With the NBA season just weeks away, Sports Illustrated has unveiled their 2019-20 Top 100 player rankings. Dallas Mavericks forward/center, Kristaps Porzingis landed at the no. 37 spot, which feels about right.
The preseason player rankings are something I look forward to every year, and it is extra fun that multiple sites tend to put out their own rankings before the season starts. This year even more than years past is exciting for Dallas Mavericks fans because the team boasts two top-tier players going into the season for the first time in a long time.
Obviously everyone expects Luka Doncic to be the highest rated Maverick before this season starts, but Kristaps Porzingis deserves a spot on any top 100 list undoubtedly. With the Sports Illustrated rankings coming out over the past few days, we can see that they have Porzingis placed at the 37 spot, tentatively.
Even with my very clear Mavs bias, I actually think 37th is about right for Porzingis. Don’t get too crazy thinking I have gone soft on the national media outlets, but the fact is that Sports Illustrated gives a perfect explanation as to why they have him where they do.
It all hinges around the fact that KP hasn’t played in an NBA game in a very long time. The rust that is likely going to come with that much time off is near impossible to gauge. None of us expect Porzingis to step on the court and be exactly who he was last time we saw him, but will he still be a really good player or will he need a lot of work to get back to where he was? We also have to consider how long it will take him to not only get back, but become better than he was.
For this reason, 37 is a pretty good middle ground between what he is likely to be and what he could potentially be. Mavs fans should expect Porzingis to be in the conversation for a top 20 player by the end of the year. That would be a believable, optimistic level of growth for the big man from Latvia.
Kristaps is the first Mavericks player to make the list so far, with no one making the ranking from 38-100. We expect to see Luka Doncic in the top 37 as well and it remains to be seen exactly how the Sports Illustrated writers feel about the 20-year-old phenom. Stay tuned.