Preseason basketball has probably told us that this is a team that can win some games now, but also a team that needs some time to gel. But, the NBA season, which is fast approaching, is a hard time to gel! So I figured, let's take a look at the first week or so and see what they'll be up against.
In their first seven games, the Mavericks will play Atlanta, Houston, Memphis, the Lakers, OKC, Minnesota, and Milwaukee. Smart money says three of those teams are probably better than the Mavericks at their best (Houston, Memphis, and OKC), and only Milwaukee and the Kobe-less Lakers seems like they're going to be definitely worse.
That's not great news, but it's not bad news. The Mavericks are probably in the same tier of teams, right now, as Atlanta and Minnesota and most hopes for the season start with the Mavericks being better. They're also dodging tougher matchups down the road, as not only the Lakers, but the Thunder (of course) will still be dealing with a key injury.
It's hard to get a feel for how the Mavericks-Memphis matchup. You hate to see a team with so much strength pointed directly at the Mavericks' biggest weakness. It's hard to believe Dalembert won't pick up some fouls trying to stop Gasol and Z-Bo and then, you know, le deluge. On the other hand it feels like the last few Grizzlies games, whether regular or preseason, have sported 30 point Mavs leads that end up going in all conceivable directions.
Like everybody says, it's not so much that the Mavs are good or bad, it's that everybody else is pretty good these days. It's a tough start, and the Mavericks are a few years removed from any kind of consistency. But it's not the toughest start, and it should give us, at least, an idea of these guys' floor. Looking forward to it.