At least twice a year, ESPN puts out a Future Power Rankings piece that ranks a team not by this year, but over the next three seasons, so 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25. There are five factors which they rank a team on a scale of 1 to 100, then they rank those scores in order for each NBA team. Those factors are as follows, with the percentage indicating how much that weighs into the overall score:
- Players (53.8%) - Current players and their potential for the future, factoring in expected departures
- Management (15.4%) - Quality and stability of front office, ownership, coaching
- Money (15.4%) - Projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax
- Market (7.7%) - Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city’s desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans
- Draft (7.7%) - Future draft picks; draft positioning
To oversimplify things, a team’s current players and how much those player can grow are the biggest factor, followed by how the ESPN staff (Kevin Pelton, Bobby Marks, Andre’ Snellings and Tim Bontemps) rates a team’s management, then the projections for how the salary cap looks for a team, followed by a somewhat nebulous market score, then how a team’s draft situation looks. It’s all here in the full piece, along with the entire set of rankings.
For this edition of the rankings, the Mavericks fell from 12th in March to 13th now. Their rankings and scores were as follows:
- Players - 15th with a score of 60
- Management - 12th with a score of 55
- Money - 16th with a score of 47
- Market - 12th with a score of 56
- Draft - 21st (tied) with a score of 35
- Over all score of 55.7
Bobby Marks went on to explain the ranks and scores
The Mavericks remain in a holding pattern despite reaching the Western Conference finals and having MVP candidate Luka Doncic under contract through the next five seasons. The stagnation is a result of a roster that is dominated by rotational players, a likely luxury tax penalty this year, over the salary cap in 2023-24 and owing New York a top-10 first-round pick in June. Despite the financial restrictions on its roster, GM Nico Harrison has been aggressive in the trade market, swapping former All-Star Kristaps Porzingis for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. As a result, Dallas has seven tradable candidates that earn between $10 and $20 million this season.
The ranking of 13th, despite making the Western Conference Finals is yet another reminder of the team building miscues during Luka Doncic’s rookie season. Falling in the 2018 draft lottery was painful and while a team would trade up to get Doncic every time, the ensuing trade for Kristaps Porzingis set the Mavericks back in ways that weren’t predictable at the time (they owe this year’s pick to the New York Knicks as the final part of that trade).
Pair not having assets to make additional splash trades with bad drafting in 2020 and the hit or miss nature of free agency and we have a team featuring a generational superstar and a variety of role players. Christian Wood could, and hopefully will, pan out to be the teammate we’ve all wanted for Luka Doncic for years. But for now, Dallas will have to live with a future prediction that is mediocre at best.