Next week, the 2023-24 NBA Regular Season will officially begin. And that means that it is time for The Ringer to release their annual top-100 players list.
Like we said with ESPN’s top 100, it is impossible not to quibble with at least some of these rankings. That’s what makes the game so beautiful. It is open to multiple different interpretations. With all that said, when you’re reading through this list from a New Orleans Pelicans lens, it is hard not to overlook some of their decisions.
In total, there were three Pelicans included in The Ringer’s top 100. Here they are:
Zion Williamson – #26
Brandon Ingram – #32
CJ McCollum – #80
The first thing that stands out here (as the title suggests) is that The Ringer (at least heading into the season) doesn’t believe our roster houses any top 20 players. With Williamson, their staff recognizes his individual splendor but, as most people do, cites his injury concerns as the reason he’s not higher on their list. Their introductory line for his player bio reads, “Game-breaking star who could dominate the league for years to come—if only he could stay on the court.”
To their credit, The Ringer does say that Brandon Ingram may be the most underrated player in the NBA. They also mention his ability to create for himself and his teammates. Their major issues with him right now are also health and the fact that he’s only been in one playoff series. But they do believe the best is yet to come for Ingram.
Jonas Valanciunas was not included in the top 100 despite being on ESPN’s list. This isn’t that big of a deal. It honestly probably makes more sense, especially considering his lack of rim protection, defensive versatility, and spacing.
The omission that is really infuriating is Trey Murphy III. He blossomed in year two when given the chance to play increased minutes alongside on-ball stars like Williamson and Ingram (when they were available). He resembles the future of the 3-and-D archetype – a player who can shoot, defend, and put the ball on the floor to defend closeouts.
The league will soon know just how good/valuable Murphy is. It’s just too bad we’ll have to wait a little while before he can do it.