3 Bulls who should have ranked higher in ESPN’s Top 100 players list

DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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With the season just a few weeks away from getting underway, ESPN dropped their Top 100 list for the 2022-23 season. In order to prevent the article from feeling like clickbait nonsense, ESPN admirably took it upon themselves to compile a panel of over 200 reporters and analysts to create as accurate of a ranking as possible. Surprisingly, the results were… still terrible. At least that’s the case for the Chicago Bulls, who also had four players on last year’s edition of the article.

Despite a big step in the wrong direction for Nikola Vucevic last season, ESPN still had him ranked fairly high, dropping only 18 spots to No. 57 on the list. Other than that, however, the rankings the Bulls received were borderline disrespectful.

Alex Caruso is not on this list, as he was a surprising omission despite receiving a favorable ranking from both The Athletic, who placed him in the 85 to 125 tier range, and CBS, who had him all the way up at the 77th spot. The rankings over at The Athletic and CBS were both far kinder to the Chicago Bulls than ESPN’s, which speaks volumes about who the true NBA experts work for.

Even after a very successful 2021-22 season, ESPN continues to severely underrate the members of this Chicago Bulls roster in their Top 100 list.

Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls, ESPN Top 100 NBArank
Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

3. Lonzo Ball (78)

Despite performing phenomenally in limited time, Lonzo Ball drops a ridiculous 21 spots here from his ranking in 2021. It’s not like injury concerns are anything new with Lonzo, so I can’t even give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re docking him for injury reasons.

Yet, that appears to be ESPN’s sole explanation for this nonsensical rating.

"“How healthy will Ball be this season? Ball hasn’t appeared in a game since Jan. 14 and has experienced discomfort whenever he ramps up basketball activity this offseason. He is not expected to participate in the start of training camp, raising questions for when he might be ready to return to the floor at all.”"

By all accounts, public interest in Lonzo was hitting an all-time low after his second season in New Orleans. The media was becoming increasingly critical of his ability to create offense in the half-court and beginning to write off his defensive impact. It wasn’t until Ball came to Chicago, that he thrived in an environment built for him and started to look like the best version of himself we’ve ever seen.

Injuries have people overlooking Lonzo Ball in ESPN’s Top 100 list.

Despite the fact Ball rated out as a top-five perimeter defender and 3-point shooter last season, ESPN has ranked inefficient shot-chuckers like Dillon Brooks (ranked no. 75) and Spencer Dinwiddie (no. 69) ahead of Lonzo. In fact, the Chicago Bulls would get laughed out of the room if they traded Lonzo straight up for many of the players ranked as far as 20 spots ahead of him, including Kyle lowry, Jerami Grant, and Russell Westbrook.

It’s true that there’s more point guard talent than ever before in the league, as almost every team has a franchise cornerstone at point guard now. For that reason, I understand why some may not have Lonzo ranked highly on their list of the league’s top guards, and it’s only going to be harder to move up as more dynamic guards join the league each year.

For now, all we can do is hope Lonzo’s knee scope surgery goes well, and that he can return healthy to continue doing what he proved he could do last year. If he can manage that, I have no doubts he’ll easily outperform these low projections.