The Rookie of the Year race has begun
Tonight, two of the top three picks from this summer’s draft will face off as Dallas visits Phoenix to begin the season. While Ayton and Doncic will not necessarily guard each other on the floor, both look to have major impacts on the outcome of the game and the rest of the season. Vegas has already put Luka Doncic as the heavy favorite to win ROTY with Ayton right behind him. Yes, it is indeed extremely early but both players look like franchise cornerstones that should elevate their teams back into the playoff hunt quickly.
It should be a tight race between these players, who ironically enough will have exact opposite effects on the hardwood. Ayton will be a physical force who will try to dominate the paint with his 7’1” 250lb frame and athleticism. Meanwhile the “Wonder Boy” will be orchestrating the offense with his basketball savvy and IQ making those around him better. Regardless of the ROTY race results this season, these two young players look to be headliners for years to come.
The beginning of “Fire and Ice?”
The NBA has seen “Run DMC”, “The Twin Towers”, “Bad Boys”, and Golden State is currently home to the “Splash Brothers”. Could DSJ and Doncic be the next special duo to take on the NBA? While Dennis Smith Jr.’s game highlights definitely say “fire” and Luka’s smooth passing with a cool demeanor on the court really feels like “Ice” running through his veins, this could be the beginning of a new era in Dallas.
Whatever name this duo will eventually own, it is imperative that they can co-exist on the floor and thrive. With break neck speed, unworldly athleticism, crisp passing, and genius level IQ, they are a perfect complement to each other on paper. Rick Carlisle will no doubt use his full array of wizardry to implement schemes to achieve their full potential but only time will tell.
Carlisle throws his hat in the ring for Coach of the Year
Last season, the Mavericks ended with a 24-58 record and while most think 10-plus wins this season would be great, Rick can definitely push this team to 40-plus wins with the acquisitions of Luka and DeAndre Jordan. Don’t forget, Dallas was “actively tanking” last year evidence from Mark Cuban’s comments which led to a $600,000 fine for “public statements detrimental to the NBA”. Who said honesty was the best policy?
Rick Carlisle has long been considered one of the league’s best head coaches in the NBA. He has displayed his ability to get the most out of his team time and time again, even pushing the 2014 NBA Champion Spurs to a first round seven game series. Keep in mind, this was with a talent bare team that featured Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, and the aging Shawn Marion. Rick changed the 2011 Finals by boldly inserting the 5’10” J.J. Barea into the starting lineup against the heat and we all know how that turned out. Dallas traded their first round pick next summer (top-5 protected) to the Hawks hence have no incentive to tank games this year. With the club all in on winning, along with the new exciting additions to the team, look for Carlisle to show why he deserves mention as a Coach of the Year candidate.
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