5 Biggest X-factors for Dallas Mavericks ahead of 2024 NBA Playoffs

Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks
Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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The Dallas Mavericks finish their regular season later today against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and their first-round playoff matchup that begins later this week is officially set.

Dallas has the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and they will battle the Clippers in the first round for the third time in five years.

The first two matchups didn't work in Dallas' favor, but both teams are extremely different from the last two times they played and the Mavs may be catching the Clippers at the perfect time.

5 Biggest X-factors for Dallas Mavericks ahead of 2024 NBA Playoffs

The Clippers have been battling tons of injuries as of late, and the uncertainty surrounding Kawhi Leonard's knee injury could work in the Mavs' favor. LA won't be an easy matchup by any means, but the Mavs have shown they are true contenders over the last month as they have gone 16-3 over their last 19 games with one of those losses being on Friday night against the Detroit Pistons.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving didn't play in this game, and Dallas was obviously prioritizing keeping their team healthy heading into the postseason.

Role players are an essential part of winning in the playoffs, and the Mavs will need everyone at the top of their game to take down LA.

Here are are five of the Dallas Mavericks' biggest X-factors heading into the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

5. Dante Exum

Heading into the playoffs, Dante Exum is in a bit of a slump.

In the month of April, Exum is shooting 33 percent from downtown on 2.1 attempts per game. This is significantly lower than the 49.1 percent he has shot from downtown on the entire year, and the Mavs will need him at his best for the playoff run.

Exum is crucial to what Dallas does because of his versatility, defense, and 3-point shooting off the catch, and his ability to lead the second unit or play next to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving is outstanding.

He has rebuilt his NBA career this season through having a massive bounce-back year, and he has had dominant stretches as both a starter and off the bench.

In the playoffs, the Mavs will likely use Exum as a primary defender on one of the LA Clippers' best guards and have him full-court press. Exum has been fantastic on defense all season long, and his importance to the squad will likely increase even more once the playoffs begin.

Exum has been extremely clutch this season, and it'll be interesting to see if he can continue his elite clutch season deep into the playoffs.