Another day has gone by, and ESPN has unveiled a few more players in their annual NBA Player Ranking. Previously, we saw quite a few familiar faces on their 400-500 ranking from a seemingly underrate Hollis Thompson to my favorite folk hero, the overrated Brandon Davies. I also learned yesterday that according to ESPN, Elliot Williams is still a Trail Blazer.
This begs the question, who was the "Elliot Williams" that played for the Sixers last year? The Smoke Monster? But I digress.
The latest rankings features three more current Sixers; 2 new faces and 1 leftover from the Doug Collins era.
At 398th comes the Sixers No. 3 overall pick, and Twitter superstar, Joel Embiid. For a guy who is probably going to sit out the whole year, I'm not really sure where to rank him. Prior to his surprising injury discovered in the weeks leading up to the draft, he was considered the consensus top pick. Even with his injury, he's still considered to have the greatest potential among his draft contemporaries considering position, youth and talent. Again, I don't really understand the ranking criteria. However, one thing's for sure: Twitter game is not considered in ranking calculations.
"@ESPNNBA: #NBArank 398: Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) – http://t.co/ZFSFg2nAwQ" If this was based on his Twitter prowess, he'd be much higher.— David J. Smith (@davidjsmith1232) September 16, 2014
I can't think of any player that's made as many waves on social media as Joel has before even stepping on the court. Sure, right now it's just dumb fun and a kid trying to be entertaining while he's trying to recover. But it'll be interesting to see how his personality evolves as he grows and becomes a ball player.
.@ESPNNBA on only one foot, @JoelEmbiid is better than over 100 other NBA players, which somehow doesn't include Ryan Hollins #NBARank— Archibald Butt (@major_butt) September 16, 2014
Next on this list, ranked 395th is K.J. McDaniels. While considered a late first round talent prior to the draft, the Sixers found a surprise in the 2nd round with McDaniels still being on the board. In LB's Mock Draft back in June, I chose McDaniels to go to the Jazz 23rd overall.
In a league that's trending more towards "small ball", McDaniels has the ability to guard multiple positions and has the potential to become a lock-down defender. As mentioned, there are knocks on his offensive game. His shot isn't really there yet nor is he well versed in a lot of basketball nuances (e.g. team facilitating, spacing, general BBIQ). However, he has the physical gifts to succeed and it's just a matter of both developing them and his understanding of the game
After watching (more) Summer League (than is humanly acceptable
), we saw flashes of McDaniel's strengths and definitely saw some of his weaknesses. With a rebuilding team, however, the roster will still be in flux. It might not be crazy to think that McDaniels may crack the starting lineup at some point, if not by opening day.
Finally, ranked at 385th (down from 346th in the previous year) is Arnett Moultrie. After exercising their option on Moultrie, it looked like the team had plans for him developing in Brett Brown's system. Unfortunately, this happened. And then this happened. Despite, the poor fitness and drug violations, Moultrie did hit the court this year with a whopping 12 games played, averaging about 15 minutes per game. In those 15 minutes, his counting stats were 3 points, 3 boards, and a whole lot of nothing else on average.
How Henry Sims is ranked 407th and Moultrie is 385th is beyond me. But as an eternal optimist, I'll still hold out hope that Moultrie somehow turns it around and becomes a productive player.
So there are five 76ers left not likely forced into early retirement that remain to be revealed. That means up to two thirds of the roster ranks in the bottom 25% of the rankings. Well, then. Go Sixers!