As we did last season, Mavs Moneyball will be taking a look at some of the major rankings sites going forward and how they are treating the Mavericks from week to week. A couple of sites I included in this column last year are not doing traditional (or any) power rankings this year, so if there's a (mostly mainstream) site you know of that does them week to week that you'd like included in this going forward, holler atcha girl below.
I didn't go back and take a look at the first couple weeks of the season, but we all know how most national NBA types felt about the Mavs' chances coming into the season, with many ranking them at or near the bottom of the league. My, how times have changed. The sample size is still small, and a few teams that were supposed to be good (Rockets, Clippers) have fallen off a ledge. Nonetheless, the Mavs are winning, and beating teams of comparable if not better skill level, and the rankers have noticed.
You can read the full ranks for any site by clicking "what they said." This week's theme seems to be the under-ratedness of Zaza Pachulia and the brilliance of Dirk and Rick Carlisle. Let us know what you think of their thoughts and ranks in the comments!
This week: 11 Last week: 13
The East amazingly awoke with 11 teams over .500 on this Rankings Monday. The West is only up to five because the Mavs just uncorked a six-game win streak no one saw coming. Dallas is overachieving to such a degree that even its heartbreaking losses come with silver linings; JaVale McGee made his season debut in Sunday's narrow L at OKC.
This week: 7 Last week: 8
If it weren't so unbelievable, I'd have the Mavericks at No. 3. Signature wins, 12th-ranked offense, 10th-ranked defense, their bench is playing well, Dirk is a total monster again and they're by and large healthy. This is as good a start as you could have hoped for from Dallas.
This week: 7 Last week: 14
The Mavs won six straight games, holding their opponents under 96 points per 100 possessions and looking like a second-tier team in the West. But they couldn't stop Russell Westbrook and the Thunder on Sunday and have a tough road back-to-back this week. The Bucks miss Zaza Pachulia, who was Dallas' Plan B after DeAndre Jordan changed his mind and who averaged a double-double during the streak.
This week: 6 Last week: 12
Rick Carlisle. Who else, year after year, pulls together teams like he does? He's earning that contract extension, as the Mavs have battled roster turnover, age, injuries and a crowded West once again. They also have Zaza Pachulia, Raymond Felton and Dwight Powell as key rotation players. Their biggest test of the season comes Wednesday in San Antonio.