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2012 NBA power rankings: Mavericks middling in latest levels

With a .500 record through the Dallas Mavericks' first dozen games, it's only fitting that most power rankings have them square in the middle of the pack.

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Dallas Mavericks sit square in the center of most NBA power rankings, including the new set released this week by SB Nation, where they're ranked 15th.

The Dallas offense has been superb, with their 100.8 points per game good enough for fourth in the NBA. The defense has left something to be desired, surrendering 99.8 points per game (22nd league-wide). It remains to be seen how big a boost the Mavericks will experience when superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki returns from a knee injury.

SB Nation NBA contributor Seth Rosenthal writes that the Mavs must find some consistency.

The bounce-back win over the Cavericks was nice, but the Mavaliers are sliding a bit, often because they lose steam in second halves. No shame in hovering around .500 while Dirk Nowitzki is out, though, as long as they can keep doing that. Meanwhile, the Bernard James experience has been delightful so far.

ESPN's Marc Stein ranks the Mavs 14th, highlighting O.J. Mayo's sterling play of late. Matt Moore over at CBS Sports Eye on Basketball slots Dallas 13th, and opines that coach Rick Carlisle is seriously missing Dirk. Kurt Helin at NBC's ProBasketballTalk awards the Mavericks the 13th spot as well, but notes Elton Brand's shooting troubles as a potential worry.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.