In their third preseason outing, the Mavs fell to the Bucks 118 – 111. This marks a three-game losing streak in exhibition games but most importantly it opens space for more insights into the team. The lack of wins aren’t a concern this early into the season yet the symptoms of the losses may trend into the regular season.
They’ll be in the hunt but won’t make it
The Dallas Mavericks have a fantastic group of talent. From top to bottom the roster is filled with NBA players that can plug and play on any given team. The only problem here is that this roster as constructed has shown some major issues in their first few outings.
At the rate their shooting threes the return diminishes with every release. Their 45 attempts a game pales compared to their 31% three-point percentage. Preseason leads to trial and error in the offense but this doesn’t look too much different from their three-point happy offense last year. A season in which they ranked 27th in the leagues in percentage from deep. Just 5 Mavs are shooting below 35% from the arc through three games.
With their shaky shooting along with their porous defense, the Mavs may just be on the outskirts of the playoffs.
Papa Smurf shakes off rust in his return
Not all injuries are created equally. Some are much more devastating than others while none more devastating than the Achilles tear. Yet, nine months later JJ’s back on the floor and looking good. The setting didn’t allow for him to show the full extent of his recovery however the things that made Barea a cult-like figure in Dallas are all present. Quick and tough as ever it looks. the team’s elder statesman is back as a leader. Since Dirk’s departure, he’s the longest-tenured Mav on the team.
Power players will be a challenge
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a one of one player. No team has a player that dominates the paint quite like him yet there are some bulls in this league. Seeing the Mavs throw bodies at one of the league’s juggernauts highlights one of their biggest defensive flaws; a lack of strength on the wing.
Dallas has plenty of size at the position, only Tim Hardaway Jr. is shorter than 6-7. With that said Giannis had a field day against the rest of the field finishing the game with 34 points. On a more alarming note, 27 of the points came in the first half.
It’s easy to say the half-hearted defense and matchup problems can be blamed on preseason dredge or Dwight Powell sitting out but it leads way to other problems. When players like Julius Randle or Zion Williamson are on the court whose job will it be to carol those bulls? Powell can only play so many minutes and if he gets beat, it’s all up to the backline to protect the rim against those bruisers.
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