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Hollinger Ranks the NBA

John Hollinger over at ESPN, noted for bringing a similar Moneyball style analysis to hoops has ranked every single player in the NBA. I gotta give it up to Hollinger and his staff for compiling such a huge list and giving detailed analysis about every single player.

Sleepy Freud's community discussion "Everybody loves rankings" was right on top of this when the story came out.  He's got a poll in the community discussion too, so get a vote in the discussion. Hollinger is known for his PER or Player Efficiency Rating to determine which players are performing below, at, or above the league average of 15.

First off, check out the top 10 players in the league:

  1. LeBron James: He's way above anyone else in the league with a 31.86 PER
  2. Kobe Bryant: 27.00 PER
  3. Dirk Nowitzki
  4. Amare Stoudemire
  5. Dwyane Wade
  6. Kevin Garnett
  7. Chris Paul
  8. Pau Gasol
  9. Gilbert Arenas
  10. Allen Iverson
Here's how last season's starting 5 rank at their position with a snippet from Hollinger's analysis:
Baron Davis: 9th PG
Davis has shown no sign of relenting on his crazed obsession with the longball, so look for it to again undermine what otherwise would have been an All-Star caliber season. The more unpredictable aspect is how many games he'll be available. With Davis' history it's unwise to bet on him playing more than 60 games, yet the offseason trade of Derek Fisher makes it fairly essential to the Warriors' playoff hopes that Davis stay in one piece all year.

Jason Richardson: 8th SG
Richardson's scoring average won't keep going up forever, and this might be the year it stops. While his talents are undeniable, last year's 3-point mark was an outlier compared to the rest of his career and might be due for a drop this year. Despite that, Richardson will again be among the best seven or eight shooting guards in the game. General manager Chris Mullin took some criticism when he gave Richardson a six-year, $70 million extension two years ago, but he's one of the few Warriors who has proven worth the investment

Mike Dunleavy: 30th SF
Dunleavy has some value, but his output is more "seventh man" than "40-minute starter," and if the Warriors weren't so hell-bent on justifying selecting him third overall in 2002 they'd have replaced him in the lineup a long time ago.

Troy Murphy: 25th PF
At this point, we pretty much know what to expect from Murphy. He'll shoot in the low 40s, average 15 and 10 and play spotty D, and end up ranked around 25th or so among power forwards in PER. The only difference is that this year he's likely to put up those numbers as a center in Don Nelson's smallball system.

Adonaly Foyle: 47th C
New Warriors coach Don Nelson appears to have decided to reduce Foyle's role significantly, a move that seems long overdue. While Foyle's defense and character are valuable assets, he's essentially a backup center who has been forced into a starting role by his team's lack of other palatable options. At this point in his career he shouldn't be playing more than 10 minutes a night, and between Troy Murphy's move to center and Andris Biedrins' development he'll be lucky to play even that much.

Some other notable Warriors:
Ike Diogu: 17th PF
Monta Ellis: 50th PG
Andris Biedrins: Couldn't find his rank
Mickael Pietrus: Couldn't find his rank

As in any list there are going to be some questionable rankings, but overall it seems like Hollinger's PER definitely a good way to analyze your players. It's certainly not the only way to determine the value of a player, but it is a useful tool in making decisions.

PER, useful rankings or useless hype?

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