NBA Standings based on net rating: Dallas Mavericks in surprise position

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, LeBron James
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, LeBron James / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The All-Star break has come and gone, and the NBA is heading into the stretch run. It is a six-week sprint to the finish, and the standings are tightly packed in both conferences. Just four games separate fourth and 11th in the West with nine teams fighting to make the postseason behind the top three. Just 4.5 games separate sixth and tenth in the East as teams look to avoid the play-in tournament.

The Dallas Mavericks are struggling to adjust after the Kyrie Irving trade, and they have slipped to seventh in the West. They are just two games ahead of 11th, and Dallas could quickly fall out of the postseason entirely if they struggle over their final 19 games of the regular season.

A lot will change in the standings during the stretch run, but what if things were sorted by net rating and not based on win-loss record? Net rating is usually a strong sign of a title contender, but how would the standings be different?

NBA standings based on net rating:

The West is identical in the top four spots, but things get interesting from there. In the Eastern Conference, the top five have separated with a clump of teams after that. Here is a closer look at the standings based on net rating as of the morning on March 2.

Western Conference:

1. Denver Nuggets (4.5)

2. Memphis Grizzlies (4.3)

3. Sacramento Kings (2.6)

4. Phoenix Suns (1.7)

5. New Orleans Pelicans (0.9)

6. Oklahoma City Thunder (0.9)

7. Utah Jazz (0.7)

8. Dallas Mavericks (0.6)

9. Golden State Warrior (0.5)

10. Minnesota Timberwolves (0.1)

11. LA Clippers (0.0)

12. Portland Trail Blazers (-0.7)

13. Los Angeles Lakers (-0.7)

14. Houston Rockets (-9.2)

15. San Antonio Spurs (-10.2)

The Mavs drop one place in the standings, but it is interesting that three teams behind them actually jump them based on net rating. Oklahoma City makes the biggest leap from 13th based on win-loss record to sixth. Dallas again could quickly climb to fifth or fall to 11th based on net rating.

Eastern Conference:

1. Boston Celtics (5.8)

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (5.4)

3. Philadelphia 76ers (4.1)

4. Milwaukee Bucks (3.9)

5. New York Knicks (3.0)

6. Chicago Bulls (0.7)

7. Toronto Raptors (0.5)

8. Brooklyn Nets (0.5)

9. Washington Wizards (-0.2)

10. Atlanta Hawks (-0.2)

11. Miami Heat (-1.0)

12. Indiana Pacers (-2.5)

13. Orlando Magic (-2.7)

14. Charlotte Hornets (-5.8)

15. Detroit Pistons (-7.2)

The Heat would miss the play-in tournament based on net rating with the Bulls making the biggest leap from 11th to sixth. It is interesting that only the top eight teams in the East have a positive net rating.

What can the Mavericks' net rating tell us about the stretch run?

Last season, all four teams that made the conference finals finished in the top seven in net rating. The Celtics were second, Golden State finished fourth, Miami was sixth, and the Mavericks landed seventh in net rating. The other three teams in the top seven were eliminated by the Mavs or Warriors in the postseason.

The Mavericks have a 0.6 net rating, and they sit 2.4 behind the Knicks, who currently rank seventh. Denver and Memphis are the only two teams in the Western Conference in the top seven with the Kings, Suns, and Pelicans sitting eighth through tenth. Dallas is 14th in the NBA in net rating, which likely means a first-round exit if they qualify for the playoffs.

Will the Dallas Mavericks improve their net rating down the stretch? Can Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving figure out their partnership and go on a run? Do not miss it.

Next. 12 worst free agent signings in Mavs history. dark