Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks’ breakout player will be…

Delon Wright. With all the attention on Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, Wright will have a massive opportunity to show out as a starter on opening night for the first time in his career. Wright was solid as a bench role player in Toronto and got to flex a little bit with more minutes after the trade deadline in Memphis. Now he’ll have a chance to prove himself as a legitimate starter by being the Mavericks best perimeter defender and a crucial secondary ballhandler so Doncic doesn’t have to do everything on every possession.

It all goes wrong if…

Kristaps Porzingis isn’t right. It’s been well over a year since Porzingis last took the court and while he’s getting rave reviews after his intense rehab, he still has an incredibly worrisome injury history for a 7’3 guy. Porzingis will be load managed but if another injury crops up and keeps him out of additional games, the Mavericks will be a lottery team again. Dallas had a humble summer, bringing back their own and signing low-key free agents. Porzingis has to produce.

What we’ll be saying about the Mavericks at the end of the season…

That the Mavericks will be one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. Even if they aren’t a playoff team, Dallas has a potent young All-Star duo that could lead the team for years to come. It also helps that they’re both incredibly exciting players. Dallas will be a league pass darling, fueled by eye-popping highlights from Doncic and Porzingis.

Final prediction

The Vegas line has changed in the last few weeks but the over/under line now sits at 40.5. That’s a spooky number for a team that hasn’t won more than 33 games in the past three seasons, even with the heightened expectations. While I think Dallas will be a fun team and a better team, I’m going with the under. But not by much! I feel like the Mavericks will settle in with 40 wins, which might be a disappointment for some fans but would still be a very successful season when you consider the gauntlet the Western Conference is. The Mavericks likely won’t be a playoff team but they’ll definitely put the league on notice that they are on the rise.

Final prediction: 40-42

Josh Bowe (@Boweman55)