Are the Mavericks underrated NBA playoff contenders?

The Mavs might be better than their record. Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Could the Dallas Mavericks be better than they've looked so far this season?

After Friday's 116-107 loss to the undefeated Toronto Raptors, the Mavericks are 2-3, with losses to two other teams that picked near the top of the 2018 lottery in the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns. All of that seems right in line with expectations for a team that won 24 games last year and had a preseason over/under total of 36 wins from the Westgate SuperBook Las Vegas.

Yet a closer look at the types of shots Dallas is getting, and forcing at the other end, suggests the Mavericks could be better than their record appears. Might Dallas be an under-the-radar playoff contender?