ESPN started their annual projections for top ten players, starting at point guard. Did Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs make the list?
Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook headline ESPN rankings
The base way ESPN likes to project their top players is with a simple rating called WARP, or Wins Above Replacement Player. For a full explanation on how the system works, click here. To keep it short, the higher a WARP rating a player has, the better and more efficient he is expected to be this coming 2014-2015 season.
Topping the list, as he did last year, is Los Angeles Clippers All-Star Chris Paul with a 17.8 projected rating. His consistent ability to create offense, play defense and limit his mistakes has put him in high favor among WARP analysts. At age 30 he is in no danger of a sharp decline. Right behind his Oklahoma City Thunder rival Russell Westbrook. His knee injury hurt his rating last season but he came back stronger than ever. If he can stay health and continue improving his shot selection, he projects for a great 15.1 rating.
Rounding out the top ten are Stephen Curry (14.2), John Wall (13.1), Kyrie Irving (12.1), Kyle Lowry (11.8), Damian Lillard (11.24), Mike Conley (11.21), Ricky Rubio (10.9) and Ty Lawson (10.1). This begs the question. How did San Antonio Spurs veteran star Tony Parker not make the list?
Parker and Derrick Rose left off list due to age and injury concerns
One would think winning a championship would earn Parker enough respect to make the list. However, certain factors are working against him. He did miss 14 games last season and finished with his lowest points and assists per game totals since 2010. On top of that, it was pointed out that age is a factor in the standings, and Parker just turned 32. His WARP reliability is badly shaken due to those concerns. The same can be said for other surprise snubs such as Bulls star Derrick Rose who saw his name stricken from the list after suffering back-to-back season-ending knee injuries.
Still, is ESPN right? Regardless of the question marks, Tony Parker continues to find success in San Antonio, and no point guard in the NBA has more rings. Perhaps the WARP system is a little warped itself.