The Dallas Mavericks are now 0-3 so far in the preseason after losing to the Milwaukee Bucks 118-111 Friday night. As we look ahead to the regular season, the Mavs appear to have a lot of talent with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis leading the way.
I have three improvements Dallas needs to make to help increase their chance to clinch a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference.
Fixing the road woes
In 2018, the Mavs went 9-32 on the road, which was the 4th worst in the NBA. Last season, only two Western Conference teams (Spurs and Nuggets) made the playoffs after having a losing record on the road. With a roster made up of younger players without much if any playoff experience, winning away from home is crucial. Realistically, the Mavs need to get closer to 20 road wins in 2019 in order to give themselves a chance at the playoffs.
Improved three point shooting
Last season, Dallas ranked 7th in three point attempts and 4th in three pointers made, which look pretty good until you look at the post All-Star break numbers where Luka shot 26.4% from three and as a team, the Mavs shot 32.9% from 3. Head coach Rick Carlisle said on media day that we can expect the team to take even more three pointers in 2019. Adding play-makers like Delon Wright and Seth Curry alongside Luka and Jalen Brunson should help the team get free for better looks. The Mavs could also improve their three point shooting by playing a faster pace as the Mavs ranked 19th in pace during the 2018-19 season.
When you look at the season totals for the Mavs rebounding, they don’t necessarily look bad but they aren’t great either. They ranked 16th in rebounding last season, which is an improvement from their 27th ranking in 2017. However, the numbers are inflated by DeAndre Jordan averaging almost 14 boards per game in his 50 game stint with the Mavs. After the All-Star break, the Mavs dropped to 21st, averaging 45 rebounds a game. Better rebounding and more second chance point opportunities adding Kristaps to the Mavs depth at big man alongside Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, and new acquisition Boban Marjanovic should help boost Dallas’ rebounding numbers this season.
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