The Dallas Mavericks have the sixth-best record in the NBA as superstar Luka Doncic has cemented his case as a top-five player down the stretch. The 23-year-old has averaged over 32 points per game for his last 20 contests, and he has scored over 30 in 19 of his last 26. Doncic is unstoppable and only improving.
ESPN releases future power rankings every year where they try to predict every team’s success over the next three seasons. Their latest update (subscription required) dropped on March 30 and saw the Grizzlies vault from 16th to the top spot after their strong play this season behind superstar Ja Morant, but it was where the Mavericks landed that was most surprising.
Dallas was 12th and behind six Western Conference foes in the rankings. The Mavs have qualified for the playoffs three straight years, have the best young superstar in the league, and ranked below 11 teams in success over the next three years? Here is a closer look at why that is disrespectful.
Dallas Mavericks disrespected in ESPN’s future power rankings
Players make up over 50 percent of the rankings, and Dallas ranked 12th in that category below the Utah Jazz among other teams. No team wants to face the Mavs in the playoffs this year because of what Luka Doncic has done down the stretch, but teams are lining up to face Utah. Having Doncic locked up for the next three years should be enough to make the Mavericks a top ten roster in the league.
12th was the highest Dallas ranked in any category (subscription required) in the future power rankings that also looked at management, money, market, and draft capital. It is difficult to decide where to put the Mavs in the management category as Nico Harrison took over less than one year ago, but owner Mark Cuban rewarded Dorian Finney-Smith with an extension and appears ready to pay the luxury tax next season. That alone is massive from a management perspective.
The Mavericks still owe the New York Knicks their 2023 first-round pick, so they deserved a downgrade in that category. Otherwise, Dallas was disrespected to finish 12th in the future power rankings. ESPN is saying the Mavs are going to get worse as Luka Doncic enters his prime? That seems unlikely. Luka is a generational talent that allows his teams to exceed expectations as he breaks records.
GM Nico Harrison and owner Mark Cuban will continue to improve the roster around the 23-year-old superstar as Dallas becomes true title contenders over the next three years. They did not deserve to rank top five in this set but expect the Dallas Mavericks to get there soon, and fans are not going to want to miss it.