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4 takeaways from Mavericks 102, Pelicans 116 as the preseason begins

Many key vets didn't travel with the team, but we have a couple of thoughts as BASKETBALL BACK.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is back! Sorta? The Mavericks played the Pelicans earlier tonight in Bossier City, Louisiana. This wasn't a game that featured a ton in the way of key players but it, gave us some glimpses of things we can continue to look for as the preseason progresses. Dirk Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut, Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams and Devin Harris didn't make the trip to Louisiana (no reason for concern).

Here are a few takeaways from the first action of the season.

Harrison Barnes looks better than expected

While Barnes only played the first half of a preseason game, he showed some very good, and much needed, flashes. He knocked down half of his four threes, with one of them coming off a down screen, and he stepped out and shot with plenty of confidence. More importantly, he showed the ability to make some plays with the ball and create his own shots. One play that stood out was during a pick-and-pop with Dorian Finney-Smith. Barnes came off the screen, attacked the paint, and made a great kick out to Finney-Smith for a corner three on one of his two assists. He also showed some nice moves on the block and got to the free throw line four times.

Justin Anderson and Dwight Powell showed growth

The Mavericks and fans are hoping these two continue to develop, and they didn't disappoint against the Pelicans. Anderson stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Anderson's four made shots doesn't scream improvement, but the fact that three of those shots came from behind the arc and the other was an isolated baseline monster slam, it's safe to say that Simba can be a threat on both ends of the court for the Mavericks.

Like Anderson, Powell also stuffed the box score. Powell had 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and an assist in a half of play. He showed confidence shooting the midrange jumper and showed off his ever-improving athleticism with a nice slam.

New faces show why they were brought in

Former Sacramento Kings Seth Curry and Quincy Acy did exactly what you would expect those two to do. Curry had 12 points and 3 assists in his 18 minutes of action while knocking down two of three shots from behind the arc. Acy had just 5 points and 4 rebounds, and managed to pick up 4 fouls while guarding Anthony Davis. Acy's energy and presence on the court were evident, as the team was a plus-ten with him on the court.

No clear-cut winner for final spot

The team has two spots up for grabs. Jonathan Gibson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Nicolas Brussino got run in the first half with some of the key roster players. All three showed why the Mavs are giving them a shot. Gibson showed he has no problem shooting the ball. Brussino showed nice handles for a wing and also showed off his shooting touch. And Finney-Smith showed his versatility on the defensive end, while also knocking down a corner three.

And if I had to pick now, the final two spots will come down to two of those three.