First Round: No. 3 Denver Nuggets versus No. 6 Dallas Mavericks
While it would be great to see the Dallas Mavericks play their way into homecourt advantage for the first round, it is a little ambitious of a goal, to say the least.
The Mavs rising to the sixth seed is realistic. The two teams currently ahead of them, the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers, are less than three games up and have the second and fourth hardest schedules remaining respectively.
Of the top teams in the West, the one Mavericks fans should hope to play is the Phoenix Suns. Chris Paul and his team have been playing way above expectations and currently hold the second seed to show for their efforts. Their current standing, however, is a bit of a hoax.
Phoenix was one of the teams blessed, and cursed, with a backloaded schedule. While they have silenced their doubters, it will be a far cry to see CP3 and the Suns finish in the top-three in the West.
How the Nuggets could face the Dallas Mavericks
Between the Jazz, Nuggets, or one of the two contenders in LA, playing Denver in the first round would be the least of the evils. It is tempting to go with the Jazz as one-horse offenses are easier to face in the playoffs than a balanced attack like Denver’s. The way Donovan Mitchell and the rest of the Jazz have been playing though, it is difficult to imagine them slipping out of the top seed.
Utah also has the fourth-easiest remaining schedule, so there is no reason to expect them not to finish the regular season with the top record in the West. Therefore, to hope the Mavericks will face the Jazz first-round is to dream that Dallas will have to participate in the play-in tournament and win a do-or-die game for the eighth seed.
Taking that into consideration, the Dallas Mavericks would ideally be playing the Denver Nuggets as the sixth seed to kick off the 2021 postseason.
Next: Mavs vs. Nuggets series preview