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Fresh out of the All-Star break, NBA action gets back underway Thursday night. With no games the past few days, it was a good time to catch up on film and take some deeper stock of what we've seen so far. 

With that in mind, I have put together this list of who I believe to be the top 25 players to this point. Keep the "to this point" part in mind. This is not a ranking of the best 25 players in the league. It's the 25 guys who've been the best this season

You'll see at the end of each blurb where each of these players ranked in our CBS Sports preseason Top 100, which was a projection of how we believed players would perform in 2023-24. There are some major discrepancies between what we expected and what has happened, as usual. 

So here we go. Let me know what you think in the comments. And remember, if you don't have anything nice to say, well, go ahead and say it anyway. I'm not one to hold my tongue very well, either. 

1. Joel Embiid, 76ers

There's no minimum games played rule on this list, and Embiid was tracking toward his second straight MVP before succumbing to meniscus surgery earlier this month. At that point, Embiid was the league's leading scorer at over 35 a game with top-shelf defensive impact. 

A step further: Embiid's 49.8 points per 48 minutes is tied with Wilt Chamberlain (1961-62) for the highest mark in history. He's gone for at least 40 points in over 25% of his 34 games. Seriously. Forty once every four games? 

Embiid is also averaging a career-high 5.7 assists as a dribble-handoff traffic cone that Nick Nurse's offense, and all its trailing defenders, is constantly weaving around. His face-up jumper, the finesse to his post-up power, has effectively rendered him indefensible. Now he has to do it deep into the playoffs. Hopefully he's healthy enough to give it a crack in May. Preseason Ranking: 6

2. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

With Embiid ineligible, Jokic is the betting favorite to win his third MVP in four years. He remains the best player in the world, and the Nuggets remain the best team until proven otherwise ... except when Jokic is off the floor, at which point they plummet by 21 points per 100 possessions while going from what would register as the best to the worst offense in the league, per Cleaning the Glass. 

Jokic poisons a defense no matter your choice of delivery mechanism. Single cover him, and he's probably the most devastating post-up player since Shaq. Double him, and he slices you up with his passing. Pack the gray areas and he just drops that almost bored moon-ball shot of his that hardly touches the net on the way down. 

From basically anyone on the court, Jokic can shoot off one foot, the wrong foot, fading, twisting, it doesn't matter. His spacial awareness and depth perception are preternatural. He hardly even needs to see the rim. His touch is like the heightened sense of a blind man. He could legit go down as the best big man in history. Preseason Ranking: 1

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

I have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander above Antetokounmpo in my latest MVP rankings for team reasons: OKC is blowing past all preseason expectations, while the Bucks have fallen relatively short despite adding Damian Lillard (they already fired Adrian Griffin and are now scuffling under Doc Rivers). 

Fair or not, that reflects poorly on Giannis, who has already won a pair of MVPs and is fighting against the bar he set for himself while SGA is in the MVP honeymoon period. Still, Giannis has probably been better than SGA, though it's an almost impossibly close call.

They're both averaging over 30 points and six assists. Giannis is adding over 11 rebounds. Most people would prefer the cool aesthetics of SGA's game, but Antetokounmpo's wrecking-ball force is absolutely unrelenting. His .616 shooting percentage is the best of his career. He leads the league in total points. It cannot be disputed that he is the single-most terrifying transition scorer and overall physical force in the basketball world. Preseason Ranking: 2

4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder

There's been a pretty lazy narrative attached to SGA that he's not a good defender. It's not even close to true. This is a bonafide two-way superstar who leads the league in steals and registers as a long, athletic component of a top-five defense. 

Only Giannis has scored more total points this season than Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging over 31 per game on ludicrous efficiency -- 130.4 points per 100 possessions, per CTG, which is the best mark in the league among point guards. He leads the league with 39 games of at least 30 points. 

Among players averaging at least eight pick-and-roll possessions per game, SGA's 1.10 PPP ranks second only to Tyrese Haliburton. Nobody drives more than SGA, and no guard scores more points in the paint. He knocks down mid-range shots at a better clip than Kevin Durant

SGA is Kawhi-like in his ability to win angles and get to pull-up spots with ease; Luka-like in terms of his ever-poised pace and sixth-sense deceleration. He might be the fastest stopper in the league, and nobody can defend him in isolation with his quirky direction changes and clever finishes. Just a sublime player with a permanent pass into the teeth of any defense. Preseason Ranking: 11

5. Luka Doncic, Mavericks

Luka has the inside track on the scoring title at 34.2 PPG. His 10 40-point games lead the league. A true one-man offense who squeezes every possession with a prodding, ever-tightening pressure until a clean shot, either for himself or a teammate, pops out, Luka generates more points via scoring and assists than any player in the league, per PBP stats. 

At least you used to be able to ding Luka for his subpar shooting, but this year he's at 37.5% from 3 on over 10 attempts a game. He's the best and most forceful kick-out passer since prime LeBron. He sees shooters no matter how pinned he is, and he has the strength to fire long-distance dimes on the money from even the most compromised positions. Preseason Ranking: 4

6. Kevin Durant, Suns

Two players are having legit MVP seasons while being totally ignored in MVP discussions. One is Durant. The other, Kawhi Leonard, is next on this list. Durant lulls us into believing what he does is as easy as he makes it look, but there is nothing easy about averaging 28 PPG on 19 shots. 

Durant's shooting splits, relative to his difficult-for-anyone-else shot diet, are out of this world at 53/44/87. He throws in almost seven rebounds and six assists a night, and he continues to be criminally invisible in defensive-impact discussions. 

Durant, for starters, gives a damn on defense. From there, he's obviously super long and athletic; he covers extensive ground as a roving rim protector. Straight up, scorers are converting at well below league average clips from every spot on the floor when Durant is the primary defender, and the Suns, winners of 16 of their last 20, have quietly been a top-10 defense since Christmas and top five over the last month. Preseason Ranking: 5

7. Kawhi Leonard, Clippers

Like Durant, Leonard is getting no love in MVP talks because he plays with other great players, but let's be clear: Kawhi is the guy for this Clippers team that has been taking opponents to the woodshed for the past three months. 

Leonard's scoring numbers, while still great, don't pop at 24 a game, but he only takes 17 shots and he's at over 25 a game on ludicrous 56/49/93 shooting splits since the start of December, when the Clippers really took off. 

For the season, Leonard is knocking on the door of 50-40-90 -- which would put him in the most exclusive shooting club in basketball history -- at 52.7% from the field, 45.3% from 3 and 89.1% from the free-throw line. Leonard's naturally fading, pull-up mid-range jumper is among the most reliable sources of offense in the league, his defense is back at elite levels, and he has only missed five games. Preseason Ranking: 15

8. Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers

With Darius Garland and Evan Mobley injured, the Cavs basically turned into the Mitchell-Rudy Gobert Utah Jazz, with Jarrett Allen as Gobert and Mitchell in the familiar territory of carrying the offense as both scorer and creator. 

Mitchell has never been an elite visionary, but he draws so much attention as a downhill attacker that it has become increasingly natural for him to exploit the spaces left unattended by defenses that are preoccupied with his powerful bursts. His 6.3 assists per game are a career high. He's north of the 60% true-shooting line for the second straight season. He's hitting 41% of his 3s in February. He's one of six players averaging at least 28 points, five rebounds and five assists. The other five are Embiid, Luka, Durant, SGA and Giannis. 

Cleveland has vaulted safely into the East's No. 2 seed, four games clear of the No. 3 Bucks in the loss column, by winning 18 of its last 20 games. Over that stretch, Mitchell has averaged 29 points and seven assists, right about his marks for the season. 

A devastating pull-up shooter by trade, it's good news that Mitchell is getting to the rim with a bit greater frequency this season, and his defense has been active; he's third in the league with 1.9 steals per game and top five in deflections. He's far from the perimeter leak he could sometimes be in Utah. I feel comfortable saying this is the best season of Mitchell's career so far, and that's really saying something. Preseason Ranking: 16

9. Devin Booker, Suns

Durant is Phoenix's best player but it feels like Booker's team. We know them as a your-turn/my-turn pairing of midrange maestros, but Booker has stretched his game in two major ways. 

First, Booker is now comfortably categorized as a knockdown 3-point shooter, which was just about the most predictable progression imaginable as you watched the fluidity and effortlessness of his midrange shooting (when he gets into the paint for the 10-14 foot pull-up, forget about it). 

Second, Booker has placed a greater emphasis on using the leverage of his scoring this year to set up his teammates after the departure of one of the all-time dish men in Chris Paul; his seven assists per game are a career high, and he's a legitimately tough defender. 

The player below Booker on his list, Jayson Tatum, is going to garner more MVP votes, but check the stats. Booker averages more points, more assists, more free throws attempted and made, and he registers better shooting percentages across the board. For me, it's the most hair-splitting debate in the league, but I'll take Booker over Tatum by that hair.   Preseason Ranking: 8

10. Jayson Tatum, Celtics

Tatum can dribble into his jumper whenever he wants, which can work against him to some degree. He still settles for contested pull-ups at a less-than-ideal rate, as evidenced by his 33% knockdown rate as an off-dribble 3-point shooter, per Synergy. He's at 43% as a spot-up 3-point shooter. That's a big difference. 

Tatum works mostly in isolation and as a pick-and-roll creator. His scoring is Kobe like. His playmaking has grown consistently. His at-rim finishing, when he does decide to get all the way there, is a career-high 72%, per Cleaning the Glass. 

We're always trying to pick Tatum's game apart because his scoring skills feel limitless if entirely optimized. He's starting to get the "yeah but he hasn't won a championship" qualifier next to his name, which is crazy. Let's not forget that Tatum has been in the NBA for seven seasons and he's been to five conference finals and one NBA Finals. Dude is awesome. Preseason Ranking: 7

11. Tyrese Haliburton, Pacers

Haliburton was a real MVP candidate for a stretch. An injury stalled his season for a few weeks, and since coming back his numbers are pretty pedestrian. But his body of work this season has been extraordinary. I consider him to be one of the five most entertaining players in the league, and I can't be alone in that sentiment.

It's not just that Haliburton leads the league with 11.7 assists per game; it's that his 40.68 points created via those assists, per 100 possessions, leads the league as well. Haliburton creates pace and tempo as well as anyone in the world, and he's a funky-formed sniper with a quick trigger and full arsenal of shots: 21.8 PPG and 40% on eight 3-pointers per game. We had this guy projected way too low to start the year. Preseason Ranking: 23

12. Anthony Davis, Lakers

When Davis on the court, he's arguably the best defensive player in the game (Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama would like a word), and he's been on the court a lot this season playing in 52 of L.A.'s 56 games. The collective want for Davis to consistently produce as a go-to scorer, coupled with the very warranted perception that he's always hurt (until this season) clouds our overall opinion of AD's dominance. 

This is the right setup for him. At this stage, he prefers to sink his teeth into defense (he owns a better block rate than Gobert and can guard across the full positional spectrum) and interior scoring (where he is almost  unstoppable). 

Only Giannis and Zion score more paint points than AD, who has all but eliminated 3-pointers from his shot diet (though he still feels like a threat when he lets them go) and markedly cut his midrange jumpers, where he teased us in the Bubble that he had somehow turned into Kevin Durant. 

Bottom line: Davis is averaging 25 and 12 while dominating defensively. He's not totally consistent. He can still have nights or halves that leave you scratching your head as to how such a talented player can fade in and out of offensive aggression so willingly. But this guy is a monster. Preseason Ranking: 13

13. Stephen Curry, Warriors

Curry isn't quite the player he used to be, but he's not far off. The problem is the Warriors are way off the team they used to be, and just as everyone succeeds when the team succeeds, everyone take a little bit of a hit when the team falls, too. So you're not hearing Curry's name in MVP talks. 

But he's still right at that level: 28 PPG, 42% on 3s on 12 attempts per game. In fact, Curry is on pace to break his own record of 402 3-pointers for the season, which he set in his unanimous MVP year of 2015-16. He has a 60-point game and six 40-point games, which is tied for third most in the league. 

The gravity that Curry creates with his combination of shooting and unending movement remains the most disproportionate force in basketball; it's just that the Warriors no longer have the horses to take advantage of the opportunities his mere presence creates. I still wouldn't rule the Warriors out of a conference finals run. Curry is still capable of that kind of well-timed heater. Preseason Ranking: 3

14. Jalen Brunson, Knicks

Brunson has been every bit as good offensively as pretty much anyone on this list. The defensive limitations keep him out of the top 10, but I want to be clear that he is not as bad a defender as people like to say. 

Brunson is second in the league with 24 charges drawn (shout out Brandin Podziemski at 27). He's in the right spots. He's small, sure, but he battles in a way that more than suffices given his offensive production and the defensive support with which the Knicks have smartly surrounded him.

Meanwhile, the guy is a true savant with the ball in his hands. At just under 28 PPG, Brunson's craft and footwork are part of a throwback scoring kit. He lives in the midrange -- among all players taking at least four pull-up jumpers per game, Brunson's 45.7% conversion rate leads the league. He's also become a deadeye 3-point shooter at 41%. 

Brunson has had a couple stretches this season where he's legitimately played like one of the best players in the league. Remember when we all thought the Knicks overpaid to get him at $100 million over four years? That might be the biggest bargain contract in the league now. Preseason Ranking: 27

15. Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves

Rudy Gobert is the anchor of Minnesota's league-best defense, but it all starts with a stable of pressuring guards and wings led by Edwards, who yearns for star-on-star battles. The brash confidence. The will to smother a ball-handler into submission while also ball-hawking off script. This is young-Kobe-like. 

I note Edwards' defense first, because the offense you know all about even if you only pay attention to the highlight reel he is constantly updating. 

The top pick of a 2020 draft class that has turned out to be more talent rich that most anyone projected at the time, Edwards has sprung from his Team USA breakout into a borderline All-NBA campaign this season. The rarest of skill-athleticism combos, Edwards is having by far his most efficient scoring season at nearly 27 PPG and 119.7 per 100 shots, per CTG. His conversion rate at the rim is way up and his 39% 3-point clip is a career high. He checks ever superstar box. Preseason Ranking: 22

16. LeBron James, Lakers

Like Anthony Davis, LeBron's best ability this season has been his availability: 49 games played (though he is nursing an ankle injury out of the All-Star break). We need to stop saying "can you believe this guy is 39 years old!" every time he plays well. It only serves to make it seem like his production needs to be graded on an age curve. It doesn't. He's one of three players who are averaging at least 24 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. The other two are Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic. 

Quietly, this has also been a very good defensive season for LeBron, who has more energy to give on that end because he's sporting his lowest usage rate since his second season in the league. L.A. gives up five more points per 100 possessions when James leaves the floor, per CTG. 

LeBron, relatively speaking, picks his spots more judiciously these days in terms of when and how to take control of games with the ball in his hands (D'Angelo Russell's emergence as a flat-out flamethrower helps with this). He turns it up in money time as the league's seventh-best fourth-quarter scorer. 

LeBron might be 39, but he can still overpower just about anyone when he decides to attack downhill or in transition with a head of steam (only Giannis scores more fast-break points), and he's shooting just under 40% from 3 on almost six attempts per game. Preseason Ranking: 12

17. De'Aaron Fox, Kings

The Kings are a good team when Fox plays: 28-20 with a plus-1.9 point differential per 100 possessions when he's on the court, per CTG. When Fox isn't on the court, Sacramento is not a good team -- getting outscored by almost six points per 100 with a 3-3 record in the small sample of games he misses entirely. It's sort of that simple. 

Fox is averaging a career-high 26.8 PPG. We know he's a speeding bullet with the ball, but it's been the steady stretching of his shooting range that has catapulted him into the game's elite. Last season it was midrange pull-ups that went down at well above a 50% clip; this season Fox is launching almost eight 3-pointers per game, by far a career high and almost three more than last season, and he's connecting at a 38% clip. 

There's no defense for Fox when he's knocking down 3s at that rate, because you have to retreat as a defender to have any chance of staying in front of him. He can pull-up from deep any time he pleases. Making those pull-up 3s at a nearly identical rate as Stephen Curry is making Fox a superstar, All-Star snubbing or not. Preseason Ranking: 19

18. James Harden, Clippers

You want to talk about being dead wrong ... I thought the Clippers were out of their minds trading for Harden. Instead, after a rocky 0-6 post-trade stretch, the Clippers have gone 30-8 since the start of December with Haden in the lineup. 

Harden has scaled down his scoring (17.5 PPG) to blend perfectly with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Kawhi is the best player, but this is Harden's offense. He dishes out 8.5 assists a game and ensures the Clippers a quality with a stable of shooters around him. 

And when he has to be the shooter? No problem. Harden is making 42% of his 3s, and that number is remarkably consistent whether he's pulling up or shooting off the catch. 

Harden has always been more volume as a 3-point shooter, but that wasn't going to work without alienating Leonard and George. His ability to make more with less form 3, and control this Clippers offense without controlling it, has vaulted the Clippers into the top tier of contenders. 

Harden could, and arguably should, be a lot higher on this list. He has raised the Clippers' ceiling considerably. But he is in a pretty luxurious position. It doesn't diminish how great he's been, but in these impossibly close calls, guys like Fox, Brunson, Curry, James, Edwards and Haliburton carry far heavier offensive burdens. Preseason Ranking: 33

19. Paul George, Clippers

If you believe George should rank above Harden, I won't argue with you. Obviously George has more on his plate defensively. but Harden has just made the Clippers a different team. I don't know how else to say it. 

Still, George has been fantastic. Only six players have made more total 3-pointers than his 168. He gets you north of 22 points a game, scoring comes natural to him in every capacity, allowing him to comfortably exist in the gray areas as Leonard plays superstar and Harden quarterbacks. 

George registers above the 80th percentile as both a pick-and-roll and spot-up scorer, per Synergy, and he's nearly as productive in isolation. He can create for himself or play off others equally effectively, but if you wanted to define his most important attribute on this team, given the creative talents of Leonard and Harden, it's his ability to operate off ball. Well over half of George's 3-point attempts are of the catch-and-shoot variety, and he's sinking them at a 42% clip. Preseason Ranking: 17

20. Domantas Sabonis, Kings

Sabonis is a back-to-the-basket beast who leads the league in both rebounding (13.2 per game) and double-doubles (50), meaning he has only failed to register double-digit points and rebounds four times this entire season. 

Most of the catch-all metrics adore Sabonis; he's a box-score monster as one of just two players averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. The other is Nikola Jokic. Sabonis isn't the shooter or the wunderkind passer that Jokic is, but he reflects a similar archetype as a big who can bruise down low, lead breaks like a point guard and serve as a mobile, high-floor hub of a half-court offense. 

Sabonis is a triple threat in his hub role: a dribble-handoff machine who has assisted on more 3-point shots than any player in the league, a brick of a picker who leads the league in screen assists, and a scorer who loves to eat up the space defenders give him to feel the bump of a body before getting in his array of post flips. 

Sabonis is guaranteed production but falls short of the super-elite centers because he's a downright bad shooter and defender who can be oddly overpowered even though he's a horse. Those are big holes in a playoff series, as Sacramento found out last season against Golden State. Preseason Ranking: 34

21. Lauri Markkanen, Jazz

Markkanen is a remarkably similar player to Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns. Both are seven-foot deadeye 3-point shooters who can comfortably put the ball on the floor. They average nearly identical scoring and rebounding numbers. Markkanen scores 128 points per 100 possessions, per CTG. Towns scores 129. On paper, it's nearly impossible to tell these guys apart. 

Towns made the All-Star team over Markkanen, but I give Markkanen the edge for three reasons. First, he moves better without the ball. Towns is more of a spacer, while Markkanen legit comes off pin-downs and weaves through traffic to pop out for catches like a shooting guard. Which he sort of is. Just a very tall one. 

Second, and this is the big one, Markkanen is a more valuable player to his team, which is partly because Utah doesn't have the talent that Minnesota does, but also, Markkanen just feels like the guy while Towns has always had to force himself as an alpha. 

Consider this: When Towns goes to the bench, Minnesota drops by less than a point per 100, from plus-8.6 to plus-8.0, per CTG. When Markkanen goes to the bench, the Jazz fall off a proverbial cliff from outscoring opponents by two points per 100 possessions to being outscored by almost 12. Markkanen gets the nod. Preseason Ranking: 41

22. Rudy Gobert, Timberwolves

Gobert is, or should be, on track for his fourth DPOY trophy. He won three in Utah, and one could argue he he's playing even better defense in Minnesota. We tend to talk about perimeter defenders as the ones who benefit from having rim protectors behind them, but the reverse is true, too. 

Gobert isn't having to scramble as much as he did in Utah to cover constant penetration leaks because the Wolves' perimeter defenders, as mentioned in the Anthony Edwards blurb, are a bunch of nasty guard dogs who do not allow entry easily. So Gobert stays in position more, and can defend the rim honestly instead of desperately. 

Gobert recently showed in a huge win over the Clippers that he's plenty capable of not just staying on the court against small-ball attacks, but he can still control it. Scorers shoot 6.5% worse than average when defended by Gobert, an elite mark. He blocks 2.1 shots per game, a top-10 mark, but it's the shots that Gobert deters that get left out of that traditional number. He's a monster rebounder on both ends. 

The Timberwolves deserved two All-Stars this season. Edwards was a lock. Gobert should've gotten in over Towns, who has been really good but simply does not impact wins the same way. With Gobert on the court the Wolves outscore opponents by 10.6 points per 100 possessions, per CTG. When he sits, that number falls by almost seven points. Only Edwards swings Minnesota's fortunes more. 

23. Tyrese Maxey, 76ers

Maxey started like a bat out of hell and has, for the most part, maintained borderline All-NBA production all season. I found it sort of funny that people started talking about Maxey finding out how hard it is to be the main guy after Joel Embiid went down; he went for 51 points in his first game after Embiid's injury. 

But yes, the shooting has trended down; he's only making 31% of his pull-up 3s. But let's not get carried away with the criticism. Maxey, who turns the corner as fast as anyone in basketball and owns a delicious bag of floaters and push shots, has been superb. He's averaging 26 PPG on 39% from 3 in non-garbage minutes, and he's back up above 41% overall from 3 in February. 

Bball-index's LEBRON and WAR metrics land Maxey comfortably within the game's upper echelon, as does Dunks and Threes' Estimated Wins and EPM, which I've found to be some of the better catch-alls in terms of matching up with the eye test. Preseason Ranking: 60

24. Victor Wembanyama, Spurs

In one way I feel like I'm sort of squeezing Wembanyama into this list. In another way, I feel like he should be even higher. Wemby is a basketball "Beware of Dog" sign in that his greatest power is in scaring paint intruders off before he even has to unleash his fury. The highlight reel of guys saying "to hell with this" as Wemby lurks near the window is almost comical. 

When they do decide to test him, it's typically a bad decision. Wemby leads the league in blocks by an appreciable margin. But it's not just the blocks or the overall rim protection; his package of length and agility shifts allow him to help without really even leaving his man, and his recovery margin is huge. He bends the geometry of an offense the way Stephen Curry does a defense. 

And now we get to the offense. It started out rooted more in highlights than substance, but since he has switched to center, and the Spurs ended the Jeremy Sochan point guard experiment to provide him with what can at least be categorized as a functional floor general in Tre Jones, Wemby has taken off. 

Over the last two months, Wemby is averaging 21.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 3.5 blocks and 1.1 steals ... in under 27 minutes per game! Per 36 minutes, that comes out to 29.2 points, 12.9 boards, 4.9 assists, 4.6 blocks and 1.4 steals. 

Wembanyama recently carded 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, five assists and two steals against the Raptors on 71% shooting. No other player in history has hit those benchmarks in a single game. He shot 50% from the field in January, and he's at 43% from 3 in February. 

There are some great players that have bene left off this list, but I am comfortable in calling Wembanyama a top-25 player already. Preseason Ranking: 58

25. Trae Young

The fact that Young was left off the original All-Star roster tells you where the perception of his game is at; even the coaches are of the opinion that he's starting to feel like a good-stats-bad-team guy. There's no question Atlanta is a bad team, but Young's stats aren't just good. They're great. 

Young averages 27.6 points on 37% 3-point shooting. He has upped his 3-point attempts back to nine per game, and that's terrific as long as he's connecting at a reasonable rate -- which hasn't been always been the case. At 10.9 assists per game, second only to Haliburton, no player in the league creates more points via his passing that Young's 1,292 assist points, per PBP Stats. 

Young remains a floater maestro and can get into the paint at will. He loves the spotlight and senses the moment to shift into another gear. He's one of the best passers on the planet. His range is unlimited. His defense has improved. He is not the reason the Hawks stink, but that doesn't mean there aren't questions about his winning impact. 

I like that Young and Wembanyama round out this list; I'm like everyone else in hoping they somehow end up playing together. What a perfectly devastating tandem that would be. Young is pretty widely considered to be available for trade, and the Spurs can put together an enticing package. Preseason Ranking: 21

Honorable mentions: Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Jimmy Butler (Heat), Bam Adebayo (Heat), Damian Lillard (Bucks), Karl Anthony-Towns (Timberwolves), Jaylen Brown (Celtics), Kristaps Porzingis (Celtics), Derrick White (Celtics), Julius Randle (Knicks), Zion Williamson (Pelicans)