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No. 10 seed
2012-13 Season Record: 3-0, OKC
The Dallas Mavericks are the most favorable matchup the Oklahoma City Thunder could get in the first round of the playoffs. These two teams are a study in just how far up or down a team can go in just a few years.
Two years ago, the Mavericks defeated the Thunder handily in the conference finals, with the latter looking extremely inferior to the former. Since then, Dallas has been decimated by defections, while Oklahoma City has continued to get better.
The biggest reason Dallas cannot hang with Oklahoma City is the interesting dichotomy of age and youth on its roster.
Many Mavericks are too old to make Dallas a contender anymore. Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter are still decent players, but none are the playmakers they used to be. Go ahead and throw Elton Brand and Chris Kaman in that group as well.
The other half of the roster is comprised of young players who lack superstar potential. O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison are very good players, but they are not good enough to push the team over the edge into contention. In fact, they may not even be good enough to push Dallas into a playoff spot.
The Thunder have dynamic young talent that is better at nearly every position. This matchup would be a sweep.