Nothing says “it’s the offseason” like player rankings. Whether they are good, bad or indifferent they are made to stimulate conversation when there is nothing else going on. Media Day is just a few weeks away, but until then the main topic of discussion is the relative status of various players.
Sports Illustrated came out with the back half of their Top 100 ratings today, and two Denver Nuggets make an appearance: Wilson Chandler (#84) and Gary Harris (#57).
Many of the capsules are interesting, but I enjoyed this bit on Chandler:
Chandler plays a stealthy scoring game that blends easily into the background. What seems like a casual bucket or two winds up as 15 points of self-generated offense—the kind of support that every team needs. Give Chandler an ad-libbed screen in the middle of a possession and he’ll slow-play his way to a score, shifting angles and directions until he has room for a mid-range jumper. His entire approach is adaptive. Take away one land and Chandler will fidget his way into another. The fact that he only occasionally gets all the way to the rim frees up Chandler to make full use of his in-between game. It works unusually well...
Check out both writeups, and expect both Millsap and Jokic to rate highly tomorrow when the Top-50 drops. Jusuf Nurkic came in at #69, by the way - what could have been.
In a more statistical ranking, NBA Math put up their Crystal Ranking for the Nuggets a few days ago, and to the surprise of few Nikola Jokic was ranked extremely highly.
The NBA Math guys are inordinately high on Jokic, as much of Stats Twitter is (though this article from Duncan Smith details, Jokic is one player that both the eye test and the stats guys should agree on). NBA Math’s rankings have Denver’s top 5 players are Murray, Chandler, Harris, Millsap and Jokic, with the last two another tier above. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone, but Jokic’s rating of almost nine has him as a borderline MVP candidate in their estimation - which he might well be if they get any seed higher than 7th in the brutal West.
My favorite part about rankings season, though, is that it means real games are right around the corner - and not a moment too soon.
Are the Nuggets starting to get respect around the league?
This poll is closed
Judging by these ratings, yes
Judging by Vegas win projections, yes
Judging by Twitter comments, definitely not
This is Denver, that’s will happen never
Just let em prove it on the court