Every year ESPN.com puts out a ranking of NBA players from the worst to the best player. Typically these rankings cause a great deal of excitement, not only because it means the regular season is right around the corner, but also because fans feel like arguably the most popular sports media news outlet misplaces a players value by either being too high or too low.
Typically I try to not take these rankings too seriously since I feel that the rankings can be skewed on this site for a number of reasons, but this doesn't stop me from looking at where our guys have been ranked who are near them. So, let's take a look at the ESPN Player Ranking: Hawks Edition.
Let's start with the oldest rookie on the team: Pero Antić who is at #465. Seeing as this is his first season in the NBA, he hasn't risen or fallen from the year before. It think it's funny to see how the big man is only 3 spots behind Lamar Odom. Boy how the mighty have fallen.
Shelvin Mack comes in at #431 after dropping 35 spots this year. Judging by the rankings, Mack is going to have a difficult time making the roster as the third PG since Royal Ivey, the guy he is battling, is ranked at #395.
The new Atlanta Hawk Jared Cunningham actually moved up 55 spots to #408. I think it will be fun to watch the athletic guard this year as he comes off the bench.
Mike Scott, the man impressing this preseason, has increased his ranking to #394 after moving up a total of 87 spots. I wonder what the sophomore second-round draft pick has to say about this.
Lol— Mike Scott (@mikescott) September 17, 2013
Right above Caroll is fellow Hawk and Vanderbilt star John Jenkins, who improved a shocking 97 spots to #301. I, for one, cannot wait to see how he has improved since last year. Through the season we saw his on-man defense significantly increase.
The next player that I am about to mention is the rookie on the roster that I am sure many Hawks fans look forward to see develop over these next few years. Yes I'm talking about the Schrö-off himself, Dennis Schröder. The rookie comes in at #258 which isn't bad for a kid who isn't even 21 yet. Not only can I wait to see him play, but I am really looking forward to the puns and nicknames we will give him these next couple of years.
Gustavo Ayón seems to have a rep of being a really under-appreciated NBA big man. Well it seems that his ranking at #246 seems to follow that reputation. Here is to hoping that the 2013 FIBA World Championship finals MVP can move his ranking up by the end of the season.
For how long Elton Brand has been in the league, it's nice to see him still within the the top 200. Brand is #181 and already through the preseason we see how his defense has allowed him to hold up for so long in the league. Please stay healthy, Brand. Please.
Lou Williams took a huge drop of 32 spots to #120. I am sure the injury has to factor in the ranking and look for him to move back up when he comes back.
Kyle Korver took a huge jump of 69 spots to #117 after a very successful season in Atlanta. Kyle, I'm so glad you're back, now go on and continue that streak until the end of the season.
The first Hawks player within the top 100 is the athletic and still improving *fans my face* Jeff Teague. Teague took at huge step last season in the absence of Lou Williams and the result is a new contract and a #74 ranking after improving by 35 spots.
The new Atlanta Hawk Paul Millsap comes in at #50. Yes, he improved by three spots but some may think he might be ranked slightly too low. Like many fans here, I am looking forward to seeing what Paul will provide for us this season.
Horford was one of four players to average at least 17 points and 10 rebounds per game last season, along with David Lee, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love. Of those players, Horford and Lee were the only ones to also average at least three assists per game.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
I think that says it all about the now longest tenured Hawk Al Horford. I'll be honest, this ranking surprised me because I didn't think Horford was that popular of a player for people to know how good he actually is. Well here we are with Horford at #19 after jumping 11 spots. His skill combined with his hard work and effort makes it not surprising that Horford has no idea what it is like to not make it to the playoffs.
Well, those are the ESPN rankings of our Atlanta Hawks. Were any of these guys ranked too high or too low? Let me know what you guys think in the comments.