The Ringer has a year-round, a regularly updated ranking of players making the biggest impact on the league right now. Not giving any credit for past seasons, no legacy points awarded, this is the pure stuff. Here's the latest rankings for them.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had their “Core 4” make the Top 100 list and at first glance, they all looked underrated. My assumption is that the "average" start to the season might play a part, but I feel that each Cavalier has an argument to be moved up in the rankings.
Note that the rankings listed are as of Dec. 5. They may have changed by the time you read this and hopefully the rankings of Cavaliers players improve…
No. 23: Donovan Mitchell
In my opinion, a very underrated spot for Spida. Donovan Mitchell is a top-20 player in the game, no doubt. The biggest injustice may be that before the first edition of this Top 100 ranking on Oct. 18 is that Mitchell was ranked #16, and in the updated Dec. 5 ranking he fell seven spots to #23. Mitchell’s overall play has not dropped off significantly since the beginning of the season, nor has he missed significant time this year. The big drop from my view seems to be due to the average start for the Cavs.
If we are using the logic of a team’s slow start should influence team rankings, then Kawhi Leonard at #17 and Paul George at #20 is not making sense to me. Kawhi and PG have always been top players in the NBA, but for the 2023-24 season the Clippers got off to an awful start (9-10 as of Dec. 5). Maybe there might be some credit given to Kawhi and PG because of their effort individually separate from their teams’ performance.
If we are judging players based on their individual performance separate from the team, Jamal Murray at #19, is a head-scratcher. Murray has only played 10 games this year and is only averaging 16.3 points per game. We know that stats don’t always show the full impact of a player, but Jamal has not even played in half of the Nuggets games this year. Come on now, Spida is providing more impact than that.
My re-ranking: #18 Kawhi Leonard #19 Domantas Sabonis, #20 Donovan Mitchell, #21 Paul George #22 Jamal Murray.