Recently, ESPN.com has been spending some time evaluating each NBA position going into the 2013-14 season.
They've rolled out a series of "Five-on-Five" discussions about each, and using his ATH system, Basketball Prospectus' Bradford Doolittle has ranked the top players at each position based on "Wins Above Replacement Level (or WARP.) In a nutshell, WARP is a basketball version of the common sabermetrics statistic that seeks to understand how much more (or less) valuable a certain player is than the average NBA player.
Doolittle started by examining the NBA's point guards and no surprise, his top too WARP players going into next season were Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
However the Toronto Raptors didn't fare so badly here.
Point guard Kyle Lowry tied for eighth overall in terms of WARP, with a projected mark of 8.1, the same as Denver floor general Ty Lawson. This put Lowry slightly ahead of Damian Lillard, and only .2 behind Derrick Rose for seventh on the list. From the post (Insider):
Lowry has put up right around 8.0 WARP in each of the past three seasons. He's in his prime and remains underrated. Could some younger guards behind Lowry climb over him on the value ladder? Sure. There are a number of point guards with higher ceilings, but few who have demonstrated such a consistent level of play.
It's an interesting assessment considering most viewed Lowry's last season as a disappointment.
However from this list, the bigger disappointments were the other members of the Toronto Raptors, as not a single player managed to break Doolittle's top 10 at any other position.
Rudy Gay was mentioned in the small forward category (14th) but was ranked behind folks like Gordon Hayward, former Raptors Carlos Delfino, and ugh, Kyle Korver. The rationale was the same as always, Doolittle's system doesn't respond well to "high-volume, low-efficiency types."
Which obviously means the system wasn't a big DeMar DeRozan fan either.
In fact, while Doolittle noted DeRozan's scoring average consistency the past two seasons, he like Gay, missed the top 10 cut and instead was granted this little summary:
As for DeRozan, I've written it many times: Until he proves otherwise, he's just an empty scoring average.