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Dallas Mavericks – Contenders or Pretenders?

The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the turn of 2022. The beginning of the season was plagued by injuries and sluggish play, as well as adjustments to new head coach Jason Kidd, but Dallas has turned a corner. In February they also moved on from the Kristaps Porzingis project, allowing them to further climb up the ladder.

Dallas Mavericks – Contenders or Pretenders?

Current Standings

Dallas has leapfrogged to fourth in the Western Conference standings after taking down the Utah Jazz last night. On paper, Dallas looks to essentially be a lock for either the four or the five seed, locking them into a matchup with the Jazz in the first round. There’s hardly room for error, however, as the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves are breathing down the Mavericks’ neck.

Dallas has a far superior record at home than away, so the next couple of weeks will be interesting as the team takes a long road trip.


First and foremost, the Mavericks’ strength this season has been defense. Kidd has done an incredible job in preaching the importance of killer defense and the squad has responded. Nearly all players are improved defensively, with Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock standing above the pack as crucial defenders. The team is relentless on this end of the floor.

The most obvious strength is having Luka Doncic. No matter who the Mavericks play, Doncic is more than capable of being the best player on the floor on any given night. This season he’s averaging monstrous numbers of about 28 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists per game. The Mavericks’ guard play as a whole is strong, being able to throw Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson into the mix as well. Tim Hardaway Jr, a fiery scorer, may soon return to the team after suffering a broken foot a couple of months ago.

Dallas has been increasingly strong in the clutch as well, especially since acquiring Dinwiddie.


The last two seasons were all about offense. Dallas was an offensive juggernaut capable of scoring 120 points on any given night. This season they rank 26th in points per game. Their shooting percentages are down as well, namely their three-point shooting percentage. Dallas makes nearly 13 threes a game, which ranks them higher in the league, but they take plenty of attempts.

With this being said, every team still views Dallas as a major offensive threat. This, of course, is due to Doncic’s ability to take over games.

One of the more glaring weaknesses on the Mavericks, however, is the lack of top-end frontcourt depth. Finney-Smith can play both forward positions, which eases the burden. Starting center Dwight Powell has been quite solid as of late but isn’t the best option to have against the Western Conference’s elite big men in Nikola JokicRudy GobertKarl-Anthony Towns, and so on. Maxi Kleber is a very strong defender but has been in a major offensive funk lately. The other options include Davis BertansBoban Marjanovic, and Marquese Chriss.

The Dallas Mavericks X-Factor

Dinwiddie has completely changed the offensive outlook in Dallas. Since his arrival, he’s averaging upwards of 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game. It’s safe to say he’s been a major asset. Furthermore, he’s constantly available. This, of course, was a typical concern with Porzingis.

Dallas was in major need of a true secondary ball-handler besides Doncic. In the past, especially in the playoffs, Doncic was burdened with doing just about everything on offense. He responded brilliantly, often scoring upwards of 30 points per game, but it clearly took a toll and exhausted him in a long series.

Dinwiddie’s play allows Doncic to rest while keeping the Mavericks’ offense afloat. He’s also been a major asset in the clutch. Doncic is typically the go-to clutch player, but this results in double-teams. Dinwiddie is trusted by Doncic to answer the call and knock down crucial shots, as seen earlier this month versus the Brooklyn Nets.

The Final Verdict for the Dallas Mavericks

Dallas made the necessary changes to their team at the trade deadline. They have multiple scorers on offense and will only add another once Hardaway Jr. returns. Furthermore, Kidd has preached defensive intensity and Dallas has taken it to heart. The Mavericks have plenty of top shooters as well, although the percentages may not reflect it now, so this team can get hot offensively at any given moment.

With the pieces on the roster, and the sheer stardom of Doncic, Dallas is a contender.

Main Image: Embed from Getty Images


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