San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge made ESPN’s top 100 players ranking, which came under scrutiny this week.
This week ESPN began its release of the top 100 players in the NBA. Four San Antonio Spurs placed in the top 100, with the top 50 yet to be revealed. Danny Green (59), Patty Mills (67), Pau Gasol (80) and Manu Ginobili (99) all made the list.
On Wednesday, ESPN released players 31-50. There was another Spur added to it: LaMarcus Aldridge. He placed at No. 45, 22 spots lower than his 2016 ranking (23). His projected Real Plus-Minus was 0.96.
Jusuf Nurkic was ranked one spot ahead of Aldridge. Steven Adams went at No. 46, one spot behind the Spurs’ big man.
It was noted that Dwight Howard was the only player to fall further than Aldridge. Howard will enter the 2017-18 season on his third team in three years, as the Atlanta Hawks traded him to the Charlotte Hornets.
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A fair question, is if Aldridge will question his ranking. Multiple players took to social media to question their placement on ESPN’s list, including New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
For Aldridge, his decline on this list goes along with his statistical decrease over the past two seasons. His Spurs numbers are down from his Portland Trail Blazer days, almost across the board. He even played two more minutes per game in 2016-17 and took 0.5 more shot attempts, but saw a drop in points and rebounds.
If the Texas product’s spot is going to rise in future years, he’ll need his best season yet in San Antonio. It also comes in a contract year, as he can opt out of it, after the 2017-18 season ends.
Outside of Aldridge, the one player that remains to be ranked is Kawhi Leonard, at least for those likely to be in the top 30. ESPN will release 11-30 on Thursday and 1-10 on Friday.