OrlandoMagic.com’s Josh Cohen predicts the NBA’s top 10 point guards for the 2022-23 season.
Note: The content of this article has not been verified or endorsed by Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by Cohen are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or any of its employees, affiliates or sponsors of Basketball Operations.
Many have already written Harden off, at least as far as becoming the MVP-level player he was with Houston. But rumors have swirled that he has put in the work this summer to prove the naysayers wrong. The Sixers now have a better all-around roster around him and Joel Embiid, but do they have enough depth to outperform any of the Eastern Conference’s other elite teams?
Honorable mentions for this list include CJ McCollum, Jalen Brunson, Markelle Fultz, Cade Cunningham, De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Fred VanVleet, Jamal Murray, Josh Giddey, Marcus Smart and D’Angelo Russell.
Will we see a decline this season with the 37-year-old or will he continue to age like a fine wine? He’s been in MVP talks for the past two seasons, despite struggling a bit late in Phoenix’s playoff heats. Last year he led the league in assists for the fifth time in his NBA career.
It’s often a player’s third season when we find out what they’re really made of. Ball had a terrific sophomore year, scoring 39 30-plus points and hitting five triple-doubles. Steve Clifford, back in Charlotte as the Hornets’ head coach, usually gets his point guards to play in a disciplined and methodical manner. That seems the opposite of how Ball likes to play, but as we saw with Kemba Walker during his first stint in Charlotte, Clifford has done a good job in his career and got the best out of his best players.
How refreshed will Lillard be after missing Portland’s last 59 games a season ago? He’s said to be perfectly healthy, but will that result in a more energetic version of the future Hall of Famer, or will rust come with such a long absence? Have the Blazers added enough around him to return to the playoffs?
Despite only playing 29 regular season games last season, Irving still looked like he was in the prime of his career. He had 20+ points in 22 of those games, including 50 points against the Hornets on March 8 and a career-best 60 on March 15 against the Magic. Will all the off-season chatter about trading opportunities be a distraction or a motivator?
With Garland and Donovan Mitchell, will Cleveland have the best backcourt in the league this season? One of the most improved players of the last year, Garland recorded seven 30-plus point performances in 2021-22, including on March 8 when he had a career-best 41 points against the Pacers. There are some high expectations in Cleveland. But are the Cavs still too young to reach them?
Not many players finished last year’s regular season stronger than Young, who has surpassed 40 points seven times in the last three months. But his best individual performance came a little earlier when he exploded for a career-best 56 points, along with 14 assists, against the Blazers on Jan. 3. How he and Dejounte Murray mesh will likely determine how far Atlanta gets this season and beyond.
One of the most electrifying players in the league, Morant took his game to a new level last season, scoring 30 or more points 24 times, including on February 28 against Spurs when he hit a career-high 52 points. No more surprise team, do the Grizzlies have a different gear in them, or are they still a player or two away from being a legitimate title contender?
Curry is now a four-time NBA champion after leading the Warriors to the title last season. During the 2021-22 regular season, Curry had 30-plus points 21 times, including a 50-point loss for seven rebounds and 10 assists on 11-8 against the Hawks. The conversation now turns to whether he or Magic Johnson is the greatest point guard in NBA history. Another standout season could cement him as the best ever at the position, though he and Magic are wildly different in style, making it difficult to determine who stands above the rest.
Doncic is a top 5 player in the NBA, most would agree. The question now is whether he can lead the Mavs to a championship without a Superstar sidekick. He took a big step forward trying to make that happen last season by taking Dallas to the Western Conference Finals. He also put up some ridiculous numbers in the playoffs, surpassing 40 points three times and surpassing 30 points in nine of the 15 2022 postseason games he appeared in.