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 70th through 61st in the NBA. Let’s dive right into things with a veteran guard who was recently traded this offseason.
70. Marcus Smart – PG/SG – Memphis Grizzlies
2022-23 NBA season stats (Celtics): 11.5 points, 6.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 41.5 FG%, 33.6 3P%
Perhaps the most shocking trade that happened this NBA offseason involved the Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards. Boston had been pursuing former All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis and initially appeared to be on the verge of trading away 2022-23 Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon to get him, but acquiring Porzingis ended up costing them Marcus Smart. Going from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference, Smart now joins a young, dynamic Grizzlies team that believes they can contend for a title.
The question for Smart in Memphis revolves around what his role is going to look like. He was the Celtics’ point guard the last few years and will likely be the Grizzlies’ starting point guard on opening night with Ja Morant suspended. When Morant returns, though, who knows what role the former Defensive Player of the Year will hold, especially since Desmond Bane has been the team’s starting shooting guard through the years.
Averaging a career-high 6.3 assists per game this past year and being a great on-ball defender, Smart should be able to help Memphis become one of the best defensive teams in the league, especially since they have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Jaren Jackson Jr.
69. Deandre Ayton – C – Phoenix Suns
2022-23 NBA season stats: 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 58.9 FG%
Say what you want about Deandre Ayton, but he has been nothing short of a productive big man since being drafted first overall in 2018. Ayton was instrumental in the Phoenix Suns’ run to the 2021 NBA Finals and has put up steady numbers in his career. Even with the changes Phoenix made to the roster last season, he still managed to put up respectable numbers. Ayton averaged a double-double for the fifth consecutive year and is a great finisher around the rim. Being able to create second-chance opportunities for an offense run by Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal is what makes him so dangerous.
If the Suns big man can continue to stretch his game out of the paint, it will be very hard to leave him off the list of the best centers in the league. He may not be Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic, but Ayton plays his role well and will be the key to them possibly making a run to the 2024 NBA Finals, assuming he is still on the team and not traded after plenty of rumors.
68. Scottie Barnes – SF/PF – Toronto Raptors
2022-23 NBA season stats: 15.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 45.6 FG%
The Toronto Raptors lost Fred VanVleet in free agency this offseason. With Pascal Siakam’s name coming up in trade rumors as well, it is clear to see that the Raptors believe in Scottie Barnes enough to make him the face of their franchise moving forward. Barnes is a two-way threat and truly a positionless player, but what makes him special is his ability to be a point forward.
Much like how Draymond Green is utilized with the Warriors, Toronto envisions Barnes holding a similar role for them. However, they are going to lean on him more on the offensive end of the floor. It is going to be interesting to see how Barnes reacts to his increased workload in his third season, especially since he is still an underdeveloped shooter. All-Star potential definitely exists within the recent Rookie of the Year.
67. Kyle Kuzma – SF/PF – Washington Wizards
2022-23 NBA season stats: 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 44.8 FG%, 33.3 3P%
For some reason, Kyle Kuzma does not command the respect he deserves. Maybe this is because he is no longer with the Los Angeles Lakers, but Kuzma has been getting better and better as an all-around contributor at either forward position. With Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis gone, it is not hard to believe that the 28-year-old is the face of the Washington Wizards after agreeing to a new four-year, $102 million deal in free agency.
For our discussion on who’s better between Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic, listen below:
Kuzma is looking more comfortable as a facilitator on offense, he made a career-high 2.5 threes per game this past season and is a very underrated rebounder. Maybe he won’t be an All-Star talent, but every team in the league needs key contributors on the wing who can go for 20-plus points on any given night. This is the kind of player Kuzma is, which is why it would not be shocking to see a contending team target him ahead of the trade deadline.
66. Myles Turner – C – Indiana Pacers
2022-23 NBA season stats: 18.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 54.8 FG%,37.3 3P%
It seems like there are conversations about a potential Myles Turner trade every single season. Once again, Turner heard his name come up in trade rumors during the offseason, yet the Indiana Pacers have not been wanting to get rid of their big man. He even agreed to a new two-year extension recently in January.
A stretch center who has consistently established himself as one of the best rim protectors in the league, Turner is the backbone of the Pacers. He needs to be great and healthy in order for Indiana to take that next step as a franchise. Alongside All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, Turner has really improved as a secondary scorer. While not a top-50 player in the league, Turner is definitely one of the most impactful centers because of his two-way presence.
65. Tyrese Maxey – PG/SG – Philadelphia 76ers
2022-23 NBA season stats: 20.3 points, 3.5 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 48.1 FG%, 43.4 3P%
What happens with James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers will dictate what Tyrese Maxey’s role will look like during the 2023-24 season. If Harden stays, which seems unlikely, Maxey will continue to be held back as the No. 3 option on this team. Should the Sixers move on from Harden, though, the 2020 first-round pick will finally be able to showcase his All-Star potential alongside Joel Embiid.
This past year was Maxey’s best, as he averaged a career-high 20.3 points per game while shooting a career-best 43.4 percent from three-point range, good enough for the fifth-best three-point shooting percentage in the league. Maxey can score from the perimeter and is very dangerous running in transition due to his speed with the ball in his hands. Confidence is the one word that comes to mind when watching the young Sixers guard play, and he is only going to get better as he continues to gain more experience over the course of the season.
64. Tyler Herro – SG – Miami Heat
2022-23 NBA season stats: 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 43.9 FG%, 37.8 3P%
Tyler Herro is a completely different player than Maxey, but the reason he finds himself above the Sixers guard is because of his offensive skill set. The Miami Heat are very lucky to have Herro, especially since he is comfortable playing off stars like Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. If he had not broken his hand in the playoffs, Miami would have definitely forced a longer NBA Finals series against the Denver Nuggets.
Leading the league in free-throw percentage this past year, Herro has proven that he is not afraid to attack the rim and is a very aggressive shooter as well. Herro plays with a level of swag in his game that resonates with his teammates. Whether or not the 23-year-old remains with Miami is the big question right now, as the Heat have been linked to Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard for months. He would most definitely be involved in any potential deal for Lillard, which is why the 2021-22 Sixth Man of the Year’s future is uncertain at this time.
2022-23 NBA season stats: 20.8 points, 4.4 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 44.4 FG%, 33.8P%
From the 2021-22 Sixth Man of the Year to the 2020-21 Sixth Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson has stepped up to be a leader of a young, emerging Utah Jazz team. In fact, he is now the longest-tenured player on Utah’s roster, as he joined the team during the 2019-20 season. Clarkson started in all 61 games he played in this past year, averaging a career-high 20.8 points per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the floor.
With Donovan Mitchell no longer on the Jazz, Clarkson assumed the role as the leading scorer in Utah’s backcourt. This team suddenly has a terrific one-two punch with Lauri Markkanen having a breakout year as well. The Jazz are going to go as far as their two leaders are able to take them, which is why Clarkson will need to have yet another stellar season scoring the ball. Being 31 years old and having nine years of experience, the Jazz guard is just now reaching the peak of his career.
62. Brook Lopez – C – Milwaukee Bucks
2022-23 NBA season stats: 15.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 53.1 FG%, 37.4 3P%
At 35 years old, Brook Lopez has seemed to hit the second prime of his career. Maybe he’s not the All-Star-like player he was earlier in his career, but Lopez’s resurgence in Milwaukee has been a sight to see. He has developed a consistent three-point jumper, is still a handful to deal with in the paint and also just averaged a career-high 2.5 blocks per game. Lopez’s 193 total blocks this past year ended up being the most in the league.
A true Defensive Player of the Year candidate and the anchor of the Milwaukee Bucks’ defense, Lopez has proven his worth as a veteran who can still be a valuable secondary contributor. This is why the Bucks awarded him with a two-year, $48 million contract in free agency. The Bucks went 58-24 last season, which was the best record in the league during the regular season. Although they lost in the first round of the playoffs, Lopez has proven his worth to his franchise and will need to have another terrific two-way season in order for them to possibly contend for a title.
61. Jarrett Allen – C – Cleveland Cavaliers
2022-23 NBA season stats: 14.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 64.4 FG%
Jarrett Allen is a lot younger than Lopez and is a terrific pick-and-roll big man. This is why he finds himself one spot above the veteran on this list. The Cleveland Cavaliers are a young, rising team in the Eastern Conference, and it is not hard to believe that they could end up contending for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals if they put things together with their new bench. Various teams have pursued Allen over the last year, yet the Cavs have been unwilling to include him in trade talks. This is because he’s a very valuable two-way talent at the center position.
Alongside Evan Mobley, Allen has helped create one of the better defensive frontcourts in the league and is one of the better double-double threats at the center position. As far as his offensive game goes, Allen is a lob threat in every single pick-and-roll situation, plus his ability to set screens oftentimes goes unnoticed. Allen is a high-IQ player who just understand where to be on the court at all times, which is why he is so valuable to Cleveland’s success. The Cavaliers have a great thing going right now with a young nucleus that is only going to continue to grow together.