With the rollout of ESPN’s 2024 edition of their NBA Top 100 list, the Chicago Bulls’ usual three suspects of stars have once again landed a spot among the NBA’s elite. After how poorly the Bulls fared in The Athletic’s Top 125 tier lists, I was looking forward to ESPN’s rankings in hopes Chicago would be fairly represented. Unfortunately, I would be disappointed as Chicago’s core trio of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic slid at least double-digit spots in ESPN’s Top 100.
These rankings were particularly disrespectful to DeRozan, as despite consistently being a lock for the All-Star game and teetering on the edge of All-NBA, he isn’t given the same level of respect as his peers. Here’s how ESPN’s Jamal Collier explained DeMar’s placement at No. 39, down 11 spots from No. 28 in 2022.
"“It would have been hard for DeRozan to follow up on a career year during his first season in Chicago, but DeRozan was still an All-Star in his second season with the Bulls. However, the Bulls did not win at the same level as they did two seasons ago.”"
It’s true, the Bulls have not won as many games as we would have liked to see. That being said, I find it odd that several players ranked ahead of DeRozan on this list have also failed to be consistent winners while also not accomplishing as much as DeMar has.
DeMar DeRozan deserved to be ranked ahead of these 5 NBA stars in ESPN’s Top 100 list.
5. Bradley Beal (No. 36)
We start things off with Bradley Beal here, who slipped a dramatic 18 spots for the sin of… being traded to the Phoenix Suns? At least, that’s how ESPN justified their ranking of the three-time All-Star.
“Beal went from being the No. 1 option with the Wizards to No. 3 for the Suns,” said ESPN’s McMenamin, “His willingness and ability to sacrifice for the greater good will dictate whether this ranking was fair.”
If we’re being honest with ourselves here, this isn’t a fair way to critique a player. What is a fair criticism, however, is the fact Beal has failed to lead a team to more than 35 wins in any of the last five seasons. If the Bulls are going to take so much flak for their losing ways, then how can Beal possibly avoid the same fate? Especially when you consider the fact DeRozan has racked up two All-Star appearances and an All-NBA nomination over the last two seasons, it feels foolish to rank a player like Beal who has no All-Stars or All-NBA teams to his name over DeMar.