ESPN has begun their annual NBA Rank, ranking every player in the league from 500 to 1. Today they listed those ranked between 400-500, and unsurprisingly eight active 76ers saw their names pop up today.
Point guard and summer league standout Casper Ware came in at 476th, up from being completely unranked last year. In respect to other point guards he beat out Raptors ball handler Will Cherry and San Antonio's Bryce Cotton, which seems reasonable. Casper wasn't anything special in the nine games he spent with the Sixers last year, but played really well in summer league. He shot from beyond the arc much more than he should have, but really seemed to perfect his running floater. He's still the third guard on this Sixers team (and isn't even guaranteed a roster spot), so hard to see him rank any higher next year.
Power forwards Brandon Davies and Jerami Grant ranked 468th and 469th, respectively. The dynamic duo beat out the likes of ten-day contract legend Dewayne Dedmon, the immortal Greg Oden, and Chicago's Cameron Bairstow, among others. Both were unranked last year (Grant for obvious reasons), and everyone who falls below Brandon Davies should be embarrassed. This is a guy who did this. A LOT. I don't expect big things from Grant this year, but think if he can fill out and work on his touch around the rim should make some leaps in the rankings in 2015.
Former Sixer Hasheem Thabeet checked in at 461. He counts, damn it.
Elliot Williams, who ESPN lists as a member of the Portland Trailblazers, is listed at 439. Still can't feel Williams out yet. I think he has the ability to become an end of the bench guy on a half decent team down the line, but has yet to play with any consistency. I wouldn't totally be shocked if he falls out of the top 500 after this year.
Jarvis Varnado comes in at 427th, up from 456th last year. His shot blocking prowess is probably what gives him the nod over rooks like Jusuf Nurkic and Clint Capela, so we'll call that fair. Adorable point guard Pierre Jackson is ranked 425th, and he is stoked.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/blessed?src=hash">#blessed</a> I haven't even stepped foot on a NBA court and in ranked! I can't complain! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/theysleep?src=hash">#theysleep</a>! RT <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNNBA">@ESPNNBA</a>: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBArank?src=hash">#NBArank</a> 425: Pierre Jackson.</p>— Pierre Jackson (@Pappyjackk) <a href="https://twitter.com/Pappyjackk/status/511616299995127808">September 15, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Hollis Thompson comes in at 420th, but ESPN gave the highest mark so far to Henry Sims at 407th, which I think is totally deserving. He was an absolute stud in his 26 games with the team, averaging nearly 12 points and 7 rebounds per contest, and I could see him posting similar numbers this season if his playing time doesn't decrease.
It'll be interesting to see how highly the world wide leader regards Michael Carter-Williams, Joel Embiid, and Nerlens Noel as they reveal the rest of the rankings.