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Stampler Ranks The NBA's Top 100: Part 1 - The bottom 50

You'll never guess who I have at number one. Oh ... maybe you will. Well, I bet you'll never guess who I have at number 86!

That's right, Andrew, laugh it up. You made the top 100
That's right, Andrew, laugh it up. You made the top 100
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

A couple weeks back, Sports Illustrated ranked their top 100 NBAers for the upcoming season. You might have heard, it inspired some sort of serious feud that was totally not a contrived marketing campaign.

Anyway, the writers used all kind of fancy statistics and metrics to compile their rankings. I, on the other hand, being a cranky lazy old-fashioned columnist, will be doing this just by my gut and my gut alone. No stats and no peeking at their rankings to color my judgment. Let's see how close mine came to theirs. (After I did my rankings, I put SI's ranking in parentheses next to mine, followed by a plus/minus number to show the difference. Positive numbers means I ranked the player higher than SI did, negative means I ranked them lower, and N/A means Not Available as in I ranked somebody they didn't include.)

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100.        Cody Zeller, C, Bobcats: Alternated between invisible and terrific in summer league, will get a chance to be the first or second option right away, which most rookies don't. (N/A)

99.          Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic: I'll be absolutely shocked if Oladipo isn't the runaway Rookie of the Year, and I think he'll singlehandedly make Orlando a lot more competitive than people figure. I don't see them in the tanking sweepstakes at all. (N/A)

98.          Mario Chalmers, PG, Heat: More talented than his critics give him credit for, but about one-tenth as good as he thinks he is. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade just ride him mercilessly for his nightly brain cramps. (N/A)

97.          Jonas Valancuinas, C, Raptors: Showed toughness, versatile offensive game, but injuries ruined his rookie season. Better defense than the average rookie, but a long way to go to be a star. (N/A)

96.          Thaddeus Young, SF, Sixers: When Young is your best player, you're headed for a historically bad season. (62, -34)

95.          Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz: The requisite tools seem to be there, but he hasn't come close to putting it all together yet. Finally gets the unquestioned starting job with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson gone. (87, -8)

94.          Monta Ellis, PG, Mavericks: Only chance for him to be useful is as a third guard for a contender but his pride won't let it happen and he'd rather get empty stats. He's underrated as a passer, but a sieve on defense. (68, -26)

93.          Harrison Barnes, SF, Warriors: After an inconsistent rookie season, he found his niche as a small-ball four, but return of Lee and acquisition of Andre Iguodala may muddle his role and hurt his development. (N/A)

92.          DeMar DeRozan, SG, Raptors: The trade for Rudy Gay kind of made him redundant for Raptors, even though he's the more talented, versatile scorer. He's too inconsistent on both ends of the floor. (N/A)

91.          Andrew Bogut, C, Warriors: What happened to his offensive game? He's turned into a guy who can't score outside of two feet. His rim protection and rebounding are sorely needed on the club, but he's injury- and foul-prone. (N/A)

90.          Al Jefferson, PF, Bobcats: Takes up too much of the shot clock on offense, isn't nearly as efficient of a scorer as the common fan thinks and his lack of lateral quickness makes his defense an abomination. (44, -46)

89.          Dion Waiters, SG, Cavaliers: He can fill it up and isn't afraid to shoot in big spots, which is important, but injuries ended his season prematurely. He should get a ton of open looks with Kyrie Irving and Andrew Bynum on the floor. (N/A)

88.          Bradley Beal, SG, Wizards: He'll forever be compared to Waiters, and for good reason as they both play second-fiddle to quick, athletic point guards. I might be way off but Beal looked readier to embrace defense the few times I've seen him. (N/A)

87.          Nicolas Batum, SF, Blazers: A streaky shooter who can get as hot as anyone on any given night, but a ridiculously overrated defender who stopped caring about shutting people down once he got the green light to shoot. He epitomizes the underachieving Blazers. (51, -36)

86.          Demarcus Cousins, C, Kings: The worst body language in the league and a total loser. He cannot be trusted to focus on defense more than every third possession if that, loafs down the floor in transition and takes a lot of selfish shots. (53, -35)

85.          George Hill, PG, Pacers: Solid defender and a good glue guy, but an inconsistent shooter who lacks the handles and leadership skills to be the starting point on a championship team. Better off as a third guard. (79, -6)

84.          Reggie Evans, PF, Nets: The antithesis of guys like Jefferson and David Lee, Evans is all defense/rebounding and zero offense. His inability to hit free throws makes it impossible to play him down the stretch of games. (N/A)

83.          Shawn Marion, SF, Mavs: Still a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but too old to be a third banana on a contender and doesn't have nearly the stamina he once did. (92, +9)

82.          Jeff Teague, PG, Hawks: He won't kill you as a starter but he's the second best at his position more often than not. Really doesn't do any one thing well. (78, -4)

81.          Gerald Henderson, SG, Bobcats: Gets plenty of shots for a club desperately in need of baskets and is more efficient with them than you'd expect. He saves his energy on the other end though. (N/A)

80.          Jeff Green, PF, Celtics: Wildly inconsistent, but flashed some serious scoring ability in the playoffs for the undermanned Celtics. Will get all the shots he wants this year. (N/A)

79.          Steve Nash, PG, Lakers: Still an offensive grandmaster, even at his age, but he can't play more than half a game anymore, gives you zero on defense and can't use all of his skills because Kobe Bryant has the ball so much. (54, -25)

78.          Danny Granger, SF, Pacers: It will be interesting to see how he'll fit into a Pacers team that turned into a contender with an established starting five without him. Can he succeed and be happy in a bench role, or will he be shipped for a point guard? (72, -6)

77.          JaVale McGee, C, Nuggets: One of the more efficient players in the league and he tries hard, but he does too many stupid things to stay on the floor more than 20 minutes a night. He loves to show off his vertical with three goaltends a night. (N/A)

76.          Ray Allen, SG, Heat: A limited contributor at his advanced age but he's no dummy; he went to the perfect team to take advantage of his skill set and got a ring out of it. He got away with a travel and a foul in Game 6, but whatever. Nice Game 7, jerk. (N/A)

75.          Andrei Kirilenko, SF, Nets: It would make a world of sense for him to start and for Paul Pierce to come off the bench for Brooklyn, but fat chance of that happening. Nobody in their right mind believes he took way less than his value to play for Mikhail Prokhorov because of their shared nationality. (49, -26)

74.          Tony Allen, SG, Grizzlies: It says "shooting" right in the job title. This isn't complicated. Allen is a proud graduate of the Chris Paul Academy of Terrible Flopping. (N/A)

73.          Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs: I don't need him to block shots, but his defense won't ever pass the eye test for me until he ups his rebounding. He gets intimidated too much by athletic guys on both ends. (74, +1)

72.          Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets: Gets a lot of raves as a high-energy guy, but his lack of size kills him on defense and his offensive game isn't developing much either. He's a rich man's DeJuan Blair and nothing more. (75, +3)

71.          Avery Bradley, SG, Celtics: Can defend dudes bigger than him, but for him to be at his best he needs Rondo at the controls and to not be counted on for offense. (N/A)

70.          J.J. Redick, SG, Clippers: An underrated defender (gee, wonder why?), but not quite good enough to be a third banana on a contender. More of a streaky shooter than people think, but he can score inside the three-point line too. (82, +12)

69.          Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans: Seems chronically disgruntled and never totally healthy. You get the sense he'd be perfectly happy to just get the checks sent to his house and not play. Talented dude at a position bereft of star power, but something is off with him. (N/A)

68.          Anderson Varejao, PF, Cavaliers: He'd be at least ten notches higher if healthy, but he never is. First overall pick Anthony Bennett should buy him and Andrew Bynum ample time to rest. (66, -2)

67.          Larry Sanders, C, Bucks: A springy shot-blocker who has some potential on the other end of the floor, but he has a bit of a temper on him. (43, -24)

66.          Ersan Ilyasova, SF, Bucks: A talented, versatile dude whose ruggedness and jumper comes and goes. He's gonna be in for a rough year on a relatively talentless team. (61, -5)

65.          Damian Lillard, PG, Blazers: A good sign that the past freshman class wasn't very good when the reigning Rookie of the Year award winner ranks 65th on your pal Stampler's Top-100 list. Can score in a multitude of ways, but ghastly in his own end. (47, -18)

64.          Amir Johnson, PF, Raptors: A very solid guy stuck on a terrible team with no fan base. He doesn't have any weaknesses, really, but I'm not sure how much better he can get either. (84, +20)

63.          Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic: He can score, he can rebound - what's not to love about this kid? He and Oladipo will do big things together and sooner than you think. (100, +37)

62.          David Lee, PF, Warriors: Was having a great season -- except for the advanced stats -- but Warriors played a lot better without him in the playoffs. Lee is a clockwork 20-10 guy who has the defensive instincts of a can opener, and I wonder how he'll be used this season. Should the Warriors start a small-ball lineup and bring him off the bench? (46, -16)

61.          Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz: An enigmatic young player whose game seems to take a step back in some area every time a different facet of his game seems to improve. Just hasn't come close to putting it all together, but this year's Jazz is his team, more or less. (67, +6)

60.          Andrew Bynum, C, Cavaliers: Can't go any higher than 60 for the brittle Bynum, who missed all of last season, didn't seem particularly enthusiastic about his rehab in Philadelphia and screwed over the Sixers something fierce. He's Exhibit A for every bad stereotype about NBA players. (60!)

59.          Danny Green, SG, Spurs: Yes, he's a system player, but he fits in with what the Spurs do on both ends of the floor so well and his half-court defense improved a lot in his first full season as a starter. Also, he proved to be durable on a team of China dolls. (96, +37)

58.          Rudy Gay, SF, Raptors: Okay, it's true he can't shoot a lick. What got overlooked both at Memphis and in his current stop, Toronto, is that somebody has to take the perimeter shots and he was surrounded by guys who couldn't hit the side of the barn either. He may be the most underrated defender in the league. (64, +6)

57.          Omer Asik, C, Rockets: He needs a change of scenery with Dwight Howard in town, and you'd think as the 11th-ranked center plenty of teams could use him, but trades are rarely that simple. A terrific defender who adjusted better to an up-tempo style at Houston than anyone who saw him as a Bull would've guessed. (69, +12)

56.          Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies: There's plenty to like here. He can get to the rim, pass, defend as well as anyone at his position, and he's a leader. The shooting, though, is meh. Trading away Gay helped his development, but without a stud wing guy the Grizzlies are going nowhere. (39, -17)

55.          Lance Stephenson, SG, Pacers: Rarely lets his streaky offense affect him on the other end, to his credit, but he's still an emotional fellow, as wings on the Pacers tend to be. I wonder how a healthy Granger will impact him. (N/A)

54.          Danilo Gallinari, SF, Nuggets: Can score in a variety of ways and isn't completely awful in his own end. But he tore his ACL last season and won't be back right away. It's doubtful we'll see him return to form until the 2014-15 season. (45, -9)

53.          Carlos Boozer, PF, Bulls: Still a bad defender, but I was really impressed by the leadership he showed in the playoffs, giving his all in a lost cause for an undermanned Chicago team. A reliable scorer and at least he boards. (71, +18)

52.          J.R. Smith, SG, Knicks: This high for Smith? Believe me, I'm as surprised as you are. But his skills fit the needs of his club, and he was mostly controversy-free for them, until the playoffs. I'll be more than happy to never hear about his "pipe" again. (83, +31)

51.          Nikola Pekovic, C, Wolves: Improved as much as anyone last year, before missing a decent chunk with injuries. He's a huge, lumbering body who's surprisingly graceful near the rim, and he eases the rebounding load on Love, freeing him to shoot. (50, -1)

to be continued ...