3 bold reasons Luka Doncic, Mavs are sleeper contenders for title
The Dallas Mavericks seemed to have been overshadowed by the narratives of favorite teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks and the like. They made some key roster tweaks and a coaching change which gained attention early on, but as the offseason progressed, it didn’t receive ample media coverage. Perhaps this is the reason why no one’s going crazy over the Mavs’ chances to win it all this 2021-22 season.
However, if you think about it, the Mavs do have a good chance to make waves in the regular season, as well as make a very deep playoff run. After being booted out by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs in the past two seasons, the team might have finally found the secret formula to success.
Here are three bold reasons why you shouldn’t sleep on the Mavs this 2021-22 campaign.
3. Luka Doncic
For the past few years, when fans think about the Dallas Mavericks, the name Luka Doncic almost always comes to mind. After all, not only is he the franchise star, but a hoard of NBA fans also believe he’s the next big thing. Doncic has the qualities of the all-time greats. He has a mastery of the fundamentals, a superior understanding of the game, an immense desire to win, and that clutch gene in him.
Doncic, for all the praises showered at him in his first three years in the NBA, is not pleased one bit. They’ve made the playoffs two straight years but fell out in the first round at the hands of the Clippers on both occasions. A player like Doncic won’t let these things slide. He’ll devise a way to finally move past the first-round hump and onto the later rounds. This is what just players of Doncic’s caliber do.
He’ll find a way to win by any means necessary.
2. Jason Kidd may finally unlock Kristaps Porzingis
When Jason Kidd was named the new head coach of the Mavs, analysts and fans immediately deemed him the perfect fit. After all, Kidd shares a lot of similarities with Doncic. Lots of great things happen when two great basketball minds meet.
However, people somehow forgot that Kidd was an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers, which meant that not only did he work closely with LeBron James but also with Anthony Davis. Before his stint in LA, he was the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks where he was instrumental in the development of a young Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Safe to say that Kidd has enough experience working with modern-day big men. While Porzingis has been putting up great numbers in his two years in Dallas, not everyone is impressed with his play. And it’s not just because he’s injury-prone. Some have observed that he can’t seem to co-exist properly with Doncic. It’s a problem that has puzzled many Mavs fans for the past two seasons.
Kidd may hold the key to finally unlock Porzingis. It’s difficult to point out what type of change will Kidd implement. It’s unlikely that he’ll make a drastic adjustment like when he moved Giannis to the point guard spot. Porzingis already has a firm identity as a player. Maybe he’ll use Porzingis the way Frank Vogel used Anthony Davis? Perhaps we’ll see a lot more Doncic-Porzingis action — a combo that was not utilized much in the Rick Carlisle-era? Maybe he’ll turn the Latvian into a better defender? Who knows? At this point, we have to trust the Mavs front office for hiring Kidd. We have to trust that Kidd, too, knows exactly how to utilize Porzingis.
1. More Shooters
Last season, it seemed that only Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis were the shooters around Doncic. Two players with a smooth stroke seem enough for any other team. But for a team with someone like Doncic—who commands at least two defenders every time—you would want to need more. The Mavs’ front office did just that by adding the likes of Sterling Brown and Reggie Bullock who are deadeye 3-point shooters.
Brown shot 42.3 percent from deep last season on 4.2 attempts. Bullock, meanwhile, shot 41.0 percent last season on 6.1 attempts. To make things even sweeter, the Mavs added Frank Ntilikina in mid-September to the fold. It’s still unknown how he’ll fare on a more prominent role, but he has shown flashes of offensive potential.
The fact that the front office knows exactly what the team needs spells a lot of hope in the near future. At face value, it seems that the Mavs need more pieces to be fully heralded as a legitimate title contender. Better believe that the front office is well aware of this. Mark Cuban and Co. just won’t sit there and let things pan out on their own. They will be very active in filling the pieces to the championship puzzle.