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 Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

. F. Chicago Bulls. DeMar DeRozan. 25. player. 24

Ranking NBA players — 25. DeMar DeRozan, Bulls

In 2021-22, at 32 years old, DeMar DeRozan had the best season of his career. He’s liable to take a step back now, but there’s just as much reason to believe he can keep it going. DeRozan has mastered the “inefficient” shot. He’s kind of the mid-range, be it simple pull-ups out of the pick-and-roll or contested fadeaways in traffic. His recent growth as a facilitator and his career-best performance behind the 3-point line last season are what cement DeRozan as a full-on star.

24. player. 110. . C. Miami Heat. Bam Adebayo

Ranking NBA players — 24. Bam Adebayo, Heat

Bam Adebayo is one-of-one on the defensive end. He was defending James Harden and Trae Young in the playoffs. He can defend the perimeter just as well as he defends the paint. His five-position versatility, combined with steadfast offensive growth, makes him a true pillar of Miami’s present and future. He needs to get more aggressive seeking out his own scoring opportunities, but that will come in time.

G. Chicago Bulls. Zach LaVine. 23. player. 24.

Ranking NBA players — 23. Zach LaVine, Bulls

Zach LaVine just keeps getting better. An effortless athlete, LaVine has never had trouble attacking the rim with equal power and grace. His emergence as one of the league’s best volume shooters, however, combined with his newfound comfort running the offense and getting teammates involved is what makes LaVine a perennial All-Star and the foundation of Chicago’s title aspirations.

Los Angeles Lakers. Anthony Davis. 22. player. 20. . F

Ranking NBA players — 22. Anthony Davis, Lakers

Anthony Davis is no longer the undisputed top-10 player that LA traded for. Injuries have sapped away both athleticism and rhythm, but it’s dangerous to count Davis (and the Lakers) out entirely. He’s still a special defensive talent who can score in varied ways. His jumper was especially rocky last season, but Davis has the length, mobility, and touch to dominate possessions in the paint. If he can stay healthy, his shooting percentages will probably get better. He just has to stay on the court and regain his footing.

89. . F. Milwaukee Bucks. Khris Middleton. 21. player

Ranking NBA players — 21. Khris Middleton, Bucks

Khris Middleton does not get the credit he deserves for Milwaukee’s sustained success over the last few seasons. He’s the perfect second option, a dominant individual scorer who can come by his points in various different ways. Middleton is a great 3-point shooter, but moreover, he’s one of the most potent pull-up shooters in the game. Let him get loose from mid-range and your defense will suffer greatly. He made strides as a playmaker last season and he can defend multiple positions.