The Dallas Mavericks have battled back to seventh in the Western Conference. After 21 games, they had just eight wins and sat 14th of 15 out west. The Mavs had to overcome injuries and COVID absences, but they are finally back on track. Luka Doncic is making an MVP push as Dallas climbs the standings.
The NBA expanded the play-in tournament this season. Now, ten teams in each conference will play beyond the regular season. The top six seeds based on record after the shortened 72-game slate will advance to the traditional playoffs. Teams seven and eight will battle with the winner advancing as the seventh seed. Nine and ten face off with the victor facing the loser of the seven and eight game for the final playoff berth.
No team wants to take part in the play-in. The Mavericks are determined to move up to sixth in the Western Conference to avoid it. What are their chances of doing so? ESPN used their Basketball Power Index (BPI) to project the odds of each team playing in the postseason. Here is a look at the results.
ESPN gives Dallas Mavericks over 50 percent chance to be part of play-in tournament
The Mavs currently sit in seventh, but they are 2.5 games back of sixth with 27 left to play. Passing the Trail Blazers or Nuggets will be no easy task for Dallas down the stretch. ESPN projected them with a 41.4 percent chance of getting into the top six and avoiding the play-in tournament.
The Mavericks have the best odds of being in the seven versus eight play-in game at 50.1 percent. That means in 94.5 percent of ESPN’s simulations Dallas finished the regular season in the top eight in the Western Conference.
The Mavs could quickly not become fans of expanded play-in tournament. They might be forced to defeat the rival Spurs or Golden State Warriors to make the playoffs. It is difficult to bet against the Mavericks in either game, but anything can happen in a one-off contest.
The Dallas Mavericks need to be healthy and firing on all cylinders entering the postseason. It is difficult to bet against Luka Doncic. Fans saw him take his game to another level against the LA Clippers inside the bubble. The 22-year-old is no stranger to massive moments, so expect him to do it again in 2021.
Kristaps Porzingis could be the key to a deep run by the Mavs. They need the Unicorn healthy and dropping 20-plus in every game. Will he deliver in the postseason?
The best is still yet to come from Luka Doncic and this year’s Mavs. Fans will not want to miss it, so stay tuned.