Who is the best player in the NBA?
This is a question basketball fans debate every single year, and it’s one that often has no right answer. MVP candidates such as Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry and LeBron James are obviously amongst the best of the best, but one player cannot win his team a championship. Getting to and winning the NBA Finals is a team effort, which is why the 100th-best player in the league can hold nearly as much importance as the top player.
Across the league, the talent gap from team to team has closed dramatically, so the 2023-24 season could be the most competitive we have seen in a while. There are so many impactful and skillful basketball players across all 30 teams, which makes it difficult to narrow things down to only 100 players.
However, that is exactly what we have done here at ClutchPoints!
The 2023-24 NBA season will officially begin on Oct. 24, per the league’s official schedule release, and we will be revealing our Top 100 rankings in groups of 10 players weekly. These rankings take into account the season each player is coming off of, their role on their team, what we have been accustomed to seeing from them and much more, so of course, this list is simply a matter of opinion.
*NOTE: Rookies such as Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson and Chet Holmgren were not included in these rankings, as they have yet to play in a regular-season game.
In case you missed any of the previous Top 100 player rankings, be sure to check them out with the links below:
This week, we are taking a look at the 10 players who find themselves ranked 50th through 41st in the NBA. Let’s dive right into things, as this week’s list features two sets of teammates making their way into the Top 50.
50. CJ McCollum – PG/SG – New Orleans Pelicans
2022-23 NBA season stats: 20.9 points, 5.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 43.7 FG%, 38.9 3P%
CJ McCollum is always one of the most underappreciated players in the entire NBA. Year after year, he proves to be a main scoring weapon for his team who is willing to let someone else be “the guy” on his team, yet nobody wants to give McCollum credit for what he has been able to achieve. His overall numbers were down this past year with the New Orleans Pelicans, but the veteran guard was still the leader of their backcourt and has continued to be a sturdy three-point shooter.
While he is older, McCollum still can be an impact player for the Pelicans. In fact, he needs to be a reliable third scoring options for this team if they are to rise up in the Western Conference. Consistency is something every team in the league looks for in their backcourt and McCollum is as reliable as they come. When the ball is in his hands, good things happen. This is why New Orleans is lucky to have him as their lead guard.
49. Andrew Wiggins – SF/PF – Golden State Warriors
2022-23 NBA season stats: 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 47.3 FG%, 39.6 3P%
The Golden State Warriors never seemed to have a grip on the 2022-23 season, and a lot of this had to do with Andrew Wiggins. He stepped away from the team in February due to personal family matters and did not return for two months until the playoffs began. Many seemed to forget that Wiggins was an instrumental part of this team’s title run in 2022 and was still the same high-impact, secondary player in the postseason as he was before his leave of absence.
Wiggins is a player who is like a Swiss Army Knife. He can defend at a high level, the Warriors have unlocked his three-point shooting abilities, and the most underrated part of his game is rebounding. The five, six, sometimes seven or more rebounds Wiggins can grab in a game goes a long way to Golden State finding success, especially when he can grab an offensive rebound and kick the ball out to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for a wide-open three. When he is on the floor, good things happen for the Warriors, which is why Wiggins remains one of the most impactful secondary pieces in the NBA.
48. Jerami Grant – SF/PF – Portland Trail Blazers
2022-23 NBA season stats: 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 47.5 FG%, 40.1 3P%
Since stepping out of the shadows of being a role player and taking on the responsibilities of being one of his team’s main scoring weapons, Jerami Grant has transcended his game to a whole new level. Grant was a borderline All-Star when he was with the Detroit Pistons and put together a very respectable first season with the Portland Trail Blazers. Grant shot over 40 percent from deep for the first time in his now nine-year career and was the perfect No. 2 option alongside Damian Lillard since he thrives playing off the ball.
Portland rewarded Grant with a five-year, $160 million contract, and he may be ready to take on the lead role with his team seeing as Lillard wants to be traded. No matter what this roster looks like, the 29-year-old forward is going to continue being a 20-plus points per game scorer. As good as he has been offensively, don’t let this distract you from how good of a defender Grant is as well. He can defend every position and is definitely one of the better defensive forwards in the league right now.
47. Darius Garland – PG – Cleveland Cavaliers
2022-23 NBA season stats: 21.6 points, 7.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 46.2 FG%, 41.0 3P%
Playing alongside Donovan Mitchell for the first time in his career, Darius Garland put up basically the same numbers he did during the 2021-22 season, a year in which he was named an All-Star. Garland has truly been one of the most improved players in the league over the course of the last four seasons, and his overall playmaking abilities really don’t get the attention they deserve. Maybe he has not led the league in assists, but the guard is a main reason why the Cleveland Cavaliers won over 50 games last season.
Garland simply makes those around him better. At 23 years old, there is still a lot of room for him to continue growing as an all-around scoring weapon as well. This backcourt in Cleveland is one of the best in the league and are dynamic because of Garland’s ability to attack his opponents in many different ways on the offensive end of the floor. As the Cavs continue to grow, so will their young point guard.
46. Paolo Banchero – PF – Orlando Magic
2022-23 NBA season stats: 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 42.7 FG%, 29.8 3P%
It is no surprise that Paolo Banchero ended up taking home Rookie of the Year, especially given the expectations placed on him as the first overall pick. Playing in 72 game during his rookie campaign, Banchero averaged exactly 20 points per game and ended up leading the Orlando Magic in scoring. The Magic now have their new face of the franchise who’s already much more far along than any other 20-year-old in the league, as Banchero recently participated in the 2023 FIBA World Cup with Team USA.
Standing 6’10” and possessing the skills he does on the offensive end of the floor, the sky’s the limit for what Banchero can achieve as a scorer. The next step in his career will be to widen his game, as the young forward shot just under 30 percent from the perimeter a season ago. Simply increasing this by three or four percentage points will instantly make Banchero a much more dangerous player than he already is. One foot is already in the door to him becoming a superstar, which is why the future is bright in Orlando.
45. Dejounte Murray – PG/SG – Atlanta Hawks
2022-23 NBA season stats: 20.5 points, 6.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 46.4 FG%
Jrue Holiday is widely regarded as the best defensive guard in basketball, but Dejounte Murray cannot be too far behind him. The Atlanta Hawks combo guard averaged at least 1.5 steals per game for the fourth consecutive season and once again ranked inside the top 10 in total steals. He can disrupt passing lanes as a primary defender and has an instinct on when to attack his opponents when they aren’t looking, taking the ball in transition for an easy layup at the other end.
The Hawks are still experimenting with ways to put Murray in the best position possible to succeed next to Trae Young, and it’s definitely a positive sign to see him getting better from three-point range. After a full offseason to work with Young and new head coach Quinn Snyder, Murray could be gearing up to have his best season yet. He’s very athletic, can be utilized in multiple ways at either the point guard or shooting guard position, plus he’s a team-first type of player. Don’t sleep on Murray and the Hawks this season.
44. Jaren Jackson Jr. – PF/C – Memphis Grizzlies
2022-23 NBA season stats: 18.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 50.6 FG%, 35.5 3P%
Jaren Jackson Jr. is a really interesting player. While he proved to be elite defensively this past season, winning Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league in blocks, he still has issues with foul trouble (this was a major problem in the FIBA World Cup) and can also be a liability at times offensively. The Memphis Grizzlies All-Star is not the most consistent finisher around the rim and can be too passive when his three-point shot isn’t falling. With Ja Morant facing a 25-game suspension to begin the 2023-24 season, Jackson will need to prove to be an elite two-way player who can carry the offensive load for his team.
If he can consistently average 20-plus points per game and be an effective three-point shooter, there is no doubt that he will be on his way to his second straight All-Star Game. The future of the Grizzlies is dependent on Jackson’s abilities to become a star. Locking in and being elite defensively will only take him so far, which is why he needs to make this upcoming season his best on the offensive end of the court.
43. Khris Middleton – SF – New Orleans Pelicans
2022-23 NBA season stats: 15.1 points, 4.9 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 43.6 FG%, 31.5 3P%
There has been a lot of talk about the Milwaukee Bucks falling apart after their first-round playoff loss to the Miami Heat, and now there are questions being asked about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future. What everyone is forgetting is that the Bucks were not fully healthy at any point during the 2022-23 season. Not having Khris Middleton at 100 percent drastically impacted their chances of making another deep postseason run. Middleton is this team’s second-best offensive weapon, which means a lot of strain and pressure falls on Giannis’ shoulders when he’s not around.
Don’t let Middleton’s numbers from last year fool you, especially because he played in just 33 games while dealing with injuries. When it comes to scoring in the mid-range area and in the fourth quarter, Middleton can absolutely take over a game and be the Bucks’ best late-game scorer. This is why he is instrumental to the success of the team and their championship journey. Expect a big bounce-back season from Milwaukee’s swingman this year.
42. Draymond Green – PF/C – Golden State Warriors
2022-23 NBA season stats: 8.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 52.7 FG%
People hate Draymond Green, and it is clear to understand why he is one of the most disliked players in the league. On the other side of things, he’s the heart and soul of the Golden State Warriors. Without him, they would not have won any of their championships since 2015 and would not be in position to win their fifth in a 10-year span entering the 2023-24 season.
Draymond does everything on the court for the Warriors and is arguably still the most complete defensive player in the NBA. Green can facilitate the offense as the point guard, he can defend any position as the team’s power forward and his IQ puts the Warriors in a position to win games. Say what you want about Green, but he’s still one of the most impactful players in the league and doesn’t even need to score in double digits to prove this.
41. Desmond Bane – SG – Memphis Grizzlies
2022-23 NBA season stats: 21.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 47.9 FG%, 40.8 3P%
As mentioned before with Jaren Jackson Jr., the Grizzlies are going to be without Ja Morant to begin the new year. Not only does this put pressure on their big man, but it especially puts pressure on Desmond Bane to rise to the level of being an All-Star. Bane recorded his first 20-plus points per game season this past year and has shot over 40 percent from three-point range in all three years with the team.
A sneaky-good athlete who uses his size and strength to his advantage when attacking the hoop, Bane is the kind of shooting guard every team looks to have. When his shots are falling, the Grizzlies end up pulling away from their opponents, which is clear to see with all the success they’ve found during the regular season. It is going to be interesting to see if he takes on a lot of the playmaking and facilitating responsibilities left behind by Morant at the beginning of the season.