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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Zach LaVine, Devin Booker, Chicago Bulls, ESPN Top 100 NBArank
Zach LaVine, Devin Booker, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

1. Zach LaVine (27)

Considering the fact that Zach LaVine jumps six spots on this list after an injury-riddled season and overall worse performance than the one he posted in 2020-21, it really makes you realize just how egregiously underrated he is in the first place. This much is especially true when you compare him to his peers on this list.

LaVine is ranked 27th, which sounds good on paper, but ultimately has him as the 7th best shooting guard in the NBA. For those that have actually watched LaVine’s game grow in Chicago, you’d know this is a severe underestimation of his talent. Among the players ranked ahead of Zach, we have: Edwards (25th), Donovan Mitchell (24th), Jaylen Brown (22nd), Bradley Beal (19th), James Harden (13th), and Devin Booker (10th).

Seeing as how ESPN believes these players are clearly a cut above LaVine, let’s compare his statistical prowess over the last two seasons to this group of elite guards.

  • LaVine: 25.8 PTS, 4.8 REB, 4.7 AST, 49.1 FG%, 40.4 3P%, 85.1 FT%
  • Edwards: 20.3 PTS, 4.7 REB, 3.4 AST, 42.9 FG%, 34.4 3P%, 78.1 FT%
  • Mitchell: 26.1 PTS, 4.3 REB, 5.3 AST, 44.4 FG%, 36.8 3P%, 84.9 FT%
  • Brown: 24.1 PTS, 6.1 REB, 3.4 AST, 47.9 FG%, 37.6 3P%, 76.1 FT%
  • Beal: 28.1 PTS, 4.7 REB, 5.3 AST, 47.3 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 87.2 FT%
  • Harden: 23.1 PTS, 7.8 REB, 10.5 AST, 43.4 FG%, 34.4 3P%, 87.1 FT%
  • Booker: 26.2 PTS, 4.6 REB, 4.6 AST, 47.5 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 86.8 FT%

ESPN’s Top 100 should rank Zach LaVine as one of the league’s best shooting guards, because the stats support his case.

As you can see, not only does LaVine belong right up there with this group of players, he’s flat-out better than them in several categories. Despite playing through last season injured and not having DeRozan by his side the year before, LaVine is by far the most efficient scoring threat in this group.

He doesn’t have Brown’s ball-handling issues and isn’t showing signs of decline like Harden. His defense is at least on par with Booker, Beal, and Mitchell, and is very clearly so much better than Edwards that he shouldn’t even be in the conversation.

This isn’t all pure conjecture on my part, as the advanced analytics back it up too,

  • LaVine: 20.7 PER, 61.9 TS%, .129 WS/48, 3.2 BPM, 5.7 VoRP
  • Edwards: 15.2 PER, 54.2 TS%, .051 WS/48, -0.4 BPM, 1.9 VoRP
  • Mitchell: 21.5 PER, 57.1 TS%, .159 WS/48, 4.3 BPM, 6.5 VoRP
  • Brown: 19.4 PER, 58.0 TS%, .12 WS/48, 2.3 BPM, 4.5 VoRP
  • Beal: 20.6 PER, 57.4 TS%, .097 WS/48, 2.4 BPM, 4.0 VoRP
  • Harden: 22.3 PER, 59.8 TS%, .174 WS/48, 5.3 BPM, 7.4 VoRP
  • Booker: 20.3 PER, 58.1 TS%, .130 WS/48, 2.2 BPM, 4.9 VoRP

If all of this looks like a bunch of nonsense to you, rest assured, it’s good news. Among the proclaimed 7 best shooting guards in the NBA, LaVine has the best true shooting percentage, ranks fourth in win shares per 48 minutes, and is third in player efficiency rating, box plus/minus, and value over replacement player. He is not in the bottom three in any of these commonly used advanced stats, easily clearing Edwards, Brown, and Beal.

Looking at this, it’s easy to see that Harden is still sitting comfortably atop the dogpile, but LaVine, Mitchell, and Booker are all much closer than ESPN would have you believe. In fact, looking at this, it actually seems LaVine has a slight edge on Booker, despite his placement in the top 10. That probably means Booker deserves to be bumped down as much as LaVine deserves bumped up, but it’s still an indictment of just how poor these rankings are nonetheless.

Next. Rival exec believes Bulls should trade DeRozan. dark