Why the Dallas Mavericks Could Make the Playoffs During the 2018-19 Season
Updated: Oct 12, 2019
The 2018 National Basketball Association (NBA) offseason was extremely busy for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks drafted Oklahoma point guard, Trae Young. Young, along with a 2019 first round pick, was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on draft night for the 2017-18 Euro league MVP Luka Doncic. In addition to Doncic, the Mavericks also drafted the 2018 NCAA player of the year, Jalen Brunson with the thirty-third pick, who will help give them depth at the point guard position.
About two weeks after the draft took place, the Mavericks acquired former all-star center Deandre Jordan in free agency. Jordan is one of the best rebounders in the NBA right now as well as an amazing rim protector. Jordan is known for his vicious ally oops, and with Dennis and Luka passing him the ball, there will be a lot more of this season. There will be a dramatic increase of offensive rebounds for the Mavericks, which will be kicked out to Barnes, Smith, or Doncic of either a jumper or for them to take it to the rim. The defensive rebounds grabbed by Jordan will help facilitate fast breaks with Dennis or Doncic leading the way. The backcourt of Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic is going to be immensely tough to handle because of Doncic’s ability to shoot the three consistently, and Smith’s athleticism and passing ability.
Small forward Harrison Barnes is going to be the leader of the team, after averaging nineteen points a game last year. The former NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors has been playing at a near all-star level since joining the Mavericks two years ago in free agency. The Mavericks this year will be the best team by far that Barnes has been on in Dallas. With the new explosive backcourt and a new center who is also an outstanding rebounder, you can count on Barnes to have many open looks from Doncic drawing the defenses in on him, or getting a kick out from Jordan after he gets an offensive board. Although Dirk is aging, having an old former MVP and NBA champion will bring a winning mentality to the locker room, will help in the development in all the young pieces that the Mavericks have.
The Bench unit for the Mavericks is the real question. They have a veteran point guard in JJ Barea along with a rookie point guard in Jalen Brunson. The Mavericks will most likely give Barea most of the minutes in the second unit. The real scorer for the second unit is going to be Wesley Matthews, a 6’ 5” shooting guard who is mainly known for being a knockdown three-point shooter and a great defender. Matthews is a starting-caliber player, so with him going up against the opposing team's second unit and him being the number one scoring option, you can count on him to put up so pretty big numbers. Dwight Powell, going into his fifth year, will be the backup center, learning a lot playing behind former all-star Deandre Jordan. The bench unit is the biggest issue on the team, but with two good scores in Barea and Matthews, and some of the starters staying in the game while the rest get subbed out. There will be enough scoring and defense to keep the Mavericks afloat as the first team rests.
The Western Conference is exceptionally talented at the moment with about five or six teams that are a virtual lock to make the playoffs pending a chain of injuries. There are going to be four or five teams fighting for the last two seeds and the Mavericks will surely be in the mix. There is a lot unknown about how the team will perform due to the fact that the players have not played in a game together yet, but all the talent that the Mavericks have will be enough to fight for the seventh or eighth seed.