Dallas Mavericks (36-38)
The Dallas Mavericks continue to be one of the more puzzling NBA teams in the 2022-23 NBA season. They seemed to be cruising on their way to another NBA Playoff appearance at the NBA Trade Deadline, but since that moment this team has played to an underwhelming 6-10 record. That has shocked some, as the Mavericks pried Kyrie Irving away from the Brooklyn Nets with a package that included:
Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, 2027 NBA Draft Round 2 pick, 2029 NBA Draft Rounds 1-2 picks. In return, the Mavericks acquired Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris.
The Timberwolves faced and defeated the new-and-improved Mavericks roster on Monday, February 13, 2023, in Dallas by a score of 124-121.
Since the trade deadline, and for the Mavericks’ remaining final eight games, it has been tough sledding. The Mavericks had a lengthy winning streak from late December 2022 through the first week of January 2023. The Mavericks’ front office may have wanted to bolster their roster to tune it up in time for the NBA Playoffs, but that strategy may have backfired and taken them out of the postseason picture altogether.
LA Lakers (367-37)
The Los Angeles Lakers took drastic steps to retrofit their roster with young playmakers, and so far that gambit appears to have paid off. While their headliner in the three-team trade that involved the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz is former Timberwolves PG D’Angelo Russell, Russell has been one of the least contributors to their recent run to the NBA Playoffs. Since the NBA Trade Deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers have played to an impressive 12-6 record.
Of those games, D’Angelo Russell has competed in just 11 games, games with a 7-4 record. Former Timberwolves players who were acquired from the Utah Jazz, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt, have competed in all 17 games. But the headliner right now on the Lakers roster is shooting guard sensation, Austin Reaves, who is competing in his second NBA season and is truly having a monster March. For the month, he is averaging 18.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 5.6 APG.
The Lakers have eight games remaining in their 2022-23 NBA season, and on paper, they appear to have one of the easiest finales of any team on this list. The Lakers face the Minnesota Timberwolves once, the LA Clippers once, and the Phoenix Suns once. If the Lakers avoid any unexpected losing streaks, they could be the stiffest competition that the Minnesota Timberwolves must outpace through the end of this season.