The Mavericks have a mega star in Luka Doncic who has the ball in his hands on every possession. They’re trying to figure out everything else. Dallas has been a very good offensive team that defends at a below league-average level the last two years, and they made a few moves to sure up that end of the floor over the summer. Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown should both provide tough perimeter defense and more spacing around Doncic. The free agent additions should help, but Dallas still needs Kristaps Porzingis to get back to playing at an All-Star level to rise a tier in the West.
After a summer of upheaval ending with Luka Doncic signing a max rookie extension, the Dallas Mavericks find consistency of play on both sides of the ball. Jason Kidd answers all the questions around him, allowing Luka to play fast and free while getting the team to play at least league average defense. Dallas finds a way to play through their fairly balanced schedule, finish the regular season with home court advantage, and win their first playoff series since the 2011 championship.
Despite a promising fresh start following a strange summer, the Dallas Mavericks open the season rocky as everyone struggles to adapt to Jason Kidd’s archaic offensive philosophies while trying to play a defensive scheme they don’t have the personnel for. Luka Doncic’s bubbling petulance (he led the league in technical fouls) overflows as he and constantly dour Kristaps Porzingis clash as Porzingis isn’t productive or efficient while constantly throwing passive aggressive barbs in the media. The Mavericks struggle with consistency and while they make the playoffs as a result of the play-in, lose in the first round. Again.
As there’s been very little rotation turnover (Reggie Bullock swaps out for Josh Richardson), the most likely outcome is a season similar in results to 2020-21. The Mavericks should win between 45 and 50 games and look really good in the regular season. There’s the aforementioned Jason Kidd factor to consider, but at this point everyone should know the drill. Dallas should be good on offense, bad on defense, and weirdly entertaining most nights.
Luka Doncic looked thin, for him at least, at media day. His rookie year he was in such bad shape he wore an undershirt for part of the season. Last year he, and most of the Mavericks, seemed unprepared to start the year and he just looked bad for the December 2020 games. Luka Doncic in shape and motivated by getting so close to his dream of an Olympic medal, the only thing he has to channel that frustration into is his additional quest of a NBA title.