LeBron James and Luka Doncic (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

B/R Predicts Top 100 NBA Players for 2022-23 Season

Bleacher Report NBA Staff

If you've been with us this week, you've seen our predictions for the top 25 guards, wings and bigs during the 2022-23 NBA season.

Now, it's time to drop the big one.

Bleacher Report asked our basketball experts to rank their top 150-200 players for the upcoming campaign based on their own criteria but keeping in mind where everyone will finish the year—not necessarily where they are today.

We averaged everyone's rankings to build our final order, and the results are in.

*Editor's note: Some text in this story was previously used in our top 25 guards, wings and bigs articles earlier this week.

Hit the comments to let us know who your top players are this season.

Nos. 100-96

Utah's Jordan Clarkson (Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images)

100. Jordan Clarkson

Highest Ranking: 36

Lowest Ranking: 160

The Utah Jazz embraced the rebuild by trading Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, leaving Jordan Clarkson as one of the remaining go-get-it scorers. The team won't win many games, but Clarkson will put up numbers.

—Eric Pincus

99. De'Andre Hunter

Highest Ranking: 66

Lowest Ranking: 162

De'Andre Hunter barely cracks the top 100, a spot he'll need to be in for the Atlanta Hawks to be one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. He's still got some high-level three-and-D potential going into a contract year.

—Greg Swartz

98. Caris LeVert

Highest Ranking: 73

Lowest Ranking: 169

Injuries and inefficiency have limited Caris LeVert’s impact, but he’s shown game-changing scoring ability on a few occasions. He’s eclipsed 40 points three separate times in his career.

—Andy Bailey

97. Wendell Carter Jr.

Highest Ranking: 56

Lowest Ranking: 165

Wendell Carter Jr. will probably make this ranking look silly by season's end. If he wasn’t the Magic’s second-best player last year, it’s because he was their absolute best. And he was better than his predecessor, Nikola Vučević, who—mild spoiler alert—checks in dozens of spots higher.

WCJ has a ton of north-south pep, can bring the ball up or go from stand-still to attack faster than someone such as Domantas Sabonis. His screening and overall off-ball movement improved with Orlando. Defenses were showing two and three bodies when he came off the roll. He has touch away from the basket, including a neat little flip shot, and his accuracy on spot-up threes jumped above 38 percent after the All-Star break.

Tack on rock-solid rim protection, defensive mobility in space and passing, and WCJ should scoff at getting entombed behind more niche or unfinished talents like Dillon Brooks, Russell Westbrook, Josh Giddey, Terry Rozier and many more.

—Dan Favale

96. Bogdan Bogdanović

Highest Ranking: 64

Lowest Ranking: 129

The Atlanta Hawks will get most of their offense through their guards, with Bojan Bogdanović the top reserve at either the 1 or 2. If he can bring his three-point shot back up from 36.8 percent to near the 43.8 percent he shot two seasons ago, the Hawks will be a nightmare to stop.


Nos. 95-91

The Clippers' Norman Powell (Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

95. Norman Powell

Highest Ranking: 71

Lowest Ranking: 136

Norman Powell is a rock-solid starting-caliber shooting guard who's going to be a sixth (or seventh?) man for a loaded Los Angeles Clippers team. His raw numbers will take a hit this season, but Powell could still be the third-leading scorer for a squad with real championship aspirations.


94. Kevin Love

Highest Ranking: 52

Lowest Ranking: 151

Last season, Kevin Love quietly posted his best box plus/minus since 2013-14 (his final season with the Minnesota Timberwolves). And his per-75-possession averages of 22.7 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists looked like those of the old version of Love too.


93. Aaron Gordon

Highest Ranking: 79

Lowest Ranking: 139

Aaron Gordon is hard to place, because we still haven’t seen him fully optimized. Orlando tested him for the Paul George offensive gene. It came back negative. Denver has afforded him usage more befitting his skill set, but injuries to Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. prevented him from transitioning to full-on play-finisher. The Denver Nuggets have also needed to overstretch him as a point-of-attack defender.

Pretty much all of that will change this year. Murray and MPJ are back, and Denver scooped up defensive bodies in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown, who will allow Gordon to spend fewer reps on smalls. His stock, by default, is trending up.


92. Terry Rozier

Highest Ranking: 52

Lowest Ranking: 114

The Charlotte Hornets' backcourt of Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball is a blast to watch. The rest of the team may not be entirely up to snuff yet, but Rozier is the guy taking the big shots to win or lose games.


91. Josh Giddey

Highest Ranking: 50

Lowest Ranking: 154

Giddey could flirt with triple-double averages in his second season as he takes on a larger role for a Thunder team that still revolves around him and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If his three-point shot improves (26.3 percent last season), we could see the 6'8" guard rocket up this list.


Nos. 90-86

The Lakers' Russell Westbrook (Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

90. Kyle Kuzma

Highest Ranking: 51

Lowest Ranking: 135

After spending the first four seasons of his career as a score-first (last and always) forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kyle Kuzma took some real steps forward as a defender and passer in 2021-22. He posted career highs in both rebounds per game (8.5) and assists per game (3.5).


89. Keldon Johnson

Highest Ranking: 69

Lowest Ranking: 105

Keldon Johnson has morphed into the type of offensive force who can broach 20 points per game entirely within the flow of the offense. He can feed on assisted threes—around 37 percent above the break last year—and remains a wrecking ball on downhill assaults.

Beating out Aaron Gordon (No. 93), Norman Powell (No. 95) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (No. 96) feels accurate. Whether Johnson surges up this ranking is a tougher call. He can squeak past a Spencer Dinwiddie pretty easily, but he’ll have to add more directionality on his drives and/or half-court initiation to his skill set if he’s going make a monstrous leap.


88. Spencer Dinwiddie

Highest Ranking: 74

Lowest Ranking: 138

With Jalen Brunson departed for the New York Knicks, pencil in Spencer Dinwiddie as the starting point guard alongside superstar Luka Dončić. Dinwiddie is just a career 32.2 percent three-point shooter but hit 40.4 percent with Dallas in 23 games after a midseason trade.


87. Russell Westbrook

Highest Ranking: 36

Lowest Ranking: 119

Russell Westbrook should have plenty of motivation to transform his game, both because of the Lakers' playoff hopes and his upcoming free agency. If head coach Darvin Ham can truly get Westbrook to buy in defensively, set screens, hit corner threes and continue playmaking at a high level, he'll have plenty of good NBA years left.


86. Gary Trent Jr.

Highest Ranking: 58

Lowest Ranking: 136

Gary Trent Jr. has quietly developed into one of the game's better high-volume floor spacers. Over the last two seasons, only seven players matched or exceeded both of Trent's marks for three-point attempts per game (7.6) and three-point percentage (38.4).


Nos. 85-81

Portland's Jusuf Nurkić (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

85. Harrison Barnes

Highest Ranking: 53

Lowest Ranking: 137

Harrison Barnes continues to blur the line between accessory and under-utilized self-starter. His 63.1 effective field-goal percentage on catch-and-shoots is plug-and-play Nirvana, but he can still deliver spot buckets via outside-in isos and post-ups.

This has the potential to be too low, as he's behind the yet-to-be-ranked Julius Randle, Franz Wagner and Christian Wood, among many others. But Barnes is on the wrong side of 30, and his defensive engagement last year was, to put it kindly, uninspiring.


84. Dillon Brooks

Highest Ranking: 63

Lowest Ranking: 147

Dillon Brooks is a tough, physical wing who can score in bunches. In the last year of his contract, it's an important season for him to show how vital he is to the Memphis Grizzlies (with its deep roster).


83. Christian Wood

Highest Ranking: 72

Lowest Ranking: 117

Wood could be the NBA's leading scorer among sixth men this season, although it's hard to imagine he won't play his way into a starting role. He's been very good at putting up big numbers on bad teams, so this year will be important for Wood's reputation if he can continue to produce for a Mavericks squad coming off a Western Conference Finals run.


82. Jusuf Nurkić

Highest Ranking: 72

Lowest Ranking: 115

Jusuf Nurkić has only appeared in 101 games over his last three injury-plagued seasons, but he’s still been one of Portland’s most important players during that stretch. Since the start of 2019-20, the Blazers are plus-1.9 points per 100 possessions with Nurkić on the floor and minus-8.4 with him off.


81. Franz Wagner

Highest Ranking: 62

Lowest Ranking: 121

This is spicy! Unless you watched Franz Wagner rain off-the-dribble hell upon defenses during EuroBasket. In which case, this isn’t spicy enough.

Wagner closed his rookie season as the consummate offensive complement. He dropped in spot-up jumpers and reached the rim off high-IQ cuts. But he also kept defenses on tilt by attacking downhill off the catch, flinging floaters and finishing with force and finesse at the basket. He even busted out a hook shot. If he’s already a high-efficiency self-creator from the outside—he hit 34.8 percent of his pull-up threes last year post-All-Star break—then my god.


Nos. 80-76

Utah's Collin Sexton. (Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

80. D'Angelo Russell

Highest Ranking: 63

Lowest Ranking: 142

The Minnesota Timberwolves made a big move to get Rudy Gobert with designs on sustained success. The team needs to decide if D'Angelo Russell, a talented scorer, is a long-term fit or if it should pursue a pass-first point guard instead.


79. Collin Sexton

Highest Ranking: 49

Lowest Ranking: 154

Collin Sexton is a scoring machine who will have the ultimate green light in Utah this season, especially as more and more veterans are traded. If he can defend at a high level and continue to improve as a passer, Sexton will be the Jazz's best chance at an All-Star—with the game in Utah this season.


78. Paolo Banchero

Highest Ranking: 48

Lowest Ranking: 128

Paolo Banchero was mostly lauded for his high-end scoring potential at Duke, but reaching his ceiling may depend on his ability to distribute. In his lone season as a Blue Devil, Banchero was second on his team in assist percentage (among rotation players).


Tie-76. Anfernee Simons

Highest Ranking: 44

Lowest Ranking: 174

Twenty-three-year-olds with an established off-the-dribble scoring arsenal who just drilled 47.8 percent of their spot-up threes and spent last season refining their passing skills when defenses collapse don’t grow on trees. But they do reside in Portland.

Anfernee Simons has the ceiling of a Zach LaVine, which makes sticking him behind Malcolm Brogdon and in-shape-but-old-as-hell Kyle Lowry a little awkward. If he proves his scoring and playmaking can effectively carry lineups without Damian Lillard, this one will come back to bite us all.


Tie-76. Clint Capela

Highest Ranking: 52

Lowest Ranking: 119

Clint Capela is one of the better rebounders in the league (10.7 career rpg). He protects the basket well as a shot-blocker but doesn't have the offensive range to stretch the floor for the Atlanta Hawks (zero career threes), keeping him in the lower quarter of the top 100.


Nos. 75-71

New York's Julius Randle (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

75. Kyle Lowry

Highest Ranking: 54

Lowest Ranking: 109

Kyle Lowry has real slippage potential at age 36, and he'll once again need to play big minutes for a Miami Heat team that did little to improve this offseason. While his days of being an All-Star are likely over, Lowry can still make an impact with his passing, outside shooting and leadership.


74. Malcolm Brogdon

Highest Ranking: 57

Lowest Ranking: 114

After three years as more of a lead ball-handler with the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon will return to something closer to the role he had with the Milwaukee Bucks. With stars such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown taking the bulk of the pressure, Brogdon’s scoring efficiency could rise.


73. Julius Randle

Highest Ranking: 33

Lowest Ranking: 111

This placement does not exaggerate just how bad Julius Randle was last season. The shot selection and shot making, the defense, the demeanor—it was a masterclass in comprehensive regression. So much so, not even a strong closing kick softens the blow.

Now, this might hyperbolize the bleakness of his outlook. Randle has value as a speedballing playmaker and showed in 2021 he possesses a defensive pulse. If he can buy into a second- or third-in-command role that includes more picking-and-popping and rim-diving, he'll scrap and claw his way back into the top-50 discourse.


72. Al Horford

Highest Ranking: 51

Lowest Ranking: 123

Al Horford is a rock-solid, multi-position big who was a vital part of the Boston Celtics' run to the NBA Finals last season. Horford posted 12.0 points and 9.3 rebounds in last year's playoffs while shooting 48 percent from three on 4.3 attempts over 23 games. At 36 years old, though, the question is how many seasons he has left at that level.


71. Myles Turner

Highest Ranking: 64

Lowest Ranking: 103

Myles Turner's next home could decide his proper place on a list like this, as his usage will be cut if traded to a contender. If he stays on a rebuilding Pacers squad, Turner will almost certainly top his career-best 14.5 points per game while flashing All-Defensive team potential.


Nos. 70-66

Denver's Michael Porter Jr. (Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

70. Jalen Green

Highest Ranking: 52

Lowest Ranking: 124

Last year, Jalen Green went through a lot of the ups and downs that most rookies do, but he closed the campaign with a vivid demonstration of his upside. Over his last nine games, Green put up 28.1 points and 4.6 threes while shooting 42.7 percent from deep. That cherry on top of a season that included dozens of displays of absurd athleticism makes Green one of the league’s most interesting 2s.


69. Jonas Valančiūnas

Highest Ranking: 34

Lowest Ranking: 99

Can a player be underrated for the entirety of his career? Asking for Jonas Valančiūnas.

Trailing Nikola Vučević and Kristaps Porziņģis by a few spots doesn’t track. He rightfully beat Myles Turner (No. 71). Valančiūnas doesn’t provide the higher-volume stretch of the former three, but he does provide stretch.

He shot 36.1 percent on over two attempts from deep last season. Vooch may have him beat as a connective passer, but JV’s overall scoring has more depth than this little grouping. His pump-fakes are so convincing, I’ve fallen off my couch just watching them. And his bandwidth for abusing everyone from smalls to properly sized players down low, both on the block and the glass, remains underappreciated. I am outraged. (But not really.)


68. Tobias Harris

Highest Ranking: 56

Lowest Ranking: 113

As the Philadelphia 76ers have gone through several evolutions over the past few seasons, Tobias Harris has done his best to fit in. He's a consistent scorer, and while his output dipped slightly from 19.5 points a game in 2020-21 to 17.2 last season, that's not necessarily bad.

With the emergence of Tyrese Maxey alongside Joel Embiid and James Harden, the Sixers have more of a diverse offense. Harris isn't necessarily a lockdown defender, but he's willing to fight and is still an essential piece for Philadelphia.


67. Michael Porter Jr.

Highest Ranking: 54

Lowest Ranking: 111

If Porter puts together a (mostly) healthy season, he's quite easily a top-50 player given his immense skill set. The 24-year-old made 62.8 percent of his twos and 44.5 percent of his threes in 2020-21 while averaging 19.0 points per game, numbers that have never been reached before or since in NBA history.


66. Nikola Vučević

Highest Ranking: 57

Lowest Ranking: 90

Nikola Vučević averaged 21.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 37.3 percent from deep over three seasons from 2018-19 to 2020-21. Then, each of those numbers tailed off in 2021-22, as Vooch struggled to adjust to life alongside two high-volume scorers in DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. Maintaining his value may depend on being more of a gap-filler who can scale his game down a bit.


Nos. 65-61

New York's Jalen Brunson (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

65. Jerami Grant

Highest Ranking: 59

Lowest Ranking: 101

Jerami Grant exists inside a wonderfully gray area, hovering somewhere between quintessential role player and fringe star.

This is a distinct progression from where he sat a couple of years ago. His stay with the Pistons showcased previously unexplored depths of his offense. He has on-ball scoring oomph to partner with his floor-running and standstill shooting, and his defense translates to one-on-one assignments and disruptive help. Grant’s value remains bolted to its scalability, but it’s now elevated by possibility.


64. Kristaps Porziņģis

Highest Ranking: 44

Lowest Ranking: 92

The biggest question for Kristaps Porziņģis is health. He's an elite NBA scorer at 7'3", but he's struggled to stay healthy with various knee ailments.

The Washington Wizards have a talented squad, but it's been some time since the group has played together at full strength. Health willing, Bradly Beal may get a chance to show what they can do together.


63. OG Anunoby

Highest Ranking: 51

Lowest Ranking: 103

Anunoby averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game last season, yet he could take a step back as the Toronto Raptors try to carve out a bigger role for Scottie Barnes. A tough and talented wing defender, Anunoby has worked himself into being one of the better all-around forwards in the NBA.


62. Tyler Herro

Highest Ranking: 46

Lowest Ranking: 101

One of the game's most explosive off-the-bench scorers, Tyler Herro can swing a game against opposing second units. With his three-level scoring ability, Herro put up 20.7 points and 2.7 threes in just 32.6 minutes per game. What can take him further is committing more fully on defense and continuing to improve his playmaking.


61. Jalen Brunson

Highest Ranking: 45

Lowest Ranking: 95

Sticker shock accompanied Jalen Brunson’s four-year, $104 million contract with the Knicks this summer. It never should have made the trip.

Brunson’s offense is not smack-you-in-the-face explosive. It is more dominant in its uniqueness. The pressure he puts on opposing defenses in the lane with his footwork, change of speeds and finishing is immensely impactful.

Out of every player who had 500 or more drives this past season, Brunson's 56.7 percent shooting clip ranked fourth, trailing only Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns and Chris Paul.


Nos. 60-56

Golden State's Jordan Poole (Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

60. John Collins

Highest Ranking: 44

Lowest Ranking: 98

The Atlanta Hawks need John Collins to stretch the floor and defend. His scoring output has dipped the last two seasons–which may be why the team was shopping him in trade over the offseason. A strong year from Collins could help catapult the Hawks up the standings in the East.


59. RJ Barrett

Highest Ranking: 47

Lowest Ranking: 77

Barrett still has an incredibly high ceiling entering Year 4, especially if he can improve his shooting efficiency. Having a point guard like Jalen Brunson should help, as only 37.0 percent of Barrett's career shots from inside the arc have come off an assist.

Big, two-way wings are the most valuable commodity in the NBA, and Barrett is on the threshold of becoming one of the best.


58. Mikal Bridges

Highest Ranking: 35

Lowest Ranking: 86

Chris Paul being another year older and Jae Crowder likely headed elsewhere means that Mikal Bridges may be entrusted to do a little more this season. Even if he doesn't, he's already among the game's most valuable three-and-D wings.

Over the past two seasons, Alec Burks, Nicolas Batum and Kawhi Leonard are the only players who match or exceed both of Bridges' marks for defensive box plus/minus (1.0) and three-point percentage (39.7).


57. Tyrese Maxey

Highest Ranking: 41

Lowest Ranking: 85

It says a lot about Tyrese Maxey’s 2021-22 campaign that his landing at No. 57 oozes restraint. That he's behind both James Harden and Joel Embiid in the 76ers’ pecking order no doubt squelches the impetus to rocket him higher.

This isn’t to say it should. Maxey parlayed his blindingly fast straight-line speed and improved shooting into third-option dominance by year’s end, averaging 18.7 points and 3.5 assists per game on a supernova 48 percent clip from downtown in his final 24 games—proof his rising star can and will sustain every imaginable iteration of the Sixers.


56. Jordan Poole

Highest Ranking: 38

Lowest Ranking: 87

Jordan Poole is a high-volume bench scorer for a team with elite shooters such as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. He can keep the team's second unit's offense flowing and fill in seamlessly when they're resting. But Poole needs to improve other aspects of his game, like defense and playmaking.


Nos. 55-51

Boston's Marcus Smart (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

55. Desmond Bane

Highest Ranking: 37

Lowest Ranking: 84

Desmond Bane has the fifth-highest three-point percentage (43.5 percent) of any player over their first two seasons, bested only by Duncan Robinson, Anthony Morrow, Michael Porter Jr. and Stephen Curry (minimum 100 makes).

He's the perfect backcourt complement to Ja Morant as a shot-maker and defender who showed growth as a playmaker in year two. While the 24-year-old's ceiling may not be as high as those of other players in this range (Tyrese Haliburton, Tyrese Maxey, RJ Barrett), Bane is already a star who should break the 20 point-per-game mark this season.


54. Jaren Jackson Jr.

Highest Ranking: 39

Lowest Ranking: 76

A year after leading the league in blocks per game and making his first All-Defensive team, Jaren Jackson Jr. doesn't have a return date from offseason foot surgery. When healthy, the theoretical combination of rim protection (already in place) and three-point shooting (still sporadic) makes him one of the game’s most intriguing bigs.


53. Andrew Wiggins

Highest Ranking: 35

Lowest Ranking: 71

Andrew Wiggins is hardly recognizable since joining the Warriors. He has carved a role as a dependable, high-end three-and-D weapon and was just Golden State’s second-best player in the NBA Finals.

Questions persist, both new and old. Can the ferocity with which he played in the postseason—on the glass in particular—become his new normal? Does he have more to offer as a driver, post-up weapon or iso scorer, especially during no-Stephen Curry stretches? Is the defensive utility here to stay or the byproduct of his environment?

Make no mistake, though: A top-50 dalliance is ridiculously hard. Wiggins is earning that by embracing a simplified–yet still wildly valuable—role with the Warriors.


52. Marcus Smart

Highest Ranking: 31

Lowest Ranking: 77

Marcus Smart is one of the most tenacious defenders at guard. While he's not a true point guard, he dished a career-high 5.9 assists per game for a team that advanced to the NBA Finals.

Smart is arguably Boston's emotional leader as well. He can guard multiple positions, which gives the Celtics flexibility with backcourt depth alongside Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon and Payton Pritchard.


51. Tyrese Haliburton

Highest Ranking: 22

Lowest Ranking: 72

The new face of the Pacers will be asked to do a lot this season and could be a sneaky pick to lead the NBA in assists per game. The 6'5" Haliburton is a tall, efficient shot-maker who will also rank among the league's steals leaders with a wingspan that spreads nearly 6'8".

This will be the last season he ranks lower than Domantas Sabonis (albeit just barely this year)—two players who will be forever linked as the centerpieces of one of the 2022 trade deadline's biggest deals.


Nos. 50-45

Brooklyn's Ben Simmons (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

50. Domantas Sabonis

Highest Ranking: 29

Lowest Ranking: 68

Domantas Sabonis is sort of the off-brand version of Nikola Jokic, which may sound like a slight, until you remember that Jokic has a strong “best player in the world” argument. Over the last three seasons, Sabonis has averaged 19.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 54.9 percent from the field.


Tie-48. Ben Simmons

Highest Ranking: 31

Lowest Ranking: 70

Ben Simmons is not a perfect player, but at this point, he's underrated. His time in Philadelphia ended poorly in the playoffs, and then he missed all of last year (part holding out, part injury). Still, Simmons is an all-NBA defender and multiposition playmaker.

His hesitancy to take an outside shot can be an issue, but he should be productive as an elite role player on a team with elite scorers in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.


Tie-48. Cade Cunningham

Highest Ranking: 28

Lowest Ranking: 70

There is a distinct possibility Cade Cunningham's rank looks blasphemous a few months from now. Sticklers will harp on the spotty shooting. And the rickety finishing. And the turnovers.

Related: Don't be a stickler.

Cunningham has ball-on-a-string composure in the half court. His efficiency should tick up amid actual NBA spacing (praise be, Bojan Bogdanović!). Ditto for his turnover issues—which, by the way, weren't so much an issue as a rookie playing the part of offensive lifeline and posting the highest first-year usage rate since Luka Dončić in 2018-19.

Feel for the game alone renders Cunningham a superstar in the making.


47. De'Aaron Fox

Highest Ranking: 31

Lowest Ranking: 69

De'Aaron Fox averaged 28.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.0 steals on 50.3 percent shooting over his final 16 games last season. Those numbers point to a monster 2022-23 campaign.

The lack of a reliable three-point shot (32.0 percent for his career) and some underwhelming defense at times have kept Fox from becoming an elite point guard, although an improvement in both areas and a respectable Kings record could mean a potential All-Star trip this year.


Tie-45. Draymond Green

Highest Ranking: 36

Lowest Ranking: 60

After two years away from the playoffs, concerns about a decline for Draymond Green started to surface, but he was every bit as indispensable as the mid-20s version of himself on the way to the 2022 title. Thanks to his DPOY-level defense, passing and timely cutting, the playoff Warriors were plus-8.9 points per 100 possessions with Green on the floor and minus-1.7 with him off.


Tie-45. Jarrett Allen

Highest Ranking: 30

Lowest Ranking: 62

General impressions of Jarrett Allen skew toward rim-protecting, screen-setting, play-finishing big man. That prevailing sentiment undersells him.

Allen’s defense and mobility on the back line contribute to Evan Mobley’s capacity to be, well, everywhere else. And while his offense is largely predicated on the primary playmakers beside him, he has diversified his portfolio to include reactive slips, one- and two-dribble decision-making in space, and an operable hook shot (52.8 percent on 127 attempts).

The crux of Allen’s game may be anchored in tradition, but he augments it with contemporary gadgets and gizmos that render him closer to a Deandre Ayton-type (No. 40 on this list) than Clint Capela (No. 76) facsimile.


Nos. 44-41

Toronto's Scottie Barnes (Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images)

44. CJ McCollum

Highest Ranking: 34

Lowest Ranking: 64

The New Orleans Pelicans had a talented roster last season but didn't have enough to make the playoffs until the franchise traded for veteran scorer CJ McCollum. He can flat-out get buckets, and his veteran leadership was just what the team needed.

With a healthy Zion Williamson and a full season of McCollum, the Pelicans should be even better this year.


43. Klay Thompson

Highest Ranking: 15

Lowest Ranking: 83

Klay Thompson, 32, may never reach the elite defensive level he was once at pre-injuries, but he's still one of the NBA's best shooters and averaged 27.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists and shot 41.9 percent from three over his final 11 regular-season games. The rust should be completely shaken off, and Golden State will once again rely heavily on Thompson's shot-making and off-ball activity.

For at least one more year, Thompson holds off younger shooting guards such as Desmond Bane, Jordan Poole and Jalen Green on this list.


Tie-41. Scottie Barnes

Highest Ranking: 33

Lowest Ranking: 63

Scottie Barnes just won Rookie of the Year, but we really didn’t see much of what may be his most interesting skill. Beyond his multipositional defense and solid floater game, Barnes, who played point guard in college, has high-end playmaking forward potential.


Tie-41. Fred VanVleet

Highest Ranking: 33

Lowest Ranking: 58

Fred VanVleet injects a dose of shooting and defense that could easily earn him higher billing. But the players to follow both on this list and in our final top 100 are not egregiously ranked. Despite his improvements as a passer, VanVleet is not a point guard suited to handle a lion's share of table-setting duties when things slow down.

On a rosier note, it's important to remember fluttering around the top 50 is akin to All-Star status, which is where VanVleet finds himself in the eyes of our voters.


Nos. 40-36

Phoenix's Deandre Ayton (Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

40. Deandre Ayton

Highest Ranking: 32

Lowest Ranking: 56

Deandre Ayton is one of the best two-way centers in the league. He protects the basket without fouling and can score efficiently in the post against some of the NBA's top defenders.

The Phoenix Suns don't always prioritize getting Ayton the ball, and his contract saga over the last year seemed to fracture chemistry. But if the Suns can get their groove back, Ayton's importance cannot be understated.


39. Evan Mobley

Highest Ranking: 27

Lowest Ranking: 58

Cracking the top-40 NBA players list (spoiler!) while not even winning Rookie of the Year is almost unheard of from a second-year player, yet Evan Mobley is that good. He's already an elite defender in nearly every area, combining his foot speed with a 7'4" wingspan to wreak havoc all over the court. His high release point is tough to contest, and Mobley spoke on media day about working on his three-point shot and perimeter play this summer.

The 21-year-old will eventually become Cleveland's best player, which is saying a lot given that Mobley will be playing in a starting lineup that featured three All-Stars last year.


38. Darius Garland

Highest Ranking: 27

Lowest Ranking: 58

Most of the "best young point guard" debates of the last year or so have centered on Trae Young, Ja Morant and LaMelo Ball. Darius Garland just had a "don't forget about me" 2021-22 in which he made the All-Star Game and averaged 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per contest. His vision and shooting ability could have him in the same class as the aforementioned 1s pretty soon.


37. Jamal Murray

Highest Ranking: 19

Lowest Ranking: 57

Torn ACLs are not the harbingers of doom they used to be. But ranking someone who hasn't played in the NBA in over a year, no matter how young, is impossibly difficult.

Jamal Murray ranking this high among guards—the best-ranking position in our top 100 by a long shot—is a vote of confidence. There will be calls for him to trail Darius Garland or Fred VanVleet. That's fair. But a fully healthy and able Murray toggles between two extraordinary existences: deadly self-creator against set defenses and seamless sidekick to reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokić Not all fringe stars can say the same, and both FVV and Garland, specifically, do not yet have his offensive track record.


36. Dejounte Murray

Highest Ranking: 23

Lowest Ranking: 55

The San Antonio Spurs traded Dejounte Murray (their best player) to the Atlanta Hawks to focus on rebuilding. He should be an excellent fit alongside the offensive-minded Trae Young. Murray can create points at a high level, but he's also one of the better defenders at his position. Look for the Hawks to take a step forward this season with Murray.


Nos. 35-31

Milwaukee's Jrue Holiday (Francois Nel/Getty Images)

35. Jrue Holiday

Highest Ranking: 25

Lowest Ranking: 60

Few guards make a bigger impact on both ends of the floor than Jrue Holiday, whose plus-12.1 swing rating ranked in the 96th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass. Just a 35.4 percent three-point shooter before his trade to the Bucks, Holiday has cashed in 40.2 percent of his triples the past two years.

A single All-Star appearance hasn't done Holiday's career justice, although four All-Defensive teams and a championship have been well deserved. At age 32, Holiday is still a top-35 player and will be a crucial piece to Milwaukee's shot at a second title in three years.


34. DeMar DeRozan

Highest Ranking: 12

Lowest Ranking: 55

In his age-32 campaign, DeMar DeRozan set a career high for points per game at 27.9. What's really made him a problem since the start of the 2018-19 season, though, are his improvements as a passer and willingness to play as a nominal 4.


33. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Highest Ranking: 23

Lowest Ranking: 51

Overextension caught up with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander last season. The Thunder had neither the spacing nor secondary ball-handling to streamline his offensive agency, and it showed in his efficiency on the perimeter. He went from a 55.8 effective field-goal percentage on jumpers in 2020-21 to 43.1 in 2021-22.

The context of his role helps explain the plunge—fueled mostly by his three-point shooting. Among 349 players to average at least 15 minutes per game through a minimum of 15 appearances, only Chris Paul and Luka Dončić saw a larger share of their buckets go unassisted.

It's a wonder SGA was still able to clear 50 percent shooting inside the arc. He plays at a variable cadence all his own, and even in regression, it transcends the inherent limitations of what's around him. If his placement ends up too high, it's likely because he collects too many DNPOTVWs ("DNP - OKC is thirsty for Victor Wembanyama").


32. LaMelo Ball

Highest Ranking: 17

Lowest Ranking: 44

LaMelo Ball is a joy to watch. He plays loose and fast. He'll take and make difficult shots and passes. Sometimes he'll do something you've never seen before on the court.

The Charlotte Hornets are still building an identity, but Ball makes the team a League Pass favorite. In just his sophomore season, he posted 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists while boosting his three-point shooting to 38.9 percent on 7.5 long balls per game.


31. Chris Paul

Highest Ranking: 18

Lowest Ranking: 52

Predicting where Chris Paul finishes this season is tricky, given the future Hall of Famer will turn 38 in May. For now, he deserves our respect as one of the best floor generals in the league.

Paul led the NBA in assists per game last season (10.8) for the fifth time in his career but just the first since 2014-15 when he was a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. He's one of the league's best clutch performers and fadeaway elbow-jumper artists who can still get after it defensively. Perhaps no player understands the game more than Paul, and he will continue to lean on his mental fortitude even more as he enters his 18th season.


Nos. 30-26

Minnesota's Anthony Edwards (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

30. Bam Adebayo

Highest Ranking: 21

Lowest Ranking: 48

At 25 years old, Bam Adebayo is already a perennial All-Defensive contender who can both protect the rim and defend guards and wings on the switch.

Dynamic finishing and underrated passing are what truly set him apart, though. Outside of a long-range jumper, Bam has every box checked.


29. Khris Middleton

Highest Ranking: 20

Lowest Ranking: 43

Certainly no one will take exception to Khris Middleton finishing inside the top 30, ahead of studs such as Bam Adebayo (No. 30), LaMelo Ball (No. 32), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 33), DeMar DeRozan (No. 34), etc.

Discretion should be shown before anyone goes kablooey. We’re splitting already spliced hairs at this level.

Scalable offense is also invaluable. Middleton can be used without the ball in ways SGA and DeRozan cannot. He can be trusted to steward half-court possessions as both scorer and playmaker on volume not suited to guards such as LaMelo, Fred VanVleet or even Jrue Holiday.

Top-10 status among wings is not a reach—not by a long shot. It's a recognition.


28. Pascal Siakam

Highest Ranking: 15

Lowest Ranking: 40

Fans might overlook Pascal Siakam, but he was named to the All-NBA Third Team for a reason. He is a physical, aggressive scorer with great length defensively. The 6'9" forward averaged 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game last year, filling the box score.

It's no coincidence the Toronto Raptors went on a run once Siakam got healthy after a shoulder injury.


27. Zach LaVine

Highest Ranking: 17

Lowest Ranking: 40

There's nothing Zach LaVine can't do offensively, as he's become one of the most dynamic and athletically gifted guards in the NBA. Even playing next to a ball-dominant scorer in DeMar DeRozan, LaVine still put up big numbers while making 53.4 percent of his twos and 38.9 percent of his threes.

Barely outside of the top-five shooting guards, LaVine could jump players such as Bradley Beal and Donovan Mitchell if he can continue to improve defensively and experience a little more playoff success. Having played in just four postseason games in eight years has lowered LaVine's stock, although back-to-back All-Star appearances the past two seasons look good on the resume.


26. Anthony Edwards

Highest Ranking: 11

Lowest Ranking: 53

Anthony Edwards had the look of a 2-guard ready to take the league by storm during the 2022 postseason. In the tradition of greats Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade before him, Edwards took the reins of his team's playoff run from his All-Star big man teammate with 25.2 points per game.

If he rides that momentum into 2022-23, the Minnesota Timberwolves are going to push for home-court advantage in the 2023 playoffs.


Nos. 25-21

New Orleans' Zion Williamson (Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

25. Bradley Beal

Highest Ranking: 12

Lowest Ranking: 35

Bradley Beal finds himself ferrying the burden of proof after signing a supermax contract—no-trade clause included—on the heels of a down season. His efficiency fell off a cliff from just about everywhere outside four feet.

Better health and a more complementary supporting cast should help him regain some of his offensive game. But allowing him to fend off players coming off objectively superior seasons—Zach LaVine (No. 27 on this list), Anthony Edwards (No. 26)—is a gift.


24. Brandon Ingram

Highest Ranking: 17

Lowest Ranking: 39

Brandon Ingram emerged as an All-Star with the New Orleans Pelicans, establishing himself as a dependable scorer capable of averaging 22-plus points per game each of the past three seasons. He took a step backward from the outside last year, dipping to 32.7 percent from three after shooting 39.1 and 38.1 percent the two prior seasons.

Ingram will need to evolve further with the addition of CJ McCollum and the return of Zion Williamson. He's a talented mid-range scorer, but he'll need to get that three-point shot going again to complement the team's other stars.


23. Kyrie Irving

Highest Ranking: 17

Lowest Ranking: 47

Kyrie Irving is probably a top-10 talent in the NBA, but a ranking better than this would be doing a disservice to stars who've been more consistently available.

When he's on the floor, there's no questioning Irving's production. The seven-time All-Star has averaged 27.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.4 steals and shot 40.6 percent from three in 103 total games with the Nets.

We could be in for a monster season from Irving after he picked up his player option this past summer.


22. Zion Williamson

Highest Ranking: 11

Lowest Ranking: 53

One of the most electrifying and prolific scorers basketball has ever seen (he trails only Michael Jordan and Joel Embiid in career points per possession), Zion Williamson appeared ready to dominate again with a trimmed-down physique at New Orleans Pelicans media day.

If coach Willie Green completely unleashes the point forward game Zion showed at times during 2020-21, his place in our rankings could look like a cold take as early as this season.


21. Donovan Mitchell

Highest Ranking: 16

Lowest Ranking: 32

Putting Donovan Mitchell at No. 21 might come off a touch too high after considering those he edges out. Williamson at No. 22, just behind him, stands out the most. He has sustained a brand of dominance worthy of best-player-alive trajectory—when healthy.

Still, for all his faults, Mitchell promises a multitude of offensive dimensions that makes his top-10 status among guards easier to swallow. Defenses overreact when he gets into the lane, he is comfortable draining jumpers off the catch, and his off-the-bounce three ranks among the most lethal in the league.


Nos. 20-16

Boston's Jaylen Brown (Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

20. Rudy Gobert

Highest Ranking: 11

Lowest Ranking: 40

The Minnesota Timberwolves gave up a massive haul of prospects, picks and veterans to get Rudy Gobert. He's one of the highest-impact defenders in the NBA and may have more to offer offensively than was shown in Utah with the Jazz.

But Gobert pushes Karl-Anthony Towns from center to power forward, and while it should work and probably will work, it's not 100 percent that the dual-big lineup will be sufficient. Regular-season Minnesota will be a beast. The bigger question is matchups in the playoffs, an area Utah struggled to push through. The real test for Gobert and the Timberwolves won't hit until April and May.


19. Jaylen Brown

Highest Ranking: 12

Lowest Ranking: 46

While he's forever been in trade rumors as bait to chase superstars, Jaylen Brown has become the perfect No. 2 option in Boston. The 25-year-old is already one of the most complete wings in the NBA and ranks ahead of Brandon Ingram and DeMar DeRozan here thanks to his play on the defensive end.

The Celtics' slow start last year likely cost Brown his second All-Star trip, something that shouldn't happen again with how talented Boston is. Assuming the summer trade talk centered around Kevin Durant hasn't bothered him too much, Brown is due for another huge year with the C's.


18. James Harden

Highest Ranking: 8

Lowest Ranking: 28

Much was made of James Harden seemingly losing a half step over the course of 2021-22, but even this version is one of the game's very best creators and distributors.

When paired with Joel Embiid, he's the piloting half of one of the game's most devastating pick-and-roll combinations.

Even if he's not the peak Houston Rockets version of himself, Harden's ability to manipulate the pace and organization of any possession makes him extremely valuable.


17. Anthony Davis

Highest Ranking: 14

Lowest Ranking: 26

Belief no longer sides with Anthony Davis. In our final rankings, he finds himself closer to Pascal Siakam territory than Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokić or Giannis Antetokounmpo—stars once upon a time considered his contemporaries.

Bullish onlookers will claim this panel is overstating his injury concerns. It’s not. Davis always seems to be dealing with something; getting injured is his chronic injury. But doubt is equally rooted in his performance.

The frequency with which Davis reaches the rim plummeted in 2020-21. His mid-range clip dipped back below 40 percent last season. His free-throw percentage has imploded since leaving the bubble.

That he has not helped keep the Lakers afloat in non-LeBron James minutes over the past two seasons is an indictment of Los Angeles’ roster construction. It also speaks to the limitations of his offensive armory as a play-finisher who can’t be saddled with the primary lifting.


16. Karl-Anthony Towns

Highest Ranking: 9

Lowest Ranking: 23

Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the best scoring bigs in the league, but he's not a great rim protector. The Minnesota Timberwolves addressed that flaw by pairing him with former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. That should free up Towns to be what he is as a scorer.

That Towns is a career 39.7 percent three-point shooter should make it work on offense. He will put up big numbers offensively, but Gobert may take away some rebounding opportunities.

Defensively, does Towns have the foot speed to guard on the perimeter? Can Towns and Gobert dominate as twin towers in a league going smaller?


Nos. 15-11


15. Paul George

Highest Ranking: 11

Lowest Ranking: 24

Paul George, 32, may be past his prime, but he's still an elite NBA talent on both ends of the floor. He'll begin the season as the Clippers' starting shooting guard, with his 6'8" frame giving him a big size advantage over most opponents. Head coach Tyronn Lue noted he could use George at point guard at times this season as well, giving him some additional playmaking opportunities.

It's fair to question George's durability and his dip in shooting last season (35.4 percent from three, the lowest since his rookie year). But there's nothing he can't do at a high level when healthy.

On our overall top 100 list, George is the highest-ranked No. 2 option in the NBA.


14. Damian Lillard

Highest Ranking: 10

Lowest Ranking: 24

After a down year (physically and statistically) in 2021-22, Damian Lillard seems poised to return to his old form. According to the Rose Garden Report's Sean Highkin, Portland Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said Dame's "zero-to-sixty burst" is back.

When right, few players are as consistent and dangerous offensively as Lillard. He presents the threat of deep pull-up threes like Trae while still being able to slice through defenses and punish the rim.


13. Devin Booker

Highest Ranking: 6

Lowest Ranking: 31

Devin Booker just finished fourth on the MVP ballot, and yet, it still feels like his stardom is being somewhat repressed.

Finishing 13th is no insult, to be clear. It’s accurate. This league is deep. But there remains a tendency to stash him behind Chris Paul’s shadow, or to diminish his impact on the basis of circumstances beyond his control (i.e. The Suns weren’t good until CP3’s arrival).

Not enough appreciation is shown for the bankability of Booker's scoring. There is a reason the Suns unraveled in the second round of the playoffs when the Mavericks reformatted their entire defense to harass him. Among 278 players to clear at least 30 touches per game last season, he placed first in points per touch. And he ranked fourth in this same category for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

There is also an underappreciation for the passes he throws once he gets downhill. The Suns would do well to give him more floor-general reps in the half court—particularly given the state of this year's bench.


12. Trae Young

Highest Ranking: 9

Lowest Ranking: 26

Trae Young is an offensive powerhouse. He's going to generate most of his team's offense as a scorer (28.4 points per game last season), shooter (38.2 percent from three) and playmaker (9.7 assists per night). But Young is not a high-impact defender with his slight build.

Recognizing the talent they have in Young, the Atlanta Hawks have worked to pair the 24-year-old guard with long, athletic defenders. The addition of Dejounte Murray, one of the better backcourt defenders in the league, should help balance Young's limitations.

Murray also gives Atlanta another capable primary playmaker, which should prevent teams from sending nonstop traps to get the ball out of Young's hands.


11. Jimmy Butler

Highest Ranking: 9

Lowest Ranking: 18

Age and mileage are beginning to catch up with Jimmy Butler, but when you need a player to step up in a big moment, few players do so better than him.

The 33-year-old is coming off a strong playoff run (27.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.1 steals, 50.6 percent shooting) and is going to have to play a major role once again for the Heat to remain at the top of the East.

Still able to lock in defensively at a high level, Butler could easily end up as a top-10 player in the NBA even in Year 12.


10. Ja Morant

Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 7

Lowest Ranking: 15

Perhaps the game’s most dynamic slasher and finisher, Ja Morant made a superstar leap in 2021-22, taking his scoring average from 19.1 points to 27.4 per game. And while increases in three-point volume, three-point percentage and two-point percentage all contributed to the improvement, nothing stands out quite like his numbers in the paint.

The 6'3" Morant led the league in points in the paint per game at 16.6, just ahead of Nikola Jokić, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James.

Getting that kind of pressure on the rim from your point guard makes life exponentially easier for everyone else on the floor, especially floor-spacing bigs like Jaren Jackson Jr.


9. Kawhi Leonard

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 4

Lowest Ranking: 16

Kawhi Leonard falling outside the top seven feels icky at first blush. It wasn’t long ago he forced his way into the best-player-alive discourse every spring. Now…he’s one spot ahead of Morant (No. 10) and falling behind wings like an age-37 LeBron James, Jayson Tatum and, more notably, an age-34 Kevin Durant, who has appeared in fewer combined regular-season and playoff games than Leonard since 2018-19.

Granted, availability absolutely matters. Leonard hasn't missed fewer than 15 games since 2016-17, sat out all of 2021-22 and is working his way back from a partially torn right ACL at age 31.

There is ample room for skepticism. It's reasonable to expect another dip in rim pressure, deliberately tamped-down defensive efforts and absences for regular-season maintenance.


8. LeBron James

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 3

Lowest Ranking: 16

Going into his 20th season, LeBron James is still one of the most powerful players the NBA has ever seen. He's struggled to stay healthy in three of the past four seasons, and his defensive effort may wax and wane, but James can still orchestrate an NBA offense at the highest of levels.

Russell Westbrook and James did not blend well with the Los Angeles Lakers in their first season together, but Anthony Davis and James also dealt with injury issues.

James will pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA's all-time leading scorer this season. If he can stay healthy, he'll make this ranking look like the slight it is.


7. Jayson Tatum

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 3

Lowest Ranking: 10

We knew this moment was coming since his rookie season. Jayson Tatum is officially flirting with top-five-player status and is projected to pass veteran wings LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler in the NBA pecking order by the end of the season.

Tatum's eye-popping plus-16.5 swing rating ranked in the 99th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass, which speaks to the impact he makes on both ends of the court.

With a whopping 74 games of playoff experience already at age 24, Tatum's postseason success should only continue to spill into the regular season. He'll continually be an MVP and scoring-crown candidate for the next decade.


6. Joel Embiid

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 3

Lowest Ranking: 10

Joel Embiid is one of the best scorers in NBA history. After securing the first scoring title of his career in 2021-22, he’s 11th all time in career points per game (tied for first with Michael Jordan in career points per 75 possessions) and tied with Bob Pettit for first in career free throws per game.

Embiid can score like a traditional post player, from the mid-range or from three. And no one is as good at drawing contact. Even when you think he’s stopped, he somehow finds a way to get to the line.

And he’s far from an offense-only player. Embiid is among the few who can lead his team on both ends of the floor.


5. Kevin Durant

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 2

Lowest Ranking: 8

Kevin Durant's top-five argument is, somehow, beyond reproach and a leap of faith all at once.

There is no debating his ability. He is perhaps the purest scorer in NBA history. His blend of size, length, form, fluidity and craftiness is as unstoppable as it is unexampled. The way he marries volume and efficiency is similarly unprecedented.

Yet, availability must to some extent be part of the equation. Durant has appeared in 198 combined games through the playoffs and regular season since 2018-19. That is far fewer than Joel Embiid (270) and Kawhi Leonard (217)—two stars he tops who are often dinged for their own fragility.

Does Durant deserve the same treatment? Especially at age 34? And particularly when he’s coming off a nondescript performance in the first round of the playoffs? Or does he instead deserve the benefit of the doubt, ahead of Embiid (No. 6) and Kawhi (No. 9) and LeBron (No. 8), because he’s coming off a season in which he cleared 37 minutes per game?

Our panel skews toward the latter. And “Best in the NBA” remains KD’s apex. Whether he's fit to keep reaching or flirting with his long-standing peak, though, is a matter of course.


4. Stephen Curry

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 2

Lowest Ranking: 9

The demise of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors was oversold. The team finally got healthy last year to recapture the title, with Curry earning his first Finals MVP. He is older now at 34, but he's still that baby-faced killer.

His scoring output dipped from 32 points per game through 2020-21, an incredible performance on a team riddled with injuries, to 25.5 last year. But that drop was more a reflection of an improved, healthier roster. Teams have to honor Curry's shot from anywhere on the court. His range is unparalleled in NBA history.

Should he be ranked below Luka Dončić? Dončić is extraordinary and may go on to win championships–but Curry already has the resume. He showed last year that he is still one of the best players the NBA has ever seen, and No. 4 on the list may be way too low.


3. Luka Dončić

Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 2

Lowest Ranking: 6

Even watching Luka Dončić play as a rookie, it was clear he was destined to join the league's elite players before long. While he's always put up numbers, a lack of conditioning seemed to hold him back from reaching his massive potential. Now, the 23-year-old looks slimmer than ever and is coming off a playoff performance where he averaged 31.7 points in 15 games to lead all postseason scorers.

With Jalen Brunson gone, Dončić's usage is only going to go up, with a scoring title and triple-double average entirely possible this season. His bag of offensive tricks is unmatched in the league, and his playmaking, rebounding and clutch play are also off the charts.

Dončić could very well take his place at the top of the basketball mountain one day, but for now, being recognized as the game's best guard is a nice start.


2. Nikola Jokić

AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 1

Lowest Ranking: 3

Nikola Jokić isn’t just one of the best players in the NBA right now. He’s on track to be one of the greatest of all time.

He’s second all-time in career box plus/minus (behind only Michael Jordan). No one matches or exceeds all of his career marks for points (19.7), rebounds (10.4) and assists (6.2) per game. And after securing a second consecutive MVP in 2021-22, he’s one of just 13 players in league history to win that award in back-to-back seasons.

Jokić is so much more than his outrageous numbers, though.

No one makes passing more entertaining. No one is more dangerous from the mid-range. Few players (if any) are doing as much to keep the center position alive. And few players across history have ever been as good at elevating the level of their teammates.


1. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Francois Nel/Getty Images

Highest Ranking: 1

Lowest Ranking: 4

Every so often, these player-ranking exercises enjoy a Golden Age of Near-Consensus at the tippy top. We’re in one now.

Nobody on the B/R NBA staff placed Giannis Antetokounmpo lower than fourth. His case isn’t so much incredibly strong as unimpeachable. No one else in his periphery is so dominant he’s capable of winning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season—not Nikola Jokić (No. 2), not Luka Dončić (No. 3), not Stephen Curry (No. 4), not Kevin Durant (No. 5), not…well, you get the point.

Attacking his best-alive case is officially a fool’s errand. “Sure, he annihilates in the regular season, but he’s solvable in the playoffs!” is now a hollow, patently false refrain. Giannis has both been the best player on a title team (in 2021) and deepens his offensive armory every year.

Last season, most notably, he downed a career-high 44 percent of his long mid-range attempts and turned himself into more of an instinctual passer.

This year, who the hell knows? Maybe he tops 75 percent at the charity stripe, or he increases the processing speed with which he uncorks pull-up jumpers, hook shots and/or fadeaways.

The ceiling on what he does, and on how well he does it, quite literally does not exist.


Statistics via Basketball Reference, Cleaning the Glass and NBA.com unless otherwise noted.


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