The NBA celebrates the Mavericks today with a post Labor Day have a look at the upcoming season. Between the Dallas a part of their 30 Teams in 30 Days series and NBAtv featuring a string of incredible Maverick games, it’s all Dallas all day with the NBA. The games they’re showing include memorable playoff wins against the Clippers (Luka hits the dagger), Jazz (the clincher as Bojan misses the ultimate shot of the Rudy/Spider era) and the Suns Game 7 (the actual Luka Special) that may live in our hearts ceaselessly.
The aforementioned Mavericks preview leaves room for further discussion on the upcoming season. Writer Shaun Powell notes, “That meant there was no suspense where Brunson was going when he reached free agency.”
Front Offices across the league could have known, including Dallas. But many fans appear to have been caught off guard by losing standout PG Jalen Brunson to the Knicks. After Dallas appeared to make resigning Brunson an off season the priority, the dye was likely solid when the choice to supply Brunson a contract extension was made before the season began last 12 months. Brunson’s breakout performance had us wondering if the backcourt tandem we were watching would prepared the ground into next season and beyond. Now, we’re left wondering what might need been.
Powell goes on to write down, though, that, “Dinwiddie could possibly be a capable substitute for Brunson.” Dinwiddie is greater than able to moving into the starting lineup. With much more time faraway from his ACL repair, there’s ample reason to imagine that Spencer can replicate or perhaps improve upon his stretch with the Mavericks after his arrival via trade on February 10, 2022. But that’s probably not the query at this point that avid fans are asking within the proverbial thought above our collective heads.
If Dinwiddie replaces Brunson, who replaces Dinwiddie? Call it the spark plug role, the flamethrower role, the eat second units for breakfast role, or my favorite – the Nick Van Exel role. Spencer brought a toughness going to the rim, moving into big shots, and a capable playmaking presence when either Luka or JB was sitting. Who fills that void off the bench? Will the Mavericks go into the season with an empty roster spot or a bonafide third ball handler? That is probably the most pressing query remaining within the offseason.
Next, Powell dips into the front court issues, saying, “The Mavericks badly need assistance up front and the hope is that Wood will do for Dallas what Kristaps Porzingis couldn’t.” Count me as impressed and really optimistic on the addition of Christian Wood. Credit goes to the front office for pulling off this move before the draft and free agency bonanza got underway. Wood has a rare skill set on the offensive end as he can shoot it from outside like a 3 point specialist and has the scale and speed to be a nightmarish matchup for defenses out of the pick and roll.
The detractors will mention his defense but after watching the metamorphosis this roster underwent last season with principally the identical players – and given his contract 12 months status providing inherent motivation to purchase in on each ends of the ground – I’m bullish on the notion that Kidd and company can recuperate defensive output from Wood than we’ve got seen early in his profession.
After that, there’s some discussion of Tim Hardaway, where Powell states, “In a way, the third-biggest offseason issue (behind Brunson and Wood) was Hardaway’s health and whether he can emerge from the lab a greater shooter; he tumbled from 39.1% on 3-pointers two seasons ago to 33.6% last season before the injury.”
This addresses two key issues with Hardaway. Will Tim return healthy and able to go? In accordance with a recent post on Hardaway’s IG, it looks like all signs point to yes:
As for the slip in three point shooting, the upward trend Hardaway’s shooting was on last season could have continued had the premature injury not curtailed his season. After a pleasant start within the November games (38%) the month to month tells a story of a shooter slumping and emerging out of it:
- December: 30.8%
- January: 32.9%
- February, 34.5%.
His track record as a reliable threat from three means there’s a greater query to be asking. Assuming he’s healthy and shoots like we all know he can, how much of the bench playmaking vacuum created by Brunson’s departure falls to Tim by necessity when Luka is off the ground?
Speaking of Doncic, Powell ends together with his thought from last season that he, “cemented his status as considered one of the league’s elite players.” Here is where Shaun Powell loses me a bit. National media types (with just a few exceptions including Nick Wright) are far too slow to embrace the undeniable. Luka Doncic did this “cementing” of status in his second 12 months. In his fourth 12 months, Luka clarified his place on the very top of any fairly decided list of the most effective players within the NBA today. Top 5 is a minimum. Top 3 in my book. He has it in him to win MVP and lots of are (again) predicting that – including oddsmakers.