The Dallas Mavericks finished fifth in the Western Conference last season. Luka Doncic had an otherworldly performance in the playoffs, but it was not enough to defeat the LA Clippers in the first round. Dallas shook up the front office and coaching staff this summer but failed to make massive roster changes. The Mavs will be looking to take another step forward this season behind their 22-year-old superstar.
Where should Dallas stand heading into the 2021-2022 season? They finished with the eighth-best record in the league last year. That was after a 9-14 start that saw them sitting 14th in the Western Conference. The Mavs dealt with COVID issues and injuries in a season like no other in NBA history. They should only be improved this year.
ESPN released their post-free agency Power Rankings on Aug. 23. It was their look at the league about one month out from training camp. Here is a peek at where the Mavs landed and why they were underrated.
Dallas Mavericks underrated in latest ESPN Power Rankings
The Mavs slipped to 11th in the latest ESPN set. Miami adding Kyle Lowry jumped up to knock Dallas out of the top ten. This is ESPN’s second set for the 2021-2022 season so far.
Having the Mavericks behind the Nuggets, Clippers, and Hawks seems like a bit of a stretch.
Kawhi Leonard is out for all or most of the regular season. The Clippers needed two otherworldly games from Kawhi to defeat Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. Swapping Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo for Eric Bledsoe did not improve LA enough to see them finish over Dallas.
The Nuggets will be without Jamal Murray for most or all of the season. Denver defeated the Blazers in six games before being swept by the Suns in the playoffs without their star point guard. The Nuggets only finished five games ahead of Dallas in the standings last season. Murray is a massive loss that could see them fall below the Mavericks this year.
The Hawks had a worse record than the Mavs last season. Yes, they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but expecting them to compete at that level for the entire 2021-2022 season seems like a stretch. The Mavericks open the season against the Hawks, so things could change quickly on this front. Atlanta has a strong team, but Dallas is likely to finish with a better record for the fourth straight season.
The Dallas Mavericks were underrated in ESPN’s latest Power Rankings. Luka Doncic is one of the top five players in the NBA right now. The Mavs improved his supporting cast on the margins with the additions of Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown. Expect Dallas to win close to 50 regular-season games as they look to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since winning the championship in 2011.
Supporters will not want to miss a game. Luka is a must-watch talent, and the Mavs promise to be one of the most exciting teams in the league this season. Check back to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest news, opinions, and analysis on the organization.