Emeka Okafor Ranked 71st by ESPN’s Team of NBA Writers

Published: October 3, 2011

New Orleans Hornets center Emeka Okafor is the 71st ranked NBA player, according to ESPN’s team of basketball writers. ESPN recently asked every NBA writer they have at their disposal to rank every single NBA player in the game. Ryan and I both participated, and the results have been tallied and announced gradually both on Twitter and on ESPN.

Despite seeing his consecutive games played streak come to end at 306, Okafor recovered to play 72 regular season games in his second year with the Hornets after being traded for Tyson Chandler. He averaged just under 32 minutes per contest, while adding 10.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks.

On the defensive side of the ball he looked much more comfortable than in 2009-2010, probably in large part because Chris Paul teamed with Trevor Ariza to shore up a perimeter defense regarded as one of the worst in the league the year before. Even Bill Simmons recently stated that Okafor is paid right in line with his performance, a radical change from the year before when he was listed as the third most overpaid player in the league. It’s amazing what a coach and teammates will do for your reputation…

In the first playoff series of his career, Okafor disappointed both himself and a lot of Hornets fans by getting into foul trouble early and often against the larger LA front court. He played just over 31 minutes a game against the Lakers despite David West being unavailable, averaging 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, and 4.7 fouls.

As it stands now, here are how players on the Hornets team at year end have fared so far:

113. Trevor Ariza
116. Carl Landry
214. Jarret Jack
228. Marco Belinelli
281. Aaron Gray
381. DJ Mbenga
385. Quincy Pondexter
477. Marcus Banks
485. Patrick Ewing jr.

Still to come– Chris Paul, David West


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