With the 2022-23 NBA season steadily approaching and teams set to start up training camp next week (the Dallas Mavericks included), ESPN has been counting down its annual list of the top 100 players in the league.
Counting down in segments, Nos. 10-6 were released on Thursday, and there was no appearance from Luka Doncic to that point. That made it quite obvious that he’d made ESPN’s top five once again, and when it was released on Friday, Doncic was indeed listed as the third-ranked player in all of the NBA. He’s up a spot from No. 4 last season, behind two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic at No. 2 and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the top spot.
Tim MacMahon: “At 23, Doncic has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s in the top tier of superstars, a perennial All-NBA selection and an MVP candidate. He cemented that status last season, when he was the lone All-Star on a Dallas team that went to the West finals.”
Doncic’s listing also notes the Mavericks’ record (32-12) to close out last season after Doncic returned from a three-week absence due to an ankle injury. MacMahon surmises that Doncic could rise to the league’s No. 1 spot, and perhaps win an MVP, should Dallas claim a top-four spot in the West in the upcoming season.
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Finals MVP Steph Curry round out the top five. LeBron James is ranked sixth, and Kevin Durant comes in somewhat surprisingly at No. 8.
Other Mavericks appearing on the list are trade acquisition Christian Wood at No. 92 and Spencer Dinwiddie at No. 69. Dorian Finney-Smith was left off the top 100.
“[Dinwiddie’s] ability to make defenses pay on decent long-range looks is especially important when Dinwiddie, who will replace Jalen Brunson in the starting lineup, plays alongside Luka Doncic.” MacMahon wrote.
On the former Maverick front, Washington’s Kristaps Porzingis comes in at No. 86, and Jalen Brunson at No. 67. Seth Curry and Harrison Barnes also make appearances at No. 96 and No. 74, respectively.
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