The Dallas Mavericks are gearing up for the new season, and they will be looking to take the next step. Luka Doncic led them to the conference finals last season, but he is far from satisfied. The 23-year-old wants to bring a championship to Dallas, and he just keeps getting better.
Doncic is unquestionably a top ten player in the NBA, but the Mavericks lost their second-best player in free agency as Jalen Brunson agreed to a four-year $104 million deal to join the New York Knicks. Dallas traded for Christian Wood and signed JaVale McGee to improve their frontcourt, but are they better heading into the new season?
ESPN is getting ready for training camp by releasing their annual NBArank (subscription required). They dropped players 26 to 100 on Sept. 20 with two Mavericks making the list. Newcomer Wood dropped to 92nd with Spencer Dinwiddie checking in at 69th. Did ESPN get the Mavs rankings right this year?
Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood in ESPN NBArank: Should they be higher?
Wood dropped from 60th to 92nd after taking a step back in his second season in Houston. He still averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.0 block in 30.8 minutes per game, but the Rockets won a league-worst 20 games. No other player around him can put up those numbers, but how will Wood’s game translate to Dallas? Can he still put up massive numbers in a winning situation?
Spencer Dinwiddie landed 69th in ESPN NBArank. He was having a down year when the Mavericks traded for him at the deadline, but the 6’5 guard was fantastic in Dallas. He dropped one spot from last year, but it is a fair ranking for the veteran.
The biggest surprise for the Dallas Mavericks was Dorian Finney-Smith not making the list. Doe-Doe is arguably the team’s second-best player. Dinwiddie fell just behind Jalen Brunson in ESPN’s NBArank. He should be ready to fill JB’s role, but who will step up into his?
ESPN’s rankings were significantly different than The Athletic’s player tiers (subscription required). Wood failed to make The Athletic’s top 125 with Dinwiddie and Maxi Kleber finding their way on to the list. Dorian Finney-Smith was rated among the top 84 players, and it was a massive oversight for ESPN to keep him out of the rankings.
Fans should be excited about the upcoming season and the remainder of ESPN’s rankings. Where will Luka Doncic land? Can he crack the top five? Stay tuned to find out.