- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2018

Did John Wall get snubbed by ESPN’s annual series, “NBArank”?

With the NBA preseason approaching, ESPN.com is publishing a ranking of the top 100 players in the league for the eighth straight year. Wall saw a precipitous fall from last year’s ranking of No. 15 all the way to No. 32.

Backcourt teammate Bradley Beal, meanwhile, came in at No. 29, the highest ranking for any Washington Wizards player. Otto Porter Jr. rose four spots from a year ago to check in at No. 38.

Wall fell behind point guards Kemba Walker of Charlotte and Donovan Mitchell of Utah and combo guard Jrue Holiday of New Orleans.

“He’s quick. He’s nearly an unstoppable scorer. He is, in Washington, the franchise.” ESPN ranker Jerry Bembry wrote. “So why does this season feel crucial for John Wall?

“That happens when you get bounced in the first round of the playoffs; have a dip from the previous season in scoring, assists and shooting percentage in an injury-plagued campaign; and at season’s end urge management to weed out malcontents,” he wrote.

Did ESPN consider that Wall “urged management to weed out malcontents” to justify his drop in his ranking? That part seems unclear. ESPN formulates their rankings by asking analysts to look at dozens of pairings of players and predict which one will be better in the upcoming season, a la “John Wall vs. Kemba Walker.” Of course, that judgment has to rely at least in part on past performance.

Beal dropped one spot from last year’s ranking of No. 28, but remains in the league’s top 30.

“Faced with adversity after John Wall was sidelined last season, Beal stood tall,” Bembry wrote. “He became a better passer, a better rebounder, a bigger multidimensional threat. Beal drops a spot from last season, but you can argue he enters this season as the Wizards player with the biggest upside.”

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