ESPN does a periodic ranking of teams using 40 experts on their staff to determine the proper ranking of teams heading into the final eight games of the NBA season.
The Dallas Mavericks, currently 7th in the West and 13th overall (40-27 with a .597 winning percentage), came in at 10th in the power ranking!
Tim MacMahon had this to say about if Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis can pick up where they left off:
The top priority all season for the Mavs, who are a win away from accomplishing their preseason goal of making the playoffs, has been to tap in to the potential of the partnership between Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavs’ young franchise cornerstones didn’t click immediately, but Dallas has averaged 117.4 points per 100 possessions (significantly higher than its league-best overall offensive rating) in 307 minutes with that duo on the floor since Porzingis shifted to center on a full-time basis in late January. With Doncic healed from some nagging injuries, there’s a lot of excitement about watching the stars continue to grow together.
That the experts ranked Dallas ahead of both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz is worth mentioning. The Jazz have suffered some losses to their roster in the ensuing months since the hiatus, with Bojan Bogdanovic needing season ending surgery and Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell apparently not being on the best of terms. The Thunder, however, are the same team they were during the season, with Chris Paul playing like a MVP candidate and leading a cast that outperformed expectations all season.
The Mavericks are a bit of a darkhorse heading into Orlando. The general feel is that Dallas is a known quantity for how they play despite not having a line up with over 205 minutes played together in 67 games.
We’ll see if the thought holds as the NBA marches steadily towards re-opening at the end of July.