Peja Stojakovic needs to get angry

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Published: September 6, 2006

You might have come across Tony Mejia's ranking of the NBA's small forwards which we threw up on the news page yesterday. Guess where our new $64 million man was ranked? For that money you would be hoping he's top five. But no.

He must be top ten at least though, right? Um, no.

Peja, dunking or something

Peja checks in at number 18 (mysteriously knocked down from 17 yesterday), meaning more than half the teams in the league are better at the 3-spot than the Hornets, at least according to Mejia. Here's his assessment of Stojako-rich:

18. Peja Stojakovic, New Orleans/Oklahoma City: Getting traded to Indiana appeared to re-energize Stojakovic, who was shooting around 40 percent for the Kings at the time of the move. The Hornets have taken a gamble that he can regain his previous form, and are hinging a lot of their hopes on his ability to stretch defenses. The first step is staying healthy.

Ok, nothing controversial there. But let's have a look at the guys ahead of Peja. Here's 1 to 17:

  1. LeBron
  2. McGrady
  3. Paul Pierce
  4. Ron Artest
  5. Carmelo
  6. Shawn Marion
  7. Tayshaun Prince
  8. Andei Kirilenko
  9. Lamar Odom
  10. Richard Jefferson
  11. Josh Howard
  12. Rashard Lewis
  13. Caron Butler
  14. Al Harrington
  15. Corey Maggette
  16. Bruce Bowen
  17. Ricky Davis

(Mike Miller was just after Peja at 19. Apparently he's almost as good.)

I can't really rip into this list. I can't really point out stuff like Mejia demoting Peja for his injury woes while placing someone like Tracy McGrady at number two despite T-Mac being about as healthy as Timmy from South Park the last couple seasons.

I can't because it's just as easy to envision Peja spending twenty games on the bench in a suit this season as it is to imagine him averaging 25ppg in 75+ games.

Should the latter of those two become the reality, I'll gladly look back on this list next June (after we beat Miami in six) and tear it to shreads.

I'm just really really hoping that Peja has some damn pride. I hope he's hearing about all this, how everyone is writing him off, how he's not worth the money, how his best days are behind him. I hope he hears all that and I hope it gets to him. I hope he gets really pissed off and signs up for a yoga class and gets really flexible and stuff so he won't get injured so easily.

Or something.

Really though, if dude's got any kind of pride, he should be determined to have the best season of his career. He should be especially insulted that the man he was traded for seven months ago is ranked 14 whole spots ahead of him on that list. Right now, he should be focused on making people like Tony Mejia eat their words and look like hypocrites at the end of the season when they're calling him top five.

Will that happen? It's all up to Peja.

(FYI, Stojakovic was ranked 10th in the same list last year.)

[Edit @ 2am CST 9/7/06: Tyson Chandler should be pissed off too; he's behind Andrew Bogut in the center rankings.]

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