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Tayshaun Prince at No. 105, Rodney Stuckey listed at No. 108, Ben Gordon at 111 in ESPN #NBARank

PistonPowered reader Jacob Tucker noted on Twitter that Rodney Stuckey‘s #NBARank is sure to spark debate. It’s often very polarizing when it comes to Stuckey — his ardent supporters believe that he’ll one day live up to those incredibly high standards Joe Dumars set for him when he was drafted while his most vocal critics would have you believe he’s the worst player in the NBA. Those extremes make it hard to properly evaluate Stuckey, but I think his ranking is just about right. There are probably a few players ranked higher who he is better than, a few below him who he’s worse than. But 108? I have no real issue with that.

I found this tweet by Justin Rodriguez in reaction to Stuckey’s ranking interesting though:

#NBArank Rodney Stuckey will flourish once he no longer has to play point guard.

It’s possible Stuckey is more comfortable as a shooting guard and, consequently, he’ll play more consistently. But what does it do to his value? He’s about to be a free agent. Stuckey as a free agent point guard has much more value on the market than Stuckey as a free agent shooting guard. As a shooting guard, how many players at that position have Stuckey’s size and skillset? Quite a few, right? But what about point guard? Very few PGs have his mix of youth, size, speed and strength. I’ve seen many Pistons fans advocating the position switch for Stuckey for some time, but if I were Stuckey or his agent and interested in maximizing his value, I’d certainly want to be viewed as a point guard.

I’ve written several times that I don’t think Tayshaun Prince was the Pistons’ best player last season, but I’m also not surprised that, at No. 105, he was the highest ranked Piston in the ESPN rankings. Prince is far better than Rip Hamilton or Ben Wallace at this point in their careers, and he’s surely the most recognizable of the Pistons old guard at this point, so it’s understandable that his ranking is a tad inflated based on name recognition.

As for Ben Gordon, I don’t have much analysis for his 111 ranking. Yes, anyone who has watched him the past two years knows his ranking is too high. But we’ve all also seen that the reputation Gordon built for himself in Chicago still looms large. He was an exciting player and explosive scorer who was confident and comfortable in his role. He also had an amazingly good playoff series. Consequently, he was paid more than he should’ve been paid. Hopefully next season, Gordon comes closer to living up to the reputation he built earlier in his career.

So with that, we’re all done seeing Pistons in the rankings without a single player cracking the top 100. Here is where everyone else ended up: Rip Hamilton (126), Greg Monroe (132),  Tracy McGrady (178), Will Bynum (188), Charlie Villanueva (191), Jonas Jerebko (206), Austin Daye (217), Ben Wallace (227), Jason Maxiell (239), Brandon Knight (267), Chris Wilcox (330), Kyle Singler (446), Terrico White (472) and Vernon Macklin (498).

If you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow along. The @NBAonESPN account is unveiling the names and picking the best comments that use the #NBARank hashtag for retweets and also featuring some on ESPN.com.


  • Sep 27, 20113:40 pm
    by Jodi Jezz


    Ben Gordon ranking is too low! Who ever is ranking these players must be drunk…

  • Sep 27, 20113:54 pm
    by JT's Hoops Blog


    I want to know what are the criteriria that these folks use in making these rankings. 

  • Sep 27, 20114:20 pm
    by Jayg108


    Is this the first year for these rankings?  I’m curious to see where the 2004 guys lined up.

  • Sep 27, 20114:32 pm
    by qm22


    Sad to see Tayshaun ranked ahead of Stuckey when Stuckey clearly played better last year and is the one who can improve if either do… lol.
    I wonder why Stuckey would be ranked below his NBA rank in advanced stats like PER.

    • Sep 27, 20114:43 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I think name has helped veterans like Prince and hurt several young players, Monroe being one of the best examples. Guys like Baron Davis and Antawn Jamison, who were really bad last season, were still ranked pretty high I assume because people are clouded by remember when they were All-Stars. Stuckey is in a similar boat. People haven’t paid much attention to the Pistons in the national media of late. The last time they paid attention to the Pistons, guys like Hamilton and Prince were their best players. So those vets got a bit overrated while the younger players like Stuckey and Monroe who are probably a notch better at this point, were underrated.

  • Sep 27, 20114:37 pm
    by Jon L.


    I agree that once Stuckey is taken out of the point guard position, he can be a very solid player.

    • Sep 27, 20116:35 pm
      by tarsier


      I still don’t get all the complaints about Stuckey at the point. He isn’t a pure point guard. But he’s as point guard-y as half the starting PGs in the league. he can drop a ton of dimes. Especially if he has teammates who hit shots. But he will probably end up averaging around 6 apg if he plays PG long term. That’s not ideal but not too bad either especially in a league where ball handling roles are decreasingly PG-centered.

      Whether he will ever live up to his potential and become a starting-caliber player on a decent team is another question, though.

  • Sep 27, 20115:16 pm
    by dvs


    I can’t wait til we see Frank use our players correctly.
    Stuckey is capable of playing the point, he just needs the right structure. This team hasn’t had any structure to it’s offense in a far while.
    I’m still hoping Stuckey and Gordon get to start next season assuming no trades go down.

  • Sep 28, 20112:21 am
    by detroitpcb


    Ben Gordon shouldn’t be ranked ahead of Greg Monroe or Austin Daye.

    we need to trade him or we will continue to suck going forward

    • Sep 28, 20117:09 am
      by neutes



    • Sep 28, 20118:41 am
      by tarsier


      Ummm, Ben Gordon is ranked too high. And shouldn’t be ahead of Monroe. But cool it with the Daye nonsense. You might be right that he will have a breakout season. There’s even an uotside chance that he becomes an all-star caliber player. But you don’t get high rankings as an NBA player based on potential. You get it based on production. And are you honestly arguing that Daye has been more productive thus far than Gordon? That would be like saying that DeMarcus Cousins belongs higher than Al Jefferson.

      • Sep 28, 20119:16 am
        by neutes


        Daye has been better than Gordon as a Piston, although he doesn’t have the sample set for me to make all that great of a case. And funny you say that you don’t get high rankings based on potential – isn’t that exactly what Gordon is ranked on? The potential to be what he once was?

        • Sep 28, 201110:40 am
          by tarsier


          You’re right. My bad. you shouldn’t get rankings based on potential. But you will note that I am in full agreement that BG is ranked way too high. Although he has been more efficient than Daye from everywhere on the floor.

  • Sep 28, 20119:19 am
    by tarsier


    Also, in an argument between Jodi Jezz and detroitpcb on the relative merits of Gordon vs Daye, I’m curious how much evidence would ever be brought to the table. I suppose I could join in as I am probably similarly irrational when it comes to Oden ( the FA I really hope the Pistons land), but since he doesn’t play for Detroit, absurd “he’s better than everyone even though he’s done nothing to show that he is” arguments don’t come out too often from me.

    I mean, seriously, what are you two going on? Jodi, do you have anything other than his time in Chicago to work with? Detroitpcb, do you have anything besides a really pretty jumper and a few meaningless games he played very well in this summer to work with?

    • Sep 28, 201112:51 pm
      by Jodi Jezz


      I’m going with the fact that Gordon has never been played correctly since being in Detroit…One game he plays 13 mins, next game he plays 18 mins, the game after the next one he starts and plays 31 mins, then another game he plays 20 mins…Nothing about Kuester’s player rotations were ever consistent, absolutely nothing…Now if Kuester had played Gordon correctly for 2 season with a consistent 30mins every game and Gordon still had a rough time scoring, I would agree with trading him or I’ll agree with his “ESPN ranking”. But come on, in Chicago Gordon was played correctly and look at the results, I’m hoping Frank learns from Kuester’s mistakes and plays Gordon correctly to get better results…If Frank plays him right I think we’ll see that high scoring 6th man that we’ve been waiting for…

      • Sep 28, 20112:08 pm
        by tarsier


        Come on, Gordon’s minutes have been reduced since going to Detroit. But a good player ought to be able to perform in 25-30 mpg. Those are solid minutes even if they are less than the 30-40 he got in Chicago. Furthermore, look at the game logs from last year. Gordon got minutes as consistent as anyone who doesn’t average 35 mpg. Nobody plays every game within a 5 minute range. But for the majority of the season (namely, through the beginning of March), Gordon averaged 30 mpg with a fair bit of consistency. There were only 4 games out of those first 63-65 in which he recorded fewer than 20 minutes. And those were still all in the high teens. I can’t see the game logs from when he was in Chicago as comparison, but I doubt they were radically different except for being a few minutes higher across the board. As a point of reference, his minutes played standard deviation in the 80% of the season I am referencing was comparable to that of a player like Kevin Martin. Just normal fluctuations.

        I’m not saying Gordon can’t be used better. But it’s not a matter of consistent minutes.

  • Sep 28, 20113:36 pm
    by Jodi Jezz


    Good points…It also might be a matter of Detroit not having a true point guard…

    • Sep 29, 20119:28 am
      by tarsier


      That one is possible. I have my doubts because he performed well when Rose was something I wouldn’t exactly call a true point guard and when Hinrich was running the show. I would be more likely to believe he plays best when he is the goto guy. Regardless, his drop off in production has been very hard to explain. The problem is that at this point, a return to his old production would be similarly hard to explain. But we can hope for the best right?

  • Sep 29, 20114:38 pm
    by 2Tough


    Ben Gordon and Richard Hamilton ranked ahead of Monroe is laughable.  Last season, Monroe and Stuckey were the best Piston players, whether these rankings reflect that or not.

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