Most NBA players probably don’t agree with where they fall on all of the top 100 player lists that are released at the start of every season. Outside of whoever lands at No. 1—which is usually either LeBron James or Kevin Durant—every single player likely has a bone to pick with where they ultimately land on these lists. But most players don’t express their frustrations with these lists quite as vocally as DeMar DeRozan did back in September.
After earning his second NBA All-Star berth last season and leading the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals by averaging 23.5 points throughout the regular season, DeRozan was shocked to see where he fell on Sports Illustrated’s top 100 list. He didn’t land in the top 10, 20, 30, or even 40 and fell all the way to No. 46. The write-up that went along with his ranking was also pretty critical of him and said he "hasn’t made much progress extending his range" and "had the benefit of playing in the glow created by Kyle Lowry" last year. It made DeRozan so mad that he sent out this tweet:
SI later poked fun at DeRozan’s response to their list by writing "Sorry, DeMar" on their NBA preview cover:
And DeRozan later revealed that the SI slight helped him get off to a hot start to the 2016-17 NBA season:
While speaking with DeRozan for a new ESPN.com feature story, Brian Windhorst asked the Raptors star about his feelings on where he landed on most top 100 lists. Windhorst pointed out that, in addition to SI ranking him at No. 46, ESPN ranked DeRozan at No. 30, while the Washington Post ranked him at No. 45. And DeRozan responded by basically saying, "FOH," again before expounding on his answer.
"I think it’s B.S.," he said. "I’m willing to line up against anyone in the league, and it will be toe-to-toe until the end. I believe I’ve proved that. You put in so much work, it’s almost sickening. I watch everything, I read everything. I’ve always been a guy who wants to prove somebody wrong. I wouldn’t rub it in anyone’s face, but that’s my gratification. I’ve seen so many guys’ work ethic, and I know it doesn’t come close to what I’m putting myself through. When you see those rankings, it makes you want to go out and prove it."
Elsewhere in the story, DeRozan also explained that he’s thinking about more than just his personal ranking amongst the NBA’s elite this season. He has also become obsessed with trying to figure out how the Raptors can beat the Cavaliers. "That’s all I’m thinking about: the Cavs, the Cavs, the Cavs," he said. "We’ve already played two games against them, and both came down to the end. We’ve got to figure that out; we’ve got to get that execution. We’re going to keep working. I’m going to keep working. I’m not a fluke player; we’re not an accident team."
In addition to all of that, Windhorst spent a lot of time focusing on how DeRozan has patterned his career and his approach to the game of basketball after Kobe Bryant. You can go here to check out the full story.