The Dallas Mavericks are fresh off a run to the conference finals, and they have one of the best players in the world in Luka Doncic. Losing Jalen Brunson hurts, but the Mavs added Christian Wood, JaVale McGee, and rookie Jaden Hardy. Fans can debate whether their roster is better or worse, but the fear of the play-in tournament is back.
The NBA made it a permanent part of their schedule this summer. The top six teams in each conference advance directly to the postseason with teams seven through ten battling it out for the final two spots. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has spoken out against the concept, but it is here to stay.
Could Dallas be part of the play-in next season? The odds suggest that could be the case.
Are the Dallas Mavericks headed towards the play-in tournament next season?
According to WynnBet, the Mavericks and Grizzlies are tied for the sixth-highest odds in the western conference to win the championship next season. Now, winning the title is different than win total props or where a team finishes in the regular season. Those lines will be coming in the weeks ahead, but it underscores the depth of the conference.
The Warriors, Clippers, and Suns are firmly the top three teams in the odds. LeBron James and the Lakers sit fourth, and they will need better health and improved play to finish there. The Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Mavericks have nearly similar odds with the Timberwolves and Pelicans in the next pack.
On paper, Golden State, the Clippers, and Phoenix are better than Dallas. The Nuggets have plenty of talent, but they need better health next season. The Grizzlies, Lakers Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Mavericks figure to be battling it out for spots five through nine, assuming every team stays healthy. Dallas deserves to be at the front of that group after reaching the conference finals, but injuries will happen, and it should worry the Mavs.
If Luka Doncic misses two weeks at any point next season, Dallas is in trouble. They have just two ball-handlers on their roster right now. The Mavericks desperately need a Jalen Brunson replacement that can make plays, but will they find one this late into the offseason?
The Western Conference is loaded, and the Dallas Mavericks cannot afford to get off to another slow start. Luka Doncic should be ready after a busy summer of basketball, and the rest of the roster needs to be too. If not, the Mavs could be headed for the play-in tournament next season.