The Dallas Mavericks will begin the year led by Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic. He’ll finally get Kristaps Porzingis back as his running mate after sitting out all of last year after a trade with the New York Knicks. This year, we’ll finally see both countrymen play together and seeing what connection they have on the court. They’ll also welcome back second year player, Jalen Brunson, who’ll start at the point guard position. The shooting guard spot is projected to go to Tim Hardaway Jr. who’s a great complementary piece for the team. The small forward position will now belong to Dorian Finney-Smith after Harrison Barnes left for the starting job in Sacramento.
Jalen Brunson didn’t have the best rookie year and will look for improvement in year 2. He started only half his games and didn’t see consistent playing time for part of the season. Though he played 22 minutes per game, was fairly an efficient shooter at 52.3% on his 2’s and 34.8% on 3’s. He’ll get the start at point guard for year 2 and looks to make the most of it with likely more attempts to score. Look for him to be an outside threat on the offensive end and put up double digit scoring on a consistent basis.
After coming over from the New York Knicks, Tim Hardaway Jr. played only limited time with the Mavs. He suffered a left tibia injury that’ll keep him out at least until training camp. With a full season to play, expect Hardaway to return back to his scoring ways as he had been doing before his season was cut short. Throughout his career, Hardaway Jr. was always a score first guard. He could put up 15-18 points a night and get a few assists and rebounds but nothing to make those numbers stand out. When healthy, expect another consistent shooter in the backcourt who can take some of the scoring load off Doncic and Porzingis.
Dorian Finney-Smith will return to the small forward position for Dallas but this time as their solidified starter. He’s not the scorer the guards are but he’ll look to play solid defense alongside the others. Among all starters, look for the least from Finney-Smith on the offensive end. He only shot 43.2% from the field, though that’s up from 37.2% and 38% he shot the previous two years in the league. While he might be a bit more accurate in his 4th year, don’t expect too many shot attempts to go his way.
Last year, the Mavericks had one bright spot on their entire roster. That was rookie sensation Luka Doncic. He was a great all around player averaging 21.2 points, 6 assists, and 7.8 rebounds and looks to be in contention for one of the best power forwards in the league. I have him compared to Ben Simmons. He’s got the same all around skills but the only difference is, he can shoot. His three point shooting was at a 32.7% clip and averaged 16.5 attempts per game. He’s almost certain to get the most chances each game and will likely be Dallas’ lead scorer once again.
After a knee injury caused him to sit out the entire season and possibly helped facilitate the trade to the Mavs, Kristaps Porzingis will finally get his shot to play alongside Doncic. If he’s fully healthy, Porzingis will immediately step in as an undersized starting center that has the ability to score 20+ points each year. He’s an instant impact player with the ability to spread the floor and become a great second option for Dallas. While he’ll likely have to be slowly worked back into the lineup, there’s no doubt Porzingis was one of the more promising young players before his injury.