Damian Lillard injury’s impact on Dallas Mavericks: 1. Title odds
Lillard going out crushes the Blazers' odds of winning the title and opens the door slightly further for Dallas. The Mavs six-game win streak featured victories over the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls, who were the top two teams in each conference. When Luka Doncic is healthy, they can compete with any team, and nobody is looking forward to facing Dallas in the playoffs.
The Mavericks are still not true title contenders, but the Grizzlies joined that group this season. No team is the runaway favorite for the championship, and the race is wide open. Dallas has the hardest piece to acquire in Luka. Now, they just need to find the right supporting cast that can lift him to title contention.
Doncic needs to play better too. If the Mavs can prove their defensive improvements are real and their 22-year-old superstar starts playing as he did in the 2021 playoffs, Dallas is a dangerous team. They were all offense under head coach Rick Carlisle, so having a top ten defense raises their ceiling, and fans know Luka was impossible to stop in that Clippers series.
The path to the NBA Finals is always difficult, but the door is slightly ajar for Dallas Mavericks. It will take a miracle run, but one Luka Doncic is capable of leading a team on.
All the best to Damian Lillard. Hopefully, his surgery is a success, and he returns to the court this season because basketball is better with a healthy Dame on the floor. Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest on the Dallas Mavericks, including unmatched news, opinions, and analysis.