I don't want to overstate my case here. We expected the Dallas Mavericks to be a middle-of-the-pack Western Conference playoff team that couldn't hang with the big boys, and with Dallas projected to win 49 games and 4th in the West, nobody is making dramatic revisions to their forecasts just yet.
Thus, saying the championship window remains "open" for this team seems like a stretch.
But I would definitely describe it as "unlocked."
In all likelihood, the Mavericks need more help if they're going to pose a legitimate threat to the Lakers in the Western Conference. Nonetheless, the good news from the first three weeks of the regular season is that Dallas appears to be in far better shape than generally imagined. Throwing open that window may require a hard push from a midseason transaction, but the thing isn't bolted shut.
So, in summary:
The Mavs are good. … But not that good.
They are middle-of-the-pack … But the fourth-best team.
They can't hang with the big boys … But they are in better shape than generally imagined.
The championship window isn't locked … But it is shut … But it's open. … But not really.
Trollinger's got ‘em down for a 49-33 record. But he says Dallas' record could be as low as 31-51 and could be as high as 66-16. (Smart to stick right in the middle of that, John.) And he says Dallas has a "90.1 percent'' chance of making the NBA Playoffs.
Now THAT I understand … though my formula has Dallas down as an 87.696-percent chance.
But that would be splitting hairs, eh?