Whenever ESPN releases a ranking of players, be it their annual NBA Rank series, or Tuesday’s “NBA’s best 25 under 25,” there’s going to be controversy.
In an unsurprisingly animated segment on First Take, Stephen A. Smith lost it LaMelo Ball’s ranking at No. 3 on the list, as determined by a poll of three ESPN NBA experts. The point of the exercise was to rank the NBA’s young stars based on future potential, but ESPN’s confusing headline framing of “best 25 under 25” caused many heads to turn when Ball, after just 41 NBA games, was ranked ahead of Jayson Tatum (No. 5), Ben Simmons (No. 7) or Ja Morant (No. 15).
Here’s what fans are saying about ESPN’s ranking: