The Dallas Mavericks gave the LA Clippers quite a scare during the first round of last season’s playoffs. They should carry the confidence they gained from their postseason experience into the NBA 2020-21 season, where they can take the next step to become a title contender.
Dallas Mavericks 2020-21 NBA Season Preview: Did the Mavericks improve their defense this offseason?
The Dallas Mavericks led the league last season with an offensive rating of 115.9. Yet, they were only the seventh seed in the West. That’s because they were close to a bottom tier defense with a defensive rating of 111.2 (18th).
They wanted to get better defensively and, on paper, it looks as though they did.
With a few roster moves during the offseason, the Mavericks improved themselves defensively by acquiring Josh Richardson from the Philadelphia 76ers and James Johnson from the Minnesota Timberwolves. These two alone added to the Mavs’ defensive toughness, and as a bonus, also upgraded their versatility on offense.
Dallas Mavericks NBA Season Record
Regular Season: 43-32
Western Conference: 7th
2019-20 NBA Season: Playoff Team
G Tyrell Terry, G/F Josh Richardson, F Josh Green, F Wes Iwundu, F James Johnson
Dallas Mavericks Predicted Starting Lineup
G Luka Doncic G Josh Richardson F Tim Hardaway Jr. F Dorian Finney-Smith C Kristaps Porzingis*
*once he returns from injury
J.J. Barea, Tyler Bey, Jalen Brunson, Trey Burke, Willie Cauley-Stein, Antonius Cleveland, Freddie Gillespie, Josh Green, Nate Hinton, Wes Iwundu, James Johnson, Maxi Kleber, James Johnson, Boban Marjanovic, Dwight Powell, Josh Reaves, Tyrell Terry
An offseason of wheeling and dealing can do wonders for a franchise. The Dallas Mavericks did more than enough and are much better than they were a season ago. The addition of Josh Richardson gives the Mavs a legitimate midrange shooter to complement their 3-point shooting and drives to the rim.
Kristaps Porzingis won’t be back in the lineup until January so coach Rick Carlisle will have to make do with Maxi Kleber in his place until then. Once Porzingis returns, it will help make Carlisle’s job easier as the Latvian center gives them a scoring threat from anywhere on the court.
But the Dallas Mavericks’ best chance of making some noise in both the regular season and playoffs is the continued development of Luka Doncic. In only his second season in the league, Doncic showed that he can carry a franchise on his back.
He averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game last season, showing marked improvement in almost every facet of the game except 3-pointers. If he had more help in the playoffs, the Mavs might have made it past the LA Clippers.
Prediction for Dallas Mavericks' 2020-21 Season
After becoming one of the more popular teams in the league because of Luka Doncic, who turned in an MVP-type season last year, they could generate a lot more buzz this season with a deeper team.
Doncic should be an MVP candidate again this season, and if he doesn’t walk away with the award, he will at least be in the top three.
Josh Richardson gives the Mavs a 3-and-D wing player who can guard multiple positions. Not that he will scare the likes of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant, but Richardson will make these players work hard for their shots.
It’s difficult to predict how good the Dallas Mavericks can be this season but it looks as though they have a legitimate shot at becoming one of the top five teams in the Western Conference. They’re too good right now to see them go any lower.