ESPN's NBA Player Rankings have finally reached the top 15 players in the league after starting at No. 500, and the first two to crack that elite list represent each of the Los Angeles teams: Pau Gasol at No. 15 and Blake Griffin at No. 14.
Both the Lakers' Gasol and the Clippers' Griffin fell a few notches from last season's list. Griffin was ranked No. 10 last year even though some thought it may have been a bit premature since we hadn't seen much of Griffin. Moving him down to No. 14 seems about right at this stage in his career. He could easily play his way into a continual inclusion in the top 10, but for now, No. 14 is just fine.
For Gasol to still be considered a top 15 player is a testament to his reputation and consistency as a big man. Yes, he's struggled at times the past two seasons, but he still drops 17 and 10 on the regular with close to four dimes and 50-percent shooting from the field. You can't ask for much more from someone who became the third option on the Lakers last season with the emergence of the since-traded Andrew Bynum and the incomparable Kobe Bryant.