- David Thorpe, NBA
Editor's note: Be sure to check out ESPN.com's full Player Rankings.
Ranking players is an extremely difficult task in terms of looking forward, considering how fluid an NBA player's career is. Injuries to them or the guys in front of them, coaching changes or midseason trades/acquisitions have a huge impact on how a player is going to produce. Naturally, production is the best way to rank players, so that is the problem. Ignoring the old guys who earned a top-500 ranking simply based on name recognition (guys like Francisco Elson, Theo Ratliff, Jamaal Magloire and Jerry Stackhouse), there are guys who look primed to jump up the list, or fall out of it.
Let's take a quick look at the prime candidates to make a major move up or down.
Casspi races the floor as well as anyone in basketball. He's a solid 3-point shooter, and he plays the game the right way, with smarts, craft and hustle. As a rookie he looked like a brilliant draft pick by Sacramento, but for undisclosed reasons he fell out of favor with the coaches and management. Now in Cleveland, he will have a chance to earn a long-term starting position, and he can get considerably better than he already is. He has the talent to learn to play better and smarter defense.
ESPN Insider David Thorpe takes a look at ESPN.com's NBA Player Rankings and identifies three players who could vault up the ranks as well as three headed downward.