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15. Paul George
Highest Rating: 11
Lowest Rating: 24
Paul George, 32, could also be past his prime, but he’s still an elite NBA talent on each ends of the ground. He’ll begin the season because the Clippers’ starting shooting guard, together with his 6’8″ frame giving him an enormous size advantage over most opponents. Head coach Tyronn Lue noted he could use George at point guard at times this season as well, giving him some additional playmaking opportunities.
It’s fair to query George’s durability and his dip in shooting last season (35.4 percent from three, the bottom since his rookie 12 months). But there’s nothing he cannot do at a high level when healthy.
On our overall top 100 list, George is the highest-ranked No. 2 option within the NBA.
14. Damian Lillard
Highest Rating: 10
Lowest Rating: 24
After a down 12 months (physically and statistically) in 2021-22, Damian Lillard seems poised to return to his old form. Based on the Rose Garden Report’s Sean Highkin, Portland Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said Dame’s “zero-to-sixty burst” is back.
When right, few players are as consistent and dangerous offensively as Lillard. He presents the specter of deep pull-up threes like Trae while still having the ability to slice through defenses and punish the rim.
13. Devin Booker
Highest Rating: 6
Lowest Rating: 31
Devin Booker just finished fourth on the MVP ballot, and yet, it still appears like his stardom is being somewhat repressed.
Ending thirteenth is not any insult, to be clear. It’s accurate. This league is deep. But there stays an inclination to stash him behind Chris Paul’s shadow, or to diminish his impact on the idea of circumstances beyond his control (i.e. The Suns weren’t good until CP3’s arrival).
Not enough appreciation is shown for the bankability of Booker’s scoring. There’s a reason the Suns unraveled within the second round of the playoffs when the Mavericks reformatted their entire defense to harass him. Amongst 278 players to clear not less than 30 touches per game last season, he placed first in points per touch. And he ranked fourth on this same category for 2019-20 and 2020-21.
There’s also an underappreciation for the passes he throws once he gets downhill. The Suns would do well to offer him more floor-general reps within the half court—particularly given the state of this 12 months’s bench.
12. Trae Young
Highest Rating: 9
Lowest Rating: 26
Trae Young is an offensive powerhouse. He’ll generate most of his team’s offense as a scorer (28.4 points per game last season), shooter (38.2 percent from three) and playmaker (9.7 assists per night). But Young isn’t a high-impact defender together with his slight construct.
Recognizing the talent they’ve in Young, the Atlanta Hawks have worked to pair the 24-year-old guard with long, athletic defenders. The addition of Dejounte Murray, one in every of the higher backcourt defenders within the league, should help balance Young’s limitations.
Murray also gives Atlanta one other capable primary playmaker, which should prevent teams from sending nonstop traps to get the ball out of Young’s hands.
11. Jimmy Butler
Highest Rating: 9
Lowest Rating: 18
Age and mileage are starting to meet up with Jimmy Butler, but if you need a player to step up in an enormous moment, few players achieve this higher than him.
The 33-year-old is coming off a powerful playoff run (27.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.1 steals, 50.6 percent shooting) and goes to should play a significant role once more for the Heat to stay at the highest of the East.
Still capable of lock in defensively at a high level, Butler could easily find yourself as a top-10 player within the NBA even in 12 months 12.