Stephen A. Smith thinks that ESPN’s “Best 25 under 25” NBA ranking is way off.
On Tuesday, ESPN unveiled its “NBA’s Best 25 under 25” list, in which its NBA insiders ranked young stars by their future potential. The top five players on ESPN’s list included Luka Doncic at the top spot, followed by Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball, Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum. Other names mentioned in the top 10 were Ben Simmons, Devin Booker, and Bam Adebayo. With lists like these, its only natural for fans to debate the rankings, but surprisingly, even ESPN’s own First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith has an issue with the new list.
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According to Stephen A., ESPN was wrong to put 19-year-old rookie LaMelo Ball so high on the list. The first-year guard for the Charlotte Hornets is ranked at number 3, and although many can argue that the Rookie of the Year contender has a bright future ahead of him in the NBA, his placement over young stars like Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum has some basketball fans, Stephen A. Smith included, scratching their heads.
“ESPN needs to drug test anybody that has something to do with this list,” Stephen A. says in the clip above. “It makes no sense. LaMelo Ball before Devin Booker? Really! LaMelo Ball before Donovan Mitchell? Really! LaMelo Ball before Jayson Tatum? Really! What the hell is going on?”
Although his bewilderment may come off as him simply hating on LaMelo Ball, the First Take commentator clarifies his stance, saying, “LaMelo Ball can play. I believe in this kid. Happy for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets for drafting him. I believe that he’s going to be an All Star sooner than later. He was my Rookie of the Year before he got hurt, but to sit up there and put him at number 3, ahead of Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Jayson Tatum? I mean, come on!”
What are your thoughts on ESPN’s new “Best 25 under 25” NBA ranking?