NBA Christmas: A gift for each team’s wish list in 2018

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /
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Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images /

Dallas Mavericks: A playoff berth

The Dallas Mavericks may currently sit in 11th place in the Western Conference standings, but they’re only 0.5 games back of the 8-seed. That’s how tight the playoff race is in the West, and after an ugly 2-7 start, hardly anyone expected them to respond as a potential playoff team.

But respond they did, sporting a 13-8 record since, and that mark would be even better if not for their current four-game skid. The Mavs aren’t world-beaters, but Luka Doncic has been truly impressive and now that Harrison Barnes is on the court, they’re finding their groove. Everyone wants to make the postseason, but doing so would hold a particular significance to this group.

Give Rick Carlisle a couple of talented guys, some quality role players and a little depth and he’s able to churn out playoff-caliber teams with dangerous second units. That’s exactly what’s happening in Dallas at the moment, and with this possibly being Dirk Nowitzki‘s final season, returning to the playoffs is the only real goal that makes any sense. Check back with Santa in April.