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The Warriors are well represented on ESPN’s list of the 100 best NBA players entering the 2022-23 season.
Players 100-26 were announced Tuesday and Golden State had four names on the list. One player is clearly absent, but for good reason.
Not only did Jordan Poole make the list for the first time in his career, but he almost landed in the Top 50.
After the 2021-22 breakout season, the Warriors young guard has become a household name around the league.
“Poole should make a strong campaign for Sixth Man of the Year,” writes ESPN’s Kendra Andrews. “The hope is that Poole’s role as the Warriors’ sixth man will be more consistent (barring injuries) and that Poole will settle in more. success He has shown that he has the ability to step up his game every year in the league, and there is no reason why the experience of running a title under his belt should stop.”
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 Most Improved Player and was initially believed to be a contender for Sixth Man of the Year but received no votes. However, Poole will again play a key role in Golden State’s offense and is set for a possible encore this season.
One of three Warriors locked in 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 is the first to admit that injuries and inconsistent play on the court have plagued him for a bit of a down season.
“It’s no surprise that Green will be the key to the Warriors’ defense,” Andrews writes. “Before his back injury last season, Green was coming off a dominant Defensive Player of the Year campaign, and the Warriors need that from him again all season. When he was on the court, his defensive rating was 104.2 at Golden State — that number jumped to 112.0 when he was on the bench.”
Draymond is the engine of the Warriors on both ends of the floor and will be central to their quest to defend their title as NBA Champions.
He is back. He’s healthy and ready to re-establish himself as one of the league’s deadliest sharpshooters.
After missing two seasons with lower leg injuries, Klay Thompson returned to the court in the middle of the season for the Warriors and needed some time to shake off the rust before showing flashes of dominance to ending the regular season and throughout the playoffs …, especially 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 a full season,” Andrews writes. “This alone should set Thompson up for a more consistent season that could vault him back into the elite group of two-way players.”
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. Going into the 2022-23 season healthy and rested, Thompson will have a chance to return to peak Splash Brother form.
The player who may have made the most significant jump of anyone on the list is Andrew Wiggins, who was ranked No. 77 before 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 continue his breakout All-Star season?” Andrews writes. “Wiggins had such a good start last season that he earned his first All-Star selection, and at least as a starter. This season is not necessarily about making the All-Star team again, but how will he ensure it. He maintains that level of play for an entire season as the Warriors chase another title.”
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The Warriors probably wouldn’t have won the championship if not for Wiggins, who dominated on both ends of the court in the playoffs. Heading into the 2022-23 season, Wiggins will once again be a critical piece to any success the Warriors hope to have.
Steph Curry (TBD)
Not to worry, Steph Curry is definitely in the top 100 players, but his place on the list is 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 probably one of the top five players in the league. If not, the “Petty King” and Dub Nation might have something to say about it.
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