The Los Angeles Lakers were well-represented on the ESPN’s Top-100 Players list as LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook all made an appearance.
James was the highest-ranked Laker, coming in third behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant. Davis was the second-highest ranked Laker as he came in at No.9 while Westbrook was named No. 29 overall. The Brooklyn Nets also had their trio of stars appear on the list, with Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving finishing at No. 1, No. 10 and No. 20, respectively.
James at No. 3 is still very respectable, but the Lakers star finished No. 1 overall in the previous rankings and that can be mostly attributed to his high ankle sprain and the team’s dispiriting first-round loss. Those factors coupled with the outstanding postseason performances from Durant and Antetokounmpo are most likely responsible for why the media is slightly lower on James heading into the 2021-22 season.
Davis saw the steepest skid as he was previously ranked No. 2 overall behind James and that is largely in part due to his injury-riddled campaign. Davis missed over half the season due to Achilles and calf injuries and could not finish out the playoffs due to a groin injury.
No one in the NBA has more to prove than Davis, and so far people like head coach Frank Vogel have been impressed with how the star big man has attacked the offseason to get his body right.
Westbrook actually climbed several spots as he was previously ranked No. 36 overall during his time with the Washington Wizards. Westbrook’s fit alongside James and Davis will be something to watch for all season given his inability to shoot from outside, but his tenaciousness and energy on a nightly basis will surely prop up the team.
No matter what rankings are put out, the Purple and Gold have to feel confident with their trio of stars and their supporting cast. If all goes well, ESPN may need to reconsider its rankings for next year.
Antetokounmpo still views James as best player in league
Even though ESPN may be low on James this season, one person who isn’t is Antetokounmpo as he recently declared that the Lakers star is still the best player in the world in his eyes.
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