ESPN recently released their annual Top 100 NBA players list ahead of the new season, and naturally there was plenty of debate about where each player ranked on the list. Zion Williamson checking in higher than Klay Thompson certainly raised some eyebrows, as did the order of the Top 10.

LeBron James, who has been ranked as the No. 1 player in each of the nine years that ESPN's NBA Rank has been a thing, was listed as the third best player entering the 2019-20 campaign, behind reigning NBA champion Kawhi Leonard and NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. That's certainly not a slight at the 34-year old superstar, but his position on the list once again sparked a passionate debate about who is the league's best player.

And according to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, there's no doubt that LeBron is still king. In speaking about those Top 3 players, Smith says that only LeBron has the ability to get the most out of the players around on him.

Says Smith:

"These brothers ain't LeBron James. The other four guys on the court don't feed off of, and have their game elevated to the degree that it does when LeBron James is on the floor." He adds, "LeBron is better than Kawhi. LeBron is better than the Greek Freak. LeBron James is still the best player in the world."

Check out his full comments in the videos embedded below.