.

Stephen Curry: Overvalued

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    ESPN Rank: No. 40

    Stephen Curry hurt his ankle multiple times last season, resulting in a season-ending surgery to his right ankle.  The result is a drop of only two slots from the rankings of a season ago, one in which Curry was expected to have a breakout campaign alongside Monta Ellis.

    Curry has put up dream numbers as a point guard with career averages of 17.5 points, 5.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game.  He has shot 47 percent from the field, 44 percent from behind the arc and 90 percent at the charity stripe.

    The biggest problem for Curry is that he was completely overshadowed by the offensive juggernaut Ellis and there were concerns that the two could not co-exist as a winning backcourt.  The team never finished with a winning record with those two playing alongside one another.

    Curry couldn’t prove his value as the team leader last year because the recurring ankle issues shut him down for 40 games.  The ankle has now plagued him for two straight seasons, leading to the injury-prone tag being slapped upon him. 

    By comparison, John Wall of the Washington Wizards had similar numbers to his rookie year and he dropped 15 spots to No. 55.  The problem is Wall wasn’t injured and dropped primarily because his team was so wretched. 

    Curry will most likely be going into a contract year if the Warriors can’t strike a deal before October 31.  His true value will be shown during the season if he doesn’t get hurt, which should bump up on next year’s #NBArank.

    He now has a complete team and it is up to him to decide where how far it will go.

    Slam Online ranked Curry at No. 47, but I would put him at No. 50.

Andrew Bogut: Undervalued

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    ESPN Rank: No. 45

    Andrew Bogut switched teams after suffering a season-ending freak injury and dropped 12 spots to No. 45 from last year’s ranking. Bogut is excited to show his skill set with a proven scorer next to him in David Lee and the young perimeter of Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. 

    Bogut averaged a double-double the past three seasons before getting injured only 12 games into last season.  He is a big man who can pass, rebound and setup the talent surrounding him.  He is also a strong defender, which must not have been factored into the rankings.

    Bogut will not be at full strength going into opening night, but within the first month of the season, he should be able to exhibit his shot-blocking and overall skills.  He is known for his ability to lock down on defense and for a contagious nastiness.

    Other centers that rank above Bogut are Dwight Howard (No. 3), Andrew Bynum (No.13), Tyson Chandler (No. 23), Marc Gasol (No. 24), Tim Duncan (No. 27), Al Horford (No. 30), Roy Hibbert (No. 35), Joakim Noah (No. 37), DeMarcus Cousins (No. 42) and Al Jefferson (No. 44).

    So Bogut is the NBA’s 11th-best center? That is hard to fathom, especially with his complete all-around game.   

    In order to register with these experts, he will need to be much more of an offensive force to sneak into the top 30, based on their opinions.  Bogut will get his due with a winning team record, healthy statistics, some SportsCenter highlights and playoff games at the end of the season.

    Bogut should be ranked around No. 30.

Klay Thompson: Undervalued

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    ESPN Rank: No. 135

    Klay Thompson improves his rank from No. 349 to No. 135, but it doesn’t come close to his true actual rank.  Thompson is one of the purest shooters in the game today and is arguably one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the game.

    Thompson took over the shooting guard position after the Monta Ellis trade and brings a completely different skill set than Ellis.  Thompson has a much bigger body that he can use to his advantage on both offense and defense.

    Klay even impressed Kobe Bryant (No. 6) and Deron Williams (No. 10) during the scrimmages between the U.S. Olympic team and the U.S. Select team during the summer.  Klay was working on handling the ball and bringing it up court versus the likes of Russell Westbrook and Andre Iguodala.

    Thompson also has a very high basketball IQ, given that he grew up in a basketball family with his father, Mychal, being the No. 1 overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft.  Klay understands where to lineup defensively and how to help his teammates if they get beaten to the basket.

    Thompson should maintain or even improve upon the 18.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals he averaged per game after taking over for Ellis at shooting guard late last season.

    Thompson should be ranked No. 75, just above comparable shooting guards Paul George and Kevin Martin.

Andris Biedrins: Overvalued

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    ESPN Rank: No. 284

    Andris Biedrins dropped from No. 174 to a generous No. 284.  Biedrins has completely dissipated from the form he had the year after signing his monstrous and now-crippling contract.

    Biedrins performed well for only the first year of that contract (2008-09), putting up a line of 11.9 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 1.5 BPG and 2.0 APG.  Last season, he stood on the court, fouled a lot and put up a line of 1.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG and 0.3 APG.

    Even worse than his declining production has been Biedrins' faltering effort level each season since signing the big contract.  This can best be seen in his lack of focus at the free-throw line.  During that first season of his contract, he shot 55.1 percent from the line.  The next three seasons he shot from the line 16 percent, 32.2 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively.

    It is hard to define why his effort is no longer what it once was. Going into training camp, rookie center Festus Ezeli is earning himself a role as Andrew Bogut's backup.  Biedrins will be riding the bench and will only be called in for the intentional foul or for mop-up duty.

    Biedrins' decline should lower his rank from No. 284 to No. 421, closer to center Jarron Collins.

Harrison Barnes: Undervalued

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    ESPN Rank: No. 179

    Harrison Barnes comes in with the lowest ranking of the projected starting five.  Barnes possesses a lot of tools coming into his rookie year, and he should be competing for the Rookie of the Year award.

    He can shoot the rock, has the size (6’8”) and athletic ability to dominate the perimeter and can use his seven-foot wingspan to fill the lanes, deflect passes and shoot over taller defenders.

    The biggest problem with his ranking is that he is listed ahead of Brandon Rush (No. 180) and Richard Jefferson (No. 181).  The experts put three Warriors small forwards back-to-back-to-back in their rankings. 

    Barnes is more than just a number as he has the athletic talent and basketball IQ to understand where to position himself on offense, in the transition game and on defense.

    Barnes should have showcase similar ability from the get-go to that of fellow rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 128).  He should also have about the same amount of floor time to improve on a game-to-game basis. 

    Barnes should be somewhere on the list at No. 140, near fellow small forwards, Derrick Williams and Jared Dudley.

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