The Toronto Raptors won 48 games last season despite many of the prediction wizards across the NBA media tapestry saying that the team was destined for another season in the lottery. The contributors of names like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam helped Toronto defy the haters.
The annual ESPN “NBArank” has been a constant source of irritation among Raptors fans, as many of their favorite players get thrown down the rankings in favor of players from larger American markets. This year’s list may not be as objectionable as some in the past, but there are still some holes to poke in it.
Scottie Barnes got a surprising level of respect from the minds behind this list, as he came in at No. 39 overall. He ranked ahead of names like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LaMelo Ball, Dejounte Murray, and Zion Williamson. Outside of Barnes, Toronto has the right to take issue with this list.
There are a few Raptors players who should be steaming after this list’s release. This trio in question should use this ranking as fuel to their competitive fire. Maybe one more All-Star season or breakout campaign will get ESPN’s head turned.
3 Toronto Raptors disrespected by ESPN’s NBArank Top 100
3. Gary Trent Jr. (NR)
Perhaps the biggest sin on this list is the fact that Trent is not on the list despite the fact that rookies like Keegan Murray and Paolo Banchero are ranked ahead of him. Even if we take that egregious miscalculation and put it over to the side, there are still reasons to complain about an 18.3 points per game scorer being left off this list.
Trent was ranked behind Grant Williams and his 7.6 points per game, a forward in Brandon Clarke who saw his minutes decrease for the second straight season, and Caris LeVert, whom Trent outperformed on a playoff team. Does anyone outside of New York City or the Curry household think Seth Curry is a better player than GTJ?
Gary Trent Jr. has given the Toronto Raptors a quality guard.
Trent was not just a volume scorer, as last year showed irrefutable proof that he can be a tremendous defender in addition to setting Toronto up for success offensively with his shooting. At just 23 years old, Toronto has one of the game’s fastest-rising young players on their roster.
Ask the Bulls and Heat, who saw Trent torch them for 30-point games in the regular season, if Seth Curry is a better player than him. Considering how much of the league is dominated by young guards, a player of Trent’s caliber being cast aside is a bit puzzling.