Blake Griffin is overrated...but just barely.
A top-10 appearance is a bit ambitious after just one season (the next highest rook was John Wall, who came in at No. 40), but Griffin is certainly knocking on the door. Last season, Griffin was 15th in the NBA in PER (player efficiency rating), 11th in value added and 11th in estimated wins added.
Based on talent and upside, there aren't five players I would take to start a franchise with ahead of Griffin right now. But if the goal of these rankings is to evaluate where in the league's hierarchy these players are today, I would have to slot him behind some players who are on par with (if not even slightly above) Griffin in terms of skill and impact levels, but have featured prominently on teams that have made deep playoff runs.
For me, Griffin would slide behind Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook, who were ranked 11th, 12th and 15th respectively in ESPN's NBA rankings.
Some may think his high rank is based on his nightly appearances on the highlight reels, but Griffin's game is much more dynamic and diverse than he gets credit for. Offensively, he impacts play in countless ways, from his momentum-shifting tomahawk slams to the sleek assists he dishes out that get his teammates going too.
Griffin was third in the NBA in double-doubles last season and fifth in triple-doubles, a tribute to his multifaceted game.
Last month I made the case that Griffin has an MVP award in his future. The fact that he was ranked only two spots behind reigning MVP Derrick Rose shows that he is closer to the feat than people think. Being solidly ensconced among the top 15 players in the NBA after a single season is a startling achievement. It foreshadows an impressive career to come for Blake Griffin. Get used to seeing him ranked inside the top 10 for at least the next decade.