August 23, 2012 in Professional
ESPN.com is doing its annual ranking of the top 500 players and incoming rookies in the NBA. You can see the experts who voted on the rankings here and follow the #NBARank hashtag on Twitter to discuss/debate the selections.
Four players with ties to the state of Michigan ended up in the 400-500 range of ESPN’s #NBARank, which is being unveiled over the next several weeks.
Former Rochester standout Walker Russell (475) and former Michigan great Juwan Howard (476) showed up in back-to-back spots, and both will be hard-pressed to repeat that ranking next year. Walker, who finally got a NBA opportunity with the Detroit Pistons last season, is currently a free agent and Howard, who finally won a championship with the Miami Heat last season, is far past his prime.
But two others on the list — former Michigan State standout Alan Anderson (469) and former Michigan guard Darius Morris (455) — are both in good positions to improve. Anderson was recently re-signed by the Toronto Raptors after a solid performance last season. Anderson averaged 9.6 points per game for the Raptors and shot 39 percent from 3-point range in 17 games after a late season audition with the team. His shooting should once again provide a role for him off the bench.
Morris, a second round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers a year ago, had a strong performance in the NBA Summer League and his size and defensive potential could help him crack the Lakers’ rotation as a backup to Steve Nash.