With the Dallas Mavericks having 22 games left in the season and only two of those games being against a team with a higher standing in the Western Conference (2 homes games against the LA Lakers later in April), we are getting closer to the playoffs and it’s time to introduce you to the Dallas Mavericks Standings Report.
Despite only having two games left against Western Conference teams with a higher winning percentage, the Mavericks are in a situation that is both a gift and a curse. A gift because their remaining Strength of Schedule is the second lowest in the NBA. The Portland Trailblazers, Phoenix Suns and LA Lakers all have higher current seedings but also top five SOS in terms of difficulty for remainder of the season. A curse due to Dallas having only two opportunities to directly shorten a 1 game gap from a team ahead of them by picking up a win.
Why is it important for the Dallas Mavericks to finish above the 7th seed and how does a play-in tournament work?
This year the NBA abandoned their regular top eith teams in each conference system and adopted a new “Play-In tournament” which consists of 3 games. The teams that would usually be 7th and 8th seed in regular playoff format will play the first game with the winner being the new 7th seed. The second game will be the 9th seed and 10the seed facing each other with the winner of this game facing the loser of the first game for the right to be become the 8th seed and face the number one seed in the West in the first round currently held by the Utah Jazz.
Coming off a disappointing loss to the Rockets, if the season ended today, the Dallas Mavericks would be the 7th seed and the Western Conference play-in tournament would look something like this:
- (7) Dallas Mavericks vs. (8) Memphis Grizzles
- (9) San Antonio Spurs vs. (10) Golden State Warriors
- Loser of Game 1 vs Winner of Game 2
A Luka Doncic and Ja Morant matchup for the first play-in game would be an interesting matchup between two of the best stars below the age of 23 and should be in the Mavericks favor. The Grizzles’ second-best player Jaren Jackson Jr. is still hurt and Dallas easily defeated Memphis in the only game against them this year on February 2nd.
First Round Matchup
Assuming Dallas wins the game above, this would result in the Mavericks play the Phoenix Suns, a team that has beaten us not once, not twice, but three times this year. The Suns have two top tier closers, a top 10 defense and offense and have the most versatile young defenders in the West that can guard multiple positions.
Additionally, the possibility of the Utah Jazz losing games and dropping to the two seed concerns me more since they have also beaten Dallas three times.
The Mavs NEED to avoid the 7th seed and the Play-In tournament in general and and lock down the 6th seed or higher. The Mavericks have to take advantage of the weak schedule and hope either the Blazers remaining Strength of Schedule and defensive woes cause them to drop or the Lakers injury problems continue.
Any rise to 6th means likely playing the Clippers. The Mavericks have played the other Los Angeles team well this season.
With the Play-In tournament starting on May 18th, the NBA Playoffs slowly approaching. Standings are changing every day, let’s hope the continue trying to rise in the standings.
Upcoming Schedules for the Western Conference Playoff Contenders:
Utah Jazz: 4/8 vs Blazers, 4/10 vs Kings, 4/12 vs Wizards, 4/13 vs Thunder
Phoenix Suns: 4/8 @ Clippers, 4/10 vs Wizards, 4/12 vs Rockets, 4/13 vs Heat
LA Clippers: 4/8 vs Suns, 4/9 vs Rockets, 4/11 vs Pistons, 4/13 @ Pacers
Denver Nuggets: 4/9 vs Spurs, 4/11 vs Nuggets, 4/12 @ Warriors, 4/14 vs Heat
LA Lakers: 4/8 @ Heat, 4/10 @ Nets, 4/12 @ Knicks, 4/13 @ Hornets
Portland Trail Blazers: 4/8 @ Jazz, 4/10 vs Pistons, 4/11 vs Heat, 4/13 vs Celtics
Dallas Mavericks: 4/8 vs Bucks, 4/11 vs Spurs, 4/12 vs 76ers, 4/14 vs Grizzles
Memphis Grizzles: 4/9 @ Knicks, 4/11 vs Pacers, 4/12 vs Bulls, 4/14 @ Mavericks
San Antonio Spurs: 4/9 @ Nuggets, 4/11 @Mavericks, 4/12 @ Magic, 4/14 @ Raptors
Golden State Warriors: 4/9 vs Wizards, 4/10 vs Rockets, 4/12 vs Nuggets, 4/14 @ Thunder