Next season hinges on two major adjustments
Defining success for a team sporting a below .500 record can be described as futile at best. When you reflect on the makeup of the Mavericks its hard to pinpoint exactly what the teams future entails. To keep us upbeat and motivated here are the tangible improvements they must make to have a successful 2018- 2019 season.
The twist and turns of the NBA make consistency a sought-after commodity. The constant and ever-growing threat of teams three-point accuracy is becoming more and more paramount, creating an emphasis on rebounding. Logically if you can’t execute this part of the game your chances of winning are greatly diminished. The past 3 seasons have seen the Mavs absent a double-digit rebounder. Tyson Chandler in 2014-2015 was the last Maverick to achieve this feat with 11.5 per game. Improvement here is a rhetorical request. We gave up the 5th most offensive rebounds in the league (8.8 per game) and finished 21st in defensive rebounding (33.1 per game). The free agent signing of DeAndre Jordan, 2x NBA rebounding champ, should be the added punch the Mavs so desperately need. Last season Jordan bolstered 15.1 boards per game, good for second in the league. Now don’t expect him to go at this alone. Fellow big men Maxi Kleber, Salah Mejri, and Dwight Powell must make significant leaps in rebounding production to see added minutes next season. Our team success is dependent on it. Without an added emphasis on rebounding we could be looking at a top 10 pick for the third straight season.
Its hard to believe a team with a 30k point scorer was ranked 28th in scoring. Historically, the Mavs have been synonymous with high scoring, fast-paced basketball however in recent years a shift has taken place. Due to injury, father time, and a lack of offensive talent the points just haven’t materialized. During the 2013-2014 campaign, Dirk was the last Maverick to average 20 points per game with 21.7 ppg. Father time has proven these numbers are a thing of the past for Dirk. Harrison Barnes has yet to take the offensive leap many saw inevitable a few years ago. He has only reached a high of 19 ppg in 2016-2017. Injuries have limited Wesley Matthews to that of a role player. The two previous drafts have set the Mavericks on an auspicious path, especially on the offensive end. To experience relative success this season two Mavericks have to average 20 points or more. Considering the mix of youth and veterans this could be more difficult than initially thought. The Mavericks top scorers Barnes (18.9 per game) and Smith Jr. (15.2 per game) will be tasked with increasing their averages to secure team success in 2019. We can not expect a rookie in Luka Doncic, a departing Dirk or an aging Wes to take on such a large assignment. Considering Smith (1st round 9th pick) and Harrison’s (1st round 7th pick) draft position the presumption is they are well equipped to handle such a challenge. To break a two-year playoff drought an added focus on point production has to be at the forefront. I mean the objective is to put the ball in the basket. Right?
Initially, I know this comes off as elementary. However, across the league, most teams share a desire to improve rebounding and point production. The only real query is to what degree do they need improving. The Mavericks face the Phoenix Suns just shy of two months from now. At this time analysis of the degree of improvement will begin for the squad. Just remember until then these are all just Takes.
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