Projecting the top 125 NBA players for 2022-23 season

Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, ranking NBA players Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, ranking NBA players Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

66. . C. Phoenix Suns. Deandre Ayton. 45. player

Ranking NBA players — 45. Deandre Ayton, Suns

Deandre Ayton clearly does not want to be in Phoenix. That’s a slight problem, but not one the Suns are incapable of overcoming. No team has been more dominant the past two regular seasons than Phoenix. Ayton is a big reason why: his progression from top draft pick to genuine two-way star helped take the Suns to another level. He is the anchor of a top-ranked defense and one of the best pick-and-roll bigs in the NBA.

Domantas Sabonis. 44. player. 84. . C. Sacramento Kings

Ranking NBA players — 44. Domantas Sabonis, Kings

Domantas Sabonis brought impressive new dynamics to the Sacramento offense last season. He developed fast chemistry with De’Aaron Fox, forming one of the NBA’s most electric two-man games. Sabonis is the best big man passer this side of Nikola Jokic, he’s one of the most fluid post scorers in the league, and he’s a top-tier rebounder.

. F. Brooklyn Nets. Ben Simmons. 43. player. 147

Ranking NBA players — 43. Ben Simmons, Nets

Assuming he’s healthy — physically and mentally — it shouldn’t take long for Ben Simmons to remind us of his brilliance. For all the talk about his jumper (or lack thereof), Simmons does have a point when he mentions the extent of his contributions elsewhere on the court. He is maybe the best transition playmaker in the NBA. At 6-foot-10, he’s also the best wing defender in the game when he’s locked in. A nightly triple-double threat and potential DPOY candidate, Simmons deserves more respect than he tends to get from this corner of the internet.

player. 156. . C. Cleveland Cavaliers. Jarrett Allen. 42

Ranking NBA players — 42. Jarrett Allen, Cavaliers

Jarrett Allen made his first All-Star appearance last season for a Cavs team on the precipice of a major jump forward. He’s one of the best at his particular job in the NBA. Allen finishes with supreme efficiency at the rim and he blocks a ton of shots on the other end of the floor. He will catch countless lobs from Darius Garland and he will compete for All-NBA and All-Defense consideration at center.

100. . G. Indiana Pacers. Tyrese Haliburton. 41. player

Ranking NBA players — 41. Tyrese Haliburton, Pacers

Tyrese Haliburton’s numbers in Indy last season leap off the page. He’s a candidate to lead the league in assists while poking around 50/40/90 from the field. That’s the kind of offensive talent we’re talking about with Haliburton, who has been remarkably sure-handed and unselfish with the basketball since his college days at Iowa State. The Pacers made out like bandits at the trade deadline last season. He is the foundation of their rebuild.