Former NBA veteran Kenyon Martin Sr. slammed ESPN’s annual NBA rankings after the Los Angeles Clippers’ Russell Westbrook was ranked considerably lower than NBA rookies Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson on the list, causing a social media uproar.

Martin’s disapproval on rankings

In one of the episodes of Gil Arena’s podcast, Martin went off the rails when he talked about the rankings, saying, “That list is horse**it. ESPN, if you’re listening, it’s bull**it. There ain’t 33 people better than Kyrie Irving in the NBA. Start there. Show me 93 other people better than Russell Westbrook in the NBA. You got two people on the list that ain’t played one f**ing NBA minute. Wemby and Scoot. They got Russ number 94, dawg. Are you shitting me? Let’s stop this madness.”

“I don’t give a f**k what it is. The fact that you got two rookies on this list is bull**it. Let’s call it what it is,” he said. “Who the f**k are these people making these decisions?” Martin continued.

Kenyon Martin blasts ESPN for ranking Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson over Russell Westbrook

“Show me f***ing 93 other people better than Russell Westbrook in the NBA. You got two people on the list that ain’t played one f***ing NBA minute. How the f**k are they better…

— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) October 14, 2023

Most X users ended up agreeing with Martin in the comments section, saying they never got why Westbrook was treated so badly and that it was ridiculous to put NBA rookies on the list. One X user said, “I’ve never understood the media’s issue with Westbrook. He’s still one of the best players in the league. That little stint with the Lakers, where he obviously was in an environment not suited for him, should not tarnish his reputation like this.”

While another X user chimed in, “I don’t think a rookie should qualify for the rankings until 25 games into the season at minimum. It’s too much unknown and how do you really know if scoot is a star or victor holds up for a season.”

ESPN Rankings

ESPN’s annual NBA player ranking, released on October 10th, has faced substantial backlash. Compiled by ESPN’s “NBA rank” panel, comprising around 150 media figures, the list assesses how players are expected to perform in the upcoming season. Notably, criticism arose due to Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Clippers being ranked 94th and Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks landing at 34th.

Fans argued that these rankings didn’t reflect the veterans’ proven on-court performance. Irving, in response, dismissed the rankings on Instagram, asserting they hold no significance in the league and criticizing media platforms and analysts for their lack of credibility.

Kyrie Irving reacts to ESPN ranking him the 34th best player in the NBA on IG 👀

“Who. TF. cares. I Never will. Rankings don’t mean a damn thing in the league, especially not from ESPN or any of these other media platforms. Majority of the analysts are not credible sources in my…

— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 11, 2023

Both Westbrook and Irving had great seasons last year. With the Clippers, Westbrook logged an average of 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 7.6 assists. Meanwhile, Irving last season had an average record of 27.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists.

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