The Dallas Mavericks are on the rise in several different NBA power rankings, moving up anywhere from one to five spots. The Mavs are off to a 3-1 start, with their lone blemish a 113-94 loss to the Utah Jazz on Oct. 31.
The Mavs enjoyed their biggest rise in Marc Stein's ESPN.com NBA power rankings, moving up five spots from No. 16 to No. 11. Stein credits Darren Collison for overcoming a poor preseason to step up and help fill the void left by Dirk Nowitzki's absence:
It's a small source of consolation, since this team is obviously headed nowhere meaningful without a healthy Nowitzki, but Dirk's early unavailability has given Collison license and justification to be super aggressive. Which got the Mavs' new PG going after a rough preseason.
Dallas received a three-spot bump in Kurt Helin's rankings on Pro Basketball Talk. Collison was the recipient of more props, as was the Mavericks' offensive effort through their first three games:
Dallas has scored without Dirk Nowitzki thanks to Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo and some balance. We'll see how long they can keep that up, but the answer is at least a week. If they can hold on until Dirk gets back they are tough to keep out of the playoffs.
Last but not least, SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal moved the Mavs up one spot from his preseason rankings after a week of action. Rosenthal notes that Dallas looks vulnerable on the defensive interior, but has enjoyed success offensively with guards infiltrating the paint:
Darren Collison and Rodrigue Beaubois are giving them drive-and-kick looks they couldn't even imagine during the Jason Kidd era, and beyond that, they seem well staffed with guys who can create their own shots if need be. And with no Dirk, need be. On the other hand, even with Chris Kaman ready and Brandan Wright looking sharp in an increased role, this group can be pushed around a bit inside (ask the Jazz)