The Walking Dead: Mavs, Jazz

Why Dallas and Utah won't get out of the first round this postseason

Originally Published: April 26, 2012
By Neil Paine | Basketball-Reference.com
Dirk NowitzkiRuss Isabella/US PresswireIt's probably not going to be a pleasant postseason for Paul Millsap or Dirk Nowitzki.

On Tuesday, Chris Broussard profiled four teams (the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers) that scouts considered potential spoilers -- squads that could potentially break the Finals stranglehold we always assumed belonged to the likes of the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. Whether because of raw talent, toughness or a combination of both, the scouts felt that quartet would make more than a little noise before the season was over.

And then at the other end of the spectrum, there are the teams we like to call "The Walking Dead:" the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks. Despite having superficially similar records to the spoilers, these teams are not on anybody's short list of potential giant-killers -- primarily because they have fatal flaws that will, most likely, doom them in the postseason.

For a look at the Eastern Conference "Walking Dead" teams, click here. What follows is a look at the West.

Dallas Mavericks


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Neil Paine writes for FiveThirtyEight, the data-supported sports, politics and culture site coming soon from ESPN.