Some of the most popular content in today’s day and age is presented in the form of lists and rankings. It is the perfect way to stir up conversation and debate. For years, the NFL has worked with coaches, players, and front office personnel to develop their top 100 rankings ahead of each season. Now, ESPN has followed suit by creating their own top 100 rankings for NBA players. There are a ton of different metrics used to come up with the actual placement of these star players, but many of them are subjective. Here are the biggest surprises and snubs on this year’s ESPN #NBArank.
The major surprises on the list are the same ones that occur year after year after year. Frankly, it’s gotten kind of old having to reiterate the fact that rookies should not be on this list. They have not logged a single minute of true NBA basketball, they have not had to compete against NBA talent, and they have not proven themselves in any manner. This year, there are four rookies in the top 100. First, Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons come in at numbers 86 and 84 respectively. Sure, they were both number one picks, but so was Anthony Bennett. Then, the Summer League stars, Dennis Smith Jr. and Lonzo Ball rank 75th and 63rd. We will touch on Ball more in the snubs section.
Jae Crowder was slotted as the 38th best player in the NBA, even though he was just considered an “additional” piece of a blockbuster trade. To put that into perspective, he is ranked on spot ahead of DeMar DeRozan, who is a three-time All Star and an All-NBA performer in the prime of his career. What were you thinking ESPN?
Oh, and Joel Embiid was ranked at number 32, just one number down from the total number of games he has played in three NBA seasons. Talent is one thing, but consistency is another. If a player dominated 30 games but fell into a 50-game slump to finish a season, would he be ranked in the top 40? No. So why should a guy who absolutely cannot stay on the court deserve to be ranked ahead of a guy who gives you consistent minutes all season long.
Other surprises: Harrison Barnes (58), Malcolm Brogdon (56), Patrick Beverly (50), Ricky Rubio (48)
DeRozan at number 39 was shocking, but Carmelo Anthony ranked below Lonzo Ball at number 64 is utterly absurd. Anthony is one of the greatest scorers of all time and still an NBA All Star, yet he is worse than a rookie who has never played. ESPN is just trying to bury Lonzo Ball before he even gets a chance to prove himself. At this point, it is either he wins NBA Rookie of the Year and dominates opponents, or he will be considered a failure.
Just above them is Devin Booker ranked 60th. Despite improving his PPG, APG, RPG, and 3PT% without dipping in FG% or FT%, Booker dropped 14 spots in this year’s rankings. Not to mention, he scored 70 points in a game, which is tied for the 10th highest total in NBA history and is also something that no one else on this list has ever done… oh, and Booker was 20 years old at the time.
It’s hard to imagine being in the top 10 and also being one of the biggest snubs on the list, but that is the case for Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the Greek Freak. He became the youngest player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in the same season. His size, versatility, and athleticism is unlike anything the NBA has ever seen. In 2017, he will become the most unguardable player in the league and is my pick for Most Valuable Player.
Other snubs: J.J. Redick (87), Kyrie Irving (25), Klay Thompson (19)