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Dallas Mavericks: Are they a top 3 team in the West?

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Case for the Dallas Mavericks being a top 3 team in the West?

The Mavs were fifth in the Western Conference last season, and they upgraded their talent during the offseason. Adding Reggie Bullock, Frank Ntilikina, and Sterling Brown to replace Josh Richardson, Nicolo Melli, and J.J. Redick in his final season improved Dallas’ shooting, depth, versatility, and defense. It was not the massive offseason splash the Mavericks were hoping to make, but they have more talent.

The West is filled with question marks at this point. LeBron James is hurt, and the Russell Westbrook experiment in LA is not working out as planned. The Clippers and Nuggets are dealing with injuries to star players. Other dramas are brewing in Portland and Phoenix. Ja Morant has taken a step forward, but the Grizzlies are still young. There is certainly room for Dallas to move up amid the chaos in the West.

The Mavericks improved their defense, and fans have already seen it win them a few games. They currently sit 15th in defensive rating, but it is still too early to tell where Dallas will land. They are competing harder on this end of the floor, and any improvement is going to make them competitive against the top teams.

The Mavs are currently third and have not played their best basketball. Kristaps Porzingis missed five games, Luka Doncic is struggling with his jumper to begin the year, and the team is underperforming expectations, despite their seven wins. Luka is one of the best clutch shot makers in the league, and he can carry a team when playing his best.

More talent, improved defense, a lesser field, and having Doncic are reasons that the Dallas Mavericks move up, but is it enough to get into the top three?