NBA 2023-2024 Preview: Dallas Mavericks on a Redemption Mission

Dallas Mavericks NBA Preview 2023 2024 copie 5

Who will succeed the Nuggets as NBA champions? Over the next month, our editorial team will delve into all 30 teams in the American premier basketball league. It’s time to focus on the Dallas Mavericks, where adjustments were made during the summer to erase memories of a disappointing last season.

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2022/2023 Recap: A Season of Promise Turned Catastrophic

As the 2022/2023 season approached, the Dallas Mavericks were riding high. Fresh from an exceptional playoff run that took them to the conference finals, they were expected to continue their success. However, the loss of Jalen Brunson, left unaddressed, quickly became a problem, exacerbated by a glaring weakness in the frontcourt. Christian Wood, expected to be a new strength in the paint, failed to meet expectations, and Maxi Kleber’s lengthy injury further weakened the interior. While Luka Doncic continued to excel with his extraordinary influence on the game and results, the Texas franchise struggled.

Feeling that the roster was limited for the future, management decided to take action on February 6 by trading for Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately, Irving’s arrival did not have the desired impact, and the defense suffered from the departure of Dorian Finney-Smith. Instead of improvement, Dallas slipped further, unable to establish synergy between Doncic and Irving. As a result, losses piled up towards the end of the season, leading to an inevitable outcome. Due to a disastrous last month and a half (6 wins – 13 losses), the Western Conference runner-up was pushed out of the top 10 with a final regular-season record of 38 wins and 44 losses, missing the postseason entirely. A seismic shock indeed.

Offseason Moves

Departures

  • Reggie Bullock (Spurs)
  • Christian Wood (Lakers)
  • Justin Holiday (Nuggets)
  • Frank Ntilikina (Hornets)
  • Theo Pinson
  • JaVale McGee
  • McKinley Wright (Buducnost Voli)

Extensions:

  • Kyrie Irving (Three years)
  • Dwight Powell (Three years)
  • Markieff Morris (One year)

Arrivals:

  • Grant Williams (Celtics)
  • Seth Curry (Nets)
  • Derrick Jones Jr (Bulls)
  • Joe Wieskamp (Raptors)
  • Dereck Lively II (12th overall pick in the 2023 Draft)
  • Olivier-Maxence Prosper (24th overall pick in the 2023 Draft)
  • Dante Exum (Partizan Belgrade)
  • Greg Brown III (Blazers)
  • Jordan Walker (NCAA)
  • Mike Miles Jr (NCAA)

Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup:

Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Josh Green, Grant Williams, Dwight Powell

Point Guards:

  • Dante Exum
  • Mike Miles (Two-Way Contract)
  • Jordan Walker
  • Dexter Dennis

Shooting Guards:

  • Seth Curry
  • Jaden Hardy
  • AJ Lawson (Two-Way Contract)

Small Forwards:

  • Tim Hardaway
  • Derrick Jones Jr
  • Joe Wieskamp

Power Forwards:

  • Maxi Kleber
  • Markieff Morris
  • Olivier-Maxence Prosper
  • Greg Brown III

Centers:

  • Richaun Holmes
  • Dereck Lively II

Weaknesses and Strengths:

Weakness: Question Marks on Defense Despite Defensive Additions

Since Jason Kidd took over as head coach, Dallas has established a new identity centered around the offensive brilliance of Luka Doncic. This has translated to high offensive rankings for the team. However, defense has been a significant weakness, with Dallas ranking 25th in defensive rating last season. This is a major concern for a team with aspirations of making it to the NBA Finals. While the team has made some defensive acquisitions, the defensive puzzle remains a challenge.

The signing of Grant Williams adds depth and defensive prowess to the frontcourt, helping to alleviate some of the pressure on Dwight Powell. The draft selections of Dereck Lively II and Olivier Maxence-Prosper provide size and defensive potential, particularly at the center position. Lively II, in particular, could have a significant role in the rotation at the center position.

However, on the backcourt and small forward positions, defensive concerns persist. Josh Green will play a crucial role in compensating for the defensive lapses of the Doncic-Irving duo. Jaden Hardy has shown promise on the defensive end and could earn more minutes. With Seth Curry also in the mix, Dallas boasts a potent offensive backcourt, but it comes with defensive challenges. Striking the right balance between offense and defense will be essential for the Mavericks to align with their ambitions.

Strength: Exceptional Offensive Potential

Dallas already had a well-oiled offensive machine, and on paper, they have added more firepower. Having two highly talented playmakers like Doncic and Irving is a significant advantage, especially when they can create for themselves and their teammates. Surrounding them are a multitude of players capable of scoring at any moment.

Seth Curry, returning to Texas, had a career-best season alongside Luka Doncic, and players like Kleber, Hardaway, and Jones Jr. are serious offensive threats. The additions of Williams and Lively II to the frontcourt provide different options and flexibility on pick-and-roll plays. If a player like Josh Green or Jaden Hardy has a breakout season, it could elevate the Mavericks’ offense to one of the most dangerous in the NBA.

Player to Watch: Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving is undoubtedly the player to watch in Dallas this season. Arriving late last season without much time to integrate into a team in turmoil, Kyrie Irving appears to hold the key to this team’s fate. Dallas has heavily relied on the talent of Luka Doncic for many years, and the memory of the Conference Finals, which featured Jalen Brunson, is still fresh in Texan minds. Naturally, with Kyrie Irving now on the roster, there’s excitement about the potential of pairing him with Doncic in the backcourt. However, Irving must once again prove that he can stay healthy, play consistently, and fully commit to the team’s goals. Mark Cuban didn’t hesitate to invest $120 million over three seasons to convince him to stay, and now it’s up to Irving to deliver. It’s a “wait and see” situation

Season Prediction: 9th in the Western Conference

The prediction reflects the uncertainties surrounding the Mavericks this season. In the face of fierce competition, relying solely on Luka Doncic won’t be enough to turn things around after a season without playoffs. As mentioned earlier, Kyrie Irving’s situation will likely be a significant storyline of the season. If he participates in at least 70 games and brings his extraordinary contributions, the Mavs could aim higher. Furthermore, for the first time since his arrival on the bench, Jason Kidd will have a well-rounded defensive personnel in the frontcourt. This 9th-place prediction represents the baseline for a team that should aim higher but could also quickly find itself in trouble if things don’t click.

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