50 - 46
As the preseason winds down, I will be releasing my own version of the NBA Top 50 Player power rankings. My rankings are based on a number of factors. My power rankings were given off of offensive overall talent, defensive talent, shooting efficiency, overall value/worth to team, basketball IQ and intangibles. However I did not take season ending injuries into consideration or any injuries that happened since game 7 of the finals. I will be starting from 50 and releasing the next top 5 players every other day.
50. PAU GASOL
Pau Gasol remains a top 50 player in this league. I don’t need to make much of an argument for him either. Coming off a strong showing in the FIBA World Games in his home country of Spain, the older Gasol still exemplified the ability to pass effectively from the high post. His finesse scoring attributes continue to allow him to average upwards to 17 points per game. If Tom Thibodeau was willing to cut ties with a much grittier forward in Boozer, than Pau must have something to offer in the tank. He would be much higher on the list if he was a more dominant rebounder but that is not the case anymore at this point in his career.
49. BROOK LOPEZ
Brook Lopez was a top 30 player two seasons ago. Unfortunately injuries have gotten the best of him lately. When Brook is healthy you are getting a slightly lethargic, aggressive, fierce rebounding defensive big man with a nice touch around the basket. Playing alongside Kevin Garnett has polished him and as a result the Nets’ have a “brighter” big man. With Pierce gone, Deron Williams trying to return to prominence, and Joe Johnson a year older, much will be placed on Brook Lopez’ shoulders very early in the Lionel Hollins’ system.
48. TY LAWSON
This could be taken as disrespect; an explosive, above average shooter, arguably the fastest from court to court only sits at #48. Ok, I am a tough critic, and although I believe in this ex-tar heel it does not look good when the first 5 years of your career amount to zero playoff series wins. Most GM’s are going to look at the starting point guard first when evaluating the roster. This roster has had a lot of turnover since Melo and JR Smith left, but the one piece that has remained in tact since 2009 is Ty Lawson. Ty could easily move up this list but he has to elevate his team or we will begin to hear trade rumors by February.
47. ERIC BLEDSOE
Eric Bledsoe has been one of the most talked about names this summer. The guard whose been hiding behind Chris Paul for the early parts of his career is finally unleashed and has torn up opposing guards in the Western Conference. Athletically he can nearly stand toe to toe with Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. The key for Eric Bledsoe is not only putting it all together, but to become a great floor leader. Jason Kidd was able to excel in the league long after his athleticism had deserted him due to his knack for knowing where guys needed to be, and putting the ball into the appropriate hands for immediate scores. Bledsoe needs to do the same for his own career. Let's face it, there has to be a reason why Phoenix took so long to ink him.
46. TAJ GIBSON
Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford are the only players that come off the bench that ranked high enough for me to place them in my top 50 power rankings. Many will not agree with me on Gibson, but what more could you ask for out of the 6’10’’ power forward. He could just about start on 25 out of 32 other NBA teams. There are two things that make Taj Gibson special—his hidden athleticism, and his understanding of his own game. Many people are talented in the NBA, but all the talented players have not harnessed their talent and use it to exploit mismatches. Taj Gibson is becoming better and better, and I fully expect him to be a top 30 player once Gasol steps down.
Tune in Saturday's for the weekly podcast, and hear Lils discuss whats poppin in the Urban sports media world.