The Golden State Warriors are predicted to have five players in the NBA’s top 100 players next season, according to recent rankings from Bleacher Report.
While on the surface that seems reasonable for a team aspiring to compete for a championship, the rankings did pose some questions on the pecking order that exists among the Warriors’ best players.
Bleacher Report’s rankings for a trio of Golden State Warriors make little sense based on last year’s on-court performances.
Stephen Curry started Golden State’s presence among the rankings, sitting sixth as he prepares for his 15th season in the league at 35 years of age. On the other end of the spectrum, Kevon Looney snuck into the top 100 for the first time in his career, ranked 98th.
An anticipated reduction in role, and the fact he’s 38-years-old and entering year 19, contributed to Chris Paul being ranked 69th — down 31 spots from the corresponding list heading into last season.
The real controversy begins with Golden State’s second, third and fourth-best players, which according to the rankings are Andrew Wiggins (45), Draymond Green (49) and Klay Thompson (60).
Wiggins rose eight spots from 53rd in the rankings a year prior, which is a little odd given he missed 45 regular season games in 2022-23. The commonly-held perspective on the Canadian is a little different now than it was 12 months ago when he was the second-best player in Golden State’s triumphant playoff run, and yet Bleacher Report expect him to be better than what they anticipated heading into last season.
Despite having a better and more consistent season than the year before, Green actually dropped four spots from his previous spot of 45 in the rankings. Age is clearly a factor in the expected decline, but is it fair to have him dip in the rankings after a season in which he averaged the most points of his career in the last five years?
Thompson is expected to take a slip as well, down 17 spots from his ranking 12 months prior. From a Warrior perspective, there’s still optimism that with a better preseason, in a contract year, and further removed from his two devastating leg injuries, the 33-year-old should be better than he was in 2022-23.
Golden State’s lack of a second top 40 player is what many consider to be a hindrance in their hopes of adding a fifth NBA title across the last decade. The franchise will be hoping that Thompson, Green or particularly Wiggins can rediscover that kind of stature next season.