The preseason is halfway done, and the Mavericks have had a solid showing through three games. The preseason generally doesn’t mean much, but it makes it much more bearable to see the team play well rather than limp into the regular season.
Fringe rotation players have a week to make their mark while the veterans try to work out the kinks of the offseason. Meanwhile, Dallas is looking to avenge their lone preseason loss in a rematch against the Magic with potential reinforcements. Here’s what to watch for Monday night.
What happens to Seth Curry’s minutes?
As of now it appears head coach Rick Carlisle will plug Yogi Ferrell into the starting line up with reports coming out of training camp that Ferrell has run with the starters since the Curry news broke. What will be interesting, though, is how that move impacts the bench. Will Devin Harris spend time solely at the two? Does Dorian Finney-Smith or a surprise player like P.J. Dozier play more three to allow Wesley Matthews more time at the two?
One player to watch is Gian Clavell. He played a team high 30 minutes against the Orlando Magic on Thursday but struggled considerably. With Curry being shut down for the remainder of the preseason, Clavell has a real opportunity to play his way onto the Mavericks, possibly by way of a two-way contract.
DSJ...because of course
Smith Jr. will be in the limelight for Dallas for the entire year, so why would only his fourth game in a Maverick uniform be any different? Overall, the rookie point guard has had a good preseason. He’s shown the ability to score for himself, set teammates up and hold his own defensively. But maybe the most surprising part of Smith Jr.’s game is his consistency from three.
Through three games he’s shooting 45 percent on 5-of-11 shooting from deep. One of Smith Jr.’s biggest question marks coming out of college was this three-point shooting, and even though it’s early, he’s answered the bell. He’s not playing as many minutes as he will during the regular season, but he hasn’t attempted more than 4 threes in a game, which is ideal for a player with elite athletic traits.
Smith Jr. continues to get more comfortable each night, and if he develops a consistent perimeter shot, watch out.
The regulars should be back
Orlando beat Dallas 112-89 on Thursday with marquee players like Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews, Nerlens Noel and even coach Carlisle sitting out. The stats showed as the Mavericks shot 33 percent from the field and 30 percent from three. The Mavericks had nine assists compared to the Magic’s 23, 17 turnovers to the Magic’s 11, and 24 points in the paint compared to the Magic’s 48.
At a minimum, the Mavericks shooting percentages as a team should improve with Nowitzki and company back, but expect much of the game flow to change if the starters get significant run. With Dirk and Noel on the floor, the geometry should change for guards like Yogi and DSJ. Expect a more competitive and efficient night from the Mavericks this time around.
How to watch
The game tips at 7:30 p.m. Central. You can watch on FSSW or NBA League Pass.