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Thread: CBS Sports Top 100

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    Default CBS Sports Top 100

    This is a much better take on a "Top Players" List. This is a more thoughtful take on it with a few people's consensus of opinion you have to agree or disagree with. I like all three of these guys in general as NBA scribes and this seems to be a pretty solid effort when looking through at it more than first glance.

    A lot of love for the Pacers, too, which always makes me happy.

    Matt Moore, Royce Young, Ben Golliver
    Eye on Basketball's Elite 100: No. 100 through No. 50
    By Matt Moore | Senior Blogger

    03:17 PM ET September 05, 2012



    Elton Brand is the very bubble of elite. (Getty Images)

    Last year we ranked the Elite 100 players in the National Basketball Association. Our crew of three, who watch every NBA team on a regular basis throughout the season, sat down and evaluated the players using every criteria we could. Past performance, recent production, injury, projected improvement, character isssues, decision making, basketball IQ, advanced metrics, team fit -- everything. And now we present our 2012 edition, starting with No. 100 through No.50.

    We said this last time, but it bears repeating. This thing is incredibly difficult. There's no science to it, no metric you can rely on to trump all others. You have to factor so much in, and there's only so much your brain can process. We have as much confidence in these rankings as you can have, and we're still arguing about them even as we post them. That's what makes this fun. And that's all it is, fun.

    You can win a title with a group of guys who aren't in the top 20 on our list. (It's insanely difficult and requires a lot of chanting and sheep's blood, but it can be done.) This isn't about whether or not these guys can win. Basketball relies on team chemistry, individual effort, and communication. This merely seeks to establish the best of the best.

    Basically, I'm trying to be like your third-grade softball coach. We're all winners here.

    The ratings are prepared by the three bloggers for Eye on Basketball: Royce Young, Ben Golliver and Matt Moore. The rankings are averaged.

    And with that, we begin the 2012 edition of the CBSSports.com NBA Elite 100.

    No. 100: Elton Brand, F, Age 33, Dallas Mavericks

    2012 Stats: 11.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.6 bpg, .494 eFG%, 18.0 PER

    Brand was a huge part of the Sixers' success last season, but the slip due to age and injury is obvious. He moves into a reserve role this season with Dallas.


    No. 99: Andre Miller, G, Age 36, Denver Nuggets

    2012 Stats: 9.7 ppg, 6.7 apg, 3.3 rpg, .455 eFG%, 14.8 PER

    Andre Miller: We write a lot about how Miller's underrated, then we rank him second to the cliff. Go figure. "Dre's" calm demeanor should help the Nuggets almost as much as his lobs to JaVale McGee.


    No. 98: Brandon Bass, F, Age 27, Boston Celtics

    2012 Stats: 12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, .9 bpg, .479 eFG%, 14.1 PER

    You know how a hammer can be used in multiple ways, even for just a handful, but does them very well? That's Bass. Jumper, jumper, rebound, jumper, drive, jumper, repeat.


    No. 97: Klay Thompson, G, Age 22, Golden State Warriors

    2012 Stats: 12.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, .520 efG%, 14.9 PER

    Thompson could have a breakout sophomore season if the Warriors make the leap. He's got good defensive instincts and can shoot the lights out. He and Harrison Barnes are going to be quite a tandem on the wing.


    No. 96: Shane Battier, G/F, Age 33, Miami Heat

    2012 Stats: 4.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.0 spg, .493 eFG%, 9.7 PER, 102 defensive rating

    The No-Stats All-Star became the All-Threes Role Player in the Finals. Battier also defended the four position when Chris Bosh was injured, took charges and stunned Oklahoma City with his ability to score. It is not a stretch to say he was the difference (outside of LeBron James) in the Heat's second franchise title.


    No.95: Chandler Parsons, F, Age 23, Houston Rockets

    2012 Stats: 9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.2 spg, .506 eFG%, 13.3 PER

    If the Rockets stay afloat this season, it might be because of Jeremy Lin's flash, but it could just as well be because of Parsons' substance. Parsons showed a lot last year and was one of the Rockets to step up under Kevin McHale, which prompted a lot of the offseason moves. He's a pillar in Houston, now.


    No. 94: Kendrick Perkins, C, Age 27, Oklahoma City Thunder

    2012 Stats: 5.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg, .489 eFG%, 8.7 PER

    Perkins needs to live up to his reputation as a Dwight-Stopper this season to reclaim some of the clout he had when traded to OKC. Perkins struggled through the playoffs but it was discovered later that he had a groin injury, which severely limited him. He still was a huge part of the Thunder's win over San Antonio, but in a league that continues to shift more and more toward small ball and versatility, Perkins' old-school center approach loses its value.


    No. 93: Caron Butler, G/F, Age 32, Los Angeles Clippers
    2012 Stats: 12.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .8 spg, .472 eFG%, 11.7 PER

    Tuff Juice bounced back from a serious knee injury and helped push the Clippers to the second-round. He's feast or famine, and when he's famine, it gets ugly. He's got a lot more help offensively this season with Jamal Crawford on board and Chauncey Billups back, but at 32 and with so many injuries under his belt, there's only so long he's got left on the wire.


    No. 92: Kris Humphries, F, Age 27, Brooklyn Nets

    2012 Stats: 13.8 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.2 bpg, .481 eFG%, 17.9 PER

    Great decision-maker when rebounding. Terrible decision-maker in his personal life. Humphries takes a lot of flak but has been a very productive player who gives consistent effort. Should flourish with so little attention drawn on the Nets.


    No. 91: Glen Davis, F, Age 26, Orlando Magic

    2012 Stats: 9.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, .466 eFG%, 13.2 PER

    Glen Davis actually played better than he did in Boston last year, it's just that he looks so much worse when he's not playing in Boston. He'll have all the opportunities he wants to score next year with Howard gone. He's the best big man they have. Think about that.



    J.R. Smith returns to the Knicks. (Getty Images)

    No. 90: J.R. Smith, G, Age 26 , New York Knicks

    2012 Stats: 12.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.5 spg, .490 eFG%, 15.2 PER

    Missing out on a full season of J.R. Smith in Mike D'Antoni's system is a tragedy. The Knicks got Smith back at a huge discount, and he's a shooter that can fill the bucket up like few can, plays surprisingly good defense, and gives the same amount of effort... he just does what he wants.


    No. 89: J.J. Redick, G, Age 28, Orlando Magic

    2012 Stats: 11.6 ppg, 2.5 apg, .521 eFG%, 15.1 PER

    You have to wonder where Redick's career would have been had the Bulls managed to land him when he was a restricted free agent. He's shown the ability to run an offense effectively even if he's not a playmaking point guard, and it'll be interesting to see if Jacque Vaughn uses him in that capacity more than Stan Van Gundy did.


    No. 88: Kevin Martin, G/F, Age 29, Houston Rockets

    2012 Stats: 17.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, .486 eFG%, 16.5 PER

    Was it the coaching change, the rule change affecting the rip-through, simple regression or just a bad year? Kevin Martin's slide was noticeable and unfortunate. Martin and McHale did not mesh well and his future with the Rockets is in doubt.


    No. 87: George Hill, G, Age 26, Indiana Pacers

    2012 Stats: 9.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, .8 spg, .513 eFG%, 15.7 PER

    Lost the early point guard battle in Indiana against Darren Collison, won the war. Hill needs to get back to the kind of production he gave in San Antonio, though, and that includes on the defensive side. Whether that's how Indiana uses him, health, or something else, it needs to happen, especially after his new $40 million contract.


    No. 86: O.J. Mayo, SG, Age 24, Dallas Mavericks

    2012 Stats: 12.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.1 spg, .476 eFG%, 14.7 PER

    A promising career has wound up with a decent but lower-than-expected ceiling. Good for what he is, but that's what he is. Without a significant jump in his ability to finish at the rim, he's going to be a solid defender who is a streaky shooter, good and bad.


    No. 85: Ersan Ilyasova, F, Age 25, Milwaukee Bucks

    2012 Stats: 13.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg, .535 eFG%, 20.5 PER

    A promising big man with tons of versatility. But can he be the second-best player on a team?


    No. 84: Shawn Marion, F, Age 34, Dallas Mavericks

    2012 Stats: 10.6, 7.4 pg, 1.1 spg, .488 eFG%, 15.0 PER

    His defense remains top-notch while age downgrades his offense step-by-step. He's still a reliable starter and a big piece of the Mavericks' puzzle.



    Jeremy Lin has huge expectations in Houston. (Getty Images)

    No. 83: Jeremy Lin, PG, Age 24, Houston Rockets

    2012 Stats: 14.6 ppg, 6.2 apg, 1.6 spg, .478 eFG%, 19.9 PER

    One of the biggest questions of next season: Can he match (or top) his breakout year? It's a new system, a new city, and teams will be gameplanning for him now. He struggled toward the end of last year (when he played) after the book got out on how to attack his dribble. Those adjustments will be key for him going forward.


    No. 82: DeMar DeRozan, G, Age 23, Toronto Raptors

    2012 Stats: 16.7 ppg, 2.0 apg, .503 eFG%, 12.8 PER

    Raptors fans keep holding their breath for DeRozan to make the leap. Starting to turn blue...


    No. 81: DeAndre Jordan, C, Age 24, Los Angeles Clippers

    2012 Stats: 7.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg, .632 eFG%, 16.4 PER

    That's right, a guy who had his minutes yanked away by Reggie Evans (Reggie Evans!) in the playoffs comes in at 82. This from a center with rebounding issues given a massive contract last offseason. We have high hopes for the youth of today.


    No. 80: Thaddeus Young, F, Age 24, Philadelphia 76ers

    2012 Stats: 12.8 PPG, 5.2 rpg, 1.0 spg, .538 eFG%, 18.9 PER

    Young inexplicably takes a tumble despite arguably his best season last year. He'll need to be more than the terrific role player he's been for Philadelphia, though, with Andre Iguodala gone from the forward position.


    No. 79: Brandon Jennings, PG, Age 22, Milwaukee Bucks

    2012 Stats: 19.1 ppg, 5.5 apg, .476 eFG%, 18.4 PER

    The battle with Jennings on this list is "Do we have to include him?" vs. "Don't we have to put him higher?" and it's a constant state of conflict. He was a near-All-Star at the break, then fell off a cliff, and struggled to co-exist with Monta Ellis. Even the Bucks don't know what to do with him.


    No. 78: Luis Scola, F, Age 32, Phoenix Suns

    2012 Stats: 15.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, .491 eFG%, 15.4 PER

    Was he another victim of the coaching change last year or have we started to see a real age-related slide? We'll see what the wizards on the Suns' training staff can pull off.


    No. 77: Marcin Gortat, C, Age 28, Phoenix Suns

    2012 Stats: 15.4 ppg 10.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg, .555 eFG%, 21.2 PER

    Let's see how he does when he's the best player on the team. His growth has been phenomenal, but things could change a lot with the new-look Suns.


    No. 76: Anderson Varejao, C, Age 29, Cleveland Cavaliers

    2012 Stats: 10.8 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 1.4 spg, .514 eFG%, 18.9 PER

    If healthy, he'd be 20 to 30 spots higher. But the health concerns mean you just don't have as much to go on as you'd like. He's headed for age 30 as well, and with the Cavs still rebuilding their roster, there's no way to tell how this season goes for him.


    No. 75: Goran Dragic, PG, Age 26, Phoenix Suns

    2012 Stats: 11.7 ppg, 5.3 apg, .518 eFG%, 18.0 PER

    Explosive, but has never played big minutes before. Prime opportunity to take the leap in Phoenix, but needs to improve defensively, and has to be the primary creator for a team that looks very different from the last time he was in town.


    No. 74: Kenneth Faried, F, Age 22, Denver Nuggets

    2012 Stats: 10.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.0 bpg, .586 eFG%, 21.9 PER

    One word: Manimal.


    No. 73: Andrea Bargnani, F/C, Age 26, Toronto Raptors

    2012 Stats: 19.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, .467 eFG%, 17.9 PER

    Could have been an All-Star were it not for injury last year. With help at the center position allowing him to play more to his strengths, will he keep up the defense and rebounding improvements he made or become more for what he was criticized for?


    No. 72: Kawhi Leonard, F, Age 21, San Antonio Spurs

    2012 Stats: 7.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, .543 eFG%, 16.6 PER

    We're all jumping to put him higher, but trying to restrain ourselves after his rookie season. Gregg Popovich has called him the future of the Spurs.


    No. 71: Jrue Holiday, PG, Age 22, Philadelphia 76ers

    2012 Stats: 13.5 ppg, 4.5 apg, 1.6 spg, .471 eFG%, 14.7 PER

    A big opportunity to shine with Bynum in and Iguodala out, but the clock's running out on waiting for him to assert himself.


    No. 70: Arron Afflalo, SG, Age 26, Orlando Magic

    2012 Stats: 15.2 ppg, 2.4 apg, .534 eFG%, 14.7 PER

    Going to be a rough year for him, wins-wise, in Orlando, but he can take on the challenge and really prove he's elite if he decides to.



    George is part of the Pacers' core. (Getty Images)

    No. 69: Paul George, F, Age 22, Indiana Pacers

    2012 Stats: 12.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, .510 eFG%, 16.5 PER

    Most of the Pacers should probably be higher than they are on this list, and George is no exception. Showed real improvement last year, especially on the catch-and-shoot, but remains just a great utility player.


    No. 68: Andrei Kirilenko, F, Age 31, Minnesota Timberwolves

    2012 Stats: (Played for CSKA Moscow in 2011-2012)

    Back from Russia, showed a lot in the Olympics, was criminally "meh" his last year in Utah. No one knows exactly what we'll get from Kirilenko but the debate is worth having.


    No. 67: Tyreke Evans, G/F, age 22, Sacramento Kings

    2012 Stats: 16.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.5 apg, .464 eFG%, 16.4 PER

    Remember when he had that historic rookie season? Neither do we, apparently. Evans continues to have issues with finding a position, and being able to play with the ball to create more than shots. But he's also one of the most athletic players in the league and incredibly versatile. Big season for him this year, one way or another.


    No. 66: Ray Allen, G, Age 37, Miami Heat

    2012 Stats: 14.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, .566 eFG%, 14.8 PER

    Has a comfy position in Miami, but how much of last season was an injury that's healed and how much was just age? His minute-allocation will be something to watch.



    No. 65: JaVale McGee, C, Age 24, Denver Nuggets

    2012 Stats: 11.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.2 bpg, .556 eFG%, 19.9 PER

    Sometimes he looks like the next great center, with touch, footwork, aggressiveness, and crazy athleticism. Sometimes, he runs the other direction on offense. That's JaVale.


    No. 64: Mike Conley, PG, Age 24, Memphis Grizzlies

    2012 Stats: 12.7 ppg, 6.5 apg, 2.2 spg, .477 eFG%, 16.8 PER

    For not being a star, Conley is about as good as it gets. Shoots well, runs an efficient offense, and has great decision-making abilities at both ends.


    No. 63: Jason Terry, G, Age 34, Boston Celtics

    2012 Stats: 15.1 ppg, 3.6 apg, 1.2 spg, .513 eFG%, 15.7 PER

    Hoping for one last jolt of production in Boston. Not like he'll be lacking in confidence he can do it. Terry is still able to put together games he just takes over with his shot-creation.


    No. 62: Carlos Boozer, F/C, Age 30, Chicago Bulls

    2012 Stats: 15.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, .532 eFG%, 19.7 PER

    Probably the least-fan-favorite second-best player on a team in the league. Boozer actually did a fantastic job last season keeping the Bulls afloat when Derrick Rose was out. But that contract will continue to shade how he's considered.



    Rubio was kind of awesome last year. (Getty Images)

    No. 61: Ricky Rubio, PG, Age 21, Minnesota Timberwolves

    2012 Stats: 10.6 ppg, 8.2 apg, 4.2 rpg, .398 eFG%, 14.6 PER

    A brilliant rookie year cut down by a crushing injury. Can he get back up quick enough to show off that brilliance he did last year? Also might work on that shot while he's at it.


    No. 60: Tony Allen, G, Age 30, Memphis Grizzlies

    2012 Stats: 9.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 spg, .478 eFG%, 15.7 PER

    On defense he's like a pitbull wrapped in flaming armor on an adrenaline additive. Just don't let him try to create on offense.


    No. 59: Andrew Bogut, C, Age 27, Golden State Warriors

    2012 Stats: (Played just 12 games due to injury.)

    If he stays healthy for 70-plus games, and that's a big if, he's going to jump about 20 spots next year.


    No. 58: Brook Lopez, C, Age 24, Brooklyn Nets

    2012 Stats: (Played just five games due to injury.)

    This ranking is apparently based on the idea that he will be healthy for the first time in three years and that he will go back to rebounding like a center instead of a shooting guard. It's like a magic trick.


    No. 57: Nene, F/C, Age 29, Washington Wizards

    2012 Stats: 13.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg, .607 eFG%, 24.2 PER

    You may be sensing a pattern here. "If he's healthy.."


    No. 56: Gerald Wallace, F, Age 30, Brooklyn Nets

    2012 Stats: 15.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.4 apg, .465 eFG%, 17.2 PER

    Versatile, skilled, tough-as-nails, but also hitting his 30's. For right now, though, one of the best all-around players you'll find on both ends of the floor.


    No. 55: Nicolas Batum, F, Age 23, Portland Trail Blazers

    2012 Stats: 13.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg, .534 eFG%, 17.3 PER

    Everyone's loved the potential of Batum when compared with his production. Time for that production to hit star level.


    No. 54: Stephen Curry, PG, Age 24, Golden State Warriors

    2012 Stats: 14.7 ppg, 5.3 apg, 1.5 spg (only played 26 games last season due to injury)

    Crossing our fingers that his ankles hold up this year (just like we did last year, and the year before).



    West helped the Pacers to the third seed. (Getty Images)

    No. 53: David West, F, Age 32, Indiana Pacers

    2012 Stats: 12.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, .489 eFG%, 17.8 PER

    He was the biggest reason for the Pacers' climb to the top of the Eastern Conference, and West remains criminally underrated.


    No. 52: John Wall, PG, Age 21, Washington Wizards

    2012 Stats: 16.3 ppg, 8.0 apg, 4.5 rpg, .424 eFG%, 17.7 PER

    No more excuses about the talent surrounding him. It's time for John Wall to make the leap and become the point guard the Wizards drafted him to be.


    No. 51: David Lee, F, Age 29, Golden State Warriors

    2012 Stats: 20.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, .503 eFG%, 19.7 PER

    Just a very good, productive player who's in a great position with the talent around him in Golden State this year.


    No. 50: Al Jefferson, F/C, Age 27, Utah Jazz

    2012 Stats: 19.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.7 bpg, .493 eFG%, 22.8 PER

    A good career, but never became the beast many thought he would in Boston. Still the best low-post player in clutch-time in the league, and a dependable rock offensively. The Jazz need him to step up defensively this season.
    Last edited by pacergod2; 09-06-2012 at 02:08 PM.
    "Your course, your path, is not going to be like mine," West says. "Everybody is not called to be a multimillionaire. Everybody's not called to be the president. Whatever your best work is, you do it. Do it well. You cease your own greatness when you aspire to be someone else."

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    I was just about to post this article!

    I kind of like what I see so far, and pretty much agree with what's been written so far. 50-1 should be very interesting.

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    #1 has GOT to be Blake Ahearn.

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    While I like Ahearn, ALOT, I don't think he will be #1. Maybe #2.

    It is pretty interesting to read through this and see that our starting five will all be in the top #87 players. I fully expect both Hill and George to improve this year over last, which makes me more excited. I think when looking at Hibbert and Granger, they will both be late 30's to early 40's. I hope we don't see Granger or West drop off any this year. If anything West will have more mobility. He really looked slow at the beginning of last year, especially in his lateral quickness. I had the same issues coming back from the same surgery and I improved significantly in the second year after. I think with some rest and a lot more rehab, West could be a beast this year.

    The most important thing that can happen for us is that we improve from within. We have a team. Now the team needs to get better repoire with one another by improving on our ball movement and defensive lapses from last year.
    "Your course, your path, is not going to be like mine," West says. "Everybody is not called to be a multimillionaire. Everybody's not called to be the president. Whatever your best work is, you do it. Do it well. You cease your own greatness when you aspire to be someone else."

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by pacergod2 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    While I like Ahearn, ALOT, I don't think he will be #1. Maybe #2.

    It is pretty interesting to read through this and see that our starting five will all be in the top #87 players. I fully expect both Hill and George to improve this year over last, which makes me more excited. I think when looking at Hibbert and Granger, they will both be late 30's to early 40's. I hope we don't see Granger or West drop off any this year. If anything West will have more mobility. He really looked slow at the beginning of last year, especially in his lateral quickness. I had the same issues coming back from the same surgery and I improved significantly in the second year after. I think with some rest and a lot more rehab, West could be a beast this year.

    The most important thing that can happen for us is that we improve from within. We have a team. Now the team needs to get better repoire with one another by improving on our ball movement and defensive lapses from last year.
    West is being overlooked, I agree, he was much, much better post-april, once he seemed to be fully over his rehab/injury. He was also a solid 15-8 in the playoffs. Between his health, and George and Hibberts, and hopefully Hill's acclimation to the PG spot full time we're in great shape.

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    Not bad so far, all 5 starters in the top 90, Hill playing full time starter minutes and George + West (healthy) should be even higher in these types of lists next year.

    I think Granger and Hibbert will probably both be in the 30's. Hopefully Hibbert takes that next step next year.
    Last edited by daschysta; 09-06-2012 at 08:18 PM.

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by pacergod2 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    While I like Ahearn, ALOT, I don't think he will be #1. Maybe #2.

    It is pretty interesting to read through this and see that our starting five will all be in the top #87 players. I fully expect both Hill and George to improve this year over last, which makes me more excited. I think when looking at Hibbert and Granger, they will both be late 30's to early 40's. I hope we don't see Granger or West drop off any this year. If anything West will have more mobility. He really looked slow at the beginning of last year, especially in his lateral quickness. I had the same issues coming back from the same surgery and I improved significantly in the second year after. I think with some rest and a lot more rehab, West could be a beast this year.

    The most important thing that can happen for us is that we improve from within. We have a team. Now the team needs to get better repoire with one another by improving on our ball movement and defensive lapses from last year.
    solid
    Smothered Chicken!

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    I found this part of the article very interesting considering the constant debates about Granger, Deng, Johnson, and Gay.


    Earlier this week, we unveiled No. 100 through No. 50 and then No. 49 through No. 40. Check out the guys who fell out of the top 100 between 2011 and 2012 here. The following is No. 39 through No. 30.

    No. 39: Joakim Noah, C, Age 27, Chicago Bulls (2011 ranking: 29)

    2012 Stats: 10.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 19.59 PER

    Rankings: 41, 35, 52

    The things Joakim Noah does well, he does really well. He defends the rim, he handles pick-and-roll coverages, he rebounds, he blocks shots, he plays hard. He's a double-double threat, but often times Tom Thibodeau would choose Taj Gibson or Omer Asik in crunch time over him. But Noah clearly has value and knows his role especially well. He plays within his limits, and if anything, probably shoot a few more open mid-range jumpers.

    No. 38: Luol Deng, SF, Age 27, Chicago Bulls (47)

    2012 Stats: 15.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.9 apg, .412 FG%, 14.13 PER

    Rankings: 50, 40, 35

    He showed it in the Olympics: Luol Deng can be a pretty dynamic offensive player when he's the focus. But in Chicago, he doesn't need to be. Nor should he. He understands his place alongside Derrick Rose and picks his spots well. Where Deng really excells is as a perimeter defender where he's quietly blossomed into an exceptional man-to-man cover guy. He's one of the few players in the league that actually sort of has a sliver of hope in defending LeBron James. That says something.

    No. 37: Roy Hibbert, C, Age 25, Indiana Pacers (78)

    2012 Stats: 12.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.0 bpg, .497 FG%, 19.35 PER

    Rankings: 52, 32, 39


    It's a new world we live in. A seven-footer that averages double figures on the block, rebounds well and has post moves, and yet he's ranked in the 30s. If Hibbert played in the 1990s, he'd probably figure to be a top 10 or 15 player.

    But size isn't quite as overvalued as it used to be as the game has moved to looking for more versatility and speed. Hibbert still has huge value to the Pacers though, as evidenced by them matching on a max contract offer sheet.

    The issue with Hibbert lies in consistency. Some nights, he dominates with his size and back-to-the-basket skill. Other nights, he seems to fade and/or get in foul trouble. Against the Heat in the Eastern semifinals last season, there really was no reason Hibbert shouldn't have been an absolute force against an undersized Miami squad. Instead, he averaged 12.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Solid numbers, yes. But as Shaq would annoyingly say, it's not enough. Not in that circumstance. He needs to be dominating games. And once he starts doing that on a consistent night-to-night basis, he might indeed find himself in the top 10.


    No. 36: Paul Millsap, PF, Age 27, Utah Jazz (52)

    2012 Stats: 16.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, .545 TS%, 15.4 RBD%, 21.85 PER

    Rankings: 31, 61, 31

    Undersized, and always underrated. Millsap is quietly one of the top paint scorers in the league, rebounds his position wonderfully, has added a solid mid-range game and plays every night with high energy. His 8.8 rebounds a game in 2012 were a career-high and at 27, he's just now entering his prime. He's up for a new contract soon and could be looking at big money. When you have a power forward that averages a near double-double, scores inside and out while also defending well enough, you've got something teams want.

    He's sort of been squeezed into an awkward spot with the Jazz after their splurge on big men recently, but Millsap has figured out how to make himself even more valuable by playing some spot minutes at small forward. He's trending up, and at No. 36, that feels just about right.

    No. 35: Danny Granger, SF, Age 29, Indiana Pacers (38)

    2012 Stats: 18.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 54.2 TS%, 18.68 PER

    Rankings: 49, 37, 35


    A player with star expectations that is extremely solid, but disappoints in a lot of ways. Granger seems like a guy that should be consistently putting up 20-point nights, but he lacks the ability to create his own shot, and doesn't attack the rim well at all. He averaged just 4.7 free throws a game last season, a number not near high enough for a player with his kind of usage.

    He's a gifted shooter that can light up the perimeter and with a lightning quick release, he's a tough cover. But after averaging 25.8 ppg in 2009 and 24.1 in 2010, the expectation was for Granger to continue his climb to an elite scoring level. But he hasn't been able to remain efficient, shooting just 41.6 percent from the floor last season. He's become less of a fixture of the Pacer offense with the emergence of Hibbert and the addition of David West, but when Indiana finds itself in a tight spot, the Pacers look to Granger. And until he starts providing in big moments, he's going to remain a mid-level, but still very good player.


    No. 34: Zach Randolph, PF, Age 31, Memphis Grizzlies (12)

    2012 Stats: 11.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 0.1 bpg , .463 FG%, 17.96 PER

    Rankings: 37, 34, 48

    Randolph goes from seeing his name among the cream of the crop to falling into a place where he's just considered very, very good. The big issue? Health. He spent most of 2012 injured and when he finally returned to the floor, his effectiveness wasn't there. So much so that the Grizzlies actually preferred to keep him coming off the bench for a good while.

    He's a unique power forward that can put up double-doubles in a quarter, and has the ability to dominate games. He was a legit MVP candidate in 2010-11 and may have been the best player in the postseason outside of Dirk Nowitzki. But health matters because if you're not healthy, you're not playing.

    No. 33: Joe Johnson, SG, Age 31, Brooklyn Nets (44)

    2012 Stats: 18.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.7 rpg, .557 TS%, 18.50 PER

    Rankings: 37, 33, 44

    One of the most unelite "elite" players in the league. He's a max contract guy, which has turned him into one of the most overrated players in the game. It's kind of unfair, because Johnson is very good. Just not worth the money he makes. It's an awkward position to be in.

    Most saw his contract as untradeable but the impossible was achieved when the Hawks dealt him to the free spending Nets. He's still overpaid, but not as a team's alpha dog anymore. Johnson will be playing alongside Deron Williams, rather than as a featured scorer.

    The interesting thing about Johnson though is that he's still one of the game's top six or seven shooting guards, a position that's extremely valued in the NBA. But there isn't much depth there right now, meaning Johnson has been able to put multiple All-Star Games on his resume. By all appearances he's a top tier guy. But he's also been missing that "it" star factor, that extra intangible that takes him from solid scorer to a true go-to guy that you can rely on.

    No. 32: Josh Smith, PF, Age 26, Atlanta Hawks (45)

    2012 Stats: 18.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.7 bpg, .458 FG%, 21.14 PER

    Rankings: 32, 46, 27

    You know what's crazy? That Josh Smith is still just 26 years old. It feels like he's been in the NBA long enough for him to be 32. Maybe that's because he's come so far in his career too. From a one-of-a-kind talent that couldn't put it all together to a premier defender and one of the most versatile bigs in the league, Smith is a legit star.

    Yeah, he still can be infuriating with the outside jumpers and 3-pointers (it should tell you something when your home fans audibly groan every time you tee up an 18-footer). But sometimes you have to let a player be who he is. And Smith is always just going to have a little of that chucker in him. You can't ignore the production though. Almost a 20-10 guy that can play three spots, runs the floor beautifully and plays with energy, and he's really just now entering his prime?

    For all the faults he has, Smith is still a wonderful talent. His critics want him to fully realize it all and take a step into another tier of the NBA, but don't dismiss what he already is: A darn good player.

    No. 31: Al Horford, C, Age 26, Atlanta Hawks (24)

    2012 Stats: 12.4 ppg, 2.2 apg, 7.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg, .550 FG%, 19.02 PER

    Rankings: 30, 30, 38

    Horford's 2012 season was limited to only 11 games because of a major shoulder injury, but even in his limited time back that included the postseason, he showed why he's still a top 30 kind of player. His efficiency is almost unmatched. He's a high percentage player that defends, scores and rebounds from the center position. By default, that makes him an elite NBA player.

    The knock on Horford is that he often fails to really assert himself in games. He averages fewer than 10 shots a game for his career, a number far too low for a guy with his kind of scoring ability. He plays a position that leaves him at the mercy of his teammates to get him the ball in workable situations, but with his kind of skill, he needs to be impacting games more consistently.

    The Hawks have remade themselves after dealing Johnson and Marvin Williams, which means Horford, along with Josh Smith, have really had the team completely turned over to them. It seems the best might be yet to come for Horford and if health gets back on his side, he could be climbing upwards of the top 20.

    No. 30: Rudy Gay, SF, Age 26, Memphis Grizzlies (35)

    2012 Stats: 19.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, .521 TS%, 17.85 PER

    Ranking: 40, 28, 30

    There are nights I watch Rudy Gay score completely effortlessly and wonder, "Why isn't this the norm? Why isn't this guy every bit the player Kevin Durant is?" He's got crazy length and size, moves beautifully, can get his own shot from anywhere anytime, has a great first step and is a good shooter. Why doesn't he dominate games?

    I still don't really have the answer. The fact that Gay has only averaged more than 20 points a game in a season once in his career blows my mind. One area to point at would be free throw attempts, where he averages right around four a game. He doesn't make it easy enough on himself. He settles for a lot of long 2s, doesn't attack the paint near enough and just seems to drift a bit in games.

    When you have the kind of skills and size that Gay does, sometimes the game is too easy for your own good. It doesn't force you to work, to really hone your craft. Settling for an outside jumper is an easy shot, rather than working on getting something more high percentage. Gay is still just 26 -- there's time to finally become that elite scoring machine. It's just strange it hasn't happened yet.

    Tags: Al Horford, Danny Granger, David West, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Dirk Nowitzki, Joakim Noah, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Luol Deng, Marvin Williams, Omer Asik, Paul Millsap, Roy Hibbert, Rudy Gay, Taj Gibson, Zach Randolph, Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Utah Jazz, NBA

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    Fair ranking for Danny in with that group of players, Joe Johnson, Randolph, Rudy Gay, Josh Smith.
    Interesting how many of our own fans undervalue him in thinking that he isn't even close to the level of Joe Johnson.

  14. #10

    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    Danny's "in that group", but I think Joe Johnson got a bit underrated because of his contract. I'd take him over Rudy Gay, Smith and Al Horford. It doesn't mean he'll stay there for long, but right now, I think he's better.
    It's a shame he didn't stay in Phoenix. Johnson's biggest issue is his inefficiency as a playmaker, which wasn't a problem next to Nash. But he's kind of forced to do it too much in Atlanta. If he stayed in Phoenix, I think Johnson would be considered top 20 right now. I think he's going to make a couple more All Star games now that he's next to D-Will.

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    Rankings seem right, and I agree with them about Hibberts potential. There really are stretches where he looks like he could be an elite scoring big, and a 2 way center. I think alot of his problems last season stemmed from structural offensive problems, and an embarrassing inability to get him the damn ball sometimes.

    Hopefully with his big contract he'll feel entitled to DEMAND touches down low.

    If Big Roy plays closer to 32/33 mpg, and gets the touches his post skill allows he could easily put up a:

    15-17 ppg 9-10 rpg 2-3 apg 2-2.5 bpg type of season.

    For reference his current per 36 numbers are

    15.5 ppg
    10.6 rpg
    2 apg
    2.4 bpg

    So it isn't really out of the realm of possibility. Roy is already one of the most productive centers in the NBA, and even moreso on a per minute basis.

    For comparison Marc Gasol Per 36

    14.8 ppg
    8.8 rpg
    3.1 apg
    1.8 bpg

    We really need Roy to make that one last big jump into perrenial all-star territory, I personally think he's up to it. Let's just hope a training camp with Vogel will diversify the offense and eliminate our problems feeding Roy down low. He's going to be our best player next year, let's let him get first option touches like most other teams best players, he should establish himself as a top 3/4 center next season, behind Dwight and Bynum and interchangeable with Gasol as the 3rd or 4th best.

    Nice to see that CBS believes he has top 10 player potential, although I guess if he can reach the high end of my projections and post a 17 ppg 10 rpg 3 apg 2.5 bpg season he'd certainly be in the conversation, especially if the Pacers make the conference finals or more, at least top 15/20.

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacerized View Post
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    Fair ranking for Danny in with that group of players, Joe Johnson, Randolph, Rudy Gay, Josh Smith.
    Interesting how many of our own fans undervalue him in thinking that he isn't even close to the level of Joe Johnson.
    Yeah, we can disagree about exact order, but everyone reasonable will agree they are all in the same range.

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    Default Re: CBS Sports Top 100

    Pretty accurate description of Paul George.

    No. 69: Paul George, F, Age 22, Indiana Pacers

    2012 Stats: 12.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, .510 eFG%, 16.5 PER

    Most of the Pacers should probably be higher than they are on this list, and George is no exception. Showed real improvement last year, especially on the catch-and-shoot, but remains just a great utility player.

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