For the third straight year, ESPN has conducted a ranking of every player in the league. The rankings are determined by a forecast panel that consists of 215 individuals who are in some part involved with ESPN’s NBA Coverage. According to the network, the forecast panel was asked to "rate each player on a 0-10 scale" based upon "the overall level of play for each player for the upcoming NBA season."
Although the countdown has yet to reach #1 (hmm…wonder who that will be?), all of the Pacers’ rankings have been announced as of today. The rankings and ratings are as follows (along with the players ranked directly below and above each Pacer, for reference):
Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West, George Hill, and Lance Stephenson all improved their NBA rank when compared to last season, whereas the rest of the Pacers’ stock saw a decline in varying degrees. George and Stephenson's rankings saw the greatest spike. George jumped from #75 to #13, while Stephenson made the biggest leap improving from #405 to #121.
When evaluating the rankings by position:
George Hill ranks #20 in terms of the league's starting point guards. The forecast panel projects Hill (#85 overall) to outplay only Steve Nash (#85), Jeremy Lin (#106), Raymond Felton (#108), Jose Calderon (#109) Greivis Vasquez (#124), Mario Chalmers (#122), Brandon Knight (#132), Jameer Nelson (#147), Trey Burke (#180), and Michael Carter-Williams (#198).
It is slightly more difficult to evaluate David West's ranking amongst power forwards due to the league's fluid definition of the small forward, power forward, and center positions; however, it can be loosely stated that the Pacers' starting power forward comes in at around #11. ESPN places Kevin Love (#11), Blake Griffin (#14), Tim Duncan (#16), LaMarcus Aldridge (#17), Dirk Nowitzki (#26), Pau Gasol (#29), Zach Randolph (#35), Serge Ibaka (#39), Kevin Garnett (#41), and Greg Monroe (#42) ahead of West (overall ranking #44).
Roy Hibbert will most likely rank #3 amongst all NBA centers when the rankings are finished being released behind only Dwight Howard (?) and Marc Gasol (?). Impressively, ESPN’s forecast panel has Hibbert besting Joakim Noah (#23), Chris Bosh (#24), Brook Lopez (#28), Tyson Chandler (#37), DeMarcus Cousins (#40), DeAndre Jordan (#77), and Andrew Bynum (#100).
The top ranked Pacer, Paul George, also beat out some impressive competition. ESPN’s NBA Rank lists George as a shooting guard. Amongst those at that position, George is likely to only be beaten out by James Harden (?) when the rankings are complete. At shooting guard, the Pacers’ star is expected by the forecast panel to outplay various perennial All-Stars this season such as Dwyane Wade (#18), Kobe Bryant (#25), and Joe Johnson (#59). If you choose to consider George as a small forward, he will only be bested by LeBron James (?) and Kevin Durant (?) having outranked Carmelo Anthony (#15), Kawhi Leonard (#34), Josh Smith (#36), Luol Deng (#46), and Paul Pierce (#48).
(Note: The final twelve players ranked above Paul George: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, James Harden, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker (#12), Dwight Howard, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love (#11), and Marc Gasol)
What do you think Pacers’ fans? Do you agree with the forecast panel’s rankings and ratings for the upcoming season? Were any Pacers underrated or overrated?
For more rankings: