The end of the Dallas Mavericks' season last season was not an ending that many people expected.
After Dallas made a mid-season trade for Kyrie Irving, it seemed like the Mavs would be a team that could contend for the NBA Finals. They had one of the best on-paper duos in the NBA in Irving and Luka Doncic, and they were a top-5 team in the Western Conference at the time of the trade.
Despite the high expectations, Dallas fell in the standings and ended up missing the playoffs. The Mavs tanked their final two games of the season, and that's the last thing people expected Dallas would be doing at the end of the season.
ESPN predicts Dallas Mavericks to disappoint again in 2023-24
Dallas made some big moves this summer, such as re-signing Kyrie Irving, signing Seth Curry, drafting Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper, and acquiring Grant Williams through a sign and trade, but were these moves enough for Dallas to contend for a title?
ESPN doesn''t seem to think so.
According to ESPN's stat-based projections (subscription required) for the season by Kevin Pelton, the Mavericks are only predicted to win 41.4 games. Dallas won 38 games last season, and Dallas tanked their final two games. This system predicts Dallas to only be slightly better than they were last year, even after all of the moves they made this offseason.
These 41.4 projected wins rank ninth in the Western Conference, meaning that Dallas would be in the Play-In Tournament with the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, and LA Clippers if this metric proved to be correct.
Dallas has struggled to start the preseason, as they dropped back-to-back games to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but there are things to be excited about this season. Luka looks incredible, Lively II looks like he could be the starting center, and Jaden Hardy is scoring at a high level.
This Dallas team could surpass everyone's expectations and contend for a title or have another disappointing season. Luka and Kyrie will have the chance to prove everyone wrong and could be one of the best duos in the NBA if they can find offensive chemistry.
We'll have you covered with all the latest news and rumors on the Dallas Mavericks this season, so stay tuned.