Sports Illustrated ranks Dirk #16 in top 100 players list

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Dirk Nowitzki gets props from the writers at Point Forward despite two straight injury-slowed seasons.

Offseasons are slow and marked by an abundance of top player rankings, soon-to-be-dubious predictions, and all manner of silly things typically brought on by boredom and a need to fill content.  However, there are some -- those noble few -- in the blog game who know their stuff and are worth your time, even in a dry month such as September.

Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney at Sports Illustrated's Point Forward are putting together their list of top 100 players for next season, and Dirk Nowitzki checks in at #16:

16. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks (F, 35)
2012-13 stats: 31.3 MPG, 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 47.1 FG%, 41.4 3FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 19.8 PER, 5.0 Win Shares, +3.8 RAPM

In coming off his worst statistical season since 2000, Nowitzki is sure to have his doubters — particularly among those who didn’t keep a close eye on his year-long progress. But most every micro-level indicator available suggests that this is still the same old doggedly efficient Dirk.

His overall numbers don’t reflect that, having been shaded by Nowitzki’s slow return from the first knee surgery of his career. But by February the longtime Maverick was more or less in full form, averaging 21.1 points (on 50-40-90 shooting percentages), 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and just 1.6 turnovers per 36 minutes after the All-Star break. Those marks all compare pretty favorably with Nowitzki’s career numbers, an amazing feat, given the quality of his teammates.

Mahoney, known formerly for his quality work on the Maverick blog The Paired Players Stratagem, astutely points out that Dirk's post-ASB numbers were very much in line with his career norms, and that health plus some quality teammates(and especially a functional point guard) should see a comeback season reflected by strong full-season stats.

I don't normally allocate too much brainpower toward considering player rankings, as some do, but all in all I'd say #16 is pretty reasonable for Dirk.  The guys just behind him in the top 20 are Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Kyrie Iriving, and the five immediately ahead are Curry, Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and James Harden.  Hard to quibble too much.

If you're wondering where Dirk's teammates ranked, Shawn Marion is #92, Vince Carter #86, and Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis #70, and #68, respectively.

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