The Mavericks took another positive step in the right direction in the All Star Game edition of NBA Power Rankings. The one-night All Star Weekend represents a rough midpoint of the season, and the message is clear for Dallas: Doncic and Co. are finding their footing, winning eight of their last ten, after a bit of adversity to start the season.
It’s pretty remarkable recalling the number of setbacks this team has faced: Kristaps Porzingis missing the beginning of the season, Luka Doncic starting off the season sluggish, a devastating COVID outbreak, and a Texas winter crisis. An 18-16 record through all that is quite impressive.
Here’s a look at how they’re trending:
Now let’s see what analysts had to say about the Mavericks this week:
Last Week: 11
The Mavs survived a rough January, found their offense, and won nine of their last 11 games before the break. Luka Doncic averaged 31.7 points (on 52% shooting) over that stretch and his team managed to win ugly without him on Wednesday. The Mavs have now won games in which they’ve allowed 130 points on 98 possessions (the worst defensive performance for any team in a win this season) and in which they’ve scored 87 points on 96 possessions (the worst offensive performance for any team in a win this season). So they’ve got that going for them.
They’ve also climbed ahead of the Warriors into eighth place in the West. And two of their first three games coming out of the break are against the seventh-place Spurs (against whom they’re 1-0) and sixth-place Nuggets (with the game on Saturday determining the season series).
Last Week: 15
It’s the same big question from the start of the season, and Porzingis certainly didn’t provide any sort of affirmative answer in the first half of the season, when he was working his way back into shape after missing the beginning of the season following knee surgery. Porzingis had the worst defensive rating among NBA rotation players until recently, but he has shown evidence of physical improvement over the past month. The Mavs need him to be a consistent two-way force to complement superstar Luka Doncic.
Last Week: 13
After struggling early in the season, the Mavericks have found their footing. Dallas has won eight of its last 10 games, and it all starts with its star, Luka Doncic. Doncic has played in nine of those games, putting up 30.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists while connecting on 44.6 percent of his 8.2 three-point attempts per game.
The key for the Mavs will be keeping the production coming from Kristaps Porzingis, who has averaged 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds while playing in seven of the last 10 games. If they can keep him on the court and he continues to play like this, they could be in good shape. It will be important for Dallas to not let up coming out of the break as six of its first seven games are against the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers. It will have to hit the ground running.
Last Week: 10
Luka Doncic has once again been phenomenal, averaging 28.6 points, nine assists and 8.4 rebounds in the first half, and the Mavericks managed to rattle off some wins before the break to put themselves back in playoff position. Kristaps Porzingis has struggled on both ends so far while dealing with injuries, and the Mavs are going to need him at full strength if they’re going to make a move in the Western Conference.