The Dallas Mavericks season rests on the next 2 weeks

Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks are facing a defining stretch of games leading up to the February 7th trade deadline.

The playoffs are not out of the picture. Not yet. The Dallas Mavericks currently sit in 13th place in the Western Conference playoffs. They are 4.5 games back from being the 8th seed with 35 games for them left to be played. Making the playoffs would be an uphill battle, but not one that is impossible.

There are two reasons this upcoming stretch of games are so important to this Dallas team.

  1.  This is one of the team’s easiest stretch of games this season. Life as a Western Conference team is hard. Fourteen teams—if you still include the reeling Grizzlies—would likely make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference this season. There are few games off.  The next seven games are as follows: vs. Detroit, vs. Toronto, @ New York, @ Detroit, @ Cleveland, and vs. Charlotte. That is 6/7 against teams with losing records, the Mavericks must capitalize.
  2. The trade deadline is quickly approaching. That Charlotte game is February 6th, one day before the last day teams can make trades.

The impending trade deadline means the team needs to answer an important question very soon: Are the Dallas Mavericks buyers or are they sellers? As of the day I’m writing this, it is very likely that they do not know or are split as a front office.

With no draft pick this year from the Luka DoncicTrae Young trade, the team has been determined to push for a playoff spot. Add in the fact that this is more than likely Dirk Nowitzki‘s last season, and you can see why the front office would much prefer a playoff birth.

But eventually, all teams must face reality. Making up a 4.5 game gap in only 35 games with teams like the Pelicans, Clippers, Lakers, Kings, and Timberwolves all equally motivated to reach the postseason would be extremely tough. Especially when you consider how important JJ Barea was to this team before he was lost for the season with a devastating achilles tear. The team is just 1-8 without Barea this season and 2-20 without him over the past two seasons.

The Mavericks probably need to win at least 5 games in this upcoming stretch to have a chance at the playoffs. If they could somehow pull off a victory over the Toronto Raptors at home, it would do a lot for the team’s confidence moving forward. That would be the kind of win that sparks a fire.

Let’s say the team is only 2.5 or 3 games back from the playoffs after that Hornets game, then there is real reason for optimism moving forward. Then maybe instead of selling off Luka’s teammates for picks or questionable prospects, you’re trading for another guy or two to put you over the top. Someone who can be a part of a winning future and not another lottery team next season.

Next. Luka Doncic fails to make the All-Star team as a starter

It’s now or never Mavericks fans. Either Dallas goes on a run right now—starting with tonight’s home game against Detroit—or they see the writing on the wall and are forced to throw in the towel in early February.