CBS Sports & Eye On The Basketball has started up there “Elite 100” where they rank the one hundred best players in the NBA. The list has been interesting to say the least. After dropping at least ten players a week, CBS has ranked Memphis Grizzlies‘ center Marc Gasol as the 25th best player in the NBA. Last year CBS Sports had Gasol ranked 31st overall, so a six spot jump is a nice improvement.
At first glance this seems awfully high. Some of the “notable” players that CBS has Gasol better than include Andre Iguodala, James Harden, Steve Nash, Paul Pierce and teammates Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph.
Based off of last season it makes sense to place him above those players. He doesn’t get the shine he deserves as the third best center in the NBA and one of the only pure post players left in the game. His number from last season don’t match up to his skill (14.6/8.9/3.1). He’s highly capable of carrying the Grizzlies’ offense and being the face of the franchise, but after Zach Randolph’s 2011 playoff run and Rudy Gay’s “budding potential” he’s stuck as the third wheel on the team. With 2012 coming, things may change as he may be the engine to whether this team exceeds past the first round or is sent home.
To think that there are only 24 players in the NBA better than Marc Gasol just seems extremely weird. It may have a lot to do with the circumstances that made him known in the NBA: being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers for his big brother Pau Gasol.
Whether Marc is the 25th best player in the world or not, it is clear that coming into this season many experts expect Gasol to have a breakout year. His stats need to match up to the skill set that we know he has. For Memphis it may mean less Randolph/Gay, but with Gasol’s growth that may be a positive thing.
By the end of the year, when fans speak of best center in the league, Gasol should be in the immediate conversation with Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, but it’s all up to him in 2012.