Coming in at 487 ... Marqus.....BLAKELY!
ESPN has been doing what many might consider to be complete overkill. Ranking every NBA player from #500 - #1 is a tall task even for 91 ESPN "NBA Experts" to undertake.
When deciding which players to rank, they started with every player who played in the league last season, and eliminated players who signed overseas contracts (doing so made them ineligible for the 2011-12 NBA season). The "experts" then added 60 2011 draft selections, eliminating those not likely to play in the NBA by 2012. That left 500 players. The rankings are based on scoring, assists, rebounds, impact on team, role on team, and of course the intangible DEFENSE (the always debatable stat, and under-appreciated stat).
The rankings are 1-10, 10 being the highest, presumably averaging in these keys to the game and averaging them out.
Marqus came in at #487 with a mere score of 1.68. My initial impression was, jeez that's low, but then I realized, he's on the list! I don't see my name on there, although it would be #1 if we were talking speed and ONLY speed. Regardless, since August 15th ESPN has been coming out, incrementally with their next set of rankings until they zero in at #1. After 7 weeks they are down to #'s 21-26 en route to #1. As usual there are debates and surprises and reminders of those who have fallen in recent years and those young bucks on the come up.
The highest ranking player at this moment on their list coming in at #24 is Mr. South Beach Chris Bosh. This puts in perspective how many good players there are in this league that someone who gets so much attention, and is considered to be the best talent around doesn't crack the top 20. Still you end up with guys like Grant Hill who never seem to age at #67 who proves to be an asset every year, with guys around him like Stephen Curry or John Wall creeping up this board at a rapid pace, 38, 40, respectfully. There are unfortunately sad rankings of course, Brandon Roy, #59, "Mr. Knees," who without the continuous injuries would be a top 10 player, no question. The flip side of that shows a guy who earned his stripes and paid his dues, coming in at #49, Jason Kidd, who after nearly two decades in the league is still a powerful point guard.
Bottom line: check out the list, it's complete overkill, and not necessary, but interesting.
At the very least to check out Mr. #487, pretty cool to see him on the list, and gets me thinking who's #487 before him, Kobe?, Lebron?, Durant?, Dylan Moorhead?
Click this picture to make it bigger!
Can't wait to see how many spots he literally jumps up on next year's list...
More on the most athletic 23-year-old in the country from SLAMOnline.com:
Q+A: Marqus Blakely
Q+A: Marqus Blakely