Several things stood out at the Fan Jam, but will they translate into the season?
There was a lot of excitement around the team today at the 2021 Dallas Mavericks Fan Jam. Star duo Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis shared a laugh on the bench, Doncic jokingly talked some trash to head coach Jason Kidd during the scrimmage, and Tim Hardaway Jr. made sure to remind the rookies that it was tradition to participate in a dance battle at the end of the event.
Let’s dive into some of the key takeaways from today’s open practice.
Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are really, really good
To keep it simple, Doncic was doing Doncic things. He set up his teammates with flashy passes, knocked down contested threes, and hit a tough floater over Maxi Kleber that had the crowd in awe, eager to get the season underway. Porzingis mentioned at Media Day that he was looking forward to “playing more freely” and is “focusing on getting back to having fun out there.”
That was exactly what we saw in today’s practice. He was smiling as he knocked down multiple three’s, threw down a nice dunk after a bounce pass from Doncic, and got Willie Cauley-Stein up in the air with a smooth, one-handed pump-fake before finishing at the rim. It was an encouraging showing from the duo, and we’re all getting anxious for the season to get here to see more.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Reggie Bullock can score the ball
Both Hardaway Jr. and Bullock came out aggressive. THJ reminded fans why it’s so good to have him back, hitting several catch-and-shoot threes off kickouts from Luka. He picked up right where he left off last season, continuing to put the ball on the deck and convert from mid-range. Bullock also showed an ability to attack off the dribble which was a great sign. His quick release was outstanding and he didn’t hesitate or shy away from a defenders contest. These two snipers make up another deadly duo that will certainly need a nickname soon enough.
Maxi Kleber and Jalen Brunson provide reliable depth
Kleber and Brunson also looked solid. Maxi got hot quick and knocked down several threes which was awesome to see given how he finished the season against the Clippers. Brunson looked ready for the season to start as he ran the blue team which seemed to be made up of the key reserves. He looked to be very comfortable running that unit, hitting a few threes and a couple mid-range shots off the dribble. I have high hopes for these two starting the season fully healthy and look forward to seeing them hit the ground running.
Here’s PandaHank41’s video highlighting the scrimmage. Go subscribe here!
The Browns may make an impact sooner rather than later
There was a lot to take away from the Browns today. Sterling was a standout on the blue team, knocking down threes, attacking the rim, and finishing in transition. He also hit a few tough shots including a contested, corner three over Porzingis. I’m looking forward to seeing what role he carves out for himself with this group and so far, he seems to be doing the right things to earn his minutes.
Moses is still a very raw talent, but he plays hard. Tyson Chandler was on the bench for the blue team and was constantly standing up to yell out advice and cheer him on. The beauty of Moses is that he is only 23 and appears to be more than willing to learn. For now, he’s doing exactly what’s being asked of him and is giving it his full effort, which is great to see.
Two-way players make a statement
Eugene Omoruyi had one of the best performances today at Fan Jam. He was moving really well, his shot mechanics looked smooth, and he showed no hesitation when it came to shooting the ball. I mentioned to him after the scrimmage that he reminded me of a young Dorian Finney-Smith when he first got here. He said that he’s looking forward to “doing what the team needs him to do” and is “focused on learning as much as he can.” He also noted that he “only knows how to play at full speed,” which was a very Dorian-esque thing to say.
JaQuori McLaughlin displayed a lot of confidence and a smooth shooting stroke to pair with it. He knocked down a decently contested three off a kickout from Jalen Brunson, showing off his form. Many people had great things to say about his time with the Santa Cruz Warriors, so I’m excited to follow his development closely moving forward.