NBArank is a panel composed of reporters, editors, producers and analysts who are asked to rank players based on predictions for the 2023-2024 season based on quality and quantity.
The NBArank top 10 is here 📈
— ESPN (@espn) October 12, 2023
Bucks star at the top
Giannis Antetokounmpo holds his spot at the top once again as we head into the 2023-2024 season. ESPN’s NBArank states that Giannis topped Nikola Jokic by one of the slimmest margins in NBArank history.
The reasoning behind his ranking being unchanged really was the way he’s able to help carry the Bucks, and help them hold the best record in the NBA for the 2022-2023 season. Antetokounmpo joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to average at least 10 rebounds, five assists, and 30 points when shooting 50% from the floor.
NBArank members also said that “had Antetokounmpo not suffered a back injury that sidelined him for most of Game 1 and all of Games 2 and 3 in the Bucks’ first round loss to the Heat”, things would’ve been very different from Milwaukee’s postseason picture.
Antetokounmpo’s teammate Khris Middleton also made the top 50 ranking, falling 15 spots from 31 to 46. Former Bucks player Jrue Holiday was ranked at 26.
Newly acquired Milwaukee Buck Damian Lillard was ranked 14th, respectively.
Path to keeping No. 1 spot and big question for 2023-2024
ESPN’s Jamal Collier asked a question I think everyone has been wondering since the Bucks acquired Damian Lillard: How will the two work together? Both have made it very clear that they’re excited to work together and get on the court together to make some magic happen. It’s the first time in both of their careers that they’re playing alongside another NBA superstar.
Giannis has stated in multiple interviews that he’s going to let Dame be Dame, and make Lillard’s shooting path much easier. Says he’ll do whatever he needs to in order to make Lillard feel at home with Milwaukee.
“But at the end of the day for me, whenever we have conversation, I’m always listening, I listen to him. Like he was talking to me today, like ‘Hey Giannis, we gotta boom boom boom.’ Got you. You know, then, we were talking some about the pick-and-roll, how we would run this, and I looked at him and I said, ‘Whatever way you want it to be run.’ And one thing that I can say, as a leader, and as a teammate, you kind of give that power to the guy.”
Collier even went as far as saying “Lillard could open up easier opportunities for Antetokounmpo, creating a duo so dangerous it could rival the Lakers’ legendary one-two punch of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.” Getting a comparison like that is a lot to live up to; Being compared to two of basketball’s greatest is something any NBA player strives for.
No matter what route Antetokounmpo decides to take when working with Lillard on the court will still help him remain as one of the league’s most dominant forces to be reckoned with.
The duo is scheduled to make their preseason debut on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. This will be the first time Bucks fans will get to see Damian Lillard in a Bucks uniform, and the first time they’ll witness the two working together on the court.