A little over two weeks ago the Dallas Mavericks, losers of nine of their last 10 games and owners of a 13-23 record, had little practical hope of making the playoffs. The team and coaching staff kept fighting, insistent that Dallas could become a playoff contender. A recent 6-2 streak has justified their optimism and propelled the Mavericks to a 19-25 record, good for 10th in the conference and offering a small glimmer of hope for retaining the league’s longest active playoff streak. Does the recent quality of play foretell a return to the postseason for Dallas?
Hardly. The odds remain strongly stacked against the Mavericks, and as well as they’ve played recently, most analysts still view the possibility of Dallas stealing the eighth seed as remote. John Hollinger’s NBA playoff odds, assembled by simulating the remainder of the season 5,000 times, give Dallas an 18.1% chance of making the playoffs. According to the popular prediction market Intrade, there’s a greater chance of NASA announcing the discovery of extraterrestrial life by the end of 2015 than the Mavericks making this year’s playoffs.