ESPN’s recent ranking of NBA players was laughably terrible in many ways, and San Antonio Spurs’ forward DeMar DeRozan took notice on Tuesday.
ESPN has a longstanding history of having questionable opinions on the San Antonio Spurs, but they might’ve topped themselves with this one. Early Tuesday morning, they released their rankings of the 100 best NBA players for the upcoming season, starting with 100-51. The article can be found here (behind a paywall, which makes the list even more criminal).
We all know the Spurs have fallen out of the national spotlight, and rightfully so. They didn’t make the playoffs and looked downright bad for long stretches of the season. Still, that doesn’t excuse ESPN from completely forgetting about the season DeMar DeRozan had.
DeMar had one of the most efficient offensive seasons in league history in San Antonio last season, eclipsing the 50 percent mark in field goal percentage for the first time in his career. Shooting 53.1 percent from the field, DeRozan put up 22.1 points and dished out 5.6 assists a night.
We all know better than to take ESPN seriously when it comes to rankings anymore, but if DeRozan himself is going to address it, I might as well too. First, here’s a look at some of the guys that were ahead of DeMar on their player rankings — viewer discretion is advised.
ESPN 2020-2021 Player Rankings:
97. Derrick White95. LaMarcus Aldridge83. Dejounte Murray82. DeMar DeRozan
77. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope72. PJ Tucker71. Mike Conley68. OG Anunoby62. Bogdan Bogdanovic61. Davis Bertans59. Tyler Herro54. Lonzo Ball51. Michael Porter Jr.
— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) December 8, 2020
Yup, whoever compiled this list decided there are 81 players better than DeRozan is heading into 2020-21, including second-year guard Tyler Herro, P.J. Tucker, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. I’m sorry, but…what? KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE?!
There are clearly about 101 reasons the list should be completely thrown out based on that alone, and DeRozan himself would likely agree. Later in the afternoon, he had two simple emojis for ESPN’s rankings.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I know ranking an entire league full of players is a difficult task, and I’m sure many would argue with some of my past rankings and lists — it comes with the territory. But come on. Pope?
ESPN clearly has its own strange algorithms that involve popularity and team success over individual skill level, which is fine if that’s what they want to do. Just don’t expect them not to take any deserved grief for it.