Recently, ESPN released their annual top-100 rankings list for NBA players heading into 2023-24, and found within the mix were four members of the Memphis Grizzlies: Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Ja Morant.
Though it was rather unsurprising that these aforementioned names were included in the ranks, what was a bit questionable was where some of them ended up falling, particularly the latter in Morant.
A legitimate superstar in the association who, last season, came in ranked ninth following his first All-NBA campaign, the 24-year-old finds himself slotting in at the 35 spot on the list, with the analysis for such a turnout being, “in large part,” due to his well documented off-court troubles.
As far as his personal decisions are concerned, perhaps there’s a case to be made that he could fall outside of the top 30 on such a list, though let’s not pretend that every other eligible individual has a squeaky clean record.
However, from an on-court perspective, in no way is it fair to have Morant ranked so low — even simply outside the top 20 is borderline egregious, let alone the top 30.
Players Grizzlies star Ja Morant should’ve been ranked higher than in ESPN 100
Looking at ESPN’s rankings, there are several individuals who, if things were actually based purely on on-court abilities and impact, should easily be found trailing behind the Grizzlies star.
With this in mind, here are four players, in particular, that Morant has a strong argument to be ranked above on this current list.
4. Jaren Jackson Jr.
This is by no means a slight when it is said that Jackson Jr. should not, under any circumstance, be ranked higher than Morant on a rankings list discussing the league’s biggest and brightest stars.
Now, to be absolutely clear, the big man undoubtedly deserves to be placed within the top-35 range, as his accomplishments of two All-Defensive team selections, an All-Star nod, and a Defensive Player of the Year award to go along with his latest per-game averages of 18.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks on 50.6 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent shooting from deep in 2022-23 speak for itself.
Nonetheless, even with understanding just how impactful and stupendous of a player Jackson is, it can’t even be realistically argued that he’s the best player on his own team, and the lone reason, simply put, is because Morant also resides in the 38103.
From the counting stats and advanced metrics to his personal league-issued accomplishments, it’s undeniable that the guard deserves a higher standing than the big man both on the Grizzlies and within ESPN’s rankings.