Flashscore's Top 40 NBA players to watch this season: 20-11 - Almost the best


Flashscore's Top 40 NBA players to watch this season: 20-11 - Almost the best

Is it the last chance for Kawhi Leonard?
Is it the last chance for Kawhi Leonard?AFP
Until the start of the season, Flashscore will bring you our rankings of the top 40 players to watch this coming NBA season. This is the third instalment, and before we look at the top 10 individuals, let's take a look at those who are close to the top of the game.

20: Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers)

One of the big revelations of last season, he was expected to be good, but not that good. Alone at the Pacers with no real objective, he lit up his team's start to the season, earning an All-Star nod before finishing the season on the sidelines. But as we've seen with Team USA, he's in great shape, and we want to know how far he can go, and how far he can take his team, namely to the playoffs. For a non-top 10 draft pick, that's splendid.

2022/2023 averages: 20.7 points, 10.4 assists, 49% shooting, 40% three-pointers

Season target: 25 points, 11 assists, MIP candidate

19: Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)

'PG-13', as they call him, is still going strong at 33. Admittedly, you might think he was getting on in years, but his absence from the playoffs through injury was finally noticed, as it undoubtedly precipitated the Clippers' downfall. But on an individual level, there's nothing to report. He's still making an impact, with All-Star stats, and this year is crucial for his team's project, with an ageing squad and still no ring on the horizon. He'll have to justify his status and his contract and he is capable of doing just that.

2022/2023 averages: 23.8 points, 45.7% shooting, 37.1% three-pointers

Season target: 25 points, leadership, playoff berth

18: Kyrie Irving (Dallas Mavericks)

Ah, Kyrie Irving... A unique talent with an unpredictable attitude. And the last few years - right in his prime - have been marred by a number of dubious choices. This summer, however, he tried to maintain continuity by staying in Dallas for an acceptable fee. And we're beginning to think that this time, it might just be the right one. On paper, his duo with Luka Doncic is terrifying, and if everything else clicks, maybe we'll finally see 'Uncle Drew' at his best. Here, we hope so.

2022/2023 averages: 27.1 points, 49.4% shooting, 37.9% three-pointers

Season target: 28 points, 8 assists, a drama-free season

17: Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)

Here's another one who has a lot to live up to. 'Ice Trae' is acquiring a reputation as a coach killer, rather than continuing to develop his career. The last two years have been average collectively, but individually they've always been excellent. It is therefore on his team's results that he will be judged this season, in other words on his leadership qualities, as his qualities as a player are well known.

2022/2023 averages: 26.2 points, 10.2 assists, 42.9% shooting, 33.5% three-pointers

Season target: 28 points, 11 assists, take the Hawks to the top six in the East

Could Young be the best passer in the league this season?
Could Young be the best passer in the league this season?AFP

16: Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers)

His transfer to Cleveland changed nothing, 'Spida' is still one of the best forwards in the league. But the problem came for him in the playoffs, when the Cavs drowned despite home-court advantage. The team has quality and depth, but it needs a real leader. The time has come for Mitchell to become a superstar and he needs to take control of the Cavs for good without neglecting his role as the main provider of points.

2022/2023 averages: 28.3 points, 48.4% shooting, 38.6% three-pointers

Season target: 30 points, leadership, home-court advantage in the playoffs

15: Damian Lillard (Milwaukee Bucks)

Simply put - the trade of the season. After requesting a trade to Miami, 'Dame Dolla' landed in Milwaukee to form the league's most terrifying duo, at least on paper, with a certain Greek. All that remains is to put this partnership into shape on the court because we've seen a lot of tempting combinations end in bust-ups. The talent is unquestionable, but you have to take the last, hardest step, the one that leads to the title, and fit into a team that is not your own.

2022/2023 averages: 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, 46.3% shooting, 37.1% three-pointers

Season target: to step up as a side-kick, 30 points, 10 assists

14: Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)

After an 18-month absence, the Canadian finally got back on the floor last season, and the result was triumphant. The playoffs were incredible for him and Denver, with increasingly impressive performances that resulted in a ring. Now he belongs to the elite and he needs to confirm that with quality performances throughout the regular season, even if it's in the post-season that he'll be expected to shine.

2022/2023 averages: 20 points, 6.2 assists, 45.4% shooting, 39.8% three-pointers

Season target: 25 points, 8 assists

Will we see the same Jamal Murray in the regular season as in the playoffs?
Will we see the same Jamal Murray in the regular season as in the playoffs?AFP

13: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)

The explosion we'd been waiting for finally happened. SGA has become the darling of the NBA, confirming the promise he has shown so many times since he was drafted. Has the hard part begun? Possibly, given that Oklahoma came within a game of the playoffs last season. Becoming a leader after becoming a star, that's a mission for this very talented player.

2022/2023 averages: 31.4 points, 51% shooting, 34.5% three-pointers

Season target: 33 points, playoff qualification

12: Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)

He could have been in the top 10 and he'll no doubt be there next year if he really asserts himself as the leader of the Suns' terrifyingly good 'Big Three.' Above all, they must produce results because, with so much talent at their disposal, Phoenix have to succeed this season. That expectation is thanks in particular to their backline, which has entered a new dimension and must now win titles or at least one.

2022/2023 averages: 27.8 points, 49.4% shooting, 35.1% three-pointers

Season target: 30 points, improved playmaking, become a franchise player

11: Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers)

Undoubtedly the last really tricky case in this ranking. 'The Klaw' is about to embark on his fifth season with the Clippers, and so far, it's not what was expected when he arrived. The player himself, when he's on the court, remains a metronome and the best two-way player in the league (a debatable point, of course). But it's no longer consistency that we're waiting for, it's to see the 2019 version of Kawhi again. We think he's capable of it.

2022/2023 averages: 23.8 points, 51.2% shooting, 41.6% three-pointers

Season target: 26 points, MVP candidate


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