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Dallas Mavericks 2022/2023 Season Preview

After a trip to the Western Conference Finals last season which saw them lose to eventual Champions Golden State in 5 games, Dallas will be looking to go one better this season.

Unfortunately, so will everyone else.

The Mavericks are part of a projected log-jam of teams in the upper echelon of the Western Conference heading into the season, and while they have changed the roster since their Playoff run came to an end, I’m not convinced it’s enough to separate them from the pack.

First and foremost, we need to address the loss of guard Jalen Brunson, who signed a four-year deal with the Knicks during free agency. On paper, this can be off-set with Luka obviously handling the ball the majority of the time, and Spencer Dinwiddie taking those duties over when the Phenom is on the bench. In reality however, I suspect the Mavericks will need time to adjust to the lack of a quick, crafty guard who can get into the defence and create for others.

The team has picked up a capable big in Christian Wood, however, whose fit with Luka could well work out better than that of Brunson’s. Wood represents an upgrade over Dallas’ previous bigs, not only logging 18ppg and 10 rebounds a contest last season, but also shooting 39% from three. That floor spacing ability around Doncic should only help open the floor for one of the games elite isolation scorers and play-makers.

Other notable additions to the roster include JaVale McGee as a rim-running and shot-blocking threat, in addition to #37 pick Jaden Hardy from the draft.

Luka Doncic (pictured) will again lead the Mavericks this season after a breakthrough Conference Finals appearance last season. Credit: The Sacramento Bee

While I’m quick to point out that Wood represents a significant upgrade over Dallas’ previous big man stocks, I’m not convinced he can be a true impact player. He has bounced around from team to team his entire career thus far, and his career seasons have come with Houston – a franchise embracing tanking for increased lottery odds.

I also believe Brunson’s absence will be felt, with the team likely needing to rely on Spencer Dinwiddie as a secondary ball-handler whenever Luka is resting. This is not to say that Dinwiddie is incapable of being serviceable in that role – just that the gap between he and Brunson in my mind is quite large.

Ultimately, however, the fate of this team lies with one person, and one person only – Luke Doncic. He was my early pick for MVP when we did our crazy early award prediction’s a few weeks ago, and as long as he stays healthy, he will find a way to get production from the pieces around him.

Doncic’s supporting cast won’t be enough to truly catapult the team into the upper echelon during the regular season, but come the playoffs, there is no limit to what this team can achieve if healthy.

Ceiling: 4th seed

Floor: 8th seed

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