Seeing the future
Though we have a few weeks until the season, give us your prediction for record and playoff seed!
Matthew: This is a more complicated question than it seems because we do not know how the team will play. The team that empowers Luka Doncic as a pick and roll playmaker by surrounding him and Kristaps Porzingis with elite shooting, competent defenders is a regular season juggernaut waiting to happen. That team would likely challenge for the best offensive rating of all time and be slightly above average defensively if Porzingis can return to form on that end. On the other hand if the team tries to hard to empower Porzingis as a mid range and post creator rather than a shooter and finisher there is a very real chance that this team struggles mightily. Overall I am going to have faith that Kidd will figure things out and utilize the ample spacing this roster should provide along with a career year from Porzingis to finish 55 and 27 with the third seed in the west.
Jordan: Best to not overthink this too much, because the West will be more unpredictable this season than most. Between Covid factors and roster shake-up around the conference, it could go in many directions. I think the Mavericks win 50 games, and most seasons that puts a Western Conference between third and fifth. So give me 50-32 and finishing fourth.
Doyle: Luka is still going to be Luka—probably an even better Luka. He’ll cover up for a lot of what could potentially go wrong this season as the team adjusts to new offensive and defensive schemes and rotations. There’s going to be a learning curve and some bumps along the way. But with Luka, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Ben: The Mavericks actually have continuity on the roster, the only changes being upgrades, like Reggie Bullocks. They’re built for the regular season, and new head coach Jason Kidd will have something to prove. I expect the Mavericks to chase the best record possible. And with more rest days between games, they’ll be more aggressive with playing time for Doncic and Porzingis. They’ll finish 55-27, good enough for the second seed.
Josh: I have huge reservations about how the Mavericks can solve their current playoff weaknesses, but there’s no denying this roster should clean up in the regular season. We saw in 2019-2020 that Luka plus adequate shooting is enough to almost win 50 games, so adding more shooting and defense to that equation should only help. So long as Jason Kidd doesn’t hold this team back with bad tactics or shot selection and the roster, specifically Kristaps Porzingis, stays healthy, I’ll put the Mavericks record down as 52-30 and a three seed in the West.
David: As Luka Doncic enters his fourth season with a healthy team around him, there isn’t much stopping the Mavericks from being a top team in the NBA with real Finals hopes. If Kristaps Porzingis is really the player we think he is, the Mavericks are a top 5 team in the NBA and the Lakers’ biggest threat to win the West. If Porzingis is not, the Mavericks are no worse than a bottom-half playoff team with a chance to win a first round series. That said, with a new coach, Kristaps Porzingis’ return to usable form, and a heroic, MVP-caliber season from Star Luka Doncic, I see the Mavericks finishing 51-31 in fourth place in the Western Conference.
Matt: Whatever slight upgrade the roster gained from last season is going to be tempered, I think, by the downgrade at the head coaching position. As long as Luka is Luka, the floor is still high, but a team that should maybe be fighting for a top seed in a conference with no alpha dog (you will never convince me that jumbled, washed Lakers roster is going to run the West) might need some time to adjust to the new presence on the sidelines. I think 45 wins, up from last years 42, is about the right spot. Hopefully, it’s enough for home court and to get a look at someone other than post-season Kawhi for the first time in Luka’s career.
Darreck: While the team’s upgrades might have been modest this offseason, I think the biggest factor that’s often overlooked will be Porzingis and whether he can recapture that January-to-bubble form from two seasons ago. If so, Luka with any sort of continued growth plus that guy makes Dallas an intriguing team in a stacked Western Conference.
Before health and safety protocols sparked a brutal stretch early last year, Dallas was finding its groove, and it recovered from that terrible stretch to finish with the 5-seed. Had they not been hit so hard, they probably avoid the Clippers and thus Terminator Kawhi. By that logic, any step forward at all this year could mean significant developments.
I’d be willing to say 48 wins and the 4th seed.
Tim: With a top 5 player on the team, quality shooters around him, & a slightly improved perimeter defense… the Mavericks will have a shot to win every game they play this upcoming season. There’s no reason that Dallas shouldn’t win more than 50 games.
The condensed schedule plus the team getting hit hard with COVID early in the ‘20-‘21 season ended up being the difference maker in the Mavericks not getting home court advantage last season. If they can avoid outbreaks, injuries, & general bad luck – I could see the Mavericks competing for the 3/4 seed in the West.
Kirk: The worst part about assembling these is having to read and edit everyone’s thoughts before putting mine to paper. Right now, I’m just feeling high on the Mavericks. Like 52 wins and a four seed kind of high. I don’t know how to reconcile that feeling with some of my concerns, but who cares right now. The Mavericks are good in spite on their flaws and maybe how they play might not work in the post season, it’ll be good enough for them to wreck many teams in the regular season.