4 Teams the Dallas Mavericks shouldn’t want to see in the Play-In Tournament

Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks
Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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3. Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a unique position with their roster given the immense pressure to capitalize upon LeBron James’ remaining time in the league. The Lakers currently stand at 39-32, only three games back from the Mavericks in the standings. 

Many talking heads expected the Lakers to be much higher in the Western Conference standings than the ninth seed at this point in the season, as the Lakers drew lofty preseason expectations after a Western Conference Finals run last season. The Mavericks can’t disregard this Lakers team in a potential play-in game though, as the Lakers are playing some of their best basketball of the season recently despite some mid-season turmoil in Los Angeles.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis have arguably had their most consistent seasons in Los Angeles since teaming up together, as James is still putting up incredible numbers in his 21st season in the league, and Davis has stayed healthy whilst playing some of the basketball of his career on both ends of the floor.

The difference of recent for Los Angeles has been the level of play from their role players, as the insertion of Rui Hachimura in the Lakers starting lineup (subscription required) has taken their offense to new heights, especially with how scorching hot D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves have been from the field recently.

It’s unclear whether the Lakers will get Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent back before the end of the regular season, which haunts this Lakers team from reaching its full potential. However, the Lakers have their star power to win on any given night despite some of their current defensive and lineup limitations. The Mavericks can’t take the Lakers lightly whatsoever in a potential play-in game, even though Dallas likely has the better team surrounding their two co-stars on the other end.