The Dallas Mavericks have completed their first full month of basketball. They will enter December at 12-6 and the 4th seed in the Western Conference. In November, the Mavs went 9-5 overall and 2-3 against teams that are expected to make a run at a championship in June. (Lakers, Celtics, Rockets, Clippers, Raptors)
Things we learned in November
Luka Doncic is a Superstar at the age of 20
Luka continues to amaze the basketball world. After becoming the third player in NBA history to average a 30-point triple-double (32.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 10.4 assists) for an entire month, there is little doubt that he is one of the 5-7 best players in the NBA.
Kristaps Porzingis shot is not falling but his impact is felt
Offensively, there is a long way to go for Porzingis. He averaged 15.8 points on 38.7% shooting from the field and 35% from three. As his offense continues to come along, I have been impressed with the way he is approaching the other aspects of the game, mainly his rebounding and shot blocking. Porzingis averaged 9.9 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.
Tim Hardaway Jr. fits in the starting lineup
For the month, Hardaway averaged 14 points a game and shot 42% from 3. In the five games he started after Seth Curry’s sickness, he averaged 20.2 points a game and hit 20 of 33 threes (60.6%). Hardaway also impressed with his activity on defense against Phoenix. He was the primary defender on Devin Booker on a night Booker shot 6-16 from the field.
JJ Barea needs consistent minutes
I may be in the minority on this one but I feel that JJ Barea should be a staple in the rotation. Without Luka on the court, the offense tends to get stagnate so playing Barea could give the team a lift. I also believe that he could help Porzingis offensively in the pick-and-roll game to get KP some easier opportunites in spots he is comfortable with.
The center position is an area of weakness
The Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber combination at the center position is quickly becoming an area that teams are targeting. Dwight Powell’s biggest strength is his ability to rim roll. In 2019, he is ranked in the 31st percentile in that category. In Maxi’s case, its not that he’s a bad player by any means but he is more of a rotational piece that should play about 15-20 minutes a game.
Mavs need more easy buckets
This became more evident to me against the Clippers. In that game, we found out that Luka needs help going up against great defenders like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. When I say help, I don’t only mean that the Mavs need another scorer but they have to find easier buckets to avoid playing a half-court game against great defensive teams.
Mavs are a playoff team
Coming into the season, the big question was whether the Mavs have enough to be a playoff team this season. Obviously, there is a long way to go and they have to remain healthy but I believe that question has been answered and that the new question is “can the Mavs possibly squeeze out a home-court playoff series?”
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