Ranking 5 tiers of the NBA Western Conference: Where do the new-look Mavs land?

After splitting up the NBA Western Conference into five tiers based on competitiveness, where do the Dallas Mavericks land?
Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
2 of 6


The teams in this category have a very small chance of making the Play-In Tournament. However, all three have acquired young talent, it just isn't quite ripe enough to really start making much noise. They also will need to add a few more starters and role players before they can move up into the "Dreamers" category.

Houston Rockets

Notable players lost: Kenyon Martin Jr.

Notable Players added: Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, Amen Thompson, Cam Whitmore

Houston arguably has the best collection of young talent in the NBA. Adding VanVleet, Brooks, Thompson, and Whitmore to the core of Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., and Alperen Sengun is pretty impressive. In another year or two, the Rockets are going to most certainly be a team that causes a lot of headaches for opposing coaches.

However, they are very young and will need to figure out their offensive pecking order, among other things, before they can truly have a chance at competing in the Western Conference.

San Antonio Spurs

Notable players lost: None

Notable players added: Victor Wembanyama, Reggie Bullock, Cameron Payne, Cedi Osman

The Spurs won the NBA draft lottery and took phenom Victor Wembanyama with the first overall pick. Wemby will undoubtedly bring more viewers when the Spurs play, but it is most likely going to take him a year or two before he can put on NBA muscle and establish himself. They have a solid roster around him, but as a whole, they need more NBA seasoning before they can move up.

Portland Trail Blazers

Notable players lost: Possibly Damian Lillard?

Notable players added: Scoot Henderson, players from a Lillard trade

The Blazers are an unfinished team at the moment. Damian Lillard and his agent have very publicly requested a trade out of Portland. This makes it hard to know exactly what their team is going to eventually look like.

Assuming Lillard is out and Henderson replaces him in the lineup, they have a nice young core. However, that core (Henderson, Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant, Shaedon Sharpe) is very young and inexperienced outside of Jerami Grant. For now, they are very much still in a rebuilding phase.