Welcome to the penultimate edition of Power Tankings! After moving up one spot last week, the Mavericks are holding steady in the 26th spot. In fact, almost everyone stayed put this week, with only the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings swapping the 24th and 25th spots.
But that doesn’t mean nothing interesting happened. Let’s dive in.
The Bottom Eight
|24||up 1||Brooklyn Nets||25||52||0.325||37||-4.1||L1||4-6|
|25||down 1||Sacramento Kings||25||53||0.321||37.5||-7.3||W1||4-6|
Where Dallas stands
We suggested last week that thanks to the Mavericks’ packed schedule, a little luck could mean a big move in the standings for Dallas. That is not what happened.
Instead, after four games Dallas still sits in the 26th spot. The team won just one of its four games this week, but it was a crucial tank-off against the Sacramento Kings, who’ve managed to move down one tick in the rankings, and it had pretty big implications for the standings:
After Mavs' loss at Cleveland and Atlanta's victory over Orlando, update of NBA's worst records:— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) April 2, 2018
If Mavs had not won at Sacramento in front of protest-limited crowd, they would be tied for 3rd-worst record.
Dallas faces the Trail Blazers, Magic, Pistons, and Seventy Sixers this week; two of those teams likely present massive challenges for the Mavericks, especially the streaking Sixers who’ve won 10 straight and are battling for playoff seeding in the East. The Mavs are capable of hanging with almost anyone (at least for three quarters), but they’ll likely end the week with at least two more losses under their belt.
Standouts this week
This edition’s tank-of-the-week award definitely goes to the Orlando Magic. While the team didn’t manage to move in the rankings, they did manage a perfect and important 0-3 this week:
Orlando has now lost to the Nets, Bulls and Hawks. I would have bet good money they would have won at least one of those games.— Sam Guertler (@SamGuertler) April 2, 2018
That puts them in odds-maximizing shape going down the final stretch, even if they likely can’t hope to compete with the absolute bottom of the barrel.
At the other end, the Chicago Bulls can’t seem to get out of the way of their own tank, snapping a seven-game losing streak with that consequential loss to the Magic (and a subsequent win over the Wizards). The Brooklyn Nets (the only team in this mix that has absolutely no incentive to be there) moved up a spot after going 2-3 this week, including the aforementioned win over the Magic.
Two of Dallas’ final five games come against bottom-eight teams: they’ll end the season against Phoenix after visiting Orlando on Wednesday. And after managing to move down one notch in the standings last week (thanks in part to their win over the Mavericks), Sacramento will face two bottom-eight matches this week.
In total, this week features four match-ups between the bottom eight teams:
Sacramento at Phoenix (Tuesday, 4/3), Dallas at Orlando (Wednesday, 4/4), Sacramento at Memphis (Friday, 4/6), and Brooklyn at Chicago (Saturday, 4/7).