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Power Tankings: Ranking the race to the bottom

No one likes watching bad basketball. Mavs Moneyball has got you covered.

2018 JBL Three-Point Contest Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With eight teams in contention for last place, it can be tough to know where the Dallas Mavericks stand in the race to the bottom. Welcome to Power Tankings, a new weekly column in which we track the ups and downs of the worst teams in the league so that you don’t have to.

Each Monday, we’ll dive down to the bottom of the barrel and see which teams are on their way up and which teams are clawing their way down toward ever better draft lottery odds.

Starting next week we’ll show you how each team has moved relative to the others. This week, we’ll just get our bearings.

Here’s how the worst eight teams in the league stack up:

The Bottom Eight

23 Bulls 21 41 0.339 28 -6.1 W1 3-7
24 Magic 20 43 0.317 29.5 -4.2 W2 3-7
25 Kings 20 44 0.313 30 -7.8 W1 3-7
26 Nets 20 44 0.313 30 -4.1 L3 1-9
27 Hawks 20 44 0.313 30 -4.5 W1 3-7
28 Mavericks 19 45 0.297 31 -2.9 L3 2-8
29 Suns 19 46 0.292 31.5 -8.5 L2 1-9
30 Grizzlies 18 44 0.29 31 -4.7 L13 0-10

Where Dallas stands

Just three games separate the worst and the eighth-worst teams in the league. Dallas currently sits in 28th place, neck-and-neck with the league-worst Grizzlies. This is thanks in large part to wins by the Kings and the Hawks last night as Dallas lost to the Pelicans. Unfortunately for those on #teamtank, the Mavericks have one of the easiest schedules in the league going forward. Via Tankathon, Dallas has the 21st hardest remaining schedule, easier than all but two of the other teams gunning for last place.

Standouts this week

The Memphis Grizzlies walked away victorious the loser of a match against the Phoenix Suns earlier this week that pitted two teams on 10-game losing streaks against each other. The team is now in the midst of a truly impressive 13-game losing streak, fueled in part by injuries (the team has missed veteran point guard Mike Conley for the better part of the season; Marc Gasol, Chandler Parsons, and Tyreke Evans have all missed time, as well) and in part by the team’s lack of talent.

At the other end of the tank, the Orlando Magic are the only team in this group to be on a winning streak right now after beating the Pistons and then handing Memphis their 13th consecutive loss. Possibly not coincidentally, Orlando also has the easiest schedule going forward of these eight teams. If you’re hoping for some more separation between the teams, you may want to cheer the Magic on as they face Utah tonight.

Tank versus tank

With the teams so close and roughly 18 games remain in the season, there’s plenty of room for movement. Each game played is enough to create meaningful change in the rankings.

That makes tank-on-tank match-ups especially interesting. Over the past week, the bottom eight teams faced each other six times, offering the competing teams a shot a a two-for-one loss and ensuring that several unlucky teams were pushed ever further from the coveted last place. This included Chicago’s impressive comeback win against the Mavericks Dallas’ epic loss to the Bulls on Friday night, a feat that helped land the Mavericks just half-a-game out of last place.

This week’s awful eight action is a bit lighter, but games to keep an eye on include Memphis at Chicago (3/7), Orlando at Sacramento (3/9), and Chicago at Atlanta (3/11). But Mavericks fans interested in seeing some not-so-great basketball played for incredibly high stakes should mark their calendars for March 10 when the current league-worst Memphis Grizzlies come to town.

Will the Dallas Mavericks break would could at that point be a 16-game losing streak for the Grizzlies or will the Mavericks continue to improve their lottery odds? I think I speak for all of us when I say this is a question we really hope not to be asking this time next season.

Go Mavs?