The NBA season is just around the corner, so it only made sense that we started putting together our ranking for the top 25 best NBA players 2022-23.
Needless to say, this wasn’t an easy task, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be sure about the controversy, as it’s nearly-impossible to be 100% objective here.
Best NBA players 2022-23
Having the best NBA players right now ranked is tough because there are so many little factors we could consider. Should we include players who missed last season? Are we talking about raw skill, physical skills, impact, or just their numbers and averages?
With that in mind and in an attempt to make this as fair as we could, we put together a bit of a mix of those criteria, obviously including our personal opinion on that player.
That means your favorite player may not have made the cut, but it’s fine, that’s just the beauty of this sport. So, without any further introduction, let’s talk about the 25 best NBA players 2022-23.
25. Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson has been a rare sight on the court. But he looks like he’s in the best shape of his career, so we wouldn’t be shocked to see him finish as one of the five best NBA players 2023. He’s been extremely dominant when healthy, and it’s clear that his bully-ball style was more than perfectly suited for the NBA.
The former first-overall pick has barely played to start his career, yet he averaged north of 27 points per game on nearly 60% from the floor when he was out there. He’s a special, unique kind of talent and could still wind up having a long and successful career if he stays healthy and takes proper care of his diet.
24. Paul George
Before his injuries, Paul George was one of the best NBA players 2022. Nonetheless, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for leading the Los Angeles Clippers without Kawhi Leonard, even though he’s clearly one of the best two-way players in the game right now.
PG-13 is back to full strength and ready to silence his doubters in 2023. The Clippers look like a legit candidate to take down the Golden State Warriors as the best team in the Western Conference, and that has plenty to do with George’s health. He still needs to step up in the playoffs to shake off the narratives around him, though.
23. Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown was once again tangled up in trade rumors, but the Boston Celtics decided to hold on to him. He’s been in that situation way too many times already, even though he was their most consistent player in the NBA Finals last season and despite the fact that he continues to improve on both ends of the floor.
Brown has become an elite defender, both against guards and forwards. Also, his shooting skills have improved with the years, and there’s no way the Celtics would’ve gone the distance without him. He’s still quite young and eligible to sign a big contract extension after this season.
22. DeMar DeRozan
People counted DeMar DeRozan out already, so he had to remind us all why he drew comparisons to the late great Kobe Bryant when he first entered USC. DeRozan played with a chip on his shoulder all season long and made the Lakers look foolish for not signing him in the offseason.
The former Toronto Raptors star had one of the best seasons of his career and was an MVP candidate for most of the year. He’s one of the few perimeter players who can dominate despite not being a good three-point shooter, and he showed his clutch gene by knocking down back-to-back game-winning triples last season.
21. Chris Paul
Even though he’s not getting any younger and has gone down in these rankings, Chris Paul is still one of the top NBA players right now. He’s made a case to be considered one of the top five or even top three greatest point guards in basketball history, and that’s not going to change even if he retires without a ring.
The Phoenix Suns have been through a rough offseason, but he’s proven that he can single-handedly change the culture on every team he’s been on. Chris Paul is the ultimate floor general, an elite passer, and one of the most intelligent players this game has ever seen. Hopefully, he’ll avoid injury in 2023.
20. Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal opted out of his current deal, but instead of pursuing a new challenge in his career and joining a contender, he signed a mammoth deal that will most likely keep him tied to the Washington Wizards way beyond his prime years. That was a no-brainer move from a financial standpoint.
However, Beal will now be tasked with the responsibility of leading a not-so-good Wizards team to playoff contention, which seems unlikely at this point. As great as a scorer as he is, it seems like he’ll go down as one of those ‘very good, not elite’ players lists once it’s all said and done.
19. Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell is finally free. It became clear that the Utah Jazz weren’t going to go far with him and Rudy Gobert leading the way, so the best is yet to come for him. He’s now expected to lead a young, promising core that made plenty of noise last season and that could be a perennial candidate in the Eastern Conference.
While not a good defender, Mitchell claimed that he’s made it a personal challenge to step up on that end of the floor this season. Should that be true, and given his versatile offensive skill set and determination to one-up every scorer in the playoffs, Mitchell is an easy choice to be one of the best NBA players 2022-23.
18. James Harden
James Harden had a somewhat disappointing season with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. However, he did look like a natural fit next to Joel Embiid, and it seemed like the Sixers could put together something special. They had an elite offseason, and Harden is reportedly in impressive shape, so look out for them.
Even if you’re not a fan of his style, you can’t deny that James Harden is one of the most dominant, versatile, and explosive scorers in the history of this beautiful game. He’ll now work more as a facilitator, and he’s also proven that he can be one of the best playmakers in the league when he flicks the switch.
17. Damian Lillard
His haters give Damian Lillard a hard time for his lack of individual awards. But it’s not like the Portland Trail Blazers have done much to help him, and he’s still led them to the postseason against all odds. All things considered, he would be a perennial MVP candidate if he played in a bigger market.
Lillard has proven to be even more efficient than Stephen Curry in shots from 30+ feet. He’s an efficient three-level scorer, and perhaps the best player in the clutch in the entire league. Unfortunately, he may be one of those legends that’ll be forced to retire without a ring, as he refuses to leave the Blazers.
16. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving has often made the rounds for non-basketball-related reasons. Whether it’s the flat Earth or his stance on vaccines, or the New World Order, hoops have been the last thing on his mind for quite some time now. But even despite all that, he’s still by far one of the best NBA players in 2022-23
Irving can pull the ball on a string with his smooth, sweet handles. He can make defenders collapse and touch the floor with his ballerina-like footwork, and he’s got an unlimited set of layups and finishes below the rim. Also, he’s an underrated passer and the kind of guy you always want in isolation taking that last shot.
15. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is incredibly competitive, sometimes too much even for his own good. That competitive fire often makes him overly aggressive, and he either gets into foul trouble or pushes his body to the limit and gets hurt with avoidable injuries. But that’s also one of the things that makes him crack the list of our best NBA players right now ranked.
Butler is one of just two players with more career steals than fouls, the other being Kawhi Leonard. He can match up with the best of them defensively, and he’ll find ways to score or facilitate even when his shot isn’t falling. He’s the embodiment of ‘Heat Culture’ and won’t rest until he leads them back to the promised land.
14. Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns thinks of himself as the greatest shooting big man ever and one of the best NBA players 2023. So, he’ll have a lot to prove and will have to put his money where his mouth is, especially now that the Minnesota Timberwolves have traded away that many assets to pair him with Rudy Gobert.
Towns is perhaps the best scoring big in the league. He can light it up from beyond the arc, shoot from mid-range, or finish above or below the rim with either hand. He also dominates both sides of the glass and is a solid shot-blocker, albeit not a good interior defender, ironically.
13. Devin Booker
Devin Booker quickly went from unnoticed and underrated to one of the ultimate villains in the league. He’s embraced that role and seems fine with it, and he even got into it with the fans by posting a clip of LeBron James shortly after being humbled in the preseason.
Booker better keep that same energy for when it counts. He’s proven that he won’t shy away from taking any big shot, and he could become the next member of the 50/40/90 club thanks to his smooth, versatile scoring ability. The Suns will need him to carry the load again this season, so let’s see if he can handle that pressure.
12. Trae Young
Trae Young entered the league with mixed takes. Some claimed he was going to be the next Stephen Curry; others said his lack of size and defense would make him the next Jimmer Fredette. Clearly, the latter group was blatantly wrong, as he’s already one of the most unstoppable offensive forces in the NBA.
Young thrives under pressure and in the clutch. Moreover, he can explode for 30 or 40 on any given night, even against the league’s top-ranked defense. All that while also putting up 15+ assists and making some of the flashiest passes you’ll ever see.
11. Anthony Davis
When healthy, Anthony Davis could easily make a strong case for being the best player on Earth. The only problem is that he’s seldom healthy, and that’s a recurring issue that’s likely to haunt him for the remainder of his career. He’s got to take better care of his body in the offseason.
Davis is an elite shot-blocker and rim protector. He can also hold his own in the perimeter in switches, not to mention he’s deadly in the post. He can spot-up, shoot over nearly every player on Earth or finish above the rim with a poster dunk.
10. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played in over a year, yet he’s still one of the top NBA players right now. That’s just how good he is. So, even though people give him a hard time for all the load management and missing games even when he’s healthy, that’s the price you have to pay to have a player like him.
Leonard is the best perimeter defender in the league. He can match up versus nearly every player, as he’s proven by guarding the best scorers in the world. Also, he went from an offensive non-factor to a versatile, dominant, efficient scorer, which is something most defensive-oriented players never accomplish.
9. Ja Morant
No one, not even the most optimistic fan, thought Ja Morant was going to be this good this fast. He took the league by storm and hasn’t missed a beat ever since becoming the second-overall pick of the NBA Draft, even making a case for being the best player of his class ahead of Zion Williamson.
Morant has just one gear. He’ll push up the pace for the full 48 minutes, and opposing defenses just cannot keep up with that kind of speed. Hopefully, he’ll avoid injury, as he always lands awkwardly when he takes off to dunk over whoever is in front of him.
8. Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum is coming off being one of the best NBA players 2022, spending most of the campaign near the top of the MVP ladder. He helped orchestrate the Boston Celtics’ defensive turnaround and their first trip to the NBA Finals since the Paul Pierce era.
Tatum has yet to turn 25 years old, which is a scary thought, as he’s not even entering his prime. He carries himself like a veteran already and other than his handles, it’s hard to think of or identify many areas of improvement in his game, to be honest.
7. LeBron James
The years go by, and LeBron James is still one of the best NBA players currently. Father Time doesn’t seem to take a toll on him, and although he’s suffered multiple injuries over the past couple of years, he always comes back to give you 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists a night.
James is perhaps the most complete basketball player of all time. He’s got an unmatched résumé and even if you’re not a fan of his game, it’s hard to put any small forward ahead of him in the all-time rankings. I mean, he’ll turn 38 this season, yet he’s still a top-10 player in the NBA. C’mon.
6. Joel Embiid
The only thing holding Joel Embiid back earlier in his career was the constant injuries, but he’s improved his diet, eating habits, and workouts. He’s learned the hard way that the athleticism and god-given talents weren’t enough to get the job done in the league, and he’s a much more mature player now.
Embiid is one of the few players who could realistically win both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the very same season. Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers have gone to great lengths to surround him with the core he needs to thrive, so it’s now up to him to help them get over the hump once and for all.
5. Kevin Durant
The Kevin Durant trade request saga took yet another toll on his legacy and reputation, but not even his biggest hater could take him outside of the top five when talking about the best NBA players 2022-23. His unprecedented combination of size, handles, and shooting is just too good.
Durant may not be the vocal leader some want him to be, nor the most loyal player you’ll find out there. However, none of that matters. He’s just unstoppable when he’s on the court, and he could single-handedly beat your favorite team night in and night out.
4. Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic went from being drafted late in the second round to signing one of the most lucrative deals in sports history. Moreover, his body transformation has made him more durable and faster, and he even looks more athletic out there, not that he needed to be athletic to be at the peak of his game.
Jokic has already earned the distinction of the greatest passing big man of all time. He’s a point guard trapped in a seven-footer’s body and a nightly triple-double threat. He can put the ball on the floor and be a one-man fast-break, or pull up from beyond the arc like a shooting guard.
3. Luka Doncic
Once it’s all said and done, Luka Doncic might well be considered the best among the best NBA players of the 2020s. He’s just that special, and the guy every single GM would die to build a team around, given his unique skill set and how much he keeps improving every year.
Doncic can shoot the ball like Larry Bird, pass the rock like Magic Johnson, and dominate the boards like Oscar Robertson. He can do it all on the offensive end of the floor and has already proven to have that ‘It’ factor when the game or the season is on the line. He was born to hoop, and he’s not even close to scratching the surface of his potential.
2. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is one of the two best basketball players right now, and by far the most influential force in modern basketball. He made young children pull up from mid-court and changed the way the defense is played thanks to his ability to knock down shots from all over the court. He’s the one you should thank for the run-and-gun basketball era.
Curry didn’t need to do anything to prove his worth or save his legacy, but he still delivered last season.
He won that highly-coveted Finals MVP award and has now won nearly every major award an NBA player could strive for. People keep counting him and the Warriors out, and he keeps proving the wrong. When will they learn?
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
And last but not least, we find Giannis Antetokounmpo at the top of our best NBA players right now list.
Giannis’ athleticism, length, and strength allow him to switch and guard one through five with ease. He can hold his own inside the paint or take over nearly from the three-point line and finish with an emphatic dunk. Also, he’s quietly, yet notably, made some improvements as a shooter. There’s a reason why he’s an MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP. The Greek Freak is currently the best player on Earth, and he just keeps getting better.