Ranking the Mavericks' potential playoff opponents from piece of cake to nightmare

Mar 31, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts after scoring a
Mar 31, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts after scoring a / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
10 of 10

1. Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets were ruled the Dallas Mavericks' "nightmare matchup" heading into the 2024 NBA Playoffs, and they are definitely the team that has the best chance of sending the Mavs home early.

While the Mavs got the last laugh the last time these two teams played after Kyrie Irving's game-winner, the Nuggets are clearly the best team in the Western Conference. Nikola Jokic is a top-two player in the NBA along with Luka Doncic, and his ability to control the game is outstanding. Jamal Murray is also an elite duo partner, and he brings the best out of Jokic.

Jokic's offensive impact is astronomical, and Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford would have their hands full. Lively II did a great job while guarding Jokic the last time they played, but things could be much different in a seven-game series.

The Nuggets also have elite role players like Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., and Kentavious Caldwell Pope, but their depth isn't as great as it once was. Denver's bench is weak, and this is one area where the Mavs have a big advantage.

Having Lively II, Dante Exum, Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Green, and Maxi Kleber as players off the bench in the playoffs will be a big help, and the Mavs' depth shouldn't go unnoticed. Exum, Hardaway Jr., and Lively II can all make big plays that could change the tide of the game routinely, and this series may come down to the battle of the benches.

Dallas' next game is on Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors.

For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned.