Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza appear in ESPN’s Top 100

Two Rockets kick off ESPN’s annual countdown.

The yearly ESPN top 100 NBA player rankings started this week, and two Rockets showed up in the first batch of 25 players.

Ryan Anderson just made the cut, finishing at number 100, while Ariza drops in at number 95.

Anderson, who’s been the subject of offseason trade rumors in the Carmelo Anthony chase, dropped down from the number 89 position last year, and he did have some slippage. Despite his 40.3 percent shooting percentage from deep — the second-best of his career — Anderson’s rebounding was down, and so was his scoring. His 13.6 points per game was his lowest average since 2011. He was a perfect fit for the Houston system, however, and the Rockets were a better team with Anderson as their stretch four.

Here’s what ESPN had to say about Ryno:

Since 2010-11, the NBA has had a new record for 3-point attempts every season. In an age defined by the proliferation of the long ball, perhaps nobody embodies that evolution quite like Ryan Anderson, who is the only player who has averaged at least five 3-point attempts per game in every season since 2010-11. He’s also a beneficiary of Houston’s system, as just 18 of his 506 3-point attempts last season came with a defender within 4 feet.

Ariza, on the other hand, had a slight improvement over last year’s placement of number 99. Trevor began to slow signs of slippage last season, so there was some legitimate worry that the veteran’s game could potentially fall off a cliff, but Ariza was actually a little bit better this past year, particularly as a defender.

He’s been shooting slightly more threes, albeit at a lower percentage, but he can still drain ‘em from the corner. And we thankfully saw fewer ill-advised drives to the bucket (Spurs series notwithstanding), along with better rebounding, his typical defensive versatility, and a continued workman-like, veteran approach. Ariza’s missed just three games in his three seasons since returning to the Rockets.

Here’s ESPN’s write up on Ariza:

Ariza’s ability to knock down outside shots and defend both forward spots makes him a crucial piece in Houston. He shot better than the league average on corner 3s for the sixth straight season in 2016-17, while his 3.1 deflections per game ranked in the top 10 among forwards.

With the countdown continuing throughout the week, check back to see where the rest of our favorite Rockets placed. We’ll be keeping an eye out for Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker, and of course, James Harden.

You can see the ESPN list here.

Read more at The Dream Shake.

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