With Dirk Nowitzki no longer anchoring the team, what do the Dallas Mavericks look like after Week 1 of the 2019 preseason?
It’s finally here. The start of the 2019-20 NBA season and, the beginning of the post Dirk Nowitzki era for the Dallas Mavericks . For the first time in 21 years the “tall baller from the G” won’t be suiting up for the Mavs. Though the “ghost faced drilla” has moved on to life after basketball, the remaining Mavs seem eager to take the torch. Let’s take a quick look back over week one for the new look Dallas Mavericks.
This weekend we had our first chance to see the Mavs in action during the annual open practice (aka Fan Jam). A team scrimmage that gives fans a chance to interact with the players, and get a sneak peek at next year’s team. The hype around this new group is real.
Being a dedicated Mavs fan I’ve been coming to open practice’s for years. And I can say I have never seen this many people at a preseason event! I arrived my normal two hours early, and I was met by a line very literally wrapped around the building. An extremely surprising turnout on a day the Dallas Cowboys played the Green bay Packers.
With so much time to spend in line I had an opportunity to talk to a few fellow Mavs Fans for Life (MFFL). The common term used was “excited”. MFFL’s have endured watching our proud franchise struggle through the last few years. Having had our chance to send Dirk Nowitzki off in style, Dallas Mavericks fans are eager to see what the next chapter for the Mavs has in store.
1) Kristaps Porzingis is the new favorite
Kristaps Porzingis is a going to be a problem for opposing teams. The first possession after the tip lead to a KP three off of a pick and pop from Luka Doncic. Porzingis went on to hit his next three shots and, was a rushed jumper away from starting a perfect five for five.
Kristaps played with a bounce and sense of excitement that I can’t say I’ve ever seen from a player. Porzingis put on a real show for Mavs fans scoring in an variety of ways. KP also had a big block on rookie Isaiah Roby that led to MVP chants from the crowd.
Kristaps followed up his impressive play off the court taking pictures and signing autographs for fans. To see Kristaps’ interactions with fans was a welcome sight. You could see in his eyes he is excited for his fresh start.
You can also tell that that MFFL’s are pumped for the future. Kristaps Porzingas spent about 25 minutes with the fans after the practice ended. Porzingas has definitely taken the role of filling Dirk’s shoes seriously, and Mavs fans have reason to be excited. Kristaps looks to be a real class act on and off the court.
2) Boban is Huge
Boban Marjanovic is huge. No matter how big you think Boban Marjanovic is trust me he’s bigger. This is a massive human being. Boban affects shots by just standing in the paint. Although he struggled against players like KP and Maxi Kleber‘s who have ability to shoot the three, Boban’s interior presence is obvious. Once he gets position there’s no moving him. Boban is by no stretch of the imagination a speedster but, he moves a lot better than I thought.
On Tuesday the Dallas Mavericks traveled to Tulsa Oklahoma to take the Oklahoma City Thunder. A team going through it’s own transitional period. This offseason marked the end of the Russell Westbrook era in OKC.
Note: I’d like to wish Rus, one of my favorite players to watch, good luck with his next team. I’d like to but can’t because Westbrook joined our in-state rivals the Houston Rockets. Westbrook was sent south in a deal for Chris Paul. The departure of Rus followed the decision by Paul Gorge to join Kawhi Leonard in LA with the Clippers.
The Mavericks struggled against the Thunder without their two best players Luka Doncic, and Kristaps Porzingis. With the pair out for the game coach Rick Carlisle got creative with his lineups. Mavs fans got the chance to see Dorian Finney-Smith play center against one of the better bigs in the NBA Steven Adams. Finney-Smith was able to hold his own against Adams despite a noticeable size disadvantage. This is exactly what I expected from Doe-Doe a hard nosed guy willing to scrap and fight for his team.
Young wing Antonius Cleveland was also impressive against OKC, finishing the game with 9 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes of play. Cleveland played like a guy fighting for playing time. He out out hustled everyone and set himself apart from the other bench players. Get used to hearing his name in Dallas if Antonius continues to play this style of basketball. Coach Carlisle will be forced to find minutes for him.
The Mavs ended up losing the game 119-104 without Luka and KP, but showed promise. In a game in which the Mavericks shot 50 three pointers this game was more about getting a look at line ups than trying to win.
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The Mavs ran very few real offensive sets in the second half leading to a bunch of isolation plays for three. We even had a chance to see the Mavs go to a five out set ( all five offensive players spot up behind the three point line.). Which lead to a sequence that saw the Mavericks grab four offensive rebounds before getting a foul call in one possession. If the Mavericks plan on volume shooting three pointers they’ll have to do a better job shooting just 13 of 50 from behind the arch. The Mavericks fought back from a 12 point deficit to take a very short lived one point lead in the third quarter. They would lose that lead after the Thunder finished the third on a 12-1 run. The Mavericks may not have gotten the outcome they hoped for, but there were several promising signs.
After a week of ups and downs the Dallas Mavericks still have some work to do. The silver lining being the promise shown by a very young group of Mavs. With a little more time together this team should be exciting to watch. The Mavericks are extremely versatile and well coached two things that I think will be their biggest strength moving forward.
Coming up, we’ll discuss the Mavs most recent contest against Detroit. One that marked the debut of KP and Luka in somewhat “real” action.
- Published on 10/10/2019 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 10/10/2019 at 06:35 AM