ESPN began posting its NBA player rankings Monday, doling out 25 per day as it counts down from No. 100. While Carmelo Anthony and others took issue with where they were placed, some NBA players had a different reaction: How would journalists feel if we ranked them?
That idea was expressed Tuesday by the Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum in a manner that did not appear particularly complimentary to reporters. “We need to start ranking these weak a– journalist[s],” he wrote on Twitter. “With descriptions of their strengths, weaknesses and ability to make up ‘sources.’ ”
That got the attention of TNT’s David Aldridge, who tweeted at McCollum, “Serious question: why do you or anyone who actually plays in the L[eague] care about a meaningless ranking by journalists you don’t know/respect?”
In turn, the Warriors’ Andre Iguodala replied to Aldridge’s comment by saying, “But would be fun to rank y’all …,” and teammate David West chimed in with, “Can’t take that heat,” adding a pair of emoji crying tears of laughter.
The Thunder’s Patrick Patterson said on Twitter of McCollum’s suggestion, “Brother is on to something here ….” Meanwhile, McCollum was issuing a string of posts on the topic, replying to several NBA journalists who offered their own thoughts, some humorous and some less so.
McCollum also continued his exchange with Aldridge, who had responded to other Twitter users by asserting that the annual rankings of NBA players by sites such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated affect “no serious person’s perception” of the players, and that the “last two summers,” in which players received massive contracts, “completely belie any argument on impacting ‘bottom line.’ ”
“Carmelo Anthony’s brand is not impacted one scintilla by where he’s ‘ranked’ by a sports network,” Aldridge claimed.
Saying that he didn’t “care about” his own ranking (which has yet to be revealed by ESPN, but was 26th last year), McCollum said, “I’m speaking on behalf of many others who were grossly underrated.” He added that he “went to Lehigh” and thus wasn’t even “supposed to be here.”
Anthony certainly felt that he had been grossly underrated, and, in fact, disrespected. Earlier Tuesday, he had taken to Twitter to protest the fact that ESPN placed him at No. 64, just behind, among others, 63rd-ranked Lonzo Ball, who has yet to play in the NBA.
Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum, taken one spot after Ball at No. 3 in the NBA draft, wasn’t the only player who offered support for Anthony. The Pacers’ Damien Wilkins tweeted, “ESPN really got 63 players ahead of Melo!? Y’all cut the sh*t, man.”
Other NBA figures were critical of the rankings in general. The Spurs’ Kyle Anderson, who didn’t crack the top 100, laughingly tweeted, “This list is wild, whoever made this needs to go,” while Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey said, “The @ESPNNBA & @SInow top 100 rankings have been seemingly random number generators so far.”
“We still care about rankings nowadays??” the Suns’ Devin Booker said. “I thought that was high school.”
The Pelicans’ Solomon Hill offered a wry perspective on the whole dynamic of the rankings and the inevitable reactions. “As long as hoopers know who’s who, it shouldn’t matter,” he said, “2k rating, NBA Rank, we just feeding them clicks.” He added in a hashtag, “As I feed them again.”
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