NBA Playoffs: Ranking the teams most likely to return to the playoffs in 2024

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks
Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks – Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

Potential 2024 Playoff Team #1: Dallas Mavericks

When the Mavs traded for Kyrie Irving, the last thing the team expected was the need to shut down their stars to secure a better lottery pick. Having a star tandem of Luka Doncic and Irving, two of the best individual offensive talents in the entire league, was meant to instead catapult the team into favorite status in a weak west.

Over the past two months since they acquired Irving, the Mavericks have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league, ranking 26th in defensive rating since February 6th. They’ve held up their end of the bargain on offense, ranking in the top half of the league, but with such a lack of cohesion on D, the team has found wins to be few and far between.

Luka and Kyrie have shown their skills together, topping 40 points each a few times and taking turns dishing out pain to their opponents. While they’ve had some off nights next to each other, the combined prowess of each stellar ball-handler has been too much for other teams to hope to contain:

If Dallas can nab a top ten lottery pick in one of the more loaded drafts in recent memory, the team would be in line for a massive jump up in the standings.

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Armed with a young difference maker, a cadre of capable shooters, and two bonafide stars in Doncic and Irving, the Mavs would have everything they need to make another playoff push.