Flashscore's Top 40 NBA players to watch this season: 30-21 - Edging closer to the summit


Flashscore's Top 40 NBA players to watch this season: 30-21 - Edging closer to the summit

Will De'Aaron Fox take the Kings in the playoffs again?
Will De'Aaron Fox take the Kings in the playoffs again?AFP
Until the start of the season, Flashscore will bring you our rankings of the top 40 players to watch this coming NBA season. The second instalment takes us to the very edge of the Top 20, with All-Stars and title contenders but also some divisive choices.

30: James Harden (Philadelphia 76ers)

A complicated one because we're talking about the league's reigning leading passer. And theoretically, he should be higher than this. Except that firstly, with less than a week to go before the start of the new season, we still don't know where he'll be playing and secondly, his behaviour in the off-season raises questions about whether he should stay in Philly. One more blotch on 'The Beard's' record, with veiled threats of misbehaviour, could cast doubts over what his season will be like.

2022/2023 averages: 21 points, 10.7 assists, 38.5% three-pointers

Season target: We wonder...

29: Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)

Complicated case number two. On ability, he's a Top 15 minimum and we could argue Top 10. Except that his many antics last season had one consequence - a 25-game suspension to start the season. Where will his team be when he returns? And if the mechanics are well-oiled, will his return have any impact? It's all a shame because his talent is undeniable.

2022/2023 averages: 26.5 points, 8.1 assists, 30.7% three-pointers

Season target: To get back to his best and have a real NBA career

28: Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)

Complicated case number three. Last season, Williamson dominated as the Pelicans got off to a flying start, then another injury and we saw no more of him all season. The above assessment of Morant also applies to Williamson but his physical fragility remains a problem if he is really to be considered a major player. 114 games in four seasons is a painful figure but when he's on the court, few can stop him.

2022/2023 averages: 26 points, 7 rebounds, 60.8% shooting, 29 games

Season target: 65 games minimum

27: Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)

The Splash Brothers are still there. Thompson had a fairly underrated season because he always goes big on defence yet continues to land his shots. That's been the case for 12 years and it'll be the case again this year. The Warriors are rumoured to be on the way out, even though they were champions in 2022. Thompson's role will be scrutinised as the arrival of Chris Paul raises questions, but as long as Golden State plays small ball, he will be there.

2022/2023 averages: 21.9 points, 43.6% shooting, 41.9% three-pointers

Season target: 22 points, 50% shooting, 40% three-pointers

Killa Klay's wrist is going to get hot again
Killa Klay's wrist is going to get hot againAFP

26: Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)

Whether he spends the season in Toronto or not, the Cameroonian will be a free agent in the summer of 2024 and will be extremely coveted on the market. He is undoubtedly coming off the best season of his career and is the undisputed leader of his team, but the Raptors are not strong enough to fight for the title. Nonetheless, he has the privilege of already having a ring, so he won't be under huge pressure, and he'll no doubt put in a great season to go and get a max contract, in Toronto or elsewhere.

2022/2023 averages: 24.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 32.4% three-pointers

Season target: 26 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists

25: De'Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)

Fox has talent, but we knew that. Sacramento were hoping that it would translate into success for their team, and it did. The Kings got back in the playoffs, and Fox was undoubtedly the main reason. His pairing with Domantas Sabonis is a real strength, but it's fair to say that he's the leader. He's so clutch and impactful that he won the All-Star Game and the Clutch Award. Another season like that and a Top 20 spot will be his.

2022/2023 averages: 25 points, 6.1 assists, 51.2% shooting, 32.4% three-pointers

Season target: 27 points, 8 assists, keep the Kings at the top of the West

24: Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)

A bit low for Ant-Man? It's getting hard to classify at this stage. Karl-Anthony Towns' injury has paved the way for him to take the reins at the Wolves. Last season, we saw the beginnings of a future star, rewarded with an All-Star spot. But the hardest part is about to begin for Edwards. He's still young in the NBA, and defences will be focusing on him now that he's officially his team's number-one option. If he takes his team to the next level, the sky's the limit.

2022/2023 averages: 24.6 points, 45.9% shooting, 36.9% three-pointers

Season target: 28 points, 40% three-pointers, MIP candidate

Anthony Edwards is expected to explode this season
Anthony Edwards is expected to explode this seasonAFP

23: Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)

The eternal debate about Brown's real value... Jayson Tatum is now the Celtics' undisputed number one and the focus is on his lieutenant's shortcomings rather than his qualities. However, he remains fundamental to Boston's recent success, but it remains to be seen whether he will retain his role with the arrival of a new point guard below. Could he fall victim to the Celtics' reshuffle? Given the size of his contract, we don't believe it for a second.

2022/2023 averages: 26.6 points, 49.1% shooting, 33.5% three-pointers

Season target: 28 points, 40% three-pointers

22: Jrue Holiday (Boston Celtics)

The point guard in question has left a title contender to join another contender. Sacrificed to make room for Damian Lillard in Wisconsin, he saw Boston pounce on him to complete their starting five. It was a good deal, given how fundamental he was to the Bucks' title in 2021. The Celtics know what they're getting - one of the best two-way players in the league, driven by a sense of revenge, to finally go for the title.

2022/2023 averages: 19.3 points, 7.4 assists, 47.9% shooting, 38.4% three-pointers

Season target: 20 points, 10 assists, NBA All-Defensive Team

21: Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)

Speaking of two-way players... the Heat's pivot continues to put in a string of top-class seasons. Offensively, he's a perfect partner for Jimmy Butler, and defensively, he's the pillar of Miami, which was especially evident in the playoffs. His last campaign will live long in the memory, and it's undoubtedly time for him to be rewarded as an individual. The perfect lieutenant is ready for recognition.

2022/2023 averages: 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 54% shooting

Season target: 22 points, 10 rebounds, DPOY


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