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Biggest issues with ESPN’s NBA player rankings

A brand new NBA season is less than a month from starting back up. ESPN got our basketball minds up to speed again with a top 100 players ranking. Player rankings are no easy task, especially when deciphering between guards and big men and factoring in the player’s team situation. However, some questionable rankings must be addressed here. 

Greek Freak Peak?!

Without delay let’s begin right at the top. Come on, man. Reigning regular season MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has established himself as one of the best four or five players in the association. But the international sensation from Athens, Greece had a chance to validate his top no. 1 ranking this past postseason and couldn’t finish the job. 

The eastern conference finals unfolded and something that Giannis shouldn’t be shameful of in any way became very apparent. Kawhi is simply better than he is right now. He checked Giannis on defense and gave him serious fits attempting to drive to the basket, which the “Greek Freak” makes a living off of. On offense, Kawhi did his thing that series as he did the entire postseason en route to a NBA title and Finals MVP trophy.

Meanwhile, LeBron James is still LeBron James as well despite missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005, coming off another season averaging 27 points, eight boards, and eight assists. Giannis is going to keep rising, but don’t make the mistake of jumping the gun just yet.

 

Move McCollum 

I’m a big CJ McCollum fan. He had a tremendous postseason en route to a western conference finals appearance that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Having said that, his placement at 13 on the list is head scratching to say the least. 

McCollum has a smooth offensive game, as he’s capable of getting buckets in a myriad of ways. On the defensive end, like his counterpart Damian Lillard, he’s pretty putrid on that end. Although offensive capabilities are weighed more heavily than defensive capabilities, that’s a narrative the Portland backcourt hasn’t been able to avoid. 

I’d comfortably rank Ben Simmons (15), Kemba Walker (17), Karl Anthony-Towns (18), and Jimmy Butler (21), along with a few other that may possibly have an argument over CJ respectively. 

The Klay Conundrum

Realistically, before Klay Thompson blew his knee out on a bang-bang play at the rim in the NBA finals last June, he was anywhere from the 13th-18th best player in basketball. Factoring in Klay’s  DNA, and the fact that many athletes actually come back stronger from ACL tears, this plummet into the high 40’s seems entirely unfair to him. 

An injury of that magnitude warrants a drop for certain, but they overdid it here. This shouldn’t be surprising to many though, playing alongside the great Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry has caused folks to overlook Klay’s potency far too often over the course of his career. 

He outwardly expressed his disdain for missing out on an All-NBA selection this past year. Now he’s hearing about these rankings too, believe that. Sports Illustrated recently came out with a top 100 players list as well, and had Thompson even lower at 58. 

If he makes a full recovery come spring-time, expect a reinvigorated, highly productive, regular old Klay Thompson. With Durant leaving the Warriors this summer, Klay should get a higher volume of shots. Without the immense danger Durant presents he won’t get as many open shots. But, Klay is arguably the best catch and shoot shooter in league history. He doesn’t even need a split second to set himself and cash in three point and mid range jumpers. The sidekick splash brother isn’t going anywhere.

 

-Simon Brady

 

 

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