NBA Player Tiers list: Jordan Poole is the only Wizard ranked in Top 125

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

As we look forward ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season, we start seeing an annual tradition: publications releasing their rankings and lists of all things NBA. One of the most anticipated rankings of all is the player rankings. And perhaps the most rigorous and reputable “best players in the NBA” list comes from Seth Partnow of The Athletic. (subscription required) The fourth annual NBA Player Tiers project names the top 125 players in the league, separating them into five tiers and further sub-categories to create an extensive league hierarchy.

It’s important to note that these sorts of player rankings are a daunting task. Comparing players across positions, roles, age, health, and availability is close to impossible. Anyone who attempts it with such rigor and attention to detail deserves the ultimate praise. The fact that this specific list is not a firm ranking of players, but rather a categorization of players between superstars, all-stars, and solid starters is also applaudable.

A critical note here is that Partnow is more focused on “playoff competitiveness than regular-season win accumulation.” The best way to describe his criteria is “which players provide the most value toward winning a title” regardless of their contract.

So, where do the members of the Washington Wizards rank?

A surprising omission from Top 125 is Kyle Kuzma.

Looking at some of the players included in the bottom tier -5A-, one can not help but wonder how Kuzma is worse than these names. Even if we solely focus on players who play a similar role and position to Kuzma, there are plenty of names who are surprisingly ahead of Kuzma. PJ Washington, Herb Jones, Deandre Hunter, Dillon Brooks, Grant Williams, and Keldon Johnson being in the Top 125 but not Kuzma feels odd. Kuzma may not be as elite of a defender as some of these names, but he is probably a better two-way player than all of the names mentioned above.

It is even more surprising to not see Kuzma on the list considering the positional scarcity. There simply aren’t too many combo forwards with size, scoring, playmaking, and defensive chops, making them even more valuable.

This makes the inclusion of Jordan Poole in this tier rather fascinating as well. It’s unclear whether the general consensus for the Wizards’ best player is Poole or Kuzma, but Seth Partnow clearly has Poole ahead of Kuz in his league hierarchy.

Poole finds himself a spot in tier 5A along with other combo guards like Anfernee Simons, Malcolm Brogdon, and Jalen Green. This seems fair for Poole. However, seeing Tyler Herro in a tier ahead of Poole does raise some questions as to what the significant difference between the two incredibly similar players is.

Wizards have the fewest number of players ranked

With the exclusion of Kuzma, Poole ended up being the only Wizard on the list, making Washington the only team with only one Top 125 player.

Even the Pistons, Hornets, and Rockets had multiple players representing them in the Top 125. Now it’s up to the Wizards to prove this list wrong. There is a possibility Kuzma, Tyus Jones, Corey Kispert, Deni Avdija, or Daniel Gafford crack this list next year. Let’s keep an eye out for that.