- Adam Reisinger, Now
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ESPN.com's annual ranking of the top 500 NBA players started up Monday with the bottom 100, players ranked No. 401-500. Given that there can only be a maximum of 450 players in the NBA at any given time (30 teams, 15 roster spots per team), today's reveal includes players who'll churn in and out of the league, players who'll spend most of the season in the D-League, future 10-day contract candidates and players who'll get cut in training camp and won't be heard from again until next preseason.
With that said, the 100 players revealed on Monday represent a diverse group among the NBA fraternity. Let's break down the group.
Of the 100 players whose rankings were revealed Monday, 13 of them saw an improvement from their ranking before the 2012-13 season -- though they're still stuck in the 401-500 group. Thirty-eight players experienced a drop in ranking, while 49 of Monday's 100 players weren't ranked last season, either because they are rookies or they weren't on the NBA radar last summer.
The biggest jump among the bottom 100 came from Lakers center and sometimes cheerleader Robert Sacre, who moved up 59 spots from 491 to 432. A former Laker, Lamar Odom, had the biggest drop, falling 332 spots from 130 to 462. When we did the first edition of these rankings before the 2011-12 season, Odom was No. 44, so it's been a precipitous drop for the two-time NBA champion.
Sacre's Lakers were among the handful of teams that had four players in the bottom 100, but no team had more than the tanking Philadelphia 76ers, who posted five players between 401 and 500: James Anderson, Kwame Brown, Arsalan Kazemi, Tim Ohlbrecht and Royce White. The Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings were the only teams who didn't have a player revealed on Monday.
There were 29 former first-round picks revealed Monday, with 31 former second-round picks and 40 players who went undrafted. Brown represents the highest draft pick ranked in between 401 and 500; he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2001.
The bottom 100 doesn't discriminate. It includes players both young (No. 406, Steven Adams, is just 20) and old (No. 413, Jamaal Tinsley, is 35). It includes players with successful careers -- 2013 title winner Rashard Lewis (No. 405) leads the bottom 100 with 89.2 career win shares -- and players who've been a detriment on the court -- both Earl Barron (No. 404) and Terrel Harris (No. 487) have negative 0.6 career win shares. It's even balanced by position, with 19 point guards, 22 shooting guards, 19 small forwards, 22 power forwards and 18 centers.
It should be noted that being ranked in the bottom 100 is far from a career death sentence. Two years ago Lavoy Allen (No. 500) started in the playoffs for the 76ers. Last year Pablo Prigioni (No. 437) did so for the New York Knicks. So keep Monday's list handy come April to see who proved us wrong.
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