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[The Athletic / Seth Partnow] Top 125 players for 2022-23

Seth Partnow is out with his annual NBA tiers:

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Here are the top 3 tiers :

* **Tier 1A**: Giannis, Durant, Jokic, Curry

* **Tier 1B**: Embiid, Doncic

* **Tier 1C**: Kawhi, Lebron

* **Tier 2A**: Tatum, Butler

* **Tier 2B**: Davis, Morant, Harden, Trae

* **Tier 2C**: Paul, Lillard, Booker, George, Gobert

* **Tier 3A**: Bam, Brown, Jrue, Middleton, Kyrie

* **Tier 3B**: Beal, DeRozan, Mitchell, Draymond, Murray, Siakam, Shai, LaVine

* **Tier 3C**: Edwards, Simmons, McCollum, JJJ, Towns, Klay, LaMelo, Zion

Here’s Partnow’s methodology:

> To slot players into those tiers, I start, but don’t end with metrics, as I’m trying to identify their impact towards winning for a championship. Some of the major factors considered:
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> * I weigh playoff viability and success highly. While regular-season floor-raising matters, lifting a team’s ceiling matters even more.
> * As such, I try to envision that player in the role he would likely play for a contending team. This does lead to some tension when deciding between a top role player and a more middling offensive hub.
> * I consider the whole of a player’s recent career, not just last season. This serves to eliminate, or at least reduce, wild year-to-year swings in player tiering due to factors often outside of a player’s control — changes in role/situation; a period playing through a nagging injury or simply production altered by a lengthy slump or hot streak. Evaluating anyone “in a vacuum” is incredibly difficult, because context plays a large role in performance even for the very top players, but I do my best to smooth that out.
> * Especially for players with long track records, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt for a single season that goes completely off the rails. Yes, this strongly influences where I slotted Kevin Durant.
> * Health is only a factor in cases when a player might be permanently diminished by an injury or is so prone to getting hurt that a team can’t count on them for more than 55 or 60 games a season.
> * I do my best to ignore salary; being overpaid doesn’t make someone a worse player, just a worse trade/cap asset. And I’m tiering players, not ranking assets.
> * Rising second-year players get a small bump in terms of projected improvement from last year, but everyone else is largely “come as you are,” though I try to be aware of signs that a player is on the verge of falling off the steep end of the late-career aging curve.
> * As a final tiebreaker, to reiterate: when in doubt, push them down. While occasionally a team will underestimate the talent on its roster, it is far more common to elide the difference between an All-Star and a superstar. The numerical ranking gap between, just as an example, Devin Booker and Luka Doncic might be around 10 slots, but the difference in impact, especially in the playoffs, is enormous across even small differences at the top of the pyramid.