Each year ESPN asks a panel of experts to rank a listing of players and comes up with their #NBARank. This year a number of Mavericks have made the top 100 players.
80 - Josh Richardson (2019-20 rank 86)
41 - Kristaps Porzingis (2019-20 rank 34)
4 - Luka Doncic (2019-20 rank 16)
The methodology with NBA rank involved experts answering a barrage of player match ups, over and over, with the simple question of “which player will have the best season and postseason”, and the ranking is the end result.
Last year’s rankings only had Doncic and Porzingis which said a lot about how experts felt about the depth of talent in Dallas. This year’s list has three and then former Maverick Seth Curry snuck onto the list late after his excellent year in 2019-20.
With each player, ESPN also provided a short write up, growing longer the higher a player is on the list. For Richardson, Tim MacMahon cited Tim Hardaway’s great shooting season playing next to Doncic and wondered what Jason Richardson could do given the extra space in Dallas.
For Porzingis, the slip is due to a pair of things, first the rise in players like Ja Morant and Brandon Ingram, and second, the consistent and well founded concerns about the ability of Porzingis to stay healthy. He’s never finished a NBA season due to health. At some point, people stop giving your talent the benefit of the doubt, particularly when the rank factors in post-season success.
Lastly, Kirk Goldsberry had this to say about Doncic:
You can’t teach his feel for the game or his poise in big moments — those are gifts — but you can expect him to improve his jump-shooting efficiency and his defense as he approaches his prime. When he does those two things, he’ll have almost no weaknesses in his game.
Four overall feels right, considering the depth of Doncic’s talent paired with the room he has to grow. We’re still at the point in the journey with Luka that seeing his name next to future Hall of Famers evokes an awesome feeling.
The Mavericks have arrived. With the season just around the corner, we’ll get to see very soon whether they can start to turn that promise into victories.