Which Boston Celtics Players Did ESPN's #NBArank over and Undervalue?

Matthew SchmidtFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2012

Which Boston Celtics Players Did ESPN's #NBArank over and Undervalue?

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    A panel of 104 experts at ESPN ranked every player in the NBA, one through 500, by rating each player on a scale of one to 10 (10 being the highest). Naturally, there will be some difference of opinion among fans. So, which Boston Celtics players did ESPN over and undervalue in #NBArank?

    Clearly, ranking every player in the league is no easy task, so you have to give the voters a decent margin of error. Still, there will be some rankings that just make you scratch your head. Some players are certainly not that good, and others certainly are not that bad.

    As far as the Celtics go, they had three guys in the top 30, and I'm sure it won't take you more than one guess to identify who those three C's are. Were any of them ranked out of place, though? And what about the rest of the team?

    Let's examine it.

Rajon Rondo (ranked 12th): UNDERVALUED

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    Let me be the first one to say that Rajon Rondo does some things out on the basketball court that make me want to pull my hair out. I'll also say that I think he is the second-most important player on the Celtics. You may be wondering how in the world I think ESPN undervalued him then. Well, I'm about to explain.

    This doesn't have much to do with where Rondo is ranked because the No. 12 spot seems to be right in the perfect range for him. It's the players ranked in front of Rondo that I have a problem with. ESPN overvalued those guys.

    For example, Deron Williams is ranked No. 10. Three years ago, this would not have been a problem, but you cannot look at me with a straight face and tell me that Williams has been a been a better player than Rondo in each of the last two seasons. Yeah, yeah; Rondo can't shoot and Williams can, but if Rondo is shooting the ball more efficiently than Williams, why should that matter?

    Deron shot 40.7 percent from the floor in 2012, and in the previous year, he shot 43.9 percent. Rajon shot 44.8 percent this past season and 47.5 percent the year before.

    Also notable? Rondo averaged .121 win shares per 48 minutes last year. Williams? .099.

    To put it plainly, Rondo is better than Williams at everything except shooting.

    So, how was Williams ranked higher again?

    I also have a problem with Derrick Rose being ranked seven spots ahead of Rondo at No. 5. There is no way that he is a top-five player in the league.

Kevin Garnett (ranked 21st): UNDERVALUED

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    I have discussed ad nauseam the kind of value that Kevin Garnett brings to the Celtics. Judging by Garnett's ranking, the ESPN experts just don't understand it.

    K.G. had the best plus-minus stat in the playoffs in 2012, demonstrating just how valuable he is to Boston and how much he has left in the tank. He led the NBA in defensive rating and should have certainly received more consideration for the Defensive Player of the Year award. As a matter of fact, considering the C's had the No. 1 ranked defense in the league last year, one could make a serious argument that he should have won it.

    So, how in the world is Steve Nash ranked ahead of Garnett? Yes, he can still run an offense, but he no longer runs it well enough to compensate for his incompetency on the defensive end. No way is Nash better than K.G.. No way.

    Three other players that I disagree being ranked ahead of Garnett are LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol. They are all fine big men in their own right. There is no doubt about that. However, to rank them over arguably the best defensive player in the league? I cannot concur with that.

    Even at age 36, K.G. is still a top 20 player in the NBA. At least.

Brandon Bass (ranked 97th): OVERVALUED

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    While Brandon Bass had a very impressive 2012 campaign for the Celtics, it just seems hard to come to grips with the fact that he is a top 100 player in the NBA. Should he improve upon his 2012 performance this season, then he absolutely belongs there, but it might be a bit early to put him in that kind of company just yet.

    Bass is a nice player, but he does have some drawbacks. First and foremost, he isn't a great rebounding forward. He's not bad, but he will never be anything more than mediocre in that category. Second of all, due to the fact that he is a bit undersized for a power forward, he tends to have some trouble finishing around the basket.

    When Bass is hitting his mid-range jumper, he is a great weapon offensively. However, when that shot isn't falling, he becomes relatively useless on that end of the floor. He doesn't put the ball on the floor often, and he has no semblance of a back-to-the-basket game either. Sure, he helps space the floor due to his smooth stroke, but that's about it.

    I like Bass a lot and think he is a vital member of Boston, but I just have trouble ranking him over the likes of Nikola Pekovic and Emeka Okafor.

Jeff Green (ranked 172nd): UNDERVALUED

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    Look; I know that Jeff Green is coming off of heart surgery and the jury is out on how effective he will be, but come on, 172nd? That is just ridiculous, and it looks even more ridiculous when you see some of the players that were ranked ahead of him.

    The likes of Robin Lopez, Darrell Arthur, Ronnie Brewer, Nick Young, Marvin Williams, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Delonte West, Danny Green, D.J. Augustin and Ramon Sessions all place ahead of Green. Seriously?

    People tend to forget that Green is a solid all-around player. He can do virtually anything out on the floor. He doesn't do anything spectacularly, but he does everything well.

    During Green's time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was a guy who routinely put up 15 points and six boards a night. There is no way you can tell me that there 171 players in the NBA who can do better than those numbers.

    Green is, by far, the most undervalued Celtic in ESPN's #NBArank.

Chris Wilcox (ranked 340th): UNDERVALUED

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    OK. So Chris Wilcox is not exactly a superb player, but ranking him 340th out of 500 players? That puts him in the bottom third of all players in the NBA, and he is certainly better than that.

    He is also certainly better than Kurt Thomas, Kyrylo Fesenko (I mean, really?), Anthony Parker, Vladimir Radmanovic, Donte Greene, Nolan Smith, Xavier Henry, Hamed Haddadi, Ronny Turiaf, Toney Douglas and Byron Mullens. Talk about disrespect.

    It's probably nitpicking because Wilcox is merely a nice rotational player, but still, this ranking does not do him any justice at all. Maybe it's because, like Green, he is coming off heart surgery, but Fesenko has career numbers of 2.3 points and two rebounds per game. You're telling me that he's better than Wilcox?

    In the month of February this past season (the month before he went down with the heart ailment), Wilcox averaged 7.2 points and six rebounds per game in 21 minutes a night. That's 12.3 points and 10.3 boards per 36 minutes. Oh, and he also shot 61 percent from the floor during that time as well.

    If you're wondering why I picked February of all months, it's because that was when Doc Rivers decided to give him a chance by allotting him more minutes. It's safe to say that Wilcox made the most of it.


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