2021 Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Can Luka Doncic will the Dallas Mavericks to the second round of the playoffs or beyond this season?
Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

The Dallas Mavericks are a very exciting team. This team takes me back to a time when the Mavericks were the Western Conference spoilers in the mid 80’s and early 90’s. At that time, Dallas had players like had Rolando Blackman, Derrick Harper, Roy Tarpley, Brad Davis and Mark Arguirre just to name a few. Flash forward to Jim Jackson, Jason Kidd and Jamal Mashburn in the mid 90’s heading into the new millennium. In 2011, the Mavericks won their first championship on the shoulders of Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd (returned to Dallas as a player). This team is that exciting to watch. Let’s fast forward to the 2021 team and what they will need to win another championship and the expectations the MF4L has for the Mavericks.

New Head Coach
Who would’ve thought that back in 1994 in the 1st round at pick number 2 that the Dallas Mavericks would pick a scrappy point guard from California to lead this team. Kidd has played for the Mavericks twice, winning a championship in his final stint as a player. The Mavericks signed Jason Kidd to lead this guard heavy offense to another championship with “Wonder Boy” Luka Doncic leading the new look Mavericks. In 2013-2014 Kidd coached the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks from 2014-2018 and was an assistant with the LA Lakers most recently and won another NBA title. Dallas is one of three teams with a female assistant coach Kristi Toliver who along with coaches Darrell Armstrong, God Shammod, Peter Patton and Jared Dudley will manage the process of getting the team title contender status. As a head coach Kidd is 183-190 and is looking to make a run for an NBA title immediately with the players he has.

Championship or Bust!
Dallas along with the rest of the NBA wants to bring a title home to their fans. For the past two seasons, Dallas has made the playoffs but ran into an LA Clippers team that sent them home for the rest of the year. Dallas has to know that they have a chance, but winning a championship this year might only be a dream. I’m not saying that it can’t happen, but let’s be realistic here… Dallas could make the playoffs as a 7th or 8th seed, but in my mind; won’t be much more than just that.

Key Players
PG Luka Doncic will be the engine that will keep this train on track. Last year he was in the MVP conversation, but fell short of the votes he needed to collect the trophy. Over the past four seasons, Luka has averaged 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. He’s great on the open floor, but his downfall is over dribbling the ball and passing to his team mates late in the shot clock. He needs to be more active on the defensive end as well. Center Kristaps Porzingis 7’3, 240 pounds and runs the court like a dear. He’s been injury prone throughout his career and the team needs him to stay healthy to have a chance. Shooting guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. knows that consistency will be the key for him this season. He can score, but is very streaky at times on offense. He plays good defense, but foul trouble keeps him off the floor at crucial times. Last season PG Jalen Bronson’s numbers were better than Luka’s. Bronson’s assist to turnover ration was in the top 10 in the NBA. He finished 4th in the 6th Man of the Year voting. Look for him to win it this year.

Win-loss Projection
It’s the LA Lakers coming out of the Western Conference and then there’s everyone else. Dallas can make some noise in the West this season. ESPN has the Mavs finishing at 48-34, FiveThirtyEight has the team finishing 49-33 and Caesars has them winning 47 games. I have the Mavericks winning 50 games and making it to the second round of the playoffs. I can see this team meshing late into the season. They need to be at 25 wins before the NBA All-Star break in order to keep up in the Western Conference this season.


Upcoming Games
Thursday, October 21 Dallas Mavericks vs Atlanta Hawks 6:30 PM TV: TNT
Saturday, October 23 Dallas Mavericks vs Toronto Raptors 6:30 PM TV: Regional