ESPN, the self proclaimed world wide leader, is in the business of making business for themselves. While they have interesting content, near ubiquitous presence, and attract a lot of talent (hey Andy) -- a lot of their content that generates cheers and jeers are related to lists, rankings, and the presentation of those lists and rankings. As a small market fan, it's practically my religion to feel slights (real and/or imagined), and disrespected.So the marriage of ESPN lists and my Utah Jazz fandom is a match made in pageview heaven for ESPN's marketing department.
These NBA Player rankings have been going on for three years now: 2011 here, 2012 here, and 2013 here. I've saved you all the trouble by gathering the ranks for every guy who played for the Jazz from 2008-2009 till today, and put them in handy chart form. Some of the trends may be interesting to look at . . .
|Player Rank||Player Score|
|33||John Lucas III||444||278||298||340.0||2.07||3.53||3.32||2.97|
|53||Brevin Knight||No Data
|54||Kyle Weaver||No Data||No Data|
|55||Matt Harpring||No Data||No Data|
Obviously the first one to look at is, well, sometimes good players get old and their ranks goes down; and some young players get better, and their ranks go up. Other times, though, these ranks go way up or down partly due to some "other" reason. This is the Tinfoil hat guy in me (don't get me started on Joe Rogan...), but when these rankings are based upon perception, and the rankings are made by people, part of the perception of the team HAS to come into play.
For example, Richard Jefferson joins the Jazz and goes down by 125 points (and he may be our most consistent performer this year), and DeMarre Carroll leaves the Jazz and goes up by 78 points (despite not working on his three point shot, and gambling on defense). I guess these rankings aren't internally consistent. All three of the guys we got in the GSW trade went down in ranking, but that could just be because they're on the downsides of their careers. Many times we see players get "recognized" after leaving the Jazz, two other examples are Kyle Korver and Kosta Koufos. Kosta has gotten better for sure, but this year he's ranked #150 in the entire NBA. Korver got a huge bump after leaving the Jazz, despite being the same guy he was in Utah. Oh well.
Point form notes:
- The Jazz "family" includes only 6 players in Top 100 average rank for the three years: Deron Williams, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, and Derrick Favors. Favors, at 98.3 is just barely in the Top 100 on average, and he's the only guy on the team
- The team hasn't had "star power" with only two guys being in the average Top 50, Deron and Big Al -- and only Deron was a Top 10 player
- Deron *was* a Top 10 player being #9 in 2011, and #10 in 2012. This year his #20 mark, a ten spot drop, moves him to an average of 13.0. So our best player out of these 55 players since 2008-09 and now isn't even Top 10. That kind of explains all the early playoff exits.
- John and Karl had a lot of early playoff exits too, but I have no doubt that if this exists back in the day they both would have averaged to be Top 10 players over their careers.
- Okay, yes, John and Karl aren't walking though that door. Well, at least not as players. John Stockton worked with Trey Burke and Alec Burks this summer; and Karl Malone was working with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Maybe one of those four guys can one day be a Top 10 player?
- If you look at this year alone, the Jazz family has 6 players in the Top 100, Deron, Thrillsap, Big Al, Booz, Favors, and G-Time. We'd have 7, but Andrei came in at 101. Out of these 6 or 7 players, though, only 2 are on the actual roster today.
- We have room to grow, and I'm sure whatever vets continue to join our team will just have to live with downgraded ESPN player ratings, partly due to their declining skills, but maybe also because of the perception that their best option was to come to Utah
- Our F5 clocks in at #68, #90, #112, #161, and #213 this year. Time will tell if any of them will be Top 50 in the next few years, but I have to believe in them. They're "our" guys, after all.
- All of these guys are our guys, but yeah, MY perception is that our guys get the short end of the perception stick due to some stigma our franchise has.
Bottom line, though? ESPN loves all the discussion this is generating, and all the hits these types of posts get. I just can't believe that I made charts for this that graphically show that the consensus opinion of Ronnie Brewer has increased in depreciation compared to the relative stability of how people regard Kyrylo Fesenko. Actually, no, if you know anything about me or any of my previous work that's probably the least surprising thing about this post. The real surprise is that I'm not uploading these charts.
You are all welcome.