NBA Power Rankings: Buying the Mavs in the West; Clippers finally turning corner?

Are the Dallas Mavericks for real and have the LA Clippers finally turned the corner?

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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18. Houston Rockets

Making the decision to go out and surround their young talent with veteran difference-makers has already paid off for the Houston Rockets. This is a team that is going to be in the playoff picture pretty much all season long. Whether or not they end up making the playoffs is an entirely different conversation. However, it would be surprising at this point if they didn't at least make the Play-In Tournament in the Western Conference.

If the Rockets' young duo of Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun continues to develop as they should, there's a good chance that the Rockets end up being one of these teams that none of the veteran contenders will want to play in the first round. It's not that it would be likely for the Rockets to pull off the upset, but they would almost definitley make life unnecessarily difficult in that first-round playoff series.

Either way, it's good to see the Rockets take a step forward in the West standings compared to where they've been each of the last few seasons.