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 Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

G. Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry. 5. player. 41.

Ranking NBA players — 5. Stephen Curry, Warriors

Stephen Curry will go down as one of the greatest offensive players ever, period. A singular talent who has changed how we perceive and understand the game of basketball. No player in the last 20 years has influenced the game like Curry. He’s the rare superstar who can swing the tide in his team’s favor without even touching the ball. Curry is a prolific shooter, yes, but he’s an even more prolific mover. He keeps the defense occupied full-time, dragging his defender through a maze of screens every time down the floor. Lose track of Curry for a half-second, and it’s game over.

Joel Embiid. 4. player. 93. . C. Philadelphia 76ers

Ranking NBA players — 4. Joel Embiid, Sixers

Joel Embiid has finished second in MVP voting twice in a row. He was the best scorer in the NBA last season and he’s one of the top rim protectors the game has to offer. He needs to get past the second round at some point — everyone else in the top 10 has — but poor injury luck cannot tarnish Embiid’s reputation. He’s too physically dominant to guard straight up, and he adds new layers to his game every season. Weaknesses that plagued him not more than a year ago, are now strengths he can leverage to Philadelphia’s advantage. He’s a special, all-time talent.

Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic. 3. player. 79. . G

Ranking NBA players — 3. Luka Doncic, Mavericks

Luka Doncic carried Dallas on his back to the conference finals last season. The rest of the Mavs deserve credit — that was an elite defense — but the offense was built almost exclusively around the brilliance of Doncic and all that stemmed from it. That will be the case even more with Jalen Brunson in New York. Doncic is a one-man system, a true workhorse who can elevate others with his passing or simply do the scoring himself, whatever the situation calls for. His size, strength, court vision, touch, ball-handling craft — there just isn’t anyone like Doncic. He is going to be the face of the league next to Giannis for the next decade-plus.

. C. Denver Nuggets. Nikola Jokic. 2. player. 73

Ranking NBA players — 2. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Now back-to-back MVP, Nikola Jokic has cemented his place in the annals of NBA history. We are witnessing the next generation’s greatest offensive player, taking the torch from players like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. Whether Jokic ever reaches the heights of those players long-term is yet to be seen, but the absurd well-roundedness of his offensive game is hard to deny. Jokic is arguably the best passer in the game. He’s certainly the most creative passer. He’s also a supremely efficient scorer who could probably lead the NBA in points if he wanted to. He can make the difficult shots, he can space to the 3-point line, he can dominate the post — he gets it any which way.

Giannis Antetokounmpo. 1. player. 89. . F. Milwaukee Bucks

Ranking NBA players — 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo keeps his No. 1 crown entering the new season. What new is there to say about the two-time MVP? He has a DPOY to his name as well. He is the ultimate two-way star. Giannis is relentless. He doesn’t take possessions off like most players of his caliber. He embraces the physicality his style of play demands. He takes more contact in the paint than any player in the sport, but he charges in there all the same, never deterred. Then, he turns around and competes his tail off defensively, where no passing lane is safe. The Bucks are my personal favorite to win the championship, mostly because of Giannis.

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