ESPN released their annual ranking of the ESPN top 100 NBA players. The list always comes with some controversy. The most controversial ranking in its history was perhaps Kobe Bryant being ranked as the 93rd best player in the NBA.
With the talent level across the NBA today, it becomes very difficult to rank some of the top players. However, there are some rankings that ESPN simply got wrong. Here are three of those player rankings.
Bradley Beal (19)
Bradley Beal has become one of the best scorers in the NBA. He was injured for the majority of last season, but before that, he was averaging 30 points per game. He has a chance to bounce back this season and earn his ranking, but for now, he shouldn’t be ranked this high.
If injuries mattered to ESPN in their player rankings, then they were inconsistent. Anthony Davis, when healthy, is easily a top 10 player in the NBA. However, he was ranked 20th on this list, which is understandable if you are considering his history of injuries. However, if all injuries are being considered, then Davis should be ranked above Beal.
Furthermore, Bradley Beal is able to succeed individually, but he has rarely helped lead the Washington Wizards to any type of success. For that reason, it doesn’t make sense to rank Beal above players like Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, and Chris Paul. If Bradley Beal comes back and has a stellar season, this ranking can absolutely be validated. He just shouldn’t start the season with this ranking.
Jimmy Butler (17)
Jimmy Butler had the best individual season of his career last year. He led the Miami Heat to the best record in the East, while averaging 21.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. He had an even better playoff outing, averaging 27.4 points per game and leading the Heat to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals. It could be argued that Jimmy Butler was the top individual playoff performer in the playoffs last year.
Keeping all of that in mind, why did his ranking drop one spot compared to last year? To make matters worse, let’s look at a few players ranked above him. Trae Young (16) and James Harden (11) are both great individual basketball talents, but let’s put some more context into the situation. Jimmy Butler not only outperformed both players in the playoffs by a landslide, but he also helped eliminate both players’ teams in the playoffs.
Kevin Durant (8)
Are we talking about the same Kevin Durant- the player who averaged nearly 30 points per game last season, and is one of the greatest scorers and players in NBA history? Certainly, this can’t be correct. Durant is at least a top-five player in the NBA.
The player ranked right in front of Durant is Jayson Tatum. Although Tatum outperformed Durant in the playoffs last year, there shouldn’t be a soul that thinks Tatum is a better player than Kevin Durant.
It is easy to say that Durant should be ranked as a top-five player, but it is hard to say who he should replace. At this point in their careers, Luka Doncic and Kevin Durant should swap places on the list. Luka is a spectacular player, but should have a few more seasons of individual and team success before he is considered a top-three player in the league.
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