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Justin Jackson hopes Dallas will be in the playoffs next season

Justin Jackson, Luka Doncic

The LA Clippers and cross-arena rival Los Angeles Lakers fancy themselves championship favorites next season. The Utah Jazz finally geared up for a title run, adding some high-quality offensive punch. The Houston Rockets, with the two most ball-dominant players in league history, will definitely be heard from come spring. The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers certainly aren’t planning on wasting last season’s progress. The San Antonio Spurs should be back in the playoffs yet again, and fully healthy, have hopes of winning a round, too.

That’s seven Western Conference teams who it would be very difficult to imagine missing the postseason in 2019-20, before accounting for the rebuilt New Orleans Pelicans and upstart Sacramento Kings. Where does that leave the Dallas Mavericks? Third-year forward Justin Jackson isn’t totally sure, but seems confident his team will compete for the playoffs this season, and can’t wait for the challenge of doing so.

“I came into the league on a team that didn’t win many games, and last year, I finished up the year here and we weren’t in the playoff run,” Jackson said, per team beat writer Eddie Sefko. “It’s going to be exciting to see when we’re actually playing for something at the end of the day. It’ll be really fun.”

Dallas projects as outside the playoffs next season as free agency comes to a close, after missing out on adding an impact player yet again. But with Luka Doncic poised to improve on an eye-opening rookie season and Kristaps Porzingis set to make his debut, the Mavericks certainly have enough top-end talent to fight for a postseason berth in 2019-20, a significant shift from previous seasons.