Tuesday, October 26 2021

ESPN recently dropped its full rankings for the top-100 players in the NBA, and the Los Angeles Lakers are represented near the top by its three stars.

Newly acquired Russell Westbrook slotted in at No. 29, an increase of seven spots from ESPN’s 2020 rankings.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis were always going to be near the peak of the list, but it was just uncertain exactly where they’d land.

Davis weaved into the top-10, as ESPN ranked him at No. 9. He was No. 2 last season:

When Davis was at his best in a Lakers uniform, dominating the bubble en route to the 2020 NBA title, he played close to 60% of his minutes at center during that postseason run. L.A.’s net rating with Davis playing the 5 was a sublime plus-15.8. The Lakers went out and got Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan to man the middle alongside Davis for this upcoming season, but recent history has shown that AD thrives in that spot when it matters most. It will be on head coach Frank Vogel and his staff to know how much is too much for Davis down low without risking injury, as poor health sabotaged his 2020-21 season. — Dave McMenamin

As for James, ESPN placed him at No. 3. He was No. 1 last season. Here’s the big question ESPN has for the soon-to-be 37-year-old:

Can James help a Lakers team with 10 fresh faces coalesce into a championship team from the jump? James has four titles under his belt already and has long cemented his legacy as one of the true greats to ever play the game, but adding a ring at age 37 would certainly boost his quest for universal GOAT recognition. — Dave McMenamin

The duo had their 2020-21 season derailed by lower-leg injuries, but both James and Davis have apparently come into camp in much better physical shape than last year, as noted by head coach Frank Vogel and general manager Rob Pelinka.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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