Analyzing the ranking of the NBA's top 500 players

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By AUBREY KRAGEN
College Contributor Network

If I could make one generalization about the world, it's that people love lists.

They also love to rip apart lists if they don't agree with them -- which has certainly been the case with ESPN's recently released 2014 NBA Player Rankings.

In order to create this list of the NBA's top 500 players, ESPN asked 210 of its contributors to rate each player on a 0-to-10 scale, in terms of "the overall level of play for each player for the upcoming NBA season."

And since I've got to cater to the people, I made a list of reactions to ESPN's list of players.

No. 3 Anthony Davis

This one definitely raised some eyebrows. Maybe it was only my eyebrows, but at least I can say that I have two. I was shocked to see Anthony Davis ranked so highly, but he's absolutely lived up to the title so far this season.

After an impressive showing at the FIBA World Cup this summer, the guy is averaging a double-double and is the clear heart and soul of an up-and-coming New Orleans squad.

I'm excited to see if he can make a real run at the NBA MVP title this year.

No. 8 Kevin Durant

This one ruffled so many feathers that ESPN put out a separate article to explain his rank. They said if healthy, he'd have been No. 2, just behind LeBron, which is hard to argue with.

It's still unclear when Durant will come back (some are saying the end of November, at best), but it's really hard to make an intelligent argument on his worth on a 0-10 scale with an injury keeping him out for an indefinite period of time.

No. 25 Serge Ibaka

I think this spot is perfect for Durant's teammate. Though he occasionally breaks out for big games, his contribution normally comes in the form of keeping his head down and putting in work, game in and game out.

Though the list was out of 500 in the first place (really, ESPN?), people only really pay attention to the top 100, and having the Congolese-born, 25-year-old round out the top quarter sounds just about right.

No. 38 Klay Thompson

He's gotta be higher. I'd say he's in the top 30 players in the NBA, at least. But when you look at his overall rating (7.08), it seems about right, which is why this list is so tough to decipher.

So far this year, Thompson is proving he's worth his contract -- leading the league in points per game. Who expected that?

No. 40 Kobe Bryant

It's still early, but I'd venture to say Kobe has outperformed this ranking so far this season. Nobody really knew what to expect from the 18-year veteran, but most people were surprised Kobe was ranked so low.

In the Lakers' five games (and five losses) this season, Kobe is averaging an impressive 27.6 points per game -- which ranks only behind Thompson -- but has missed more shots (73) than all but three players (Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin and James Harden) have even attempted. Can you really blame him, though, when you look at who he's surrounded by on the court every night?

He's also still making insanely athletic plays, though I'd like to see him never do this again. I was afraid he was going to break in half. Be careful out there, old man.




No. 150 Nick Young

Speaks for himself.


No. 500 Shayne Whittington

Not sure whether to say "Congratulations" or "I'm sorry" to the Mr. Irrelevant of the NBA Player Rankings.

The Pacers' center earned a 1.12 ranking out of 10. Newsflash -- that's not very good.

Miscellaneous

Why are Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden on this list? Even at No. 460 and No. 480, respectively, I don't understand how any free agents made it on here.

Ray Allen, who I can semi-understand making the list, is the highest-ranked free agent at No. 128, and I just feel bad for any contributing player that's ranked below him -- see Steven Adams, Terrence Ross, Carlos Boozer and poor Mario Chalmers.

But I always kind of feel bad for Mario Chalmers.


Aubrey Kragen is a senior at USC majoring in Communication. She was born in San Diego and is a fan of the Chargers, the Padres and the Spurs (because she needs at least one good team to root for). Follow her on Twitter: @aubreykragen
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