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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Derrick White. 105. player. 18. . G. Boston Celtics

Ranking NBA players — 105. Derrick White, Celtics

The Celtics’ guard depth exceeds every team in the NBA by a healthy margin. Derrick White is at risk of getting buried to some extent, which is hardly ever the case for a player of his caliber. An elite guard defender who strikes a healthy balance between distributing, slashing, and 3-point shooting, White is a truly great bench player. He’s not even the Celtics’ best bench guard (more on that later).

player. 27. . C. New York Knicks. Mitchell Robinson. 104

Ranking NBA players — 104. Mitchell Robinson, Knicks

Mitchell Robinson can block shots and grab rebounds with the best of them. He’s also the NBA’s most efficient at-rim finisher next to Rudy Gobert. And yet, foul trouble and erratic decision-making on defense often prevents New York from relying on Robinson for 30+ minutes every night. Does he finally make the leap in 2022-23, or does he spend another year teetering the line between two-way anchor and bench player.

Jakob Poeltl. 103. player. 29. . C. San Antonio Spurs

Ranking NBA players — 103. Jakob Poeltl, Spurs

Jakob Poeltl is a strong candidate to get traded before the deadline, if not before the season. San Antonio is in no need of veterans right now and Poeltl will only help them win games they don’t want to win. He’s a highly underrated defensive anchor who would immediately elevate any number of contenders.

102. player. 170. . F. Charlotte Hornets. Gordon Hayward

Ranking NBA players — 102. Gordon Hayward, Hornets

Another year of asking whether or not Gordon Hayward will be on the court enough to make a difference in Charlotte’s perpetually fruitless pursuit of relevance. Hayward can still impact winning when he’s healthy — wings with Hayward’s blend of shooting touch, passing chops, and defensive versatility don’t grow on trees — but he has become far too inconsistent and injury-riddled in recent years.

Jabari Smith Jr.. 101. player. 169. . F. Houston Rockets

Ranking NBA players — 101. Jabari Smith Jr., Rockets

The No. 3 pick should be thrust into a significant role early on for the rebuilding Rockets. He’s not quite as developed offensively as fellow top pick Paolo Banchero, but Smith is an effortless shooter at 6-foot-10. That, combined with his positionless nature on defense, should make him an impact player out of the gates. He slotted ahead of Banchero on my personal board and should, in time, challenge the No. 1 pick’s reputation.