2021-22 NBA season preview: about Dallas Mavericks. Data, results from the previous season, a look at their squad and future free agents, the objectives of the course, the player to watch and a forecast on the franchise.
- Market movements: Tim Hardaway Jr. and Boban Marjanovic renewals. Reggie Bullock, Sterling Brown and Frank Ntilikina arrivals. Josh Richardson and Nicolo Melli exits (all moves here).
- Backcourt: Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jalen Brunson, Reggie Bullock, Trey Burke, Josh Green, Sterling Brown, Frank Ntilikina.
- Frontcourt: Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, Willie Cauley-Stein, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell, Boban Marjanovic, Moses Brown.
This is how they face the season
It is difficult to say that one season has been positive compared to the previous one when its outcome is almost identical. Yes, after losing to the Clippers in six first-round games in the West, the Dallas Mavericks were once again beaten by the Los Angeles team at the first exchange rate. Although this time it took a seventh meeting. However, the reality is that in 2020-21 the project has reached a new stage of maturity, although it is difficult to draw generally optimistic conclusions.
As has been happening since 2018 and although the Mavericks continue to seek to stop being so obvious, the team’s season has gone hand in hand with Luka Doncic. For better and for worse. It was difficult for the Slovenian to get into the rhythm at the beginning of the campaign, which he arrived in in a physical form, to say the least, questionable. This caused the Mavs to follow that same path, registering 8-12 in their first 20 games that managed to lead to 18-16 for the All-Star break.
In that first third of the season the doubts that accompanied Kristaps Porzingis throughout the course also began to surface. Taking for granted the physical problems that have always haunted him, numerically the Latvian was still the second most important player at an offensive level by shooting and scoring figures, but each time he was a less structural piece outside of his ability to space from the front triple. .
Dallas bet everything on him as the second franchise player, but, at least in Rick Carlisle’s systems, he is less and less involved in decision making and more ingrained in execution. The regular league has also helped the franchise begin to sense that Porzingis is not going to be the defensive mast they expected, so the presence of a more conventional center next to him is essential.
Team performance progress has followed an upward trend closely tied to Luka Doncic’s individual improvement, especially since the point guard began turning the 3-pointer after step back into the deadliest play in his repertoire. Thus, Doncic has transformed what was his great headache from last season into one of his strengths. It’s what geniuses have. Before, he had introduced the game to the post permanently in his arsenal.
Once the tortilla was turned, the Mavs continued to reap good news, especially localized in the evolution of their outside players. Jalen Brunson saw a big improvement with a more upright and aggressive version facing the basket that helped the team solve its headache with the finals tied in 2019-20. Tim Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney Smith and Maxi Klebber have been consistent in their role throughout the season and make up the skeleton of a highly recognizable team.
However, all this positivity emanates from players who were already on the roster the previous year, which means that the market movements carried out have not finished bearing fruit. Josh Richardson, his main bet, came to replace Seth Curry’s immense execution capacity to serve as creative relief to Doncic and become the main outside defender of the group, but he has not fulfilled either of the two satisfactorily and has left for Boston this same summer.
The playoffs were nothing more than a solidification of all these trends, as there are far more conclusions to be drawn from the Clippers series than from the Mavs. In Dallas they already knew that Luka Doncic was one of the best in the world and that having a minimal opportunity depends on his physical condition.
Also that Josh Richardson has not finished curdling, that his interior rotation is wide but not very functional outside of Maxi Klebber, that Tim Hardaway Jr. can detonate a game from the touchdown or that Kristaps Porzingis is increasingly oblivious to the future of the game. Although the latter has been too bloody.
That said, only a Luka shoulder injury and an extraordinary Kawhi Leonard in the sixth and seventh games separated them from the conference semifinals.
Since this offseason It has resulted in few changes, the evolution of the team goes through the same points as before starting last season. This time hoping that Reggie Bullock occupies an intermediate point between Seth Curry’s shooting contribution and Richardson’s defense and that Jason Kidd hits a key that goes mainly to recover Porzingis for the cause.
The player to watch
Only a slow start from Luka Doncic has separated the Mavericks from fighting for the home court factor this past season. His end of the course has resulted in a playoffs in which his dominance, despite playing only seven games, can only be compared to that played by Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo during the postseason.
It is no longer that he makes merits or figures to qualify for the MVP, it is that seeing him on the court is making sure that he is in front of one of the five best players in the world? What is certain is that he is one of the few players whose mere presence causes his team to beat anyone.
Returning to what was commented in the previous point, in addition to the interest in admiring how he increases figures and weight in the game almost without wanting to, there is an intrinsic fascination in seeing which will be the next resource that will dominate as one of the best in the world. With Doncic there happens that paradox of thinking that he cannot be any more good than he already is and, at the same time, knowing that he is going to be.
Previa NBA 2021-22 From Mavericks, prognosis
Elio Martínez, director of Trends Wide, leaves a personal and subjective forecast on what he thinks each franchise will do during the season in the NBA 2021-22 preview.
I wish I was wrong. If the Mavs finish the regular season As I am going to put it here, it would mean that the project continues more or less as it was 13 months ago: to fight in a complicated first round of the playoffs and little else. If Dallas wants to advance in the playoffs, it should first consider fighting for home court advantage by establishing itself as an emerging power in the West. However, looking at the list of teams in the West, I see that the Mavs should be placed between the fourths and eighths and that they will most likely occupy the lower part of that range. Seventh is my prediction, considering that the distance to the Warriors, Blazers and Clippers should be minimal for better or for worse.
Previous team analyzed: Miami Heat. Next team: Atlanta Hawks.
(Cover photo by Harry How / Getty Images)