Mapping the easiest and toughest paths to NBA title for Dallas Mavericks

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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Easiest path for the Dallas Mavericks to win 2024 NBA Finals

The easiest path to an NBA Finals win for the Dallas Mavericks would begin with a quick series against the LA Clippers. An even easier series for the Clippers would include Kawhi Leonard missing time with his knee injury and Dereck Lively II being ready to roll for the start of the series.

There is tons of uncertainty when it comes to both of their injuries, and the Mavs would be at a huge advantage if Leonard misses time.

Following a series win over the Clippers, the easiest matchup in the second round would be avoiding the Oklahoma City Thunder and playing the Sacramento Kings (if they grab the eighth seed and somehow upset the Thunder). The Mavs match up well with the Kings, and we saw that with the back-to-back wins on the road at the end of this season.

After that, the Mavs would face the winner of the Nuggets series with whoever they play in the second round (assuming they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round). Denver would play the winner of the Suns-Timberwolves series, and the easier matchup of these two would be the Suns.

Phoenix was stacking wins at the end of the regular season, but their depth isn't great. They rely heavily on their star trio of Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker, and the Mavs reserves would run their bench off the floor.

After defeating the Suns in the Western Conference Finals, the Mavs would play the winner of the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. While playing one of the Eastern Conference's Play-In teams would be the easiest path for Dallas, that seems unrealistic at this point.

The clear answer for the Eastern Conference favorite is the Boston Celtics, but the Mavs match up must better with the New York Knicks or Milwaukee Bucks. Neither matchup would be easy, but both of those series would be much more winnable than a series against Boston.