The response to MAMBINO’s White American NBA Player Power Rankings post was stronger than we ever could have expected. Moreso than any other trivia question in the league (best foreign players, best player ever to come out of Duke University, best second round pick, etc.), finding the highest quality white American players is tougher than you can imagine.
As we got more and more feedback, we realized that the rankings not only had to be revised, but made over almost completely. Here we go:
Still, with a bullet. Now with a new 4-year deal in hand (with an opt-out after the third), the Wolves will be even more aggressive in trying to improve their team in order to convince what will then be a 27 year-old Kevin Love to try and stay. As Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio become more comfortable with their shots, I expect Love’s 25 ppg scoring average to go down, but for his assists to go up. Get used to the altitude Kev – you’re not leaving this power rankings perch any time soon.
2. Ryan “The Assassin” Anderson
OH YES. Just a week after I posted the inaugural rankings, I attended a Magic/Knicks game at MSG. Now, ignoring the fact that the 2012 Knicks couldn’t guard the Liberty, Ryan Anderson went absolutely bonkers in that game at the Garden – draining 7 for 12 three pointers and ending up with 30 points and 7 rebounds. He’s averaging 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, all while shooting 42% from beyond the arc. Anderson has become the second best player on this Magic roster, and one of the prime reasons why GM Otis Smith thinks his team is much better than they actually are. Besides Kevin Love and Joey Crawford, there’s no deadlier threat from a white American than Ryan Anderson right now.
3. David Lee
Not for lack of trying or a dip in numbers (still with 18.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game – both higher than his career averages), but David Lee has to take a back seat to The Assassin. If you ever watch a Warriors game, a lot of Lee’s points come from spot-up jumpers, put-backs and easy baskets. He’s a fantastic rebounder, which helps him clean up on the frequent misses from the unconscionable chuckers on his squad. However, when was the last time you saw D Lee play against your team and you left the game thinking “damn, Lee really destroyed us tonight”? In his 8-year career, I don’t think I’ve ever said that. I’ve already had 3 moments like that regarding Ryan Anderson this season.
4. JJ Redick
At that very same Knicks/Magic game, I had this conversation with a friend: “Did you ever think that JJ Redick would amount to anything in the NBA?”. He laughed, and as Redick torched the Bockers for 21 points, he responded “No. Never”.
In his first two seasons, Redick got more DNP-CDs than Renaldo Balkman, playing in only 72 games. He looked so stiff on the court, as if he was parodying his nonathletic white American brethren. He largely played in garbage time of blow-outs, thus making his numbers from those seasons somewhat unreliable. Redick looked scared every single night. It seemed like he felt what we were all thinking: “You’ll be wearing a Maccabi Tel Aviv jersey in a month”.
But something happened the last 3 seasons. Redick started playing over 22 minutes a night, in ever game. He began to shoot the ball with more confidence, playing within Stan Van Gundy’s system of inside-out ball movement instead of doing nothing but hinder it. Every year, hi… Read more...