Dallas Mavericks start 5-3: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 3

The Dallas Mavericks are 5-3 after their first eight games of the season with the 3-5 Boston Celtics at home on Saturday night. With the team having played more games than most NBA teams, fans have learned a lot about this team at this point of the season. The season is already a marathon and the Mavericks’ league bottom pace is making it seem even longer.

It’s not ideal that the season has been such a slog, but the team is currently third in the west and two games above .500. They’ve found a way to win games even with important front-court players currently sidelined with injuries.

The Dallas Mavericks season is 10 percent complete, what has been the good, the bad, and the ugly so far?

The Good: Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr

When a team signs a player to a big money contract, the expectation is that they perform to a level that matches the contract. When a player is in the final year of his contract and is looking for a new deal, the expectation is said player probably has a career year to increase his potential earnings in the offseason.

Both Tim Hardaway Jr and Jalen Brunson are living up to the expectations so far this season. Hardaway is averaging 15 points per game on 36 percent shooting from the three-point arc with a surprising two assists per game. 36 percent is definitely a dip from the last two seasons where he averaged 40 percent, but given the rest of the team’s shooting woes he’s one of the few people holding the team’s three-point percentage somewhat together with his eight attempts per game.

Brunson has averaged more minutes this season and for good reason. His three point percentage has increased again from 40.5 percent to 42.3 percent while setting career high averages in about every volume stat category. His 15 points per game is third on the team,  his 4.3 assists per game are second, and his 5.3 rebounds per game are fourth on the team.

When the team has needed a scoring boost both players have shown the ability to take over and guide the team to victory. It was only on Wednesday that Jalen Brunson scored 31 against the San Antonio Spurs in a 109-108 win, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter alone.

There is a lot of basketball left to be played with Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber still nursing injuries, but if a scoring regression occurs for everyone else on the team, hopefully Brunson and Hardaway are able to keep up their scoring averages because the offensive boost that’d provide the team would be immense.