For the second consecutive season, the Dallas Mavericks have stumbled out of the gate. After a loss to the defending champion Warriors, they now sit at 0-4. Last season, the Mavs went 0-5 before notching their first win.
Roundtable discussion: Given the level of toughness the Mavs will see in the first half of their schedule, where do you think they’ll get their first win? Is all hope lost already, or can they turn this thing around?
I think the Mavs won't get their first win until October 30, in Utah. So they'll go 0-7 before notching a win. That's rough, but it's been a tough schedule to start. As to whether hope is lost, my thoughts on this tie into my thoughts on the Mavs' crap record. I think if Nerlens Noel were properly utilized, the Mavs would have at least one win already. And because I have no faith that Rick Carlisle is going to suddenly change his bizarre and indefensible position on why Nerlens is playing so few minutes, I think this team will continue to struggle and will be much less fun to watch than it could have been. I never expected this to be a playoff team, but I did expect it to be a fun, scrappy team. Unfortunately, inexplicable organizational machinations have conspired to ruin what could have been an intriguing season. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
The youth and inexperience of the Sixers could be a win, as could either end of the home and home versus the Grizzlies. I really don't think they'll lose all eight games in October, but the schedule is not pretty. Let me go check the November schedule... oh my God. Maybe the Pelicans? This is bad.
All hope is lost. I don't like being negative before the season starts because it's all projecting, but after these early games and understanding the Mavericks are missing players, I just don't see where it gets better.
I predicted the Mavs would overachieve and make the playoffs this season if they could stay healthy. So far, that hasn’t happened. Smith Jr. has missed two of the four games, Seth Curry hasn’t played at all, and Devin Harris has been absent after the tragic death of his older brother. What I didn’t factor in, though, is how poorly Rick Carlisle would handle Nerlens Noel’s minutes. I could see if Noel wasn’t performing well, but he’s actually playing like he’s the best player the Mavs have right now. I don’t know what’s going on, but none of this bodes well for the Mavs going into next summer.
Hope is still there, barely, but big adjustments need to be made, and the Mavs will need to keep everyone healthy to get this thing going. The good thing for the Mavs is that the back half of the schedule doesn’t look near as dreadful as the top half. If Dallas can hover around .500 by the time January rolls around, playoffs should at least be in play for them this season.
I think the Mavs get their first win in one of these next two games against the Grizzlies, and Dennis will ball out against Mike Conley.
I’m going to be optimistic and say that we’ll snag one of the back-to-back games against the Grizzlies. I know they’ve had a hot start and already beat a good Houston team but their roster is thin and anything can happen in a back to back series.
But if it doesn’t come there we’re going to be in serious trouble. After those games we play the Sixers and are going to have to watch Dwight Powell attempt to guard Joel Embiid because Rick has apparently become a basketball masochist. That’s not going to go well. After that we play the Jazz, who are great defensive team and have already beaten the Thunder and the Nuggets this season. Then we play the Pelicans, Wolves, Wizards, Cavs, Thunder, and you start to realize that there’s not a whole lot of teams that we look good against on paper.
Regardless of where win number one comes from, win number two is going to just as hard to come by. I just hope Dennis will posterize some people along the way.
I've had serious thoughts about the Mavericks notching their first win at home against the Brooklyn Nets on November 29. But then I think that there is no way a Rick Carlisle (ignoring current, fleeting emotions) coached team could start out 1-22. That's ridiculous and historically bad. I think Dallas could steal a game against the Memphis Grizzlies in the upcoming back to back, but I'm going to go on the record and say the Mavericks will win their first game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 28. For the 76ers this game is sandwiched in between two matchups against the Rockets, so this could be a "trap" game in some sense.
Now, is the season lost? That depends on what expectations were at the beginning. Hope is not lost for Dennis Smith Jr. to blossom, and it's still not lost for Nerlens Noel to cement himself as a foundation piece of the future. But that seems to be out of his control at this point. In my opinion, playoffs were never in the question, so although this start is disappointing, it doesn't change my opinion on the season. It's been four games into a long seven months. Plus, the sky can't really fall if the sky was never in the clouds.