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NBA Power Rankings: Doncic’s Mavs Contenders or Pretenders?

The Dallas Mavericks have had an up-and-down offseason, but at the very least, they should still be a strong playoff team next season.

When it comes to grading the Dallas Mavericks’ offseason, some might be willing to mark it as being “incomplete” before assessing a final letter grade. 

The summer started out on fire for Dallas, as it traded for Christian Wood and traded into the second round of the NBA Draft to select Jaden Hardy, who was the 19th prospect on their draft board. However, when free agency rolled around, the Mavs lost arguably their second-best player in Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks, and their only real signing was 34-year-old JaVale McGee.

Given that combination of moves, did the Mavs, who are coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance, actually get better? If so, was the marginal improvement enough to move them firmly into title contender status? The Athletic doesn’t believe so, according to their new NBA Power Rankings which has the Mavs as the No. 8 overall team, but in “Tier 3” as just a playoff team.

“Did this team get better? I do think the Dallas Mavericks got a little better but it’s tricky. Losing Brunson will be big, even with the addition of Spencer Dinwiddie last season,” wrote Zach Harper.

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“Brunson was steady, and they needed that presence. Wood has to prove he plays winning basketball. The talent is there, but they need his skills on offense along with real effort on defense. Jason Kidd should be the guy who can get through to him though.”

As for the McGee signing? Despite his age, McGee is expected to be a much-needed addition to the Mavs’ frontcourt along with Wood. Getting Tim Hardaway Jr.’s contributions off the bench again will help as well, but the Mavs still need a little more.

“The McGee pickup was really big for them, as they’ve needed some real interior depth,” wrote Harper. “They need Tim Hardaway Jr. back and healthy, but this team had such a great season. I know they made the conference finals, but they’ll have to keep improving to keep up with that West landscape.”

With training camp less than two months away, we’ll see if the Mavs can add another piece or two via trade. If not, there will still be an open roster spot that could potentially go to a training camp standout.

Whether the Mavs make another big move or not, it’s hard for us to count them out as title contenders while Luka Doncic, who should continue to improve in his fifth season, remains on the roster.