Nuggets players in the ESPN player rankings (261-500)

As many of our readers are already aware, ESPN and the Truehoop network are currently counting down the rankings of all the players in the NBA from 500 to 1, announcing them one by one on twitter at @NBAonESPN using the #NBArank hashtag. Over 100 contributors, including several of your own Roundball Mining Company writers, participated in the voting. And with the latest installment of players 261-280 we have nearly reached the midway point.

So which Denver Nuggets players dwell in the bottom half of the rankings? Here’s a look at the names which have appeared thus far:

  • 269 Anthony Randolph (previous rank: 220)
  • 274 Kosta Koufos (previous rank: 348)
  • 337 Jordan Hamilton (previous rank 380)
  • 395 Quincy Miller
  • 410 Evan Fournier
  • 473 Julyan Stone

Of course, the rankings for rookies or a player like Stone who hardly saw the court are somewhat arbitrary. But as we approach the top they’ll become more meaningful, and it will be interesting to see how the general consensus stacks up the better Nuggets players against the rest of the league.

As a basis for comparison, here are last year’s rankings for the Denver players who have yet to be named:

  • 34 Andre Iguodala
  • 64 Ty Lawson
  • 68 Danilo Gallinari
  • 75 Wilson Chandler
  • 89 Andre Miller
  • 99 JaVale McGee
  • 208 Corey Brewer
  • 306 Timofey Mozgov
  • 331 Kenneth Faried

We will keep you updated as the next tiers of rankings are released. In the meantime, please feel free to share your reactions and predictions in the comments.

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Joel is a long time Denver Nuggets (and Broncos) fan from Colorado who's been living in Japan since the mid-90s, and blogging about the Nuggets since 2008. You can contact and follow him on Twitter: @denbutsu.
  • John

    This list is slightly ridiculous.

    How can you possibly rank players who have never seen the NBA court over an NBA veteran, or a player who saw minutes on a playoff level team.

    Does the name Nikoloz Tskitishvili ring any bells… anyone? anyone?

  • magster

    Mozgov will be next at 234. If he is 239 or higher, I’ll be mad as he’s certainly no worse than 237 and maybe even as good as 228.

    ^^ sarcasm ^^ The list is pretty silly at this stage.

  • Denver4ever

    Kenneth Faried is ranked 331. I wonder why?
    I looked into the link of who’s ranked from 261-280 and I saw:
    #262 – Charlie “El Busto” Villanueva
    #264 – Francisco “I only know how to shoot” Garcia
    #266 – Jan “The next Stromile Swift” Vessely
    #268 – Jared “overrated defensive specialist” Jeffries
    273 – Joel “I did not know I’m ranked this high” Pryzbilla
    280 – Shaun “I understand that I can’t reach my full potential ‘coz of that bulls*** injury Livingston

    With exception to Livingston, what the f*** are the f***ing reasons why all those players mentioned ranked higher than Faried!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    • denbutsu

      “Kenneth Faried is ranked 331. I wonder why?”

      ^That was last year’s ranking, made before the start of the 2011-12 season. It’s a very safe assumption that he’ll be making a big jump (probably the biggest of any Nuggets player) this time around.

      • Denver4ever

        oops. i was slippery that time. sorry

      • Frontrange

        I wonder if Farried will make the biggest jump in the L?

    • magster

      To answer your question, namely: why the f***** are the f*** reasons…, etc.?”

      it is because you are reading last years list.

  • Evan Woodruff

    I averaged all the players ranks last year, and the nuggets had a significantly higher average then every other team. 2nd was Dallas, but it wasn’t even close. everyone else was close behind Dallas. (the defending champs at the time if you recall.

    Give the Nuggets an off-season and an injury free year and they’ll live up to that rank. If not being a contender, then the studs they looked blowing out teams on a regular basis in the beginning of the year. (2nd in west behind a red hot okc?)

    • KW

      This. I’m starting to think that this is the most stacked team we’re going to have for a while due to contract issues starting in 2013-14. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.

      • Frontrange

        I’d say it’s likely we have 6 players in the top 100 . . given 30 teams that is pretty good hit rate. On the other hand, we only have an outside shot at having more than 1 in the top 50.

  • Jeff

    I expect Iguodala and Lawson to both crack the top 50. Kenneth Faried around 60 or so?

  • Andrew

    I think it will go Iggy, Ty, Faried, McGee, Gallo, Miller, Mozgov, Chandler.

    I think Faried will get moved up and so will McGee based on his late season surge last year. Chandler probably goes down because of how little he played. I wonder if Ty moves up closer to Iggy…Though these lists are silly, they are still kind of fun to debate.

    • Evan Woodruff

      as of last season as the ONLY indicator. McGee > Faried. that much is pretty obvious.

  • Evan Woodruff

    Just want to throw this out to the world of people who think the Nuggets are still bound for a 6th seed. (KALEN)

    They were only 3 games away from THIRD in the west. And they had one of the toughest seasons with trades and injuries.

    Baring the Clips getting lebron, memphis and memphis getting rose, I don’t see the Nuggets getting a 6th seed again this year.

    • DH

      I will be disappointed if we fall outside the top 3, and downright upset if we don’t make the top 4. I might be underestimating the Spurs once again, but I see no reason why we wouldn’t finish ahead of the Clips, Grizz, and Mavs. And the Lakers might be in for a rough first half, so it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world if we were to sneak in at #2. A lot will depend on how we handle that ridiculously difficult early season schedule, though.

  • CJP32

    I wonder what Brewer came last year, I would expect him to move up.

    I think this team is deep and talented enough to be Top 4 in the West.

    Our 2nd unit is better than some starting 5’s in the NBA:

    Miller/Brewer/Chandler/Randolph/Mozzy or Koufos

    Imagine this lob city line-up of Miller/Iggy/Brewer/Faried/McGee.

    • denbutsu

      Hey, thank you for catching my oversight. I failed to include him on the list. He was ranked 208, and I’ve now updated the post to include him. Nice catch!

  • Justin

    Some one should add up each teams players rankings.

    I’m sure heat or Lakers will have the lowest total.

  • Mike

    Not sure if he has been working with Koufos this summer as apparently David Thorpe has a relationship with Masai. But generally Thorpe seems to have an objective thought process toward the players he works with or not. He often has a very development coach type thought process toward players too. He is VERY lauditory of Koufos.

    He was calling faried a talent last fall before that was the consensus.

    Izzy high 20s to low 30s. Ty in the 40/50s. Faried in the 50s. Gallo in the 50/60s. Mcgee in the 60/70s. My guess for NEXT season assuming reasonable health from these 5 guys (no more than 20 games missed) is that they have 2-4 guys in the top 40.

  • Ryan

    Speaking of Koufos ranking 274, David Thope has a piece on him for ESPN Insider. He seems to think that Koufos may be on the verge of a breakout season, maybe moving into the Marcin Gortat/Omer Asik level of big men. Personally, I don’t know if he will get enough PT to do so, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless…

  • Jim

    Wish I could read that k2 article. The early season schedule us pretty insane. It’s going to be uphill to make top 4 in the west.

    • Daniel Y

      Here you go Jimbo.

      Breakout in store for Koufos, David Thorpe

      You’ve heard all of the clichés before.

      “You can’t teach height.” “Big men take more time to develop.”

      They are phrases that have meaning at every level of basketball; they are accurate and each offers an equally important lesson. For as much as we want to see big men arrive in the NBA ready to dominate on both ends of the court, except in very rare occasions, it just does not happen. And those who do dominate normally are bigs who have played more than three seasons in college.

      So as’s #NBArank continues to roll out names, I look for big men who have not yet fully developed but already have shown some good production despite their youth. These are players who still have bright futures and to the Denver Nuggets’ Kosta Koufos (#NBArank No. 274), I’m talking about you.

      Under the radar
      If I told you only one NBA center finished among the top five in offensive rebound rate and in true shooting percentage, would you have guessed it was Koufos?

      Koufos also finished in the top 15 in defensive rebound rate and ranked sixth in total rebound rate, all at just 23 years old. These numbers epitomize a player who is ready for more minutes and is on his way to a breakout year.

      Of course, the Nuggets are on everyone’s radar thanks to their acquisition of Andre Iguodala and re-signing the much-improved JaVale McGee. But it’s their backup center who appears to be the next big man ready to go from being a “sometimes-in-the-rotation” big to a starting role, just as Marcin Gortat did for the Phoenix Suns and Omer Asik did for the Chicago Bulls last season.

      The Nuggets smartly signed Koufos to an extension last year, meaning they now have a future starting center for just $3 million a season for each of the next two seasons. Though Timofey Mozgov has some upside as well, Koufos is the more likely candidate to earn the 20 or more minutes per game as McGee’s backup.

      Perfect fit for Denver
      Koufos has long been lauded for a great work ethic, and that has shown up both in his everyday play and in his overall progress. On this Denver team, it helps to be a great sprinter, like McGee is at center. But often it’s just about making the effort to change ends. Denver pushes relentlessly all game, and invariably the opponent’s bigs take off a play here and there to catch their breath.

      [+] EnlargeKirby Lee/US Presswire
      JaVale McGee and Koufos give the Nuggets quality rim protection.Koufos takes advantage of that because he makes the effort to run, period. And not only does that earn him assisted layups and dunks, but it also leads to more offensive rebounds as he cleans up his teammates’ misses after racing ahead of the pack. Koufos only uses his size to beat up the smaller guys who are back on defense. Whereas McGee sprints to get lob dunks, Koufos just wants to get down the floor and then see what happens. It’s an effective strategy for a team like Denver.

      But for all those layups and dunks, it is Koufos’ excellent post-up game — specifically his right-handed hook (which, unfortunately, is not complemented by a left-handed version) — that’s helped beef up his true shooting percentage to more than 60 percent. That right hand is now a legit go-to move, which makes his ability to finish with the other hand a vital aspect of post scoring. Development of that left hand will be key to his overall post strategy because he would have an effective counter to his best move.

      Koufos can get those shots against most NBA bigs and might be able to dominate many second units inside. Considering how deep Denver is on the wings and at the guard spots, adding a post scorer to that depth can more than make up for its loss of Al Harrington as its top bench scorer, creating a bench that is still equally effective as last season’s.

      Considering McGee’s potential for foul trouble as a hungry shot-blocker, Kenneth Faried’s lack of size and the fact Koufos is Denver’s best rebounder, there is strong possibility that Koufos will get plenty of run with Denver’s best players. I don’t see him supplanting McGee as a starter, but I do see him getting those minutes with the starters alongside McGee as an option for Denver to “play big.”

      With Iguodala, Corey Brewer, and Andre Miller, Denver has the horses to run fast while not sacrificing size, something that could pose a problem for a team like the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder like to go small with Kevin Durant at the power forward spot, so Denver can counter by playing zone and likely not get hammered on the glass — always a challenge when playing zone. McGee, Brewer and Iguodala could be the best zone trio in the league, but they still need a strong defensive rebounder to defend efficiently. Enter Koufos.

      The last three months of last season were Koufos’ career best, in terms of minutes played per game. He’s always been a player who looked like a double-double guy if given 36 minutes per game. But now he has the strength to protect the ball and the paint better while also having enough experience to be counted on night after night.

      Indeed, Gortat proved to be a huge key to the Orlando Magic’s NBA Finals appearance in 2008-09 before he ultimately got “paid” and shipped to a team needing a starting center. I expect a similar tale to be told about Koufos one day. And if he helps Denver reach the 2012-13 NBA Finals, no one should be surprised.

      • http://yahoo Def Vision 303

        Minus the pictures… lol i think Koufos has every tool to do it but ultimately its up to Karl to give him the minutes to try. Nuggets going for a ship baby!!!!!!! OKC can suck it!!! lol

      • Jim

        You rock! Thanks! Interesting points here for sure. But also interesting no mention that he really got owned in the lakers series. With Bynum gone, who matches better between k2 and mozzy? I guess I just assumed since the wink wink nudge is that we are making one more move either he or moz would be in that mix.

        • dynamo.joe

          Two things. He got owned for like 3 minutes, then never saw the floor again, so I’m not sure that’s a legitimate sample. With a young player, don’t you watch them get beat up, bring them back to the bench, coach them up and let them try again? Now if they fail a second time, I get where you bench them, but you have to give them the 2nd chance.

          2nd, he had to have his knee cleaned up in the off season. Maybe Bynum was just too big a load for a bum knee?

          Now that other people are jumping on the Koufos bandwagon I’ll have to hop to another wagon.

          JULYAN STONE!1!! 3rd best PG in the league everyone!

          • Ryan

            I think Koufos would need to get stronger to make a significant leap as a player. The main reason he got benched was because Bynum was simply WAY too strong for him and continually overpowered him. Mozgov, on the other hand, is significantly stronger (albeit less skilled) than Koufos, which is why he matched up much better against Bynum

            • dynamo.joe

              Why is that though? According to their listed measurements, Koufos is shorter and heavier. Both these guys are single digit body fat, so why isn’t K2 stronger? Not that I really believe the listed measurements are correct, but you would think the lie would go the same direction for both players.

  • John

    Mozgov himself(in an interview this summer) says Kosta is much stronger than he is.

    I think it was more a matter of 2Ks knee injury at the end of the regular season, didn’t allow him to plant well and create much leverage against Bynum.

    …and when Bynum in on, he has a little bit of a nasty streak in his play which both Kosta and Timo lack, but I can see it coming as they gain confidence.