Where five Warriors stars rank in ESPN’s Top 100 NBA players for 2022-23

Where five Warriors stars rank on list of Top 100 NBA players originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors are well-represented on ESPN’s list of the Top 100 NBA players heading into the 2022-23 season.

Players 100-26 were announced on Tuesday and Golden State had four names on the list. One player is noticeably absent, but for good reason.

Not only did Jordan Poole make the list for the first time in his career, but he nearly landed in the Top 50.

After a breakout 2021-22 season, the Warriors’ young guard now is a household name around the league.

Poole should make a strong campaign for Sixth Man of the Year,” ESPN’s Kendra Andrews writes. “The hope is that Poole’s role as the Warriors’ sixth man will be more consistent (barring injuries) and that in itself will set Poole up for more success. He has shown the ability to grow his game each year in the league, and there’s no reason that should stop with the experience of a title run under his belt.”

The 23-year-old averaged 18.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game on 44.8 percent shooting from the field and 36.4 percent from 3-point range. Poole finished fourth for the Most Improved Player award and initially was believed to be a contender for Sixth Man of the Year but received zero votes. Nevertheless, Poole again will play an integral role in Golden State’s offense and is set up for a possible encore this season.

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As one of three Warriors who are a lock to make the list when healthy, Draymond Green slipped six spots from his ranking last season (No. 37) after an up and down 2021-22 campaign. The perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate would be the first to admit that injuries and inconsistent play on the court led to a little bit of a down season.

“It’s not at all shocking that Green will be the key to the Warriors’ defense,” Andrews writes. “Before his back injury last season, Green was putting up a convincing Defensive Player of the Year campaign, and the Warriors need that from him again all season long. When he was on the court, Golden State had a 104.2 defensive rating — that number jumped to 112.0 when he was on the bench.”

Draymond is the Warriors’ engine on both ends of the floor and will be integral in their quest to defend their title as NBA champions.

He’s back. He’s healthy and ready to re-establish himself as one of the league’s lethal sharpshooters.

After missing two seasons with lower leg injuries, Klay Thompson returned to the court mid-season for the Warriors and needed some time to shake off the rust before showing flashes of dominance to close out the regular season and throughout the playoffs …, particularly in Game 6s.

“For the first time in three years, Thompson has a full summer of rest and recovery — not rehab — under his belt and will be eligible to play an entire season,” Andrews writes. “This alone should set up Thompson for a more consistent season that could vault him back into the group of elite two-way players.”

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After a slow start to the season, Thompson averaged 20.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from 3-point range in 32 regular season games.

Thompson wasted no time celebrating Golden State’s championship and continued to do so throughout the summer. Entering the 2022-23 season healthy and rested, Thompson will have a chance to return to peak Splash Brother form.

The player who might have made the most significant jump of anyone on the list is Andrew Wiggins, who was ranked No. 77 prior to last season.

“Two-Way Wiggs” not only broke out last season but was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. In 73 games played, Wiggins averaged 17.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists on 46.6 percent shooting from the field and 39.3 percent from 3-point range.

“Can he follow up his breakthrough All-Star season?” Andrews writes. “Wiggins had such a good start to last season that he earned his first All-Star selection, and as a starter no less. This season won’t necessarily be about making the All-Star team again, but rather how he will ensure he maintains that level of play for an entire season as the Warriors chase a repeat title.”

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The Warriors likely would not have won the championship if not for Wiggins, who dominated on both ends of the court in the playoffs. Entering the 2022-23 season, Wiggins again will be a pivotal piece to any success the Warriors hope to have.

Steph Curry (TBD)

Not to worry, Steph Curry definitely is a Top 100 player, but his spot on the list has yet to be revealed. ESPN will announce players 25-11 on Wednesday, 10-6 on Thursday and 5-1 on Friday.

Curry should be at least a Top 10 player and likely one of the five best players in the league. If not, the “Petty King” and Dub Nation might have something to say about it.

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