5 Massive strengths, 5 weaknesses for Mavericks heading into playoffs

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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9. Strength: Interior defense

Ever since the Dallas Mavericks added Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington to this team at the trade deadline, it's been no secret that the Mavericks' interior defense has improved tenfold. Gafford is a physical and athletic presence down low, a caliber of rim protector that the Mavericks arguably haven't had since Tyson Chandler, and Washington has done extremely well as a help-side defender when having to rotate over as the low-man.

Washington and Gafford's activity and length on defense has been extremely disruptive for the Mavericks, and it's showing in the statistical realm as well.

Per NBA.com, the Mavericks rank fifth in opponent points in the paint in the post All-Star segment of this season, a development that can certainly be accredited toward Dallas' trade deadline acquisitions as well as how Maxi Kleber and Dereck Lively II have defended the interior coming off the bench.

Recently, the Mavericks have shown a great level of lineup flexibility with the way Kleber has been able to defend opposing fives whilst Gafford is resting, which has been crucial for the Mavericks when you take into consideration that Lively II is dealing with a knee sprain at the moment.

The Mavericks' interior defense has become the backbone of their identity, and it will continue to be one of their biggest strengths heading into the playoffs unless Lively II's recent minor injuries culminate into something worse or Dallas suffers another injury down low.