The Dallas Mavericks lost Jalen Brunson in free agency this summer, and experts were quick to pile on about the team’s poor offseason, but the Mavs upgraded their frontcourt this summer. Christian Wood and JaVale McGee should solve the team’s rebounding woes, and Luka Doncic just led Dallas to the conference finals.
The West will be more difficult next season. The Warriors lost some ancillary pieces, but the defending champions have their core back and will be looking for a fifth title in nine years. Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. are expected to return from injuries. The Lakers should be healthier with Minnesota and New Orleans looking to take steps forward. There will be no easy path to the postseason in the loaded conference.
ESPN started its annual Summer Forecast (subscription required) by dropping record and regular season standings predictions for the Western Conference on Aug. 9. Where did Dallas fall?
Where are Dallas Mavericks projected to finish in the West in ESPN's Summer Forecast?
Dallas finished fourth in the West last season with 52 victories, but ESPN predicted them to take a small step back by finishing sixth with 49 wins. The projections had the Mavs just two games out of fourth and four games behind the Nuggets, who finished third. Minnesota finished with the same record, but Dallas had the tiebreaker to send the Timberwolves into the play-in tournament.
The Mavericks need to upgrade their roster to avoid finishing seventh in the West. They have just two ball-handlers on their roster, so an injury to Luka Doncic or Spencer Dinwiddie could lead to a serious slide by the Mavs. Dallas needs more help in the backcourt, and general manager Nico Harrison continues to search for trades.
Expect the Dallas Mavericks to keep improving their roster through the trade deadline. Harrison has proven he is never afraid to make a move he feels upgrades their team. Expect that to continue as the Mavs look to build on their run to the conference finals. The Mavs will be fun to watch this season, so be sure to tune in and enjoy the show.