The 2019 Mavericks are a team that a lot of people think are going to do some big things this year. A lot of people are eyeing them for a playoff spot and it’s easy to see how you could be seduced by such a thing. That said, they finished with 24 wins last season and I think it’ll take at least 42 wins to make the playoffs in the West. That’s a big, big jump and with the team relying on so many young players that seems like a very difficult thing to do.
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Despite his success in Spain, there are questions. The three point line over there is a bit shooter and how he’ll do behind the NBA line is a question. Plus, he’s only 19 and all players that age have troubles on defense. Rick Carlisle is a hell of a coach and expects a lot from his players. I think he’ll do well in developing Doncic, but it may take some time.
He’ll pair with Dennis Smith Jr. on all the posters and dreams of the Mavericks fans. Last year’s top pick had a nice rookie season with 15.2 points per game and 5.2 assists per. His shooting percentages left a lot to be desired though and one would hope that was a top priority this offseason because 31.3% from three for a starting point guard won’t cut in today’s NBA.
The big offseason acquisition was DeAndre Jordan formerly of the Clippers. His defense is the key here and he has no trouble doing most of the dirty work for his team. That’s a good guy to have, but it’s increasingly difficult to fit a center in this modern NBA with everything so centered on spreading the floor. He’ll never hurt your team, but I wonder how far you can really go when you have to give big minutes to a traditional center.
Dirk Nowitzki can still contribute, but he’s not going to play big minutes. His body just can’t handle it. Whatever you get out of him will be good because he’s Dirk and any Dirk is good, but it won’t be what it was.
Which is where I think the problem with this team comes in. Dwight Powell and Dorian Finney-Smith are going to need to play some major minutes behind Dirk and I’m not sure those will always be good minutes. Their best lineups will be very guard heavy with Smith Jr, Doncic, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes and some combo of JJ Barea/Devin Harris/Finney-Smith/Powell. They’ll score, but where is the defense coming from?
I just don’t think the depth is there. As I said earlier Rick Carlisle is a heck of a coach and he’ll do some things to grab some wins they have no business getting, but at the end of the day this is still the Western Conference. Every night will be tough and there is just too much reliance on Smith Jr. and Doncic, too little defense and too little depth for me to pick this team making the playoffs.
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