As part of the 2023-24 KIA NBA Season Preview, the NBA.com staff has been tasked with previewing all 30 teams and different season narratives. In the standing predictions for the Western Conference, all five NBA.com writers left the Dallas Mavericks off their lists.
Three out of the five NBA.com writers mentioned the Mavs in their respective blurbs. NBA.com's Brian Martin alluded to Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic's iffy partnership as the reason for his Dallas exclusion.
Then, NBA.com writer Shaun Powell grouped the Mavs with the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans as quality teams, but mid-tier in the West. Powell went on to list these three squads as potential top-5 teams if they were to play in the East.
NBA.com writers clearly doubt Mavericks' ability to contend in Western Conference
And unlike the previous two writers, NBA.com's John Schuhmann declared the Mavs as a potential top-eight squad, but once again grouped in Minnesota and New Orleans with Dallas as teams that'll struggle to actually crack the top-eight in a competitive Western Conference.
As the regular season nears, more predictions and rankings continue to dominate the news cycle. And the common theme with the Mavs is that they aren't one of the better squads in the West.
Although numerous doubters persist, the Mavericks have certainly improved over the offseason. Dallas added a slew of defensive stoppers and youngsters to amplify the lineup.
A season ago, Dallas ranked near the bottom of the league in most defensive statistics and traded several quality contributors in exchange for Irving, who only appeared in sixteen games alongside Doncic.
However, Dallas now has Grant Williams to defend against opposing forwards and rookies Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Dereck Lively II, who should contribute right away as relentless defenders.
Furthermore, the questioned connection between Doncic and Irving should only improve. After an unspectacular record a season ago, the dynamic duo has now had an entire offseason and preseason to build chemistry before the regular season begins.
Despite the lack of agreement among analysts, it's clear Dallas has attempted to make the requisite steps to right the ship. The Mavericks have a lot of unknowns, but it's obvious there's plenty of talent.
For all the news on Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.