The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the league’s surprises this season. Luka Doncic has elevated his game to a superstar level, Kristaps Porzingis has shown a solid recovery from his injury-riddled past, and Rick Carlisle continues to get the most from any role players that find their way on his roster. The team currently sits at seventh in the West and are primed for a playoff appearance. Here are some predictions for the Mavericks post-All-Star break.
Post-All-Star Predictions for the Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks Finish Fifth
Dallas is tied in games for sixth and only 1.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for fifth. The Oklahoma City Thunder, currently at sixth, is a solid team. They also kept their core and refrained from being sellers at the trade deadline. The Mavericks, however, are still tied even though Doncic and Porzingis have missed extended periods of time. They’re exponentially better with Doncic on the floor, and with him back they should go on a flurry of win streaks.
The Rockets have committed to small-ball basketball. Their plan could pay off in the playoffs after teams shorten rotations, but for now, there will be games where elite big men make them pay. This should translate to more losses, and the Mavericks could surpass them if they stay healthy.
Luka Doncic Does Not Win MVP
This is not a knock on the “Wonder Boy”. Luka Doncic has been incredible this season and will continue to do the same. His numbers may even go up if he and Porzingis continue to grow on the floor together.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James will soar above the others in the MVP race. They are both also having statistically great seasons, and leading their teams to first place in their respective conferences. Doncic may very well finish third in voting, however, if he continues his level of play and guides the Mavericks to a higher playoff seed.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Becomes a Mainstay in the Rotation
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will overtake Justin Jackson in the Mavericks’ rotation. Jackson is known as a three-point shooter but is just shooting 30 percent from deep. In addition, he is a defensive liability.
The newly acquired forward is not a shooter or a scorer. He is, however, a defensive wing that Dallas has been sorely lacking. Jalen Brunson, Seth Curry, and Maxi Kleber will provide a scoring punch on the second unit, allowing Kidd-Gilchrist to do what he does best. The former second overall pick will likely see 18-20 minutes of game time per game and will become a stable option off the bench.
The Dallas Mavericks Fall in the First Round of the Playoffs
This team is exciting and young. Young is the keyword, however, as the team lacks playoff experience. If they finish as the fifth seed, they will likely match up versus one of the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, or Denver Nuggets. For lack of a better term, all these teams are currently better than the Mavericks. There’s no shame in that, however, as Dallas is still building.
The Mavericks will pose a major threat for whoever they face, and could very well challenge one of those teams to a six or even seven-game series.