NBArank 2022 – Ranking of the best players 2022-23, from 10 to 6

NBArank is back for its 12th season with the countdown of the best players in the league.

Where are the MVP candidates like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic? What about rookies and young stars ready to make the leap to the high end of NBA players?

Where is LeBron James, who is entering his 20th season?

To get the final NBArank prediction, we asked our panel of experts to rate the player pairs: LeBron vs. Kevin Durant Stephen Curry vs. Yes Morant, Luka vs. Jayson Tatum … and the list goes on.

We asked: “Which player will be better in 2022-23?” Voters had to predict what they expected from each player during the season.

We have already revealed players no. 100-26 and nos. 25-11. Today, our ranking continues in the top 10 superstars in the league.

Note: ESPN’s NBArank panel of over 200 reporters, editors, producers and analysts was asked to rank players based on their expected contributions – quality and quantity – for the 2022-23 season alone.

Suns Fenice | SG

2021 NBA Standings: no. 15

At just 25 years old and already three times All-Star and coming out of an All-NBA selection, Booker and his silky-smooth offensive game are expected to compete for the league’s best shooting guard status for years to come.

Because it has gone up by five points

Booker’s rising year – a run to the NBA Finals, followed by an Olympic gold medal and leading Phoenix to 64 league-best wins in the regular season – ended in a precipitous fall. The Suns were unceremoniously rebounded from the second round of the playoffs, with Booker teaming up to pull a 9-for-31 combo in games 6 and 7 against Dallas.

But Booker’s 26.8 points per game last season ranked No. 12 in the league, further cementing his reputation as one of the game’s deadliest scorers. However, he will take the next step by harnessing those skills to score in difficult times. Last season, in the first nine minutes of the quarterfinals, Booker shot 48.5% overall and 42.1% from 3. In the last three minutes of the quarterfinals? He shot 41.8% from the field and 31.8% from deep.

A big question for 2022-23

The Suns have won a whopping 74.6% of their regular season games in the past two seasons, but are defined as much by their flameouts as they are by their success. Booker’s rise to All-Star status has been largely absent from the weight of expectations. He will have to win big in the playoffs to increase his place in the game.

The question is, in today’s NBA, where the top tier of superstars are reserved for players who dominate on both sides, what room for growth remains for Booker? In attack, he relies on finesse, angles and footwork to do him harm. In defense, he is certainly known as a heady player who can operate within team schemes. Can he get stronger with his stops and scores to keep climbing the list of the best in the game?

– Dave Mc Menamin

Memphis Grizzly | PG

2021 NBA Standings: no. 31

Morant may be the funniest player in the NBA, a high-flying acrobat with a poise and confidence that creeps into arrogance. He showed the Grizzlies on TV.

Because it has gone up 22 places

Morant made the leap last season from promising franchise milestone to bona fide superstar. His score rose more than eight points per game to 27.1, elevating Morant to the highest level of offensive weapons and earning his first All-Star place and Most Improved Player award.

He is a pure point guard who is a dominant home scorer despite his 6 foot 3 body, as Morant has a breathtaking blend of explosiveness, finesse and fearlessness. He averaged 16.6 paint points last season, becoming the only guard to lead the championship in that category for the past 25 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

A big question for 2022-23

How Much Can Morant Improve? The 23-year-old has room for drastic improvement on the defensive side, where his lean build makes him a target, and has a tendency to lose focus.

Up front is already a nightmare for opponents, but imagine how difficult it would be to defend Morant if his 3-point shot (34.4% last season) continues to improve. If Morant consistently manages to make guards pay to walk under a screen, he may be impossible to contain.

– Tim MacMahon

Brooklyn networks | SF

2021 NBA Standings: no. 1

No player led the NBA’s summer conversation more than Durant, having requested, then withdrew, an exchange request from Brooklyn. How he fits into Nets culture again after calling for the firing of manager Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks is one of the most intriguing questions in the league.

Because he fell seven points

When he played Durant, he was one of the best players on the planet. The problem for the former MVP is that he couldn’t stay on the ground.

A knee injury cost him nearly two months of matches and for the second consecutive year he was forced to miss much of the season. Durant has played in 90 of the 152 possible regular season games in the past two seasons. Durant, who will be 34 when the season changes, must prove he can stay healthy for the Nets to return to the Eastern elite.

A big question for 2022-23

Health aside, the big question for the Nets is whether Durant will remain committed to the team. After a season full of emotional ups and downs for the organization, Durant’s demand to trade and the uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons make the Nets one of the NBA’s most fascinating stories. But what if and when times get tough? Will the old frustrations increase?

– Nick Friedell

Boston Celtics | SF

2021 NBA Standings: no. 14

After his first All-NBA appearance, winning the Eastern Conference Finals MVP, making his first trip to the NBA Finals, and playing for a team that is expected to compete for the best league record, Tatum is ready to take another leap. entering its sixth season.

Because it has gone up by seven points

After Tatum wasn’t a part of any of the three All-NBA teams in 2020-21 when the Celtics finished seventh in the east, he was a deserving first-team member last season after leading the dramatic reversal. Boston trending from under .500 in late January to second place in the East and advancing to the finals for the first time since 2010.

Along the way, Tatum set a career record of 26.9 points per game, continued to increase his try rate by 3 points, and remains one of the best two-way forward players in the league.

A big question for 2022-23

Tatum made some strides as a passer-by last season – something manager Ime Udoka has emphasized since arriving last summer – but continuing to improve that part of his game is what will allow him to move up as a player in the back half. of the top 10 to one competing for the top spot on this list.

While his total assists have remained essentially unchanged from year to year in the regular season, they have increased during the playoffs, averaging seven per game during the finals. He will also be looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance in his streak against the Golden State Warriors, where he shot 30.8% from a 2-point distance in six games.

– Tim Bontemps

Los Angeles Lakers | SF

2021 NBA Standings: no. 3

It is season no. 20 for James, and there’s a lot at stake for the all-time great. He needs 1,323 points to outshine Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time top scorer, but the Lakers team’s success – or lack of him – will largely determine how the moment rings out.

Because it fell by three points

For the second time in four seasons since Laker, James has missed the playoffs, having missed the postseason only twice in his first 15 years in the league. James’ average of 30.3 points per game was unprecedented for a 19-year-old veteran, but the 26 games he lost to various injuries and an inadequate roster around him marked one of the most disappointing seasons in the history of the game. deductible.

James has already redefined the concept of how long a player’s maximum number can last, so it would be foolish to cancel it too soon, but it’s impossible to ignore that the Lakers had a negative clear valuation with James on the pitch last season, reason enough to knock him out of the top five, regardless of his impressive offensive production.

A big question for 2022-23

In the midst of a 42-point drop during a cameo in the famous Los Angeles Drew League in July, James told ESPN, “I’m 100 percent sane.” This is a solid starting point for James to get things back on track.

The question is, can James be lucky enough to stay healthy at the same time Anthony Davis can, giving the Lakers a chance to replicate the success that led to a title in 2020? If James and Anthony can both play most of their Los Angeles games, the Lakers will have a viable path to return to post-season, even with the challenges of working at Russell Westbrook and being led by a new manager Darvin Ham.

– Mc Menamin

NBA 2022 Standings: nos. 100-26 | nos. 25-11 | nos. 10-6 | nos. 5-1 (Friday).


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