The Dallas Mavericks have been finding success as of late but the top performers leading them to victory may not be who you’d think they’d be…
The Dallas Mavericks got off to a disappointingly slow start. The casual NBA fan may not have thought much of the Mavs heading into the season, but those watching the team closely saw the Mavs were ready to turn some heads with their new reloaded roster.
So when Dallas began the season 2-7, including losses to the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks, many in and around this team were taken back. How could a team with Luka Doncic; second year star, Dennis Smith Jr; free agent prize, DeAndre Jordan; and the eternally underrated, Harrison Barnes; be doing so poorly?
Better question: What just changed to make the Dallas Mavericks, winners of three of their last four games, start winning all of a sudden? At face value it appears the new pieces to the starting lineup finally started working. The massive shake-up seemingly took a while to settle, right?
And that’s both good news and bad news. But we’ll get to that. First, let’s give credit where credit is due: the second team. Despite all the star power residing on the starting unit, it’s the bench that’s making the biggest positive impact.
When looking at the =/- per 100 possessions (on court) it’s J.J. Barea (9.0), Maxi Kleber (12.8), Dwight Powell (8.5), Jalen Brunson (4.1), and Devin Harris (19.2 in admittedly minuscule sample size) who are leading the way. In fact, there isn’t one starter on the Dallas Mavericks who is even positive in their +/- score.
That’s not to say the second unit is better than the first unit. It’s just that they’re more effective at the moment in the role they are asked to play. This brings us to the aforementioned good news and bad news:
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The good, bad, and the ugly
So, the bad news is the starting unit has yet to really gel, and they cannot be credited with the recent turnaround. It’s not cause for concern yet since this roster has basically only been together for a handful of games. Keep in mind, last season’s leading scorer, Harrison Barnes, has missed half of the games this season recovering from injury. It’s also worth noting Luka Doncic is a 19-year-old euro rookie adjusting to life in North Texas and the NBA game, all while essentially LEADING the offense.
The struggles of the starting unit 13 games into the season are completely understandable. But for the same reason they are struggling, the second unit is flourishing: chemistry. Rick Carlisle is stickler for chemistry and values the time the second unit plays together. This unit is largely intact from last season and while I worried the return of Devin Harris would stunt the growth of rookie Jalen Brunson, it’s looked pretty good so far.
The good news is the Dallas Mavericks are winning games without their starting unit playing up to par. Once that unit starts working things out and playing with cohesion, the Mavs will be a force to be reckoned with.
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The ugly news is this recent success may be nothing but fool’s gold. Looking at who the Dallas Mavericks beat is important. Chicago, Washington, and an OKC team sans Westbrook aren’t exactly a murderers row. But with the Jazz coming up, we’ll know soon…
- Published on 11/13/2018 at 18:06 PM
- Last updated at 11/13/2018 at 18:06 PM