Predicting the Top 100 NBA Players of 2023 (10/18/22)

NBA day is finally upon us, and to celebrate the conclusion of the offseason it’s time to predict the top 100 players of the 2022-23 season. This is my third edition of this list and I’m hoping it will be my most accurate one. It’s always a blast trying to guess which players will make big jumps and which will regress. 

I’ll be doing things a little differently this time around. Instead of writing a little paragraph for each individual player, I’ve separated the list into thirteen tiers (plus the honorable mentions, of course).

Let’s get into it!

Honorable Mentions (110-101):

110: Spencer Dinwiddie (2022 Rank: 108)

109: Jusuf Nurkic (2022 Rank: 95)

108: Devin Vassell (2022 Rank: N/A)

107: Kyle Lowry (2022 Rank: 89)

106: Caris LeVert (2022 Rank: 80)

105: Cole Anthony (2022 Rank: 109)

104: Dillon Brooks (2022 Rank: 97)

103: Mike Conley (2022 Rank: 90)

102: Brook Lopez (2022 Rank: 104)

101: Seth Curry (2022 Rank: 88)

Most Likely to Rise: Vassell

Most Likely to Drop: Brooks

Tier 13: The Interchangables

100: Luguentz Dort (2022 Rank: 103)

99: Jabari Smith Jr. (2022 Rank: N/A)

98: Buddy Hield (2022 Rank: 91)

97: Derrick White (2022 Rank: 82)

96: Kyle Kuzma (2022 Rank: 79)

95: Josh Giddey (2022 Rank: N/A)

94: Markelle Fultz (2022 Rank: N/A)

93: Jakob Poeltl (2022 Rank: 78)

92: Bojan Bogdanovic (2022 Rank: 83)

91: Lonzo Ball (2022 Rank: 92)

90: Gary Trent Jr. (2022 Rank: 85) 

Most Likely to Rise: Ball

Most Likely to Drop: Smith Jr.

Nearly everyone in this tier has a case to be at the top of it. There are some really interesting names here, including passing whizz Josh Giddey, 2022 All-Defense snub Derrick White, and former first-overall pick Markelle Fultz. Lonzo Ball is a healthy season away from moving up significantly higher on this list. And, I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, Jakob Poeltl is one of the most underrated players in hoops. 

Tier 12: Island of Misfit Toys

89: Russell Westbrook (2022 Rank: 46)

88: Myles Turner (2022 Rank: 71) 

87: Norman Powell (2022 Rank: 76)

86: Julius Randle (2022 Rank: 73)

85: Nikola Vucevic (2022 Rank: 63)

84: Clint Capela (2022 Rank: 68)

83: Marcus Smart (2022 Rank: 69)

Most Likely to Rise: Turner

Most Likely to Drop: Westbrook

These guys have basically nothing in common, hence the tier’s title. Reigning DPOY Marcus Smart’s ranking seems low but in such a talented league he needs to do more offensively to place higher. Julius Randle’s 2021 season, while fantastic, seems like a fluke at this point and it will take a lot from him to return to that level. Myles Turner could see increased production on a Pacers team in full tank mode and outperform this prediction. There’s not much to say about Westbrook besides he has a lot to prove this year.

Tier 11: Young Guys & Klay Thompson

82: Franz Wagner (2022 Rank: 87)

81: Kevin Porter Jr. (2022 Rank: 98)

80: Paolo Banchero (2022 Rank: N/A)

79: Klay Thompson (2022 Rank: 58)

78: Tyler Herro (2022 Rank: 61)

77: Saddiq Bey (2022 Rank: 86)

76: Robert Williams III (2022 Rank: 75)

75: Jalen Brunson (2022 Rank: 70)

74: Collin Sexton (2022 Rank: N/A)

Most Likely to Rise: Williams III

Most Likely to Drop: Bey

His case will be hurt by the injury causing him to miss time to start the season, but Robert Williams has a real shot at winning DPOY with his sensational shot-swatting. Collin Sexton also has a great chance of ranking higher than this because he will have the ultimate green light in Utah as they look to enter the Victor Wembenyama sweepstakes. My pick for Rookie of the Year, Paolo Banchero, is joining Franz Wagner, the aforementioned Markelle Fultz, and the soon-to-be-mentioned Wendell Carter Jr. to form a super-fun squad in Orlando. And, mark my words, this is the year KPJ will hush all of his skeptics. 

Tier 10: High-Level Role Players, Two MIP Candidates, & the Reigning Rookie of the Year

73: Gordon Hayward (2022 Rank: 59)

72: Tobias Harris (2022 Rank: 66)

71: Malcolm Brogdon (2022 Rank: 65)

70: Jonas Valanciunas (2022 Rank: 55)

69: Keldon Johnson (2022 Rank: 84)

68: John Collins (2022 Rank: 67)

67: Mikal Bridges (2022 Rank: 60)

66: Kristaps Porzingis (2022 Rank: 49)

65: Jerami Grant (2022 Rank: 62)

64: OG Anunoby (2022 Rank: 57)

63: Wendell Carter Jr. (2022 Rank: 81)

62: Scottie Barnes (2022 Rank: 77)

61: Michael Porter Jr. (2022 Rank: N/A)

60: Christian Wood (2022 Rank: 64)

59: Jaren Jackson Jr. (2022 Rank: 54)

58: Terry Rozier (2022 Rank: 45)

57: Draymond Green (2022 Rank: 32)

56: Deandre Ayton (2022 Rank: 43)

55: Andrew Wiggins (2022 Rank: 42)

Most Likely to Rise: Porter Jr.

Most Likely to Drop: Hayward

This tier is composed of tip-top role players, headlined by the man whose revolutionized game earned him his first All-Star appearance last season, Andrew Wiggins. Other notable names here include underrated bucket Terry Rozier, unhappy Deandre Ayton, All-Defensive First-Teamers Jaren Jackson and Mikal Bridges, and monstrous rebounder Jonas Valanciunas. Michael Porter Jr. could land himself in the top fifty if he connects on his inhuman amount of triples deep in the playoffs. Wendell Carter Jr. and Keldon Johnson will both garner some serious Most Improved buzz. 

Tier 9: Whole Lotta Ones (and some others sprinkled in)

54: Jordan Poole (2022 Rank: 52)

53: D’Angelo Russell (2022 Rank: 44)

52: Evan Mobley (2022 Rank: 74)

51: Tyrese Maxey (2022 Rank: 53)

50: Jalen Green (2022 Rank: 107)

49: R.J. Barrett (2022 Rank: 56)

48: Desmond Bane (2022 Rank: 51)

47: Cade Cunningham (2022 Rank: 72)

46: Anfernee Simons (2022 Rank: 50)

45: C.J. McCollum (2022 Rank: 39)

44: Fred VanVleet (2022 Rank: 35)

43: Jamal Murray (2022 Rank: N/A)

42: Ben Simmons (2022 Rank: N/A)

41: Domantas Sabonis (2022 Rank: 40)

40: Tyrese Haliburton (2022 Rank: 47)

39: Jarrett Allen (2022 Rank: 33)

38: LaMelo Ball (2022 Rank: 37)

37: Chris Paul (2022 Rank: 17)

36: De’Aaron Fox (2022 Rank: 38)

Most Likely to Rise: Fox

Most Likely to Drop: Green

This massive tier includes a sizeable chunk of the league’s starting point guards. De’Aaron Fox is most likely to rise above the rest if he can take a leap as a shooter and defender and lead the Kings to the playoffs. Tyrese Haliburton will be better than Domantas Sabonis only a few months removed from when they were traded for each other. Ben Simmons has a lot of doubters right now but I think he’ll prove them wrong. The very talented 2021 draft class will have three members hovering around the top fifty, although it may be a season early for Jalen Green. Chris Paul, while still an absolute point god, has shown signs of regression and this will probably be the season where his age catches up to him.

Tier 8: Land of the Secondary Stars

35: Bam Adebayo (2022 Rank: 28)

34: Dejounte Murray (2022 Rank: 26)

33: Anthony Edwards (2022 Rank: 36)

32: Jaylen Brown (2022 Rank: 27)

31: Pascal Siakam (2022 Rank: 25)

30: Bradley Beal (2022 Rank: 41)

29: Zach LaVine (2022 Rank: 20)

28: Khris Middleton (2022 Rank: 34)

27: Jrue Holiday (2022 Rank: 19)

26: Rudy Gobert (2022 Rank: 24)

Most Likely to Rise: Beal

Most Likely to Drop: Murray

This tier is full of the very best supporting stars in the association. When crafting this list, having players like Adebayo and Brown in the thirties felt crazy. But, I kept thinking about it and I just couldn’t bring them higher. That reflects the absurd amount of talent in the NBA today. Putting Dejounte as the most likely to drop hurts but there’s a world where his fit next to Trae is questionable and it makes him look worse.

Tier 7: Fluke or Reality?

25: DeMar DeRozan (2022 Rank: 11)

24: James Harden (2022 Rank: 29)

Most Likely to Rise: Harden

Most Likely to Drop: DeRozan

2022 was an outlier year for DeMar and Harden. For DeMar, he had the best season of his career at age 32. He generated real MVP buzz in the first half of the season and led the Bulls to their first playoff appearance in a few years. The opposite was true for former MVP Harden, as his campaign was one of his worst (although it was influenced by injuries). Can DeMar replicate his All-NBA production again? Can Harden return to his All-NBA self? 2023 is a prove-it year for both stars. 

Tier 6: Slept-On Young Stars

23: Brandon Ingram (2022 Rank: 23)

22: Darius Garland (2022 Rank: 21)

21: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2022 Rank: 22)

Most Likely to Rise: Garland

Most Likely to Drop: Gilgeous-Alexander

These three All-Stars (well, two All-Stars and one guy bound to get the nod soon) all play for smaller markets, so while many people acknowledge them not everyone recognizes just how good they are. All three are extremely talented and deserve more love. They could all reach the top fifteen within three seasons. 

Tier 5: Unpredictables

20: Karl-Anthony Towns (2022 Rank: 14) 

19: Zion Williamson (2022 Rank: N/A)

18: Kyrie Irving (2022 Rank: 18)

17: Jimmy Butler (2022 Rank: 13)

16: Anthony Davis (2022 Rank: 30)

Most Likely to Rise: Davis

Most Likely to Drop: Towns

There are a lot of question marks in this grouping. Can AD stay on the court and regain top-ten status? Can Zion stay healthy? Can Jimmy maintain his streak of insane playoff performances? Will Kyrie treat basketball like a full-time job and contribute to a deep Nets playoff run? Will KAT keep his title as best Timberwolf? There’s a lot of talent here and there are an equal amount of outside factors that could cause these players’ rankings to fluctuate. 

(I don’t really view Jimmy Butler as a question mark but I had to lump him in this group.)

Tier 4: Young Backcourt Phenoms

15: Donovan Mitchell (2022 Rank: 15)

14: Devin Booker (2022 Rank: 9)

13: Ja Morant (2022 Rank: 10)

12: Trae Young (2022 Rank: 12) 

Most Likely to Rise: Young

Most Likely to Drop: Mitchell

This tier features two very fun discussions. Between two of the most electric one-man shows in hoops, who is better? How about between two elite bucket-getters and certified winners at the shooting guard position? Regardless of your stance in those arguments, all of these guys are studs in the backcourt and they’re still getting better. 

Tier 3: Stars Coming Off Injuries & Jayson Tatum

11: Paul George (2022 Rank: 16) 

10: Damian Lillard (2022 Rank: 31)

9: Jayson Tatum (2022 Rank: 8)

Most Likely to Rise: Tatum

Most Likely to Drop: George

While Dame and PG13 both played enough games to qualify for my 2022 list, they were hurt for the majority of the year. They will both (hopefully) be fully healthy for this upcoming season and reestablish themselves as top-ten caliber players. Jayson Tatum is on the cusp of putting himself in legitimate top-five conversations, but he won’t reach that this year with all of the certified superstars above him.

Tier 2: 2010s Superstars

8: Stephen Curry (2022 Rank: 5) 

7: LeBron James (2022 Rank: 7)

6: Kawhi Leonard (2022 Rank: N/A) 

5: Kevin Durant (2022 Rank: 3)

Most Likely to Rise: Leonard

Most Likely to Drop: Curry

The biggest names of the last decade have reached the twilight of their primes, but are still some of the very best players in basketball. Coming off a season where Steph won Finals MVP, LeBron set a career-high in points per game at age 37, and KD was in MVP talks before he got injured, it’s clear that they are all still operating at the highest level. Appreciate these guys while they are still here. 

Tier 1: No Surprises Here

4: Luka Doncic (2022 Rank: 6) 

3: Joel Embiid (2022 Rank: 4)

2: Nikola Jokic (2022 Rank: 2) 

1: Giannis Antetokounmpo (2022 Rank: 1)

Most Likely to Drop: Doncic

The usual suspects will run the league once again in 2023. Giannis has graduated from best player in the league right now talks and has moved on to all-time discussions, and could be a top-twenty player ever by the end of this year. Nikola Jokic is on his way to that status, as a third MVP or a ring this season would make his resumé very similar to the Greek Freak’s. Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic are my two favorites for MVP. These four will be up here for the better part of this decade.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: