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3 Mavericks make SI’s top 100 players list

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Dirk Nowitzki is put a single spot outside of the top 30.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated has released the first 70 players in its annual Top 100 NBA Players of 2017 ranking, and the Mavericks crack the list three times. They are as follows.

Wesley Matthews, No. 92

Andrew Bogut, No. 83

Dirk Nowitzki, No. 31

These are all reasonable rankings, and I’m personally not too broken up over Harrison Barnes or Deron Williams missing the cut, either. If all goes well, Barnes will push for the 2018 rankings, and we can hope Justin Anderson makes a case for a spot in a couple years, too.

Matthews is the player on the list with the most potential to rise or fall. He was not a top-100 NBA player last year (despite his No. 99 ranking), and I don’t think that’s something you can even debate. His defense was inconsistent while his shooting was just bad. A couple good weeks in December aside, he never quite looked himself on offense. He had only two dunks, after all, a clear sign his athleticism had fallen off.

This season, you’d like to think Matthews will be able to return to his pre-injury form. It’s not a guarantee, since Achilles ruptures are brutal and awful. SI notes the concerns, too.

+ When healthy, Matthews had the balance in his game to make him an ideal complement

+ Utterly relentless

We still don’t quite know how closely Matthews will be able to approximate his prime

Historically, Achilles injuries have not been kind to the careers of NBA players

Bogut at No. 83 seems fine to me. He’s a really steady center when healthy, with average offensive skills and very good defensive ones. We’ll see how he adapts to his heavier workload.

Likewise, you’ve gotta put Dirk Nowitzki somewhere. He’s one spot above Dwyane Wade! That’s good. Certainly, Nowitzki has the potential to push for a top-30 player spot — I’d argue he even pushed the top-20 last year when you consider how good he was the last couple months of the season. But No. 31 at age 38 is totally understandable, and how much more of a dropoff Nowitzki sees this year is always a question.

Other players somehow tied to the Mavericks you might be interested in include:

  • Jae Crowder at No. 55
  • Chandler Parsons at No. 51
  • Hassan Whiteside at No. 35
  • DeAndre Jordan, somewhere in the top 30

The full rankings are here.