After the revealing on ESPN’s annual #NBArank, we learned that Ryan Anderson (No. 100) and Trevor Ariza (No. 95) made the cut. Now, two more Rockets can be added to the list. Clint Capela made the list at No. 70, and Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon made it at No. 62.
Capela was the starting center on the third-best team in the league last season, so it is no surprise to see him higher on this list from last year. At just 23 years old, he remains one of the rising stars in this league. He made a big jump in his third season, averaging 12.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG versus 7.0 PPG and 6.4 RPG in 2015-2016.
Capela is a candidate to have a breakout season and could be one of the most improved players this year in the entire league. He is bulking up, adding muscle, and will be receiving lobs from Chris Paul and James Harden all year long. He is in a position to have more success this year.
Capela made the jump from No. 92 to No. 70 this year, 22 spots. Maybe this time next year we could see a similar leap and see him crack the Top 50.
Eric Gordon thrived in his first year with the Rockets and made a jump from No. 86 to No. 62, 24 spots. He is ranked right in front of All-Star Carmelo Anthony (No. 64) and Rookie of the Year favorite Lonzo Ball (No. 63). I wonder how LaVar Ball feels considering Gordon is ranked ahead of his son?
Ball is a talented player, which is why Gordon being ranked ahead of him says a lot about how much Gordon has improved this year. Being placed in Mike D’Antoni’s system proved to be a perfect fit for him. He saw a spike in his scoring average despite a dip in minutes.
Coming off the bench definitely helped his stock. If he was a primary starter, Gordon might have been seen as a productive player who is a strong scorer. Coming off the bench and accepting the Sixth Man role, while also winning the Sixth Man of the Year honors and the Three-Point Contest at the All-Star break also helped his cause.
This season was Gordon’s healthiest since his rookie season and it plays a large part as to why he made a big leap in these rankings. Entering his age-29 season, it is unsure if Gordon is going to exceed this ranking. He is in the prime of his career and this is when he should crank out his best performances. He is crucial to the Rockets’ success this season and this ranking is much deserved.
Anderson, Ariza, Capela, and Gordon mark four Rockets in the Top 100. With CP3 and the Beard destined for the Top 25, that will mark six Rockets in the Top 100. When half your team makes up the Top 100 players in the league, it means you have a scary good roster.
Watch out for the Rockets this year.