The 2021-22 chapter of the NBA story closed with the Golden State Warriors being crowned champions for the fourth time in eight years. Now, as we enter the offseason, it’s time for my annual top 100 list.
I began with a pool of around 170 players and somehow cut it down to 100 (plus ten “honorable mentions”). The league is rich with talent.
When ranking players I use a fusion of the eye test and statistics. I watched countless hours of hoops this season, and I used stats less than I ever have this time around. I typically use numbers to confirm perceptions I have from watching the games.
Alongside each player, you will find my predicted ranking that I made here prior to the season.
Even though ranking players (especially this many) is incredibly difficult, I always have a blast compiling my lists. So, with that being said, let’s get into it!
(One more thing- this list is based on the 2021-22 season only. Prior years or future potential are not considered in the rankings.)
Prediction Leaveoffs: Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, Malik Beasley, Richaun Holmes, De’Andre Hunter, Victor Oladipo, Chris Boucher, Rui Hachimura, Tim Hardaway Jr.
I struck out on nine players this year, which is a lot better than the total of twenty-two I tallied in 2021. Not too shabby.
Injury Leaveoffs: Kawhi Leonard, Zion Williamson, Jamal Murray, Ben Simmons, Collin Sexton, Michael Porter Jr., John Wall, Jonathan Isaac, T.J. Warren, Markelle Fultz
To qualify for this list, players had to have racked up 600+ regular-season minutes or played at least 20 minutes per game in the playoffs. These guys would have made the list had they met the requirements.
Honorable Mentions (110-101):
110: Bogdan Bogdanovic (Prediction: 78)
109: Cole Anthony (Prediction: N/A)
108: Spencer Dinwiddie (Prediction: 74)
107: Jalen Green (Prediction: 87)
106: Derrick Rose (Prediction: 90)
105: Jordan Clarkson (Prediction: 82)
104: Brook Lopez (Prediction: 105)
103: Luguentz Dort (Prediction: 94)
102: Harrison Barnes (Prediction: N/A)
101: Josh Hart (Prediction: N/A)
This list is technically a top 110 because of these ten “honorable mentions.”
Derrick Rose was sidelined most of the year due to injury, but when he played he looked like New York’s best player at times. Brook Lopez, who also missed significant time, provided his usual rim protection when he was available delivering some emphatic swats in the playoffs. Jalen Green began the year as one of the league’s most inefficient and ineffective players, but he absolutely took off post-All-Star break and earned a placement on my list. Spencer Dinwiddie also had a disappointing first half of the season but after he joined the Mavericks at the deadline he turned things around.
#100: Will Barton (Prediction: N/A)
Kicking off the top 100 is Will Barton, who was Denver’s Mr. Reliable next to Jokic with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. out. The veteran had arguably the best scoring season of his career and that combined with his solid all-around play earns him a placement at the bottom of the list.
#99: Montrezl Harrell (Prediction: N/A)
The Washington Wizards came out of the gates hot this season, reigning over the Eastern Conference in the early weeks of November. That’s why former Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell was on nba.com’s MVP ladder. Even though that fizzled out quickly and he returned to his usual (still productive) self, it shows how valuable the energy and heart Harrell brings are.
#98: Kevin Porter Jr. (Prediction: 84)
KPJ didn’t quite have the season I thought he would, as running the point full-time came with some growing pains, but he still showcased why his future is so bright. The young star improved his shot (48.1% on catch & shoot attempts from deep) and his defense while setting the foundation for big things to come.
#97: Dillon Brooks (Prediction: 70)
If you’re looking for efficiency, Dillon Brooks is not your guy. However, he gets buckets for himself at a high volume and that’s what the young Grizzlies needed. The gritty wing got hot and picked up the scoring slack many times throughout the season and that’s why he lands on the list.
#96: Reggie Jackson (Prediction: 95)
With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sidelined, the Clippers needed someone to step up and Reggie Jackson answered the call. He was the rock and leader for the overperforming L.A. squad with his microwave scoring, and I have to give him props for performing well in a much bigger role than he’s used to.
#95: Jusuf Nurkic (Prediction: 75)
While his days as a top ten center are behind him, Nurkic is still a valuable big for Portland. He’s a fantastic rebounder (11.1 total boards per game, 3.0 offensive), and he also sets some of the best screens in the league to help the talented tandem of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons get their shots off. The Bosnian Beast excels in the traditional center role.
#94: Al Horford (Prediction: N/A)
Al Horford enjoying a renaissance in year fifteen was not on my bingo card for the 2021-22 season, but here we are. The big man was awesome all playoffs, killing the Bucks from behind the arc and playing defense like his prime self. The five-time All-Star’s performance in the big dance was so good (especially for his age) that you could make the argument he played himself into the Hall of Fame, but that might just be an overreaction to what was a helluva season for Horford.
#93: Bobby Portis Jr. (Prediction: N/A)
Watching Bobby Portis ball out to the tune of fans chanting his name has been one of my favorite things as a Bucks fan over the last few seasons. His knockdown shooting and fierce competitiveness were huge for Milwaukee while Brook Lopez was hurt. It’s been incredible to see Bobby embrace the city and grow as a player and he’s without a doubt a top 100 guy in the league.
#92: Lonzo Ball (Prediction: 101)
One of the best defenders the guard position has to offer played a big part in Chicago’s return to relevancy in 2022. A torn meniscus held Lonzo to just 35 contests, but when he was healthy he was the third-best Bull at times with his disruptive defense and much-improved shooting.
#91: Buddy Hield (Prediction: 88)
Hield was sent to Indiana at the deadline, and the change of scenery helped him expand his game. He’s known as a terrific shooter, but with the Pacers he showed more driving, playmaking, and defense than I’ve ever seen from him. While his ability to hit the three-ball already made him a valuable player, this developing well-roundedness makes him even better.
#90: Mike Conley (Prediction: 62)
At age 34, Mike Conley was still reliable as ever this past season. He’s a quality on-ball defender and an efficient shooter. However, I don’t think he’s good enough to be the third option anymore which is supported by his struggles in the playoffs. So while Conley is still a rock-solid point guard he’s not the All-Star level guy he used to be.
#89: Kyle Lowry (Prediction: 57)
Lowry took a backseat during his first season in South Beach. He dogged on defense and dished out the rock while allowing Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro to do all the scoring. The six-time All-Star is aging and isn’t as good as he once was, but he is definitely still a top 100 player.
#88: Seth Curry (Prediction: 100)
It’s a make-or-miss league, and Seth Curry does not miss often. He connected on 46.8% of his treys for Brooklyn this season, and his success rate jumped up to a sizzling 52.2% in the playoffs. The NBA is full of three-point specialists, but Seth stands out as a true deadeye in the crowd.
#87: Franz Wagner (Prediction: N/A)
Jalen Suggs was supposed to be Orlando’s standout rookie, but instead, it was eighth overall pick Wagner. The first-year baller out of Michigan displayed a versatile game for the Magic, scoring off the drive, hitting the three, passing, and playing solid defense throughout his All-Rookie campaign.
#86: Saddiq Bey (Prediction: 108)
After this season, Saddiq Bey is now cemented as a core piece of Detroit’s future. He’s a smooth bucket getter and a big shot maker, and his sensational 51-point, 10 3PM outing in March proves it. I’m a firm believer Bey is a future star and 2022 was the first step in that direction.
#85: Gary Trent Jr. (Prediction: 102)
Bubble breakout Gary Trent Jr. has now blossomed into a great two-way guard. Not only has he become one of the better high-volume shooters in the league, he also took a big jump on the defensive end this year. He deserves more credit than he’s gotten for Toronto’s (regular season) success.
#84: Keldon Johnson (Prediction: 104)
Look out league, Keldon Johnson is officially a certified sniper. His knockdown deep ball alongside his strong finishing ability that earned him the nickname “Big Body” make him a legitimate offensive talent, and I think he has star written all over him. I’m very excited for Keldon’s future with the young Spurs.
#83: Bojan Bogdanovic (Prediction: 110)
Another year, another efficient 18+ PPG from Bojan Bogdanovic. The veteran forward is a consistent catch & shoot threat and an excellent complimentary piece for the Jazz and once again lands himself in the 80s on my list.
#82: Derrick White (Prediction: 86)
I was very disappointed when Derrick was traded from San Antonio as he was one of my favorite guys on the team. All those feelings washed away when I watched him show out for the Finals runner-ups. Derrick pieced together some really nice scoring games while bringing his All-Defensive guarding ability every night, and it made me so happy to watch him succeed.
#81: Wendell Carter Jr. (Prediction: 107)
Wendell brings versatility that is unusual for a big. He can hit the three-ball and the mid-range, he’s a good finisher off the drive, he rebounds, he can pass a little, and while he doesn’t block many shots he can still lockdown in the post. The four-year man from Duke was once again Orlando’s best player in the 2021-22 season.
#80: Caris LeVert (Prediction: 63)
LeVert’s 2022 play was pretty similar to what he did in 2021. He’s a secondary creator who can score well when he’s feeling it. He joined the Cavaliers around the trade deadline, where he assumed a bench role and was still productive. Ultimately the reason LeVert ranks so much lower than he did last year is other guys got better.
#79: Kyle Kuzma (Prediction: N/A)
When Bradley Beal went down with an injury midway through the season, the Wizards had a lot of points to replace. Kyle Kuzma picked up the slack, averaging over 20 PPG across the last three months of the regular season (17.1 overall) proving he can be more than the spotty scorer he was during his time on the Lakers. Kuz quietly made a really good case for MIP, and that’s why he lands here on my list.
#78: Jakob Poeltl (Prediction: N/A)
If you open a dictionary and flip your way to the U section, under the word underrated you will simply see Jakob Poeltl’s name as the definition. The man is a borderline elite rim protector, a great rebounder, and a quality finisher in the P&R with nice touch, and yet only diehard fans talk about him. He does everything you want from a center and was without a doubt nearly a top 75 player this past season.
#77: Scottie Barnes (Prediction: N/A)
He wasn’t my pick for the honor, but fourth overall pick Scottie Barnes won 2022 Rookie of the Year. The Florida State product earned the award by doing literally everything on the court. Guarding 1-5? Yup. Crashing the offensive glass better than most non-bigs? Of course. Running point forward in Toronto’s jumbo lineups? You betcha. His scoring may still be somewhat of a work in progress, but Scottie is a very impactful player already in his young career.
#76: Norman Powell (Prediction: 69)
Professional bucket Norm Powell had another fantastic season in 2022. He put up 19.0 PPG while shooting 46.1% from the field and 41.9% from deep on the year, and he’s truly become one of the better tertiary scoring options out there.
#75: Robert Williams III (Prediction: N/A)
Anchoring the best defense in basketball this season was fourth-year big Robert Williams. He’s up there with the best shot blockers in the association, using a combination of an insane 40” vertical and a 7’6” wingspan to reject almost everything that comes his way. He’s also a very active offensive rebounder and a bouncy lob threat. His elite big man skills place him inside the top 75.
#74: Evan Mobley (Prediction: N/A)
Called a generational defensive talent by many, Evan Mobley teamed up with Jarrett Allen to form a menacing frontcourt in Cleveland. The rookie swats shots from the help side and switches on to guards seamlessly. The way he impacted the game, specifically on D, for the overperforming Cavs made Mobley’s first year a very promising one.
#73: Julius Randle (Prediction: 31)
2020-21 was such a fun campaign for Julius Randle as he elevated his game in a big way, earning All-NBA second-team honors and leading the Knicks to the playoffs. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t replicate that magic this past season. While the All-Star in him came out from time to time, the inefficient ball-stopping made a return and that’s why he lands so much lower than I predicted.
#72: Cade Cunningham (Prediction: 76)
My pick for Rookie of the Year, Cunningham displayed how he got the nickname “MotorCade” by acting as the engine for the team in Motor City. The 2021 first-overall pick runs the offense at a very high level already, and Detroit has found their franchise guy.
#71: Myles Turner (Prediction: 79)
Two-time blocks champ Myles Turner once again dominated as a rim protector, sending back 118 offerings in just 42 outings. The league’s premier 3&D center doesn’t get enough credit for the uniqueness and value of his game and he’s easily a top 75 player.
#70: Jalen Brunson (Prediction: N/A)
Brunson’s regular season was very good, but he exploded in the playoffs. He posted a 21.6 PPG average across Dallas’s conference finals run, and he put up a 41-point, 6 3PM masterpiece in game two against Utah. Brunson’s performance this year is going to earn him a big bag in free agency.
#69: Marcus Smart (Prediction: 80)
The heart and soul of the Finals runner-ups just had the best season of his career. Smart became the first guard to win Defensive Player of the Year since Gary Payton, and while he wasn’t my choice to do so, he definitely deserves it. As annoying as his flopping can get, it’s impossible to deny Smart’s impact on success.
#68: Clint Capela (Prediction: 54)
A truly elite traditional big, Capela’s combination of rebounding, lob-catching, screening, and shot-blocking makes him an ideal fit next to Trae Young. His game definitely works better with a top playmaker like Young, but there’s no denying the Swiss Bank’s productivity.
#67: John Collins (Prediction: 53)
Following Capela is his frontcourt partner John Collins. The fifth-year man has a very versatile offensive skill set with his ability to shoot the three and finish in the P&R. He hasn’t been able to fully spread his wings in Atlanta but he has been an excellent supporting piece.
#66: Tobias Harris (Prediction: 43)
Tyrese Maxey’s breakout and James Harden’s arrival forced Tobias Harris into a fourth option role that he hasn’t played in a long time. The veteran forward performed well though, still offering consistent scoring and stepping up in the postseason for the contending 76ers.
#65: Malcolm Brogdon (Prediction: 44)
An inability to stay healthy hindered Brogdon’s game this past season. Appearing in just 36 contests, the 2017 Rookie of the Year shot the ball on career-worst efficiency. If healthy he is a borderline All-Star point guard, but that’s starting to become a big if.
#64: Christian Wood (Prediction: 48)
Ask a Rockets fan what they think of Wood and they’ll likely tell you he sucks, but that’s not true. While he isn’t the best defender, the big man is highly skilled for his size. He can take other bigs off the dribble and he knocks down triples (39.0% in 2021-22). Even if he wasn’t the best fit in Houston he is still a productive player.
#63: Nikola Vucevic (Prediction: 34)
Playing third fiddle to DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine prevented Vucevic from producing like he usually does. The two-time All-Star wasn’t able to score like he used to, specifically from behind the arc (he hit just 31.4% of his threes this season, a big drop-off from his 40.0% mark in 2021), and that limited his impact on the court.
#62: Jerami Grant (Prediction: 52)
Versatile forward Jerami Grant broke out in 2020-21 and kept up that level of play this past season. He scores effectively from all three levels and brings some solid contributions on defense. Detroit wasn’t the best fit for him, but it was fun to watch him grow there and I’m excited for his time in Portland.
#61: Tyler Herro (Prediction: N/A)
The leading scorer for the top team in the East, Herro’s season really changed what I think about him. He went from overrated after his bubble performance to a highly impactful player and the Sixth Man of the Year. The Boy Wonder grew in a big way in 2022 and that’s why he ranks so high.
#60: Mikal Bridges (Prediction: 67)
Today’s NBA is dominated by 3&D wings/forwards, and Mikal Bridges plays that role to an absolute tee. The four-year man locked up for the Suns this season, earning All-Defensive first-team honors while knocking down a respectable amount of his triples and appearing in all 82 contests. The league’s resident iron man may just be a role player, but he’s a gosh darn good one.
#59: Gordon Hayward (Prediction: 59)
Hayward has been one of the most consistent supporting scorers in the association for a long time now, and 2022 was no different. He marked an efficient 16 points per contest for the young Hornets and lands exactly where I predicted he would be.
#58: Klay Thompson (Prediction: 33)
For the first time since 2019, the NBA’s most impeccable shooter was healthy. He wasn’t the same player he used to be (which makes sense considering the significant injuries he suffered), but he helped the Dubs to their fourth ring in the Curry era and earned a ranking just outside the top fifty.
#57: OG Anunoby (Prediction: 60)
Every year for the last two or three seasons I’ve been expecting a big breakout for OG Anunoby, and it hasn’t quite happened. His excellent perimeter defense has never faltered, but the shot creation just hasn’t come along like I’ve expected it to. Regardless OG is still a very good player.
#56: R.J. Barrett (Prediction: 68)
Because he plays for a dysfunctional franchise, R.J. Barrett has flown somewhat under the radar throughout his career (specifically in 2022). That needs to change. The Maple Mamba is seriously talented which he proved this past season when he put up a dub per game and showed some prowess as a number one option. This man is a future All-Star and will be top fifty next season. For now, he’s knocking on the door.
#55: Jonas Valanciunas (Prediction: 73)
I goofed up with my prediction for Valanciunas because I thought he wouldn’t be a great fit in New Orleans for some reason. The big man played so well this past season he was in All-Star conversations for a few months. He dominates the glass and finishes everything in the paint without a single strand of hair falling out of place and that’s borderline top fifty worthy.
#54: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Prediction: 71)
Rising superstar Ja Morant may have led the Grizzlies to the two-seed in the West, but they couldn’t have done it without Jaren Jackson. He anchored their defense at an elite level, leading the league in blocks and being selected to the All-Defensive first team.
#53: Tyrese Maxey (Prediction: N/A)
Tyrese Maxey had a breakout year in 2022, to say the least. He was Philadelphia’s second-best player until Harden arrived, and even after that the speedy guard never slowed down. The former 21st overall pick put up a highly efficient 17 points per game while showing everyone why he has multiple All-Star appearances in his future.
#52: Jordan Poole (Prediction: N/A)
Every Warriors game was a Poole Party this season hosted by their sensational young guard. Jordan Poole was Golden State’s rock through Steph’s struggles and Klay’s absence. He always delivered for the champs whether he was the number one option, the third, or coming off the bench. The future is bright for this young man.
#51: Desmond Bane (Prediction: N/A)
The 2020 30th overall pick is already way better than the solid 3&D wing he was projected to be. Bane is an elite shooter, knocking down 43.6% of his 6.9 deep range attempts per game this past season. He also popped off in the postseason. I think the two-year man is Memphis’s second-best player, and he will be a fantastic running mate next to Ja for many years to come.
#50: Anfernee Simons (Prediction: N/A)
Simons started the season as a streaky sixth man, but after Damian Lillard went down with injury he stepped into the starting point guard role and absolutely blew me away. He showed true number one guy ability in Dame’s absence, creating for himself and others with high effectiveness. The young guard has become one of the best shooters in basketball, but he’s also grown into a top fifty player in the NBA.
#49: Kristaps Porzingis (Prediction: 64)
Staying healthy is still a struggle for the Porzingis, but specifically in Washington we saw flashes of the old Unicorn this past season. After playing like a three-point specialist in Dallas, he was a legitimate top option again during his 17 games in the District, and when he’s playing like his past self Porzingis is a borderline All-Star.
#48: Miles Bridges (Prediction: 109)
I knew Miles Bridges was a future star, but I didn’t expect him to ascend so quickly. The bouncy forward proved he is more than just a dunker in 2022, leading Charlotte in scoring with a mix of tough finishes and smooth treys. He’s such a talented player and will rank higher one day when he reaches his full potential.
#47: Tyrese Haliburton (Prediction: 99)
Haliburton began the year playing very nicely off De’Aaron Fox in Sacramento, but when he was traded to Indiana he spread his wings as a lead guard and looked great. The Wisconsin native is very heady and efficient in the way he scores and passes, and man does that wacky jumper go in. The Pacers have found their franchise guard.
#46: Russell Westbrook (Prediction: 36)
An abundance of bone-headed plays under the bright lights of Hollywood makes it easy to say Westbrook had a bad season. In reality, he was used as a scapegoat for a Lakers roster that was not well put together. The former MVP still does serious damage going downhill and sets his teammates up better than most guards in the league, and playing for a team that doesn’t use him correctly shouldn’t take away from that.
#45: Terry Rozier (Prediction: 58)
Since his arrival in Charlotte, Terry Rozier has been a bucket. He uses his crafty handle to create for himself at a high level and he always comes through in the clutch. The man who cooked Eric Bledsoe in the 2018 playoffs has become a legitimate star guard.
#44: D’Angelo Russell (Prediction: 50)
Despite shooting the ball at the lowest clip since his All-Star campaign, D’Lo found other ways to contribute this season. He was the engine for a high-octane Minnesota offense and acted as their defensive coordinator on the other end. The man with ice in his veins is still a top fifty player in the league.
#43: Deandre Ayton (Prediction: 42)
2018 first-overall pick Ayton had an awesome season for the top-seeded Suns. He provides excellent finishing off Chris Paul dimes, and that tandem was the league’s most unstoppable pick and roll force. Even if you think he’s only this good because of Paul, without Ayton Phoenix would not have won as many games as they did.
#42: Andrew Wiggins (Prediction: 77)
It’s been an absolute joy to watch Andrew Wiggins grow since he joined the Warriors. The former shot-chucker revolutionized his game to become a winner. He earned his All-Star appearance and even made a run at Finals MVP. He was the second-best player for his team on the biggest stage in basketball and he’s undoubtedly a top fifty player.
#41: Bradley Beal (Prediction: 20)
Appearing in just 40 games before undergoing season-ending wrist surgery, I couldn’t rank Beal above guys who played more. Even when he was healthy, the three-time All-Star was putting up an inefficient 23 points per game. I expect things to be different next year but Beal was not himself in 2022.
#40: Domantas Sabonis (Prediction: 28)
Two-time All-Star Sabonis joined Sacramento at the trade deadline to form a dynamic duo with De’Aaron Fox that was very effective in the pick and roll. Combine that with his high-post diming ability and tenacious rebounding and you have a good running mate for the speedy Fox. I think Sabonis is underrated, and while he falls far from my prediction he still had a great season.
#39: C.J. McCollum (Prediction: 45)
After eight and a half seasons together, the backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum was finally split up when C.J. was shipped off to New Orleans. He was awesome with the Pelicans, scoring like he always has and pushing the young group over the top into the playoffs. McCollum proved this past season that he is one of the best players to never make the All-Star game.
#38: De’Aaron Fox (Prediction: 26)
It wasn’t quite the massive season I thought it would be for Fox, but he still had a strong campaign. The young star exploded after the All-Star break, averaging 29.3 PPG on 50.2% from the field and 36.8% from deep. That tear should wake up the last of those sleeping on De’Aaron Fox.
#37: LaMelo Ball (Prediction: 55)
One of the flashiest youngsters in the association, LaMelo Ball is built for stardom. He dishes out insane dimes and hits stepback threes with swagger, headlining the most entertaining show in the NBA in the Charlotte Hornets.
#36: Anthony Edwards (Prediction: 65)
Speaking of being built for stardom, Ant is naturally a superstar. His talent and confidence are through the roof and he will be one of the faces of the league one day. For now, he ranks a few spots away from the top thirty.
#35: Fred VanVleet (Prediction: 41)
“Bet on yourself” is Fred VanVleet’s motto, and boy has that paid off for him as he became the fifth undrafted player to make an All-Star game in February. While he ultimately wasn’t Toronto’s best player, they wouldn’t have performed like they did without VanVleet.
#34: Khris Middleton (Prediction: 29)
Giannis’s longtime sidekick and NBA champion Khris Middleton didn’t quite play like his usual self this season, but he was still good enough to earn All-Star honors for the third time in his career. Khash Money is a guaranteed twenty-ball every time he steps on the hardwood and is one of the league’s most reliable closers. Plus, we all know Milwaukee was going to the Finals if he didn’t get hurt.
#33: Jarrett Allen (Prediction: 81)
The man in the middle for this season’s biggest surprise had one heck of a year. On his way to receiving his first All-Star nod, the Fro rejected anyone that came to his rim and finished almost everything lobbed his way on the other end. While centers like Allen aren’t flashy they get it done and are highly impactful players, and that’s why he lands just outside the top thirty.
#32: Draymond Green (Prediction: 47)
Draymond is the most polarizing player in the NBA. It’s easy to watch him get a technical or check his stats and write him off as overrated and obnoxious. Yet, the former second-round pick has been the second most important player on an all-time dynasty. I don’t always like the man, but you have to respect him.
#31: Damian Lillard (Prediction: 7)
Dame was playing hurt this season, which is obvious when you look at his efficiency. The superstar was unusually inconsistent, likely caused by his abdominal strain. After 29 contests he finally called it and underwent surgery. He’ll be back to his normal self next year.
#30: Anthony Davis (Prediction: 10)
Since the bubble, AD has struggled with injuries and failed to play at the level he did that season. 2022 was a step in the right direction though. However, even if we never see the top-ten version of the Brow again, he’s unquestionably good enough to crack the top thirty.
#29: James Harden (Prediction: 5)
What a weird season for James Harden. After playing his worst ball since his OKC days, the two-time MVP forced himself out of Brooklyn to Philadelphia where his scoring struggles continued. A lingering hamstring injury may be the cause, but the Harden of old disappeared in 2022 and that’s why he falls so far from the top ten.
#28: Bam Adebayo (Prediction: 27)
Gritty big man Bam Adebayo is the heart of Miami’s defense with his ability to switch on the perimeter and protect the rim. His all-world guarding ability paired with his post scoring make him a formidable force on the court. The only thing missing for Bam is consistent aggression on offense.
#27: Jaylen Brown (Prediction: 23)
The second-best player on the Finals runner-ups, Brown performed very well on the biggest stage in basketball. He carried the scoring load when Tatum was struggling and locked down on the other end. 2022 was a huge year for one of the league’s best second options.
#26: Dejounte Murray (Prediction: 49)
My preseason pick for MIP, Dejounte Murray outperformed even my high expectations. He made his first All-Star team while leading the young Spurs to a surprisingly competitive season. He elevated everyone around him with his ability to run the offense while also scoring better than he ever has. He became the second player ever to average 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, 8+ assists, and 2+ steals (the other is Michael Jordan by the way). It was a pleasure to watch Dejounte blossom this year.
#25: Pascal Siakam (Prediction: 46)
Siakam bounced back better than ever from a disappointing 2021 season. He made All-NBA third team while leading Toronto to the fifth seed. The 2019 Most Improved Player regained the title of best Raptor as he did everything well. He scores effectively from all three levels, guards everywhere on the court, playmakes, rebounds, and hustles. The Pascal Siakam we’re used to returned in 2022.
#24: Rudy Gobert (Prediction: 35)
Say what you want about Rudy Gobert, but he’s the best defensive player of the last decade and one of the greatest rim protectors ever. Utah’s failure to make noise in the playoffs is not his fault and trading him is not the answer.
#23: Brandon Ingram (Prediction: 32)
The Pelicans made a surprise push into the playoffs, and spearheading that run was Brandon Ingram. He played out of his mind against the Suns making New Orleans a tough out in six games. His postseason performance capped off his most complete regular season as a pro. I think the one-time All-Star is the best player in the Big Easy.
#22: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Prediction: 25)
An average fan doesn’t consume much OKC basketball, so they overlook one of the most exciting young players in the association. Shai dissects defenses with his excellent downhill playmaking and some of the best finishing the guard position has to offer. He led the league in scoring after the All-Star break, all but cementing himself as a top twenty-five player.
#21: Darius Garland (Prediction: 66)
22-year-old Darius Garland became a star this past season. He was the floor general and leader for the young and fun Cavaliers, and played his first All-Star game in front of the hometown fans. His growth since his disappointing rookie campaign is very impressive and DG the PG is Cleveland’s lead guard for the future.
#20: Zach LaVine (Prediction: 24)
The long-time empty stats rip on LaVine is no more after 2022. He was arguably the best secondary scoring option in the league, getting his exceptionally efficient buckets for the Bulls in the regular season and the ‘offs;
#19: Jrue Holiday (Prediction: 40)
When Jrue placed 37th on my 2021 list, I guessed that would be the highest he would place for the rest of his career. I was way wrong. He had his best season as a pro in 2022 and was Milwaukee’s second-best player. Besides his incredible defense, Jrue scored the ball better than he ever has. He shot 50% from the field, 41% from deep, and was one of the most efficient isolation players in the NBA. There was no world where I was leaving him outside the top twenty.
#18: Kyrie Irving (Prediction: 15)
Kyrie treated hooping like a part-time job this past season, but he was so good when he played I couldn’t penalize him for it too much. His unreal handle and craftiness make it nearly impossible to stop him, reflected by the most efficient 50-ball of all time and the 60-piece he dropped this year. I wish he played more.
#17: Chris Paul (Prediction: 21)
Forget his playoff breakdown against Dallas. CP3 is an all-time great at the point guard position still operating at the highest level despite his age. He put up 33 points on perfect 14-14 shooting to close out the pesky Pelicans in round one and was the motor that kept the Suns in first place all season.
#16: Paul George (Prediction: 13)
Had he played more than 31 games, PG13 would have ranked higher. My preseason dark horse pick for MVP was playing at that level before he tore something in his elbow. He’s one of the smoothest hoopers in the league and has long put the Pandemic P memes to rest.
#15: Donovan Mitchell (Prediction: 14)
Blinded by another early exit for the Jazz, people have forgotten that Mitchell is a proven superstar at the shooting guard position. He’s been a winner since his rookie season and scores with the best of them. Spida will be a top fifteen player for a long time.
#14: Karl-Anthony Towns (Prediction: 19)
The best shooting big man ever remained the third-best center in 2022. Another fantastic regular season for KAT, headlined by a 60-bomb, resulted in the second playoff appearance of his career where I think he performed better than he’s given credit for.
#13: Jimmy Butler (Prediction: 17)
Jimmy G. Buckets did what his nickname suggests in the postseason. He had some massive single-game scoring outings and averaged 27 points across 17 games, leading the Heat to the Conference Finals. When Jimmy is producing like that it’s a cherry on top of everything else he does to contribute to winning.
#12: Trae Young (Prediction: 18)
Ice Trae established himself as a top offensive hub in the game this past season, shooting the ball at a career-high clip while serving his teammates easy looks on silver platters. Getting clamped in the playoffs was an unfortunate ending to the first All-NBA campaign of Young’s career.
#11: DeMar DeRozan (Prediction: 39)
Remember when ESPN called DeMar DeRozan the worst acquisition of the 2021 off-season? DeMar made all his doubters look like fools with his incredible regular season. He garnered MVP buzz, broke a Wilt Chamberlain record, led the Bulls to a winning record for the first time in a while, and became the first player to knock down a game-winning buzzer beater on back-to-back days. He would have ranked in the top ten had he played better in the postseason. I have no superlatives left in my bag to describe how fun it was watching my favorite player hoop in 2022.
#10: Ja Morant (Prediction: 30)
Leading off the top ten is young phenom Ja Morant. The former second-overall pick dominated highlight tapes with his ridiculous dunks and absurd layup package, and all his pizzazz resulted in winning as the Grizzlies finished second in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Ja will be at the top of the league for loooong time.
#9: Devin Booker (Prediction: 16)
Fueled by defeat, Booker came into 2022 on a mission and played the best ball of his career. Even if his Suns failed to return to the promised land, the three-time All-Star was the best shooting guard this past season and lands in the top ten.
#8: Jayson Tatum (Prediction: 9)
Leading a team to the Finals at age 24 is no small feat. All-NBA first-team member Jayson Tatum proved to me this season that he will be a top-five player very soon. I’m not too caught up in his struggles on the big stage. Tatum is a bonafide superstar.
#7: LeBron James (Prediction: 3)
In terms of straight-up basketball ability, LeBron is still top five. He just didn’t have a better season than everyone above him. Regardless, even though it’s been said so many times, continuing to play like a top ten player at age 37 is well beyond impressive and that’s why he’s one of the two best to ever lace ‘em up.
#6: Luka Doncic (Prediction: 6)
To say Luka is the brightest young star in basketball would be a severe understatement. Every night for the Slovenian sensation is both a scoring and playmaking masterclass. He led the Mavericks to the Conference Finals while continuing to build his case as an all-time playoff performer. Magic is real and its name is Luka.
#5: Stephen Curry (Prediction: 4)
The greatest shooter ever truly has nothing left to prove after winning Finals MVP honors. His regular-season performance may have fallen below his lofty standards, but he led this Warriors core to their fourth ‘chip. What a great run for an all-time great.
#4: Joel Embiid (Prediction: 11)
Playing at an MVP level for the second straight year, Embiid has become one of the most dominant players in the sport. You truly can’t guard him one-on-one. Sounds like a top-five player to me.
#3: Kevin Durant (Prediction: 2)
The best scorer ever and one of the most unguardable players finally got slowed down in the playoffs. Boston’s defensive personnel is second to none and they made life very hard on KD. That doesn’t take away from the fact that he is a top-three player.
#2: Nikola Jokic (Prediction: 8)
The back-to-back MVP tears up defenses nightly with his absurd passing ability and patient post-move package. He gets pushed to the side by those who frown on analytics, but you don’t need to look at his numbers to see that the Joker is one of the best players in the world.
#1: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Prediction: 1)
Unsurprisingly sitting atop the league is Giannis Antetokounmpo, and he’s virtually unchallenged at this point. He’s an all-time great already and he’s just entering his prime. The hardest working and most humble superstar ever was the best player in basketball in the 2021-22 season.