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Power rankings: Mavericks move into solid top five status

Thanks to Rajon Rondo's defense and Carlisle's quick study in changing rotations, the Mavs seem to have already figured things out.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last week was the first set of rankings with some legitimate sample size of "Rondo Games Played" and reviews still seemed mixed at best. Now, with an entire week of wins under their belts (not even counting last night!), the Mavericks have dared the rankers to keep them out of the top five.

Matt Moore puts them at 6, and he's not wrong that the West is a tough, tough mistress -- but with an improved defense and not as much dropoff offensively as feared, the Mavericks seem to be holding their own and then some.

Remember, these comments and ranks were made BEFORE last night's Brooklyn game and as such don't reflect that win. Thoughts and feelings, kids? Let's hear you in the comments.

SB Nation

This Week: 4 Last Week: 5

What they said:

The Mavericks' offense might be adjusting to incorporating Rajon Rondo, but their defense has immediately gotten better...Meanwhile, Rondo's individual on-court defense rating has been a phenomenal: Dallas is allowing just 95.2 points per 100 possessions while he's on the floor. That's what happens when you save up on playing defense for a few seasons.

They heard y'all last week and included another nifty graphic:

Yahoo! Sports

This Week: 5 Last Week: 6

What they said:

The Mavericks are the hottest team in the West right now with five straight wins and a 6-2 record since acquiring Rajon Rondo.

CBS Sports

This Week: 6 Last Week: 10

What they said:

I'm still not sold on Dallas as a title contender. Their defense has been 11th-best in points allowed per possession the past two weeks, but they're still living and dying by their offense. But man, what an offense. With the right set of matchups ... see? This is what I'm talking about with the West. You can talk yourself into anybody contending, except the Lakers and Wolves.


This Week: 5 Last Week: 8

What they said:

The Mavs were a mere 20th in defensive efficiency when Rajon Rondo arrived, allowing 105.1 points per 100 possessions. In the seven games since, Dallas has been in the upper third. P.S. Dirk Nowitzki is just 13 points shy of passing Moses Malone for seventh on the NBA's career scoring chart.

Sports Illustrated

This Week: 5 Last Week: 8

What they said:

It's no surprise that Rajon Rondo is creating offense in Dallas, but it is surprising the way he's doing it. Rondo scored 29 points in his return to Boston on Friday and is averaging career highs in points (15.4) and field-goal attempts (14.7) as a Maverick. The directive from Rick Carlisle is clear: if you're open, shoot it.