By Joel Montgomery
The 2018-201 NBA season is finally here, and the league’s teams prepare for another 82-game marathon with all the trials and tribulations it will bring. The Dallas Mavericks are right in the mix of things as their future is looking bright with their recently acquired draft talent. Veteran Dirk Nowitzki is returning for another year in what could be the inevitable farewell tour, the torch looks like it’ll be passed with grace from the looks of the preseason.
The Bad News
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. After not getting much of a chance to build synergy with the team due to previous plaguing injuries, the Mavericks lost PG Seth Curry in free agency. Even though he would’ve made a fine addition to the squad in both scheme and building overall talent, Dallas just couldn’t justify paying the big dollars after not getting to see him in much action as a Maverick in general. An unfortunate potential loss for the team, but the Mavs front office saw great success in many other facets of the team throughout the offseason.
Newly Acquired Draft Talent
From what we’ve seen from summer league and the draft, it seems the Mavericks struck gold in their early first-round trade with the Atlanta Hawks to acquire Luka Dončić. While the Hawks see some good things from their pick out of that trade after Trae Young made some media noise after a buzzer-beating bomb to win a preaseason outing, it doesn’t seem like the Mavericks regret what they got in exchange out of Dončić. The writing was on the wall from his accomplishments and impressive film highlights from Europe; but for those that weren’t convinced before, Dončić turned heads in his electrifying preseason display at home against the Hornets last Friday night, showcasing talent from both the paint and the perimeter, as well as some great defensive hustle. He scored 18 points in his 3 quarters of play, and gave the fans something wondrous to look forward to throughout the NBA season.
The Mavs’ second-round pick of the draft was Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson, who was a first-team All-American and national champion last season, as well as winning the AP College Player of the Year as well as the Naismith award–and that’s only the start of it. As an early second-round pick, he might not have the raw intangibles or expectations of a top 10 pick, it’s clear he knows what it takes to lead and win at a high level, and could very easily be a gem for Dallas as they continue to build their backcourt.
Remember the DeAndre Jordan debacle from the 2015 offseason? The one where Jordan verbally agreed to sign with Dallas to a huge 4-year deal then backed out after Clippers teammates talked him out of it? Well guess who’s back! Jordan signed with Dallas this July to a one-year deal, but this time with pen to paper. Jordan will strap on the laces with the Mavs for sure this season, and will most likely make an immediate impact, giving Dallas a much needed paint presence both offensively and defensively. Mavs fans, I know Jordan did you dirty last time around, but let’s still try to welcome him with open arms this time given the support he’ll give this team.
In terms of overall team composition, Dallas finds themselves in a unique spot that the team has never really seen in the Cuban-era, and that’s a pretty balanced mix of both young and old talent. The young guns in the likes of Dennis Smith Jr and Dončić, while bringing their own skills and high energy to the table, will also have the likes of veterans like Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea to guide them with essential know-hows in early-NBA development. There’s also the middle ground of hardened players that have their experience but also their youth, like Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews. Recently, while fans might have been looking around wondering when Dallas is finally going to stack it up once again and look like a sustainable developing team, the time is definitely now.
After the titanic shift in balance with LeBron James’s move to the Los Angeles Lakers, this is a year where the Western Conference is more stacked than it’s ever been. Dallas, if able to maximize their youthful talent, will hope to be fighting for one of the final playoff spots come end of season. But for now, it’s a start from square one. Will the Mavs be able to kick their rebuild into high gear right from the jump? Find out by checking with us weekly for the latest in Mavs news and more.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
10/17 @Suns 9:30 p.m.
10/20 vs Timberwolves 7:30 p.m.
10/22 vs Bulls 7:30 p.m.
10/24 @Hawks 6:00 p.m.
10/26 @Raptors 6:30 p.m.
10/28 vs Jazz 6:00 p.m.