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Giannis Antetokounmpo stomped Steph Curry’s Warriors Tuesday night. He also edged Curry in the Ringer’s first top 100 players list.
The Greek Freak was an easy choice for the top spot as a two-time NBA MVP and one-time champ who scoring a career-high 31.1 points per game for the second-place Bucks, while defeating all challengers and ladders in his way. Two-time MVP and reigning champ Curry is an easy No. 2 as well.
The top five is rounded out by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic and Kevin Durant, who is quietly dragging the Brooklyn Nets back into playoff contention. Jayson Tatum remains just outside the upper echelon at No. 6, the best player on the league’s best team who still hasn’t done nearly as much as the guys ahead of him.
Further down the list, the rankings get more controversial. The Lakers’ Anthony Davis is No. 8, which seems to acknowledge he’s been a top-five player when he plays — but he misses a lot of games. His teammate LeBron James is No. 9, which also seems roughly correct, but strange that the only team with two top-10 players is 11-16 this year.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s fantastic year is rewarded by being No. 12 on this list. While Pascal Siakam might seem too high at No. 14, he’s averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game for Toronto — pretty good!
Questionable selections include Tyrese Haliburton at No. 21 — it seems presumptive to already call him “The New Point God” — Kawhi Leonard just one spot ahead of Desmond Bane at No. 29; and Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green and Rudy Gobert sitting at Nos. 32-34, which shows very little respect for elite big man defense in 2022.
While he’s had a hot start, No. 38 seems a little high for Lauri Markkanen, a player who is only 27 games into his first definitively good season. He was clearly not in the same class as Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen last year on the Cavaliers, but he’s slotted well ahead of both.
More useful to hardcore fans might be the League Pass rankings, based on “razzle-dazzle, vibes and ruckus.” It should be no surprise that 2019 top picks Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are Nos. 1 and 2. While he’s less famous than that pair, Orlando’s breakout star Bol Bol clocks in at No. 9 and gets extra credit for his Squidward tattoo.