On Wednesday, July 26th, ESPN released the first edition of its 2023-24 NBA Power Rankings. The "post-off-season" power rankings, as they're referred to, list the defending NBA Champions Denver Nuggets at No. 1.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, and Miami Heat round out the top five. Three out of the four teams here have or will make massive changes, with the Bucks being the lone exception.
The Heat are the team who may make a massive change soon, as the NBA world is waiting on aDamian Lillard trade any day now.
As for the Dallas Mavericks, they come in at No. 14 in these rankings.
ESPN Insider Tim McMahon provided some off-season bright spots for Dallas. McMahon went on to say, "Dallas avoided disaster by keeping Kyrie Irving and addressed its defensive flaws in the draft and free agency."
McMahon later mentioned the additions of Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper through the draft and Grant Williams through free agency as positive additions, especially on the defensive end.
After missing the playoffs last season, the Dallas front office went all in on improving the previous roster's weak spots.
The 2023-24 Dallas Mavericks certainly look like a more well-rounded squad than last season's edition. This team is younger and more defensive-minded.
Slotted in at fourteen, the Mavs are ranked as the eighth-best team in the west. Behind the likes of Denver, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State, Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers, and Sacramento.
Lurking behind Dallas are three upstart squads. Oklahoma City, Minnesota, and New Orleans all fall within the fifteen to seventeen range. Each team has a relatively young core and will surely be looking to make noise in the Western Conference.
The remaining teams in the power ranking fall between 20 and 28. Utah at 20, Houston at 24, San Antonio at 26, and Portland at 28.
These lower-ranking squads are all undergoing a rebuild, while some teams are further along than others. Houston could potentially rise the ranks after adding veteran talent and keeping their young core intact.
Are the Mavericks accurately slotted? Or should they be higher? Or even lower? As of now, it seems this ranking is justified, but keep in mind that just over a year ago the Mavs made the Western Conference Finals.
If all goes to plan, Dallas should be a contender in the Western Conference after all is said and done. A roster built around Luka Doncic will surely be competitive for years to come.