ESPN and Sports Illustrated have both fully revealed their NBA player rankings for the 2017-2018 season. A mostly pointless exercise outside of ‘creating debate’, but at least one subjective data point for how paltry the Bulls top-end talent is.
There were Bulls player[s] that made both lists; however, it’s probably easier to argue that these players shouldn’t have been included on the lists rather than taking the opposite approach and arguing that they should have been ranked higher.
Robin Lopez #85
By letting his positioning do the work, Lopez ended up challenging more shots than any player in the league last season and blocking a similar percentage of opponents’ shots to DeAndre Jordan. Smart, restrained movement from a player who understands his limitations can do wonders. Lopez obviously isn’t the right fit for teams who want mold-breaking dynamism out of their centers; an 18-foot set shot is about as ambitious as Lopez gets. Having him around, however, allows for the creators on the team to do what they do best while buttressing the rest of the team’s operations. -Per Sports Illustrated writer Rob Mahoney
It’s nice to see the perpetually underrated Lopez get some recognition.
Dwyane Wade #74
The Flash hasn’t completely extinguished, but he’s getting deeper and deeper into the fizzle. Wade (18.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.8 APG) wasn’t nearly as effective as his box score stats suggest during his first season in Chicago, ranking well outside the top 100 in both Win Shares and Real Plus-Minus while missing out on the All-Star Game for the first time since 2004. Even with the benefit of playing alongside an A-lister in Jimmy Butler, the future Hall of Famer posted career-lows in FG% and True Shooting Percentage, and he saw his Player Efficiency Rating drop for the fifth straight season. Far too often, Wade’s approach to transition defense recalled post-Achilles Kobe Bryant, and he made waves in the media when his frustration with his younger, less talented teammates spilled over.
- Only the Atlanta Hawks (Dennis Schroder; No. 76), Orlando Magic (Nikola Vucevic; No. 89), and the Brooklyn Nets (D’Angelo Russell; No. 100) had their highest ranked player rated lower.
- The Bulls having 2 in the top-100 tied them with the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Phoenix Suns. The Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, and Sacramento Kings had only one player apiece make the list. The Houston Rockets had six players make the list which was the most of any team.
Nikola Mirotic #88
Stats & Info: Consistency eludes Mirotic, who remains unsigned following another up-and-down season in Chicago. After averaging just 9 PPG on 30 percent shooting from 3 over the first five months of 2016-17, Mirotic ended on a high note, scoring nearly 16 PPG in March and April, while connecting on 43 percent from beyond the arc -Per ESPN.com
We actually got a Niko update earlier this week. He posted a workout picture on his Instagram and several people on Twitter noticed that he was working out in the Advocate Center and was wearing Bulls gear despite remaining unsigned.
Other notes from the ESPN list:
- This list included rookies.
- Only the Atlanta Hawks (Dennis Schroder; No. 96) had their best player rated lower.
- The Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, and Sacramento Kings tied with the Bulls with the worst representation in the league with one player apiece on the list.
- San Antonio and Houston each had six players on the list which was the most of any NBA team.
In the grand scheme of things, rankings like this are very subjective and don’t mean a whole lot. However, if you want to put any stock into them, both rankings suggest that the Bulls haven’t done a good job in talent acquisition in their rebuild so far, and need a lottery win after a very bad season.