Oooooohhhhhhh boy, y'all. This week's rankings are a little interesting (in a bad way, maybe, for us Mavericks fans.) But it doesn't only apply to the Mavs. For the first time in a long time, there seem to be quite a few teams who rankers don't know what to do with -- or at least, have wildly different opinions on.
Thanks to the Monday and Tuesday days off, for once these rankings don't come with a caveat for the Mavs (though they don't reflect games played by other teams on Monday or Tuesday). Here we go...
- This is interesting, and why it's a good exercise to do a composite rank. The Mavericks are anywhere from 9-14. The Suns are either 9 or 13-14. The Warriors are either 8 or 11-12. The Grizzlies are anywhere between 9-16. All the teams moved down this week, and the Suns ALMOST moved down as much as the Mavericks. So, while it looks bad for the Mavericks this week, the reality is that, of the teams that matter, they're not doing measurably worse.
- Despite this, for better or worse, don't forget that at the moment, the Mavericks are still in control of that 8th playoff spot.
- The variability in rankings extends all the way down. Look at, for example, the Magic, Lakers, and Nuggets. Each of them has at least a five spot difference between the high and low ranks. Those teams of course aren't doing anything this season (we don't think), but just goes to show the craziness of this week's numbers extends all the way down. At least the Bucks and 76ers still have those bottom spots locked down?
- The Bulls are this week's rankings darling, having moved up the most of any team. Certainly makes me feel a little better about them beating the Mavericks, and I'll be interested to see if that trend continues or if it's just a one week wonder.
Vince Carter has scored 15-plus in five straight games (shooting 18-for-35 from 3-point range) and the Mavs had a nice little run against bad teams. But their defense helped the Knicks make things interesting on Monday and couldn't stop the #fullsquad Spurs on Sunday. It's now allowed almost 113 points per 100 possessions in 19 games against the top nine teams in the West.
Dirk Nowitzki has a real shot to become just the third player ever, along with Larry Bird (two) and Steve Nash (four), to post multiple 50-40-90 seasons. He'd give it all up, of course, for a ticket to, say, at least Round 2 of the playoffs. At the moment? His Mavs still aren't sure they'll even get there.
You want that playoff spot, you're going to have to pry it out of their cold, lotto hands.
The Mavs have one of the best offenses in the league, but they haven't had much success against elite defenses. Dallas' last four losses have come against teams in the top 10 in defensive efficiency, while its last four wins have come against teams in the bottom 10 in the defensive efficiency.