This will be the eighth of a 10-part series ranking the Top 100 players in the NBA for the 2023-24 season.
Keep in mind that these are projections for the upcoming season. So does track record matter? Absolutely. Does last year matter? It matters the most. This list is based on what the players have shown they can do during the previous three years and how much it will carry over to this upcoming year.
Without further ado, here are the Top 30-21 players for the 2023-24 season.
Click here for a full archive of Driscoll’s Top 100.
30. Jalen Brunson
Many people (including myself) thought that Brunson was overpaid last offseason. He could not have proved them wrong anymore. In the regular season, he averaged 24 points and six assists per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 41 percent from three. He then averaged 28 points and six assists per game in the playoffs, leading the Knicks to their first playoff series win since 2013. I’m anticipating a slight drop-off from Brunson given the fact more teams are aware of how talented he is. Regardless, though, it is super impressive that he made the Knicks relevant again.
For some reason, it has become cool to say that “Halliburton is overrated” and I think that’s laughable. Last year, he averaged 21 points and 10 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from three. The Pacers were 28-28 with Haliburton and 7-19 without him last season. More specifically, they were 4.1 points per possession better with him on the floor than off the floor. Also, he will be turning 24 in the middle of the 2023-24 season, so he’s not even close to his peak. I would be shocked if we did not see him even higher at this point next year.
28. Domantas Sabonis
Light the Beam! Sabonis was awesome last year. He averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds (led the league), and seven assists per game while shooting 37 percent from three. With this, I think it’s pretty safe to say Sabonis was the third-best center in the league besides Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. What keeps him lower is his lack of defense and the fact that he played so poorly in the playoffs. I’m not expecting the Kings to replicate what they did last year, but he should still be a top-30 player in the league this year.
27. Paolo Banchero
A lot of people felt that Banchero was too high in the ESPN (29) and Bleacher Report (40) rankings, but I’m ready to put him at No. 27. The Magic won 22 games in 2022, drafted Banchero, and then won 34 games. The main factor that holds him back is his jumper. He shot 43 percent from the field and 30 percent from three. With this being said, he will be 21 next month and is an impressive 6-foot-10, 250 pounds. He has plenty of time to improve, and I would be shocked if he didn’t very, very soon.
26. Bam Adebayo
The second-best player on the Eastern Conference champs comes in at No. 26. He very well might be the most switchable defender in the league. Adebayo is an elite rebounder on both ends of the floor and very solid at perimeter and rim defense. Even though he poses no threat from three (he has made eight in six seasons), he is still very efficient at the rim. For a while, it was expected that he would be the third-best player if the Heat traded for Damian Lillard. That did not happen, so the two faces of the franchise will still be Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. This duo is good enough to make the NBA Finals, but can they go all the way? Only time will tell.
This may seem a tad high, but I still believe in Towns. He only played 29 games last season but was very solid. Because of the amount of games they played, it was tough for Towns and Rudy Gobert to work out their double-big lineup. With this being said, the two of them played much better after Towns’ injury than before. There are no guarantees, but a trio of Anthony Edwards, Gobert, and Town has the potential to be an extremely fun trio since they are all so different.
24. Ja Morant
Ja Morant is debatably the most athletic player in the league. Last season, he averaged 26 points, eight assists, and six rebounds per game. Even though he is not a great shooter or defender, his playmaking ability and strength in finishing at the rim bump him up more than a few spots. Why, then, is he only at No. 24 when most people have him inside the top 20? Well, it’s pretty obvious: not only is he missing 25 games this year, but even when he comes back, he is likely going to miss time due to injury. In the past two seasons, he has played 57 and 61 games, respectively. With that being said, I still trust him a ton in the playoffs.
23. De’Aaron Fox
Light the Beam (again)! While Sabonis was fantastic last season, I think Fox was the best player on the Kings. He is probably the fastest player in the league and averaged 25 points and six assists per game while shooting 51 percent from the field. He also averaged 27 points and eight assists in the first round of the playoffs against Golden State. I am somewhat pessimistic that the Kings will replicate their success from last year, but I’m still looking forward to watching Fox throughout the season.
22. Zion Williamson
Remember Zion Williamson, the guy who has averaged over 26 points per game while shooting over 60 percent from the field the past two seasons? The guy who is one of the best post players in the game at only 6-foot-6? Yeah, he’s the 22nd-best player in basketball. He puts up these crazy numbers, but the problem is that he simply cannot stay on the court. In a possible 308 games, Williamson has only played 114. He eclipsed 30 games in a single season just once.
21. Kyrie Irving
Irving is another extremely talented guy who cannot stay on the floor. People know how good he can be, but what they don’t know is how good he is when he is playing. Last year, he averaged 27 points and six assists per game with 49/38/91 shooting splits. What keeps him lower are his intangibles and inability to stay healthy. The fact the Nets were playing so great last year and he randomly requested a trade a week before the deadline shows you can never really trust him. However, he has a new home now. Maybe this will be the perfect match that he has long sought.
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