The Dallas Mavericks had a goal in the offseason to revamp their strategy.
Last season’s strategy was solely to score more than their opponents. This season’s strategy will be a healthy mixture of scoring and defending.
With the additions of wings like Josh Richardson, James Johnson, rookie Josh Green, and returners such as Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith, the Mavs’ defense is expected to be great.
They will be tested immediately. Dallas plays the Phoenix Suns, led by Chris Paul and Devin Booker, on Wednesday. Devin Booker is one of the league’s prolific scorers. Chris Paul has uncanny, savvy offensive playmaking instincts even at an older age. Of course, there is Deandre Ayton, who was infamously selected first overall in the same draft that Luka Doncic was apart of. The Suns are also coming off an incredible run in the NBA bubble where they went undefeated in eight games.
Dallas will be without one of their best players in Kristaps Porzingis. While Porzingis does add some rim protection, his strengths are on offense, so for the most part, the Mavericks’ defense should be at full strength. We should see the impact of long, defensive-minded wings quickly. We should see a glimpse of what the Dallas Mavericks had in mind when they traded away Seth Curry and drafted Josh Green instead of Saddiq Bey or Desmond Bane.
For some reference for Wednesday’s game and whether or not the defense really is better, here are the points per game numbers the Mavs gave up to Phoenix last year…
- 113 // Win
- 133 // Loss
- 117 // Loss
- 128 // Loss
Those numbers are telling. An even more telling stat is Devin Booker’s numbers. In the games where Dallas lost, Booker averaged 30 PPG. In the game where Dallas won, he scored 18. The Mavs lost because they could not defend Devin Booker. They did not have anybody who could match up with him. And that was the story all season long against all of their opponents.
Dallas does not have a defensive lockdown stopper. Now, it looks like they might.
If Dallas can hold back Devin Booker, which is what they have been advertised to do now, they will win the game.
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