The Dallas Mavericks had very little movement in this week’s slate of NBA Power Rankings. That’s understandable, as they only played one game due to the postponed match-ups as a result of the Texas winter crisis, and their game against Portland went down to the wire. Before that, the Mavericks were beginning to find their offensive game but had significant room to improve defensively.
One of our commenters had the great suggestion that I should have some sort of visual showing the Mavericks’ trend in these Power Rankings over time. So here y’all go!
This graph tracks the power rankings provided by NBA.com, CBS Sports, ESPN, and Bleacher Report, which I believe are the only sites that consistently release them weekly.
Let’s take a look at where the Mavericks sit this week:
Last Week: 12
The Mavs’ offense had found a rhythm when winter weather wiped out both of their games last week. They’d scored 124.7 points per 100 possessions over their previous seven, with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis both shooting better than 50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 84% from the line. That stretch came with an increase in shots in the paint (where he shot 62%) for Porzingis. For the season, he’s registering career-high marks in both the percentage of his shots that have come in the restricted area (25% — still well below the league average) and his field goal percentage in the restricted area (71.8%).
As a team, the Mavs are a little less of a jump-shooting team than they were last season, when they ranked last in the percentage of their shots that came in the paint (43%). They rank 23rd this season at 45%, though Doncic’s rate has remained steady. Outside the paint, the All-Star starter has actually seen a big drop in his ratio of 3-point attempts to mid-range attempts, from 9.5 last season to just 2.4 this season. He’s been shooting from mid-range at a higher volume and a higher percentage, with his 47.5% from between the paint and the 3-point line ranking 21st among 65 players with at least 50 mid-range attempts.
Last Week: 14
What’s harder than gauging a team that has played just two games? A team that’s played one. That one game was a loss against the Trail Blazers. But before that, the Mavericks were finding their rhythm, and that loss in Portland was a duel until the end.
Last Week: 16
The Mavericks had their only two games postponed this week due to government closures as Texas faces severe weather conditions. Dallas has home games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, so we’ll see if it’s able to play those.
Last Week: 14
Kristaps Porzingis has found his rhythm offensively, averaging 22.8 points on .500/.423/.903 shooting splits in February. But Porzingis’ defensive struggles are a major problem for the Mavs, who rely on him to protect the rim, a role he excelled in last season. He has the worst defensive rating (119.5) of any player in the league who averages at least 20 minutes per game — and it has shot up to 128.2 this month. “He’s had to play his way into shape, and it just hasn’t been the same,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a work in progress.” — MacMahon
Last Week: 17
The weather in Texas forced the Mavs to postpone all their games last week. Despite their loss to the Blazers in their last game on Feb. 14, they are playing better. It has not looked great at times, but Dallas’ offense is beginning to come together.
How far the Mavericks go this year depends on how much they can improve defensively. Dallas’ defensive rating is 27th, and it will be near impossible to reach the top 10. The goal should be to lift it out of the 20s by the end of the season.
The Mavericks face a very tough stretch of games this week against Boston, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. Check back in next week to see how they perform against these contenders, and where they end up on the Power Rankings.