The Dallas Mavericks got off to an unexpectedly slow start. They dealt with injuries and COVID issues, which culminated with a six-game losing streak. The Mavs had just eight wins in their first 21 games and were 14th in the Western Conference.
Superstar Luka Doncic was producing monster numbers, but it was not leading to wins. The Mavericks had the worst 3-point percentage in the league and were one of the most disappointing teams overall.
They have got things back on track. Dallas has won three straight and four of five. They are just 1.5 games behind eighth in the West but still sit outside the play-in. Will the Mavs make the playoffs in 2021?
Dallas Mavericks favored to qualify for the playoffs by ESPN’s BPI
ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) uses real plus-minus to determine how teams will perform the remainder of the season. The Mavs have played 36 percent of their games already. The slow start has not stopped ESPN from predicting them to make the postseason. Dallas qualifies for the playoffs 63.7 percent of the time by ESPN’s BPI.
Kirk Goldsberry dove deeper into the simulations (subscription required). The Mavericks are in the play-in in 56 percent of the simulations and reach the Western Conference Finals in 4.5 percent. Remember, teams seven through ten in each conference have to play-in for the final two traditional playoff spots.
The numbers are promising given the Mavs slow start. There is still plenty of time to climb out of their early-season hole. Dallas looks back on track. They have ten games left in the first half of the season, and the Mavericks need to have a strong close against a favorable schedule.
The Dallas Mavericks have not played their best basketball yet. Luka Doncic and the team will improve from 3-point range. The defense is still a work-in-progress. Kristaps Porzingis is working his way back after offseason knee surgery. Stay tuned to see how it shakes out.