Prior to the start of the season, our Global NBA.com staff ranked the 30 best players entering the season.
Barely one month into the regular season and that list - for a whole host of reasons - already feels outdated. And so we put our heads together to update based on what's happened so far this season.
- This is about right now. So for the purposes of this go-around, players out an extended period of time are not considered. That's why you won't see Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry or Victor Oladipo. The biggest change here is with Curry who ranked fifth in our preseason rankings.
- It's not entirely based on this season. Past performance matters! Should we forget that Nikola Jokic finished fourth in MVP voting and averaged 25-13-8 in last year's playoffs just because he's off to a relatively slow start?
- The rankings are a cumulative average based on the individual lists submitted by 12 of our staffers.
Before diving into the full list, we'd love for you to weigh in on the top spot!
Pascal Siakam wasn't even on the list the first time our experts from NBA.com put this list together. There were a ton of questions surrounding how Siakam would stand up as the go-to-guy for the Toronto Raptors with Kawhi Leonard taking his talents to L.A.
A month and a half into the season and Siakam has silenced the doubters and is well on his way to being named an All-Star in 2020. There's a legit argument to be made that Siakam could go back-to-back as the league's Most Improved Player. Others believe that he should be in the conversation for the league's Most Valuable Player award. Those are discussions for another time - what matters is Siakam is on the list now. Don't be surprised to see him rise even higher when we revisit this again after All-Star weekend.
As we mentioned at the top Steph Curry was always going to be the biggest dropper here seeing as he's been injured for a large part of the season and thus was ineligible for the voting this time around.
But Draymond Green who has been relatively healthy for the Golden State Warriors has seen the biggest fall from 20th at the beginning of the year to completely off the list by Thanksgiving.
Green who's also been in and out of the lineup with injuries has suffered the most without Curry, Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant by his side this season. The Warriors have one of the worst records in the league at the Thanksgiving break and it doesn't seem likely that they'll find a way to get back in the playoff race in the Western Conference.
With Durant in Brooklyn and Thompson expected to miss the majority of the year, Green was expected to have a jump in production. That hasn't happened leading Green to be left off the list this time around.
Who fell out of the top 30?
We talked about the two Warriors who fell off the list in Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
Chris Paul was ranked 29th in the last list and really hasn't seen a drop off in play this season, but with the emergence of Siakam, Tatum and others he was a list casualty.
LaMarcus Aldridge falls in the same boat as CP3. Al Horford's impact will be felt more in the postseason and we still don't know how Victor Oladipo will look once he gets back from injury.
Who climbed into the top 30
We've already talked about Pascal Siakam's introduction to the top 30 but there are some other new faces making appearances as well.
While it hasn't turned into wins for the Atlanta Hawks Trae Young has elevated his game in his sophomore season. Young has taken the next step becoming a true number one option for the Hawks upping his numbers in points, assists and rebounds. He's also been able to do it efficiently going from a PER of 17.0 to 22.8 this season.
Jayson Tatum looks far more comfortable this season with the Celtics than he did a year ago. All his offensive numbers are up but it's really his defence that has helped him crack the list.
With Tatum on the floor, the Celtics have a defensive rating of 99.1. With him off the floor, it shoots up to 104.1. That's a bigger impact defensively than Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown can boast.
His teammates Gordon Hayward was rounding into form before his latest injury. Andre Drummond is still a double-double machine and leads the league in rebounds and Brandon Ingram is finally in a position to show he can carry the offensive load for a team.
T-10. Karl-Anthony Towns
KAT is up five spots from the preseason. He's turned into a 6-11 Steph Curry in the new Timberwolves system. Towns is shooting 44.4% on 9.0 attempts.
T-10. Nikola Jokic
Jokic hasn't had the best start to the season, but he still the Nuggets most important player - and the Nuggets are still one of the best teams in the NBA in large part to his presence.
9. Damian Lillard
Lillard has been posting career numbers this season but that hasn't translated into wins for the Blazers this year. The panel still respects Lillard's game and kept him in the ten top.
8. Paul George
PG13 hasn't even played ten games this season but his impact on the floor has been felt for a Clippers team who has championship aspirations.
7. Joel Embiid
A surprise from the panel here with Embiid not showing much to earn his top ten status so far this year. We'll see if he remains in the top ten when we check in again after All-Star weekend.
6. Luka Doncic
Only Pascal Siakam made a bigger jump in this version of the top 30 list. Doncic went from 19th to 6th in a month and a half. We'll see if he can jump into the top five next.
5. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis has solidified his position as the best big man in the league. No one could've seen he and LeBron James fitting in so well together. The Lakers are legitimate title contenders.
4. James Harden
James Harden somehow upped his numbers from a season ago, but couldn't get any higher on the list. The top three probably won't change from now until the next list is out in February.
3. LeBron James
The #WashedKing is flat out hoopin' and showing the world that he's still got it in year 17.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Like Harden, Giannis' game has been taken to another level, but he's stuck in the same spot on this version of the list.
1. Kawhi Leonard
The Fun Guy tops the list again, even if he's a part-time player now.
Let's see if the panel keeps him there in the next edition of the Top 30 following All-Star weekend when he's missed more games due to load management.
|1. Kawhi Leonard||1st|
|2. Giannis Antetokounmpo||2nd|
|3. LeBron James||3rd|
|4. James Harden||4th|
|5. Anthony Davis||6th|
|6. Luka Doncic||19th|
|7. Joel Embiid||7th|
|8. Paul George||10th|
|9. Damian Lillard||9th|
|T-10. Nikola Jokic||8th|
|T-10. Karl-Anthony Towns||15th|
|12. Jimmy Butler||13th|
|13. Pascal Siakam||NR|
|14. Donovan Mitchell||23th|
|15. Bradley Beal||17th|
|16. Kyrie Irving||11th|
|17. Rudy Gobert||12th|
|18. Kemba Walker||18th|
|19. Trae Young||NR|
|20. Devin Booker||27th|
|21. Russell Westbrook||16th|
|22. Jayson Tatum||NR|
|23. Jrue Holiday||24th|
|24. Blake Griffin||14th|
|25. Ben Simmons||22nd|
|26. Kyle Lowry||30th|
|27. De'Aaron Fox||26th|
|28. Andre Drummond||NR|
|29. Gordon Hayward||NR|
|30. Brandon Ingram||NR|
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.