Ranking the NBA 1-500: Ime Udoka, #388

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It’s a long summer and the best way to make it go by faster is to count things down, or so I like to tell myself. Varner and I joined many others from the TrueHoop Network and ESPN.com — and apparently Bruce Bowen — in grading every player in the league (and some not in the league). From there, the folks at ESPN calculated the results and now we’re counting down from 500.

Players were assigned a grade from 0-10 based on whatever criteria the grader felt like using. That’s it, that’s the system.

Earlier this week, numbers 500-401 were revealed five at a time over the course of several hours. The initial batch included several Spurs such as D-League call-ups Larry Owens (482) and Othyus Jeffers (450), former Spurs Sean Marks (466) and Pops Mensa-Bonsu (414), and fringe players Cory Joseph (434), Bobby Simmons (428), Danny Green (421) and Da’Sean Butler (400).

I’m interested to find out how Da’Sean Butler leap-frogged so many players who have actually appeared in NBA games. Considering the very real concerns about his ability after his knee injury, it’s interesting that so many people feel he’s better than guys who have earned spots in the league.

Now we’re going a little slower and debuting 400-351. Coming in a #388 is Ime Udoka. How Udoka managed to break into the 300s is beyond me. I’m guessing that most of the graders scored Udoka on past reputation. I watched Ime’s short stint with the Spurs last year, as I’m sure most of you did as well, and I don’t think there’s any way he was better than 100 players in the league.

Even the Spurs, who one could argue overvalue veterans that know the system, realized Udoka was done for and cut him loose in favor of unproven young guys.

Ime put up career lows in pretty much every meaningful category during his 20-game stint with the Spurs. Once a prominent member of the Spurs’ 3-and-D club, Udoka didn’t hit a single 3-pointer with the Spurs last year and was torched on defense. It was painful to watch, really.

Just don’t tell Udoka I wrote anything negative about him, I fear his other past reputation.

For those who feel like discussing the ESPN.com NBA player rankings, we’re using the #NBArank hashtag on Twitter.