Both the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves were projected to win quite a few games this year. Sure, maybe not Top 4 in the Western Conference, but playoff teams across the board from most news outlets. The Wolves will be starting the season without Ricky Rubio, and now Kevin Love as well. The new-look Mavs will be without Dirk Nowitzki. The projection for both Dirk and Kevin has them sitting out 'about' 6 weeks of action. Seeing how the first week is still the preseason no one really cares about that. Medically 6 weeks usually means 4 to 7 weeks. That's the "likely return zone" that I would have for both dudes. I haven't examined them or anything, but whatevs ...
In the off chance that both teams are without their stars after 10 weeks then they are both sunk. That doesn't mean I don't "beleeb!" in those two squads to be able to face adversity. It's just that I don't care much for them. That said, I did think they'd both be winning a number of games. After all, I had the T-Wolves 17-10 after ten weeks from today. And I had the Mavs at 15-9 after eight weeks. I think both of these teams, when healthy, can win on almost any night. In fact, I could say that I think those teams, when healthy, have more firepower than my own Utah Jazz.
All that said, they are both starting the season injured, which leaves an opportunity for my team (and, I guess, the Golden State Warriors too).
Here's the break down from week to week for both squads.
Here's the weekly info w/o the game by game info.
The move from Week 4 to Week 5 is the big one. Both teams don't suffer much if their big stars are out for 3 weeks. It starts to make a difference as they both end Week 4 with 4 less wins than they would normally have. The Mavs can hold it together a bit better, maxing out at only 6 less wins than normal between Week 6 and Week 10. And by that time Dirk should be back anyway. The Timberwolves, already minus Rubio, can get into trouble early. If Love misses 6 weeks his team is down -5 wins. If he misses 8 weeks, his team is down -7 wins. And the schedule gets worse after that.
Overall, within the confines of the "likely return zone" and the up and down aspect of the season, I think both teams can easily make up for 3-5 extra losses early if they gel down the stretch. That said, 3-5 losses in the Western Conference is still a difference between 6th place and the lottery. Both teams look to be somewhere between those two poles when 82 games are done. The only other distinguishing issue is that the Mavs play the east 15 times, and the T-Wolves play the east 13 times in these ten weeks. Western Conf record matters for playoff seeding.
So, yeah. Go Jazz Go!