Miami Heat: ESPN Ranks Bench Players Extremely Low

By Will Connolly
Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN recently released their top 500 players in the NBA, ranking the first 125 this past week. This list includes the likes of Miami Heat players Eric Griffin (491), Jarvis Varnado (456), Rashard Lewis (405) and James Jones (398).

Now, for some of these players, like Griffin and Varnado, their placement is understandable because it’s their first few years in the league and they have yet to prove themselves on an NBA court. But as for Lewis and Jones, who were ranked No. 257 and No. 252 in the previous season, respectively, their tumultuous decline seems a bit extreme.

Although both of these vets have seen their minutes decrease tremendously in the past two seasons, I think their place on this list is a little misleading. As Lewis has seen his minutes dwindle down to around 14 minutes per game, his efficiency is still high with 5.2 points and 2.2 rebounds a game, while shooting 38.9 percent from three in 55 games with the Heat. Jones has seen his minutes drop to a pedestrian 5.8 per game, even though he played in 33 games with Miami.

As for Griffin and Varnado, they have both shown promise as youngsters in the league. Griffin averaged 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in his last season at Campbell University, while Varnado averaged a double-double in his last season with Mississippi State to accompany an astounding 4.7 blocks per game.

Some other notable players to round out the first 125 were Seth Curry (483), Lamar Odom (462), Quentin Richardson (443), Peyton Siva (421) and Jeff Withey (387).

It’s yet to be seen if any of the above players can change the mind of ESPN’s analysts in the upcoming NBA season.

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