ESPN’s infamous NBA Rank is back. ESPN gets a large group of basketball writers to rate each player in the NBA. They average out the ratings and create a list ranking each player in the league. The first name that caught my eye: #462 Lamar “Mr. Kardashian” Odom.
Four hundred sixty two? Really? I’m not arguing that he should be higher because he really isn’t deserving of it (okay, maybe 462 is being a bit malevolent). However, the point is Odom did this to himself. He continues to deteriorate bit-by-bit.
I have no doubt in my mind Odom could still be an effective player. In his prime, Lamar was highly respected as one of the league’s best point-forwards. Now all he gets attention for is being married to a Kardashian and supposedly using drugs.
The breaking point for Odom was when he was dealt to the New Orleans Hornets in a multi-player deal for Chris Paul. However, that trade was soon rejected by the league office. Odom felt unwanted after that and threw a mini temper tantrum. After winning two titles with Kobe, he felt he should have been a Laker forever.
Even since that day, Odom has been sour and has not been the same on the court. After disappointing seasons with the Mavericks and Clippers, Lamar’s playing days may be past him. However, I do think he’s suited to play in the NBA. He just needs to clean up his act and get back in game shape.
As we skim through the list, we come across another familiar name. That would be Rashard Lewis (#405), who was a top 50 player for most of his career. Lewis was one of the benchwarmers on Miami’s 2013 championship team. Therefore, he basically got to sit back and enjoy the show while receiving a nice paycheck.
Rashard Lewis was a poor man’s Kevin Durant and a top five-to-ten scorer in the league in his Supersonic days. He was extremely hard to defend because of his 6-10 frame and excellent shooting ability. Despite being a considerable offensive talent, Lewis was given one of the worst (or best, in Lewis’ eyes) contracts of the last ten years.
In 2007, the Orlando Magic gave him a maximum six-year deal worth $118 million. Rashard Lewis was a very good player and an essential part to Orlando’s offense. However, he wasn’t worth $19.7 million per year by any means.
Lewis’ production progressively got worse and two years later he was averaging a meager 14 points and 4.5 rebounds. He was making around $18 million at that time and was traded mid-season to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas, who also had a nightmare of a contract. Since then, Lewis has simply been enjoying life and rebounding for LeBron James in practice.
It’s totally understandable for an old veteran player to dip down this list. But dropping down hundreds of spots? There’s no excuse for that to happen. Part of being washed up is not having the urge to prove yourself anymore. Both of these players have the body and capability to be solid bench players at the very least.
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