Mavericks: Power Rankings and Predictions


The Dallas Mavericks begin their 2015-16 NBA season tonight as they take on the Phoenix Suns. What kind of expectations do the Mavs have around the league this season?

Everyone had to know power rankings were going to be tough on the Dallas Mavericks this season. After getting and then losing center DeAndre Jordan this summer, the Mavs have been a subject of ridicule and even worse, pity, from around the league.

The failed courtship of Jordan hamstrung the Mavericks for almost a week. Thinking they had their new center locked up, they stopped pursuing other free agents. After all, Jordan commanded all of their available salary cap space.

When Jordan finally backed out of his agreement with the Mavericks, all of the premium free agents had already signed elsewhere, leaving the Mavericks to scramble for the scraps. With all things considered, the Mavericks did quite well getting quality players signed.

The only problem is, the national media already gave up on them.

The Mavs still were able to upgrade or maintain at four of five positions

That becomes all-too-apparent in preseason analysis and power rankings. I don’t have great expectations for this 2015-16 Mavericks team (more on my prediction later) but I don’t think they are going to be complete jokes either.

Without further delay, let’s jump into those power rankings now:

Hoops Habit

Dallas Mavericks #20

Hoops Habit, one of my favorite NBA sites, places the Mavs in the second half of the NBA and out of playoff contention. Says Gerald Bourguet,

"“But the Mavs have had a winning formula of Dirk Nowitzki and head coach Rick Carlisle for years, so if they stay healthy, they have a chance to avoid being a Western Conference bottom-feeder. Just don’t mistake that sentence for the Mavs being a contender for a playoff spot.”"

While I appreciate the take, I couldn’t disagree more about the Mavs being unable to contend for a playoff spot. To read the full Mavs breakdown go here. But my issue with the analysis is that it oversimplifies the negatives. Bourguet runs through the roster, citing injury history and age but ignores anything remotely positive. The Mavs still were able to upgrade or maintain at four of five positions this offseason and that can’t be ignored.

NBC Sports

Dallas Mavericks #17

Kurt Helin has the Mavericks closer to the middle of the pack and cites Wesley Matthews’ early recovery as a reason why. Says Helin,

"“Getting Wesley Matthews back sooner than expected should help [offensive] numbers…”"

For NBC Sports full power rankings go here. While Helin doesn’t offer a very deep analysis, he does point out the struggles the Mavs had in their 0-7 preseason. If the starting players can’t play, the Mavs are indeed, a bad team. But the same can be said for 90% of the NBA.


Dallas Mavericks #16

The kindest of the power rankings has the Mavericks at #16 in the NBA. In John Schuhmann’s break-down he cites the Mavs lowly offensive ranking but also points to the on-floor personnel.

"“But the Mavs got just 32 total minutes from their three perimeter starters in the preseason and could actually be at full strength by Wednesday’s opener in Phoenix.”"

The preseason cannot be seen as a precursor of things to come since they only played back-ups. Makes sense, right?


Dallas Mavericks #21

No one was as mean as Mark Stein as he dropped the Mavs three spots in the last week alone. Perhaps he didn’t like the way the back-ups were playing either or maybe he’s just sleeping on what a healthy roster could look like for the Mavs.

"“Fears are rampant that the [Mark Cuban winning] streak is in jeopardy after an 0-7 exhibition record…”"

My Take

The Mavericks have a mediocre boom and significant bust potential this season. Fans should be highly suspicious of the legitimacy of this team but should also understand they can be an eighth seed if health cooperates.

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Wesley Matthews is an upgrade over Monta Ellis at SG. He plays exponentially better defense and can match the outside shooting. No matter how low your expectations are for Deron Williams, he is far better than any PG the Mavs had last season. Add the fact that the Mavs kept all of their depth at PG, and the Mavs have a clearly-upgraded backcourt.

Dirk Nowitzki is a year older but can still be seen as a trusted scorer.

The same goes for new starting center, Zaza Pachulia. In the paint defense will be hard to come by so the Mavs will need to out-score opponents early.

A wild card in the whole situation is the center depth. Center is the only position the Mavs failed to maintain or upgrade (thanks again, DeAndre) but Salah Mejri and JaVale McGee are intriguing options that could help form an effective platoon.

If the Mavs can remain relatively healthy and Chandler Parsons can carve out a slightly larger role, I expect the Mavs to snag the eighth seed and stay ahead of the Jazz and Kings.

Next: The Mavs are Better Than You Think

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