‘Tis that time of year when every outlet on the hoops blogosphere strives to put out the definitive top 100 ranking of NBA players for that particular offseason. However, one list stands out among the rest in terms of the stock that is put into it and the discussion that it creates. Namely, ESPN’s NBArank.
The four-letter network has been gradually unveiling the 2022 edition of its list in recent weeks, with the top five finally dropping on Friday.
As the Dub Nation denizens — and, well, just about anyone — might have expected, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry notched a spot amont the elite of the elite in the Association. However, fans in the Bay Area weren’t particularly happy about his placement in the top five.
Curry, who’s fresh off a Finals MVP performance and netting another championship ring, brought up the rear among ESPN’s top-rated group as the No. 5 player league-wide. He was beaten out by Joel Embiid at No. 4, Luka Doncic at No. 3, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic at No. 2 and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the top spot.
Dub Nation Reacts to Steph’s Ranking
Following the release of the rankings, fans voiced their opinion on the Dubs star’s placement in droves via social media. Needless to say, the Golden State faithful had some big thoughts about ESPN’s appraisal of their star.
“How can you rank Steph 5 when he literally won an espy for BEST NBA PLAYER last season lmao,” wondered one tweeter.
“There must be something wrong in the methodology of that ESPN NBA Rank thing,” declared another commenter. “There’s no way that if you polled individual ESPN NBA writers, a lot of them would have Steph Curry 5th, right? They have to be smarter than that.”
“‘Can Steph curry do it again’ 😂😂😂 they still using the 2015 talking points,” tweeted a third dissenter.
“Dude just won fmvp. AT THE LEAST, im okay with giannis as 1 cuz hes been consistent but to put steph below jokic, luka and embiid is just wrong 😭 steph beat 2 of these superstars in the playoffs btw,” added a fourth fan.
Meanwhile, a fifth fan implored Steph to use the ESPN slight as fuel in 2022-23, writing, “You looking at the NBArank by ESPN, Steph? MAKE THEM EAT THEIR WORDS (or numbers). Get that 3rd MVP and 5th chip my brother!!!!!!!”
There was also this gem:
For their part, the folks at ESPN noted that Curry’s year-to-year position remained static partially due to his injury during the last month of the regular season and what his team was able to do while he was on the sidelines.
“In his absence, his teammates stepped up and kept the Warriors afloat to secure the West’s No. 3 seed,” wrote ESPN’s Kendra Andrews. “Perhaps that — in addition to the rise of the MVP contenders below — is the reason he’s in the same spot in our rankings.”
This much is certain — Steph’s ’21-22 wasn’t his best-ever campaign, as he dipped below 45% from the floor and 40% from deep for the first time in his career (excluding his injury-plagued 2019-20). What he did during the Finals, though, logging a 31-6-5 line with shooting splits of 48-44-86 could be a strong indicator for things to come.
So, while the voters for this list may not be as bullish on Curry as other members of the hoops intelligentsia are, Warriors fans have every reason in the world to believe that their guy will be the real No. 1 in ’22-23.