Dallas Mavericks: Three Post-Break Predictions

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The Dallas Mavericks are sitting at fifth in the Western Conference standings with a record of 35-24. The last couple of weeks have been quite turbulent, mainly stemming from trading away Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Dallas, however, has remained a winning team, due in large part to the brilliance of Luka Doncic. In his last 10 games, Doncic is averaging 35.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game. He’s also shooting over 43 percent from three. Dallas goes as far as Doncic takes them, but here are three predictions for the team for the rest of the regular season.

Dallas Mavericks: Three Post-Break Predictions

1. Jalen Brunson Earns a Hefty Contract

Jalen Brunson has been the Mavericks’ second best player this season. He’s been even better since getting thrust into the starting line-up. With Porzingis gone, and Tim Hardaway Jr injured for the next couple of months, Brunson needs to be great.

This season he’s averaging 16.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. He also holds a solid shooting split of 50/37/81. In his last 10 games, Brunson is averaging close to 19 points per game while shooting nearly 49 percent from three. It’s safe to say he’s blossoming into a legitimate offensive weapon.

He forms a formidable backcourt alongside Doncic and they complement each other well. As long as he’s shooting the three at the clip he’s been going at, paired with his ability to create his own shot, Brunson will continue to feature as the Mavericks’ second-best player.

This play will earn him a hefty contract this offseason as his current contract expires. Whether that’s with Dallas or not is a good question. Dallas certainly does not want to lose him, but their hands are tied with cap space.

2. Maxi Kleber Becomes the Top Big Man

There’s a void to be filled after Porzingis’ departure in the frontcourt. The Mavericks have a wide rotation of forwards and centers, but not all of them are starting quality, especially for a playoff team.

Maxi Kleber has been on the team for quite some time now, and his time has come to make the frontcourt his. This season he’s averaging eight points, six boards, and a block per game. These numbers will go up as his minutes (currently at 25 a game) increase as well. In a recent win versus the Miami Heat, Kleber scored 19 points, grabbed six boards, and blocked five shots. He followed that up with 20 points and four rebounds in a following win versus the New Orleans Pelicans.

Kleber can shoot and score inside. He’s also a tenacious defender, capable of big blocks but also elite on-ball defense. The one facet of his game that he must improve, however, is rebounding. If Kleber can consistently score double-digits, while also grabbing rebounds close to Porzingis’ rate (when healthy), then he will arise as the top Dallas big.

3. The Dallas Mavericks Take the Fourth Seed

Dallas is currently 1.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for the fourth seed. The two teams play each other this Friday night, so clearly, that game carries plenty of importance. Outside of that game, the Mavericks’ next five games also include the Jazz again as well as the Golden State Warriors twice. The Mavericks and Jazz will play again, for a final time, on March 27th. That means they’ll face off three times in about a month.

If Doncic continues his blazing hot play, and new acquisitions Dinwiddie and Bertans acclimate and improve, then Dallas will rack up enough wins to surpass the Jazz for the fourth seed. This will give Dallas homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, likely versus the Jazz or possibly the Denver Nuggets.

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