A New Challenger from the West: The Dallas Mavericks

By Dastan Haghnazari

With much of the NBA free agency focus on the Warriors and Lakers, one team is building a formidable force within the Western Conference relatively unnoticed. The Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks recently acquired Deandre Jordan from free agency and Luka Doncic from the draft to help bolster their starting lineup. After much decline from their 2011 Championship victory of Lebron’s heat, Dallas has finally created a solid team starting either JJ Barea or Dennis Smith Jr. at the point guard position, Luka Doncic at shooting guard, Harrison Barnes at small forward, Dirk Nowitzki at power forward, and Deandre Jordan at center.  Although some may not think that this starting lineup contains much talent, they will prove otherwise upon taking the court next season.

The Mavericks have great depth at point guard in Barea and Smith who are both versatile scoring guards, however I believe Dallas will try to work in Smith to a starting role more with the upcoming (maybe a few seasons) retirement of Barea who is now 34.  Barea puts up great role-player percentages shooting 44% from field goal and 37% from three during his 2017-2018 season with the Mavericks, whereas Smith lacks in the aspect shooting only 40% from field goal range and 31% from three, but Smith still averages more points per game with 15.2 points to Barea’s 11.6.  Luka Doncic is possibly one of the best foreign players the NBA has ever witnessed. Also, he was the Euro-league MVP at the age of 19 years old, which is insane considering that he plays with high skilled adults in that league. Although some doubts linger on how his game from the Euro-league will translate into the modern NBA, I believe that he will be a great and versatile scorer for Dallas.   Harrison Barnes, formed NBA champion, is one of the greatest things that has happened to the Dallas team since their decline. Barnes provides a great scoring option shooting 45% from the field and 36% from three over his past season with the Mavericks. Also, Barnes has proven to be extremely consistent by putting up double-digit points in all but four games last season. He proves to be an effective player that elevates everybody around him.  Dirk Nowitzki, 13 time all-star, Finals Champion, and Finals MVP, is a fantastic veteran scorer and provides the team with a fantastic leader who can help younger players on the team to develop. Although no longer at the volume of scoring he provided in his prime, Nowitzki still produces 12 points per game and shoots well both from the field and beyond the arc with over 40% in both categories. Deandre Jordan caps off this talent filled starting lineup with a fantastic big man who really can do everything inside the paint.  In his last season with the Clippers, Jordan averaged about 65% from field goal range proving to be an unstoppable force inside, as well as securing around 15 rebounds per game. His interior dominance will relieve Dallas of many problems it had with a lack of a superstar big man.

Overall, with fantastic role players to provide assistance, combined with stars like Jordan, Nowitzki, and possibly Donic to bolster Dallas’s dire need of great scorers, the Dallas Mavericks will prove to be an effective team coming into regular season play.  Don’t be surprised if you find the Dallas Mavericks securing a seed in the tightly contested Western Conference come playoffs next season. This team could easily be a Conference powerhouse depending on future moves, such as bringing in a star point guard or building bench depth.


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