Ranking the NBA Southwest Division: Where do the Mavericks land?

Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks
Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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In the NBA, divisions are unremarkable. Each team only plays a total of sixteen games against their division rivals. The divisions were once notable but became even less significant when the NBA Playoff format changed in 2016.

Before 2016, each of the three division winners was guaranteed a top-4 seed in the playoffs. Of course, now, the top 6 teams are guaranteed a playoff birth, regardless of division. The remaining four teams compete to qualify for the playoffs.

The Southwest Division only had one playoff team a season ago, the Memphis Grizzlies. And to make matters worse, the Grizzlies lost in the opening round to the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers.

Ranking the NBA Southwest Division: Where do the Mavericks land?

Besides Memphis, the Southwest Division includes four other teams: the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and New Orleans Pelicans.

Historically, the Southwest Division has been dominant. Since the Southwest Division was formed in 2004, four out of the five teams have winning records. Three out of the five teams are ranked in the top 10 in wins: San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston with San Antonio and Dallas occupying the first two spots.

After a decade-plus of consistency, the Southwest Division is in limbo. Last season's best squad, Memphis, has a great young core but is relatively unproven.

Dallas is typically one of the best teams in the division, as they have only finished last twice since the division's inception. The Mavs are coming off a disappointing season, but are looking to make some noise after a solid offseason.

The Spurs are on the upswing. After drafting one of the best prospects of all time in Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio has its sights set on competing for a playoff spot once again after missing the postseason in each of the past four seasons.

Similar to San Antonio, the Rockets are a team with growth potential. Since trading franchise centerpiece James Harden in 2020, the Rockets have been slowly rebuilding. The Rockets have the second-least wins this decade.

The last Southwest team mentioned may be the most confusing. The New Orleans Pelicans have only finished first once since joining the division, and that was while they were still named the Hornets. However, the Pelicans now have a decent collection of talent, but their best player can't seem to remain healthy.

Even though the NBA's divisions are anything but noteworthy, they still do have a teeny bit of importance. About a fifth of the Mavs games will be played against division foes. And this is the same year in, year out. Unlike the remaining Western Conference squads, the Mavs will always play the other Southwest Division teams four times a season.

With this in mind, let's take a look at the ever-evolving Southwest Division and find out where the Dallas Mavericks rank amongst the four other teams.