2. Brandon Ingram (No. 27)
Moving past Banchero, we have another questionable decision here, even if it’s less egregious. That’s because ESPN ranks Brandon Ingram as the 27th-best player in the NBA, moving him up two places, despite making no notable developments in his game over the last four seasons even while more talent floods the league by the year. This was particularly interesting considering Ingram’s horrible stint with Team USA this summer at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“Despite his performance in the FIBA World Cup, there’s some confidence that Ingram’s NBA performance last season (24.7 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds on .484/.390/.882 splits) will carry into the 2023-24 season,” says ESPN’s Lopez, “That player could be an All-NBA type if he stays on the court for more than 45 games like he did a season ago.”
Funny then, that the idea of Ingram being a potential All-NBA player has him ranked a whole 12 spots above DeRozan, who already is an All-NBA caliber player. Betting Ingram to outperform DeRozan would be a foolish risk in the first place, but with Zion Williamson returning to the fold in New Orleans, any expectations of Ingram being the superior player next season should be squashed immediately.
Neither of these stars has accomplished as much as DeMar DeRozan, nor have they remained their team’s top option over the years.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns (No. 20)
We may be reaching controversial territory here, but I’ll remain in my assertion that DeMar DeRozan is a more impactful player than Karl-Anthony Towns when on the court. Drafted first overall in 2015, Towns has benefitted immensely from his perceived image as a franchise player. But now that we’ve seen Anthony Edwards quickly supplant his position as the centerpiece in Minnesota, it begs the question: is KAT truly one of the league’s great players?
Towns is an effective player, no doubt. His track record speaks to that. But considering he was hailed as a defensive prodigy coming out of the draft, just for Minnesota to have to dish out $205 million to a player at his very same position to compensate for his defensive deficiencies, it becomes even harder to defend Towns’ position as a true NBA superstar.
When DeMar was KAT’s age, he had also earned three All-Star selections and two All-NBA honors. The difference between these two stars is that DeRozan led his Raptors to a 353-322 record, 5 playoff appearances, and four series wins, while Towns has mustered a meager 229-282 record, three playoff appearances, and zero series wins. On top of that, DeRozan has only gotten better with time, enjoying the best season of his career with the Bulls in 2021-22. Until proven otherwise, DeMar is the better, more impactful player between the two.