A year after winning the NBA's Most Improved Player award, it is not surprising to see CJ McCollum rocket up the rankings of best NBA players.
In ESPN's #NBARank system rankings, McCollum was revealed at No. 26, putting him below Paul Millsap and above Mike Conley. He was ranked at 144 last season.
The jump is not surprising, as McCollum improved his scoring from 6.8 points per game to 20.4 last season, and has maintained an average of 21.4 points this year. This includes a spectacular 37-point performance against the Memphis Grizzlies last Sunday.
The ranking system is hardly scientific, with a panel of ESPN NBA experts asking how players compared head-to-head in multiple areas of performance.
Other Portland players were not as lucky in the rankings. Al-Farouq Aminu came in at 85 (153 last year), Allen Crabbe at 128 (326), Maurice Harkless at 130 (269), Mason Plumlee at 133 (128), Evan Turner at 152 (180), and Ed Davis scored at 173 (140), a full five spots below former Trail Blazer Sergio Rodriguez. Meyers Leonard rolled out the top-200 at number 184 (159).
The Top-20 have yet to be revealed, with Damian Lillard certainly located within that range.
Other notables were LaMarcus Aldridge (23), Nicolas Batum (44), Wesley Matthews (84), Robin Lopez (104), and Will Barton (119).