When people talk about the top five or six teams in the Western Conference this season, no one is mentioning the Dallas Mavericks. If the first week of the season is any indication of how things will be this season people should add the Mavs to the mix ASAP.
Here are three insightful takeaways of what we have learned about the Mavs through the first week of action.
Starting Off the Season Right Is Key
Despite taking on the unenviable task of starting the season off on a three-game road trip on the West Coast, the Mavs managed a respectable 2-1 record. This sets the Mavs up beautifully to get out the gates fast in the Western Conference standings as they play five of their next six games at home.
The Mavericks must continue to get quality minutes from their high energy guys off the bench like (Zaza Pachulia, Dwight Powell and John Jenkins.) Each has been quite effective in their role so far this season, allowing the Mavs to extend or maintain leads due to their hustle, effort and execution.
Pachulia’s willingness to be a non-stop energizer bunny has allowed the big man to average 10 points and 10 rebounds through the first three games, despite only being on the court 24 minutes a game. If he can continue outplaying centers like he did Roy Hibbert in the Mavs Sunday night matchup with the Lakers, the Mavs will have a legit big man who is consistently making an impact without having to pay him $80 million, which was their original plan heading into this past offseason.
Team Ball Beats Individual Talent More Times than Not
Like most coaches, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle is constantly preaching “the team before me” concept ad nauseam.
Fortunately for Carlisle and his staff this year’s version of the Mavs has taken that message to heart so far. After striking out in free agency again, and with Dirk Nowitzki, the undisputed best player in Maverick franchise history on the back end of his career, the Mavs are lacking a star player.
If the opening week is any indication, the lack of a star player might be a benefit to Dallas. Through the first three games, the Mavs have nine players averaging eight points or more, with five of them averaging in double figures, led by Nowitzki’s healthy 17.3 points a game.
This balanced attack and selfless approach to the game should serve the Mavs well as they do their best to make their way up the treacherous Western Conference standings. With many veterans working together and playing quality minutes, Carlisle and his staff now have multiple options and lineup choices to help close out games in the Associations most difficult conference.
Mavericks Must Stay Healthy
Health plays a big role in many teams success no matter how talented the roster.
In the Mavericks case, keeping their roster healthy as possible is just as important as consistently winning games throughout the season.
With Chandler Parson’s returning to limited minutes against the Lakers, the Mavericks were finally able to play the full roster they put together this summer all on the court as once for the first time. For Dallas to continue making some noise, Parsons and Wesley Matthews, who are fighting to return to form following offseason surgeries, along with injury-riddled point guard Deron Williams must stay healthy throughout the season.
As versatile and deep as the Mavericks are beginning to look, they must find a way to get consistent, solid production out of their big money guys. Keeping the trio of Parsons, Matthews and Williams upright and healthy would not only help the Mavs grab wins but would also take the burden of consistently carrying the team off Nowitzki’s shoulders.
Although many people predicted the Mavericks would have one of their worst seasons in the last 15 years, what they have shown so far leads one to believe they are going to be in the mix for a playoff spot until the end of the season. Dallas may not have the skills and athletism of Golden State or the name power of the Oklahoma City and San Antonio, but they do have some grizzly veterans who still have a lot left in the tank and enjoy playing with each other.
We only have a small sample but things are going to correct way for the Mavericks, and that’s what you need if you plan to be playing in May and June.