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NBA Power Rankings: Dallas Mavericks Are At No. 15 As Playoffs Approach

The reigning NBA champions will be no higher than the sixth seed in the Western Conference when the playoffs begin, and in Tom Ziller's latest power rankings for SB Nation, the Dallas Mavericks check in at No .15.

This is truly the first time an NBA champion can play the disrespect card. Everyone wants to face the Mavericks in the West bracket, not because teams don't fear Dallas, but because teams fear everyone else even more.

Dallas has not shown any signs of a chance to repeat last season's run. The Mavericks have dropped five of their last 10 games and haven't beaten a team seeded ahead of them since knocking off the Memphis Grizzlies on April 4.

They will wrap up the regular season on Thursday with a trip to Atlanta. It is the first time the two teams have met all season.

For more on the Mavericks go visit Mavs Moneyball.

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