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 /
23 of 25
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Damian Lillard. 15. player. 34. . G. Portland Trail Blazers

Ranking NBA players — 15. Damian Lillard, Blazers

Damian Lillard was in middle of his worst stretch in years when he shut it down last season. It’s fair to wonder how he’ll look returning from a clearly significant core injury at 32 years old, but Lillard claims to feel better than ever. If that’s true, it shouldn’t be a surprise if he regains superstar form. Lillard is the most prolific pull-up shooter in the game when he’s rolling, and the Blazers have filled out the roster nicely around him.

Atlanta Hawks. Trae Young. 14. player. 125. . G

Ranking NBA players — 14. Trae Young, Hawks

Trae Young has entered superstar territory. Last season was a significant letdown for Atlanta, but Young looked as brilliant as ever offensively (defensively, a different story). He led the NBA in total points and total assists. This season, he will have the opportunity to leverage his shooting threat in new and exciting ways as Dejounte Murray shares the playmaking burden. Young is a one-man offensive system, he just needs the defense to step up around him.

13. player. 77. . F. Los Angeles Clippers. Paul George

Ranking NBA players — 13. Paul George, Clippers

Paul George hasn’t played more than 54 games in a season since 2018-19. He will have to stay healthy to maximize his value (duh), but the Clippers are well-positioned for a deep playoffs run. George remains an elite two-way force, an efficient shooter and slasher who has added a new wrinkle to his game since arriving in LA. Last season marked George’s highest assists average yet. He’s doing more than ever to get teammates involved. The game gets easier with Kawhi back in the mix.

G. Phoenix Suns. Chris Paul. 12. player. 66.

Ranking NBA players — 12. Chris Paul, Suns

The Point God reigns. He’s getting older — now 37 years old — and at some point Father Time will strike a more permanent blow than Paul’s constant stream of nicks and bruises, but for now… he’s still absolutely lethal. Paul led the NBA in assists per game last season. Nobody can manipulate the defense and exploit lapses quite like Paul. He makes everyone around him better, and he’s still capable of taking over games in clutch time.

. G. Phoenix Suns. Devin Booker. 11. player. 66

Ranking NBA players — 11. Devin Booker, Suns

Devin Booker announced his superstardom last season, and with him next to CP3 in the backcourt it’s hard to count Phoenix out of the title race. Booker can score from anywhere on the court, and he does so while posing a rather significant playmaking threat too. His growth as a defender is the cherry on top. Booker has fewer and fewer weaknesses every year.