The Dallas Mavericks have cracked the top 10 in this week’s NBA rankings courtesy of NBA.com. Other outlets around the internet have not caught on to how good the Mavs are just yet.
The recognition around the league of how dangerous a team the Dallas Mavericks could be is growing. Thought to be a fringe potential playoff team before the season began, many media outlets are now believing that the Mavs have what it takes to be a bonafide playoff team and one that could be a real tough first round matchup depending on their seed.
Dallas is led by the incredible Luka Doncic right now, who has been playing out of his mind in the first six games of the season. Aside from one subpar performance against the Denver Nuggets, Luka has led the team in rebounding and assists in every other game and has led Dallas in scoring 4 out of 6 times. His current averages are 26.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.5 assists per game.
These numbers put Luka as one of the most effective players in the NBA through six games, particularly on the offensive end. His defense has been pretty good but not elite. Luka has three triple-doubles through six games and was just one assist shy of a fourth one against Portland.
Aside from Luka, the Mavs have Kristaps Porzingis, a 7’3 mismatch everywhere on the court with elite defensive skills. In his most recent game, Porzingis had 18 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks. The Mavs also have one of the best benches in the league, which is essentially everyone else on the team.
NBA.com does a weekly ranking of all 30 NBA teams, updated on Mondays. This week, Dallas moved up from their previous rank of 15 all the way to number 9. Dallas went 2-1 during the week, beating the Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers while falling in overtime to the Los Angeles Lakers. As I wrote at length after the game, the Mavs were a missed call away from winning the game in regulation, something the refs admitted to the next morning.
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Dallas is ranked behind eight teams currently: the Philadelphia 76ers, LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets. Dallas has played incredibly well through the first few weeks of the season and look to be on track for another great week with an easier schedule.
Other sites around the web also do weekly NBA rankings. The other two sites that I have found do not have the Mavs in the top 10 (somehow), instead putting them in the 13th spot behind the same eight teams listed above, as well as the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors in one and the Houston Rockets instead of the Blazers in the other.
The Athletic (subscription required) has the Mavs ranked 13th overall. Somehow I just have a hard time seeing 12 teams better than Dallas the way they are playing right now. I may be biased, but after beating the Lakers for 47 minutes and 59.9 seconds last week, I think Dallas can compete with any team.
ESPN also ranked the Mavericks 13th and had the audacity to put the Houston Rockets ahead of them. Sure, you can make an argument for several teams being just as good or better than Dallas this early in the season. Houston is not one of those teams. James Harden has been atrocious, Russell Westbrook has been disinterested and the entire team has decided that defense is just a waste of energy.
Dallas is a very good basketball team right now and deserves recognition from around the league. It is good to see that the writers over at NBA.com are at least paying attention to the NBA so far this year.