Nobody likes their #NBARank

ESPN loves lists. They create hits and generate debate. That is what ESPN likes. For more commentary on that, visit our friends at Awful Announcing.

We get drawn in as much as anyone. So do the players. And because of ESPN’s reach, they have clout. Media ask the players about and they get responses.

And, to be honest, nobody likes where they are ranked in ESPN’s annual #NBARank, a quasi-scientific ranking of every player in the NBA.

NBA players are commenting it in the same way you or I might. And they are not happy.

Let us start with Kobe Bryant.

Bryant controversially was rated 40th in this year’s ratings after missing nearly the entire season and still working to prove he has returned from the rupture Achilles from late in the 2013 season. Some slipping was sure to be expected. The rankings are trying to rank the best players in the league and the impacts on their team. Someone would like to see Bryant play a full season before returning him to being a top-10 player.

When asked about the controversial ranking, Bryant was none too thrilled (h/t Matt Birch of The Sports Daily):

Bryant is smirking a bit at the notion. He certainly does not consider himself the 40th best player in the league. Bryant probably feels he is still in LeBron James and Kevin Durant‘s company.

Bryant will let his play do the talking though. Those from ESPN who voted on the poll all pretty much backtracked saying they wanted to see him actually try to make it through a season before returning him to that celebrated status. Dwyane Wade‘s drop is somewhat similar. It does not affect his stature historically at all.

Still, it cannot help but serve as motivation. Especially for one of the more driven players in the league.

To make it to the NBA, you have to have some sort of inflated sense of self worth. Take No. 90 Derrick Favors. Favors is down 22 spots from last year as he has struggled to live up to his potential. But that does not mean Favors does not think he is underrated.

He told Jody Genessey of the Deseret News, he believes he should be much higher (maybe a bit delusionally higher):

“They’re going to rank me where they want to rank me. I really don’t pay attention to that,” Favors said. “I come out there, see the guys ranked in front of me and try to go up.

I’m cocky. I’d rank myself No. 1.”

Of course, he believes he is No. 1. Move over LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

While this exercise is nice for generating discussion and generating page views, it serves as a distraction and minor motivation for players who feel slighted.

In about a week, we can try to settle this on the floor.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily