In yet another sign of disrespect, ESPN released their list of top players in Orlando’s bubble and omitted Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook.
It’s become blatantly obvious that the basketball world missed NBA action over the past four months, as we witnessed several player comparisons that shouldn’t have even been up for debate. We also saw the classic debate regarding Houston Rockets superstar Russell Westbrook and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
But one thing that’s also been a direct effect of the hiatus is that many basketball “experts” seem to have forgotten who the top players in the league are. On Thursday, ESPN compiled their list of the top ten players in the bubble, and well, let’s just say there was a major omission.
ESPN’s Bubble Player Rankings:
1) LeBron James
2) Giannis Antetokounmpo
3) Kawhi Leonard
4) James Harden
5) Anthony Davis
6) Joel Embiid
7) Luka Doncic
8) Paul George
9) Nikola Jokic
10) Jimmy Butler
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 16, 2020
ESPN slights Rockets’ Russell Westbrook
As is always the case with such a list, there’s an argument to be made for putting Russ ahead of several players that were listed ahead of him, such as Paul George, Joel Embiid, and Jimmy Butler. This comes less than a week after Bleacher Report listed their top 100 players, leaving Russell Westbrook out of the top 20, which is even more egregious, considering how they had Khris Middleton ranked 10th-best and Westbrook ranked 22nd.
But why does this keep happening? How could so many columnists who have covered the league for so long continue to slight a former MVP and two-time scoring champ? What makes ESPN’s list even worse is that it’s factoring in players who are in the bubble, and the last time we saw Westbrook, he was dominating the league . In fact, Westbrook has already entrenched himself in the Houston Rockets’ record books, while also making a case for being a top-three player in the league.
Russell Westbrook is one of only three players this season with 1400 points, 400 rebounds, and 370 assists.
The other two are LeBron James and Luka Doncic. pic.twitter.com/w0ukKRBmtj
— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) April 20, 2020
What’s impressive about these numbers is that Westbrook missed 11 games this season, so he’d arguably be ahead of both LeBron James and Luka Doncic statistically if he played in those 11 games. But even if you’re of the belief that the Houston Rockets point guard hasn’t been a top-three player in the 2019-20 season, he’s definitely been a top-ten player this season as he’s posted the following averages.
- 27.5 points (7th-best in the league)
- 7 assists (11th-best in the league)
- 8 rebounds (2nd-among guards)
Hopefully Westbrook has taken notice of ESPN’s list, as he couldn’t hold back his laughter after seeing Bleacher Report’s list. But better yet, hopefully ESPN refrains from putting out another list, as they’ve exposed their lack of NBA knowledge once again.