Jeremy Lin is not as good as 100 other NBA players, and neither is Derrick Rose. That’s the conclusion reached by Sports Illustrated, which is bravely ranking the top players in the NBA. And if the mag wanted controversy — and isn’t that the media’s gig? — then mission accomplished. Because here’s a surefire formula for stirring up the melting pot — or make that cauldron: take the NBA’s biggest city and leave both its brand new starting point guards out of the Top 100. Yup, SI has now named players 51-100 on its list, and neither former NBA MVP Derrick Rose (Knicks) or the widely popular Jeremy Lin (Nets) are on the list.
SI acknowledged the slight, while claiming there just wasn’t room on the list for the likes of Rose and Lin. Lin is really so far just a competent reserve with some upside, in SI’s assessment. (That doesn’t comport, of course, with the opinion of Nets GM Sean Marks, who gave Lin a $36 million 3-year deal this summer.) And the Bulls had been waiting for the “real” Derrick Rose to return to the court for so long that they grew weary of the possibility and let Phil Jackson and the Knicks roll the dice on Rose and his unreliable legs. But if you ask the NBA opponent who has to guard Derrick Rose at Madison Square Garden whether he thinks Rose is a top 100 player, you may get a different answer than SI gives. Same goes for the guy who’ll be trying to stop Lin’s penetration in Brooklyn. Al Jefferson, Joe Johnson, and Jamal Crawford were also among those SI left off — acknowledging they might be seen as snubs. But both New York City point guards? Lin and Rose can take comfort maybe in the fact that the Spurs Tony Parker didn’t make it, and he quarterbacked a team that won 67 regular season games last year.