Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, and Jakob Poeltl are nowhere to be found in ESPN's top 100
While Murray's ranking was certainly disappointing, unfortunately, that isn't the only issue with ESPN's list. Three Spurs players that arguably deserve a spot in the top 100, in Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, and Jakob Poeltl, were not included in the bottom 50 spots on ESPN's list.
The only other current Spurs player that was featured in ESPN's rankings in 2020 was White, who barely made it to the list at #97. This year, after struggling through a season full of injuries and COVID-19, I would not be surprised to see him snubbed from the list entirely.
White is not the only other Spurs player that should be in consideration for a spot in the top 100, however. Both Johnson and Poeltl have a case for sneaking in the list. Johnson had a bit of a breakout sophomore year, averaging 12.8 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. If a similarly young player in Haliburton is able to easily crack the top 100, then I would expect Johnson, who additionally won a gold medal in Tokyo, to be given a fair shot.
I think that Poeltl has the lowest chance of the three players to make the top 100, but he certainly shouldn't be overlooked. He had the best defensive performance of his career this past season, at one point being featured on the Defensive Player of the Year ladder, and is slowly coming along on offense.
With all of this in mind, though, all three players share a common problem with making the list at this point: they aren't in the bottom 50. While all of these players certainly have a case to be included in spots 100 through 51, having any of the three justifiably place in the top 50 is a big stretch.
Furthermore, as I read more and dug a little deeper into ESPN's rankings, it became increasingly clear that the decision-makers for these rankings appear to value shooting and general scoring ability over all else, outside of a few notable exceptions.
For example, there are several mediocre to bad defenders ranked between 51 and 60 on the list, including Buddy Hield, Fred VanVleet, Gordon Hayward, and Collin Sexton. Whether or not their offensive abilities make up for their defense to the extent that their rank on this list implies, though, is very debatable.
In the end, while I certainly hope to see more Spurs players in ESPN's top 100, based on the analysis provided in the bottom 50 of that list, I am not getting my hopes up. At this point, more so than much of anything else, I hope that these rankings will continue to add fuel to the fire under the young Spurs players. I'll be patiently waiting for them to prove ESPN wrong once again.