Former Mavericks star has serious doubts about team's playoff potential

Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks
Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks are on pace to be the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and battle the LA Clippers in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, and this team has been having one of the best stretches in recent memory as of late.

Dallas has won 14 of their last 16 games, and a big reason for this massive surge in the standings is due to the team's improvement on the defensive end. The Mavs went from an awful defense to an excellent defense, and Dallas' trade deadline acquisitions of P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford have played a huge part in this.

Gafford, Washington, and Derrick Jones Jr. are massive difference-makers on the defensive end, and Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are dedicated to leading this team to the promised land.

Jamal Mashburn has serious doubts about Mavericks' playoff potential

Despite all of this, one former Mavericks forward and a former teammate of Jason Kidd has no faith in what this team can accomplish in the playoffs this season.

In an exclusive interview with Fadeaway World's Ishaan Bhattacharya, Jamal Mashburn talked about the current state of the Mavs heading into the playoffs. Masburn played on the Mavs from 1993 until 1997 and averaged 19.9 points per game as a Maverick.

"I don't think they're quite a championship-caliber team," Mashburn said. "I think they have two Hall-of-Fame pieces in the backcourt and Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, who can definitely play. I think they're one more piece away from actually being a contender and probably a little bit more concentration on the defensive end to make them a true contender."

Only time will tell if the Mavericks are true contenders as the playoffs will be here later this month, but Mashburn's take on Kidd and Mavs' defense is the exact opposite of how they've been playing lately.

Dallas has displayed "more concentration on the defensive end" for months now, and this is not the same team from before the trade deadline. Although Sunday's win against the Houston Rockets was extremely high-scoring, the Mavs are no longer having to put up crazy scoring and shooting numbers to win games.

They have two of the best scorers in the NBA in Doncic and Irving, but the supporting pieces around them make this team dangerous. Dante Exum, Washington, and Jones Jr. will be huge for Dallas on both ends of the floor once the playoffs hit, and their defense combined with the Doncic-Irving duo is what could make the Mavs legit NBA Finals contenders.

Mashburn's take about the Mavs' playoff chances will be put to the test over the next month, and Dallas may have what it takes to prove him wrong.

For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Dallas Mavericks this season and into the 2024 NBA Playoffs, stay tuned.