The summer is here, and the offseason is set to endure it’s lengthy, boring stretch where nothing happens. That’s about the time of year when fans take to debating player rankings. With that in mind, I’ll be releasing “Scaletta’s Summer Top 100 Countdown” over the rest of the offseason.
But before we kick this into gear, I wanted to explain a bit my thoughts on player rankings and my methodology in compiling these rankings.
I find there are two camps of crazy people on ranking players. One type likes to adhere to them rigidly. They’ll take a hardline position on whether Kevin Durant is better than Russell Westbrook and fight it tooth and nail for hours. They are completely inflexible on any ranking.
Then there are those who eschew any sort of player ranking at all, declaring any such thing as impossible to know, thereby decreeing that any such ranking is pointless.
Personally, I prefer a kind of “soft” rankings that are more flexible but still allows fans the mental exercise of comparing and contrasting styles of play and having discussions about them.
By “soft rankings” what I mean is I ranked players where I expect them to be in the coming season based on how they did last season, team and/or responsibility changes, age, etc.
However, for each player, there will also be a “floor” and a “ceiling.” For some, the distance between them is very small. For LeBron James, his ceiling is No. 1 and his floor is No. 3, assuming no injuries.
Contrast that with someone like Harrison Barnes, however, with so much undetermined in regards to how his role and usage will change, and there is a lot more wiggle room.
For each player, then, I’ll have the player’s range, including what they have to do to reach their ceiling and what has to go wrong for them to hit their floor.
To get the rankings, I considered a number of things.
I looked at all players who logged at least 500 minutes last season based on PER, win shares, win shares per 48 minutes and total stats, thereby giving weight to both per-minute and total impact.
Players were initially ranked using a formula evenly weighting each of the four areas to hew out a rough rankings. From there, I used personal observation and opinion to “tweak” them accordingly, bounced them off my editor and made a few more tweaks here and there.
While these rankings are soft, they aren’t arbitrary. They are a mix of both objective and subjective input and reflect more than one opinion. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to debate whether Kyrie Irving should be ahead of DeMar DeRozan as they’re both within that same “floor-to-ceiling” range.
For each player, I will also include a bit of a scouting report which includes both objective and subjective observations of his offense and defense which will help explain why I have him ranked where he is.
In short, my hope is that these rankings could be used more to “open discussions” than “settle debates,” or start them for that matter. As each player is released, I will update this article with his ranking and the link to his write-up.