It’s only been four games and yet we all have so many feelings. With the Dallas Mavericks posting a 2-2 record, it’s worth assessing how we feel about the team. Understanding that, the staff responded to this simple prompt:
Have your expectations changed after four games?
Jordan (@Jbrodess): My win total expectation hasn’t changed. I think most judgement should be reserved until Barnes is healthy and fully back. But this is still the team they have. And I’ve always thought 35 wins was fair. This was never a playoff team.
The expectation that has shifted for me some though, is how fun this team will be every night. When things are clicking offensively, this team is exciting and can put up points. But there have been long stretches of every game that are ugly and hard to watch. They often look incoherent on offense, and unable to get a single stop on defense. In truth, that’s part of the reality of being a rebuilding team, even if the Mavs aren’t willing to admit it themselves.
Kirk (@KirkSeriousFace): I still think the the Mavericks have a shot at passing 35 wins. But when you lose to the Suns and Hawks on one week, it says a lot about the state of the team’s realization of the talent they possess. I know Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes are hurt, but the Mavericks have the healthy mix of veterans and youthful talent to beat two of the worst teams in the league.
So can they win 35-38 games? Yes. But it’s going to be extremely hard.
Doyle (@TheKobeBeef): My expectations haven’t changed. Dallas has a lot of work to do before it can even think about making the playoffs, even if that is the stated official goal coming from the team. It was never a realistic goal and it became even more far fetched once the injuries started to mount before the season started. I’ve said time and again that 35 wins is what I expect from this season. That’s a dramatic improvement from last year. There’s no shame in that. However, if they continue to have nights like they did in Phoenix and Atlanta, then I’m all in on #TankForZion.
Sam (@SamGuertler): I’ll be honest and admit my expectations have changed. I had cautious optimism this season thinking the Mavericks would be a sneaky good team. I think they still can, but there are flaws that have become worrisome. One being their three-point defense, which is not something that will be easily corrected. The other being Dennis Smith Jr. has simply not looked good. As everyone has said, 35 wins is still not out of reach, but there are going to be more bumps in the road than I anticipated. The Mavericks schedule is about to get a lot tougher in a hurry, so we’ll find out a lot about the team in the next few weeks.
Josh (@Boweman55): Since I had the Mavs right at 38 wins, nothing about the first four games has terribly surprised me or shaken me. The Mavs are wildly more talented but still very young at their most talented spots -- inconsistency is going to happen. This is especially true with the injuries to Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes. The Mavs roster isn’t well equipped to handle those two being out, especially Barnes. If you thought the Mavericks had playoff hopes, this start probably stings you more. But it’s hard to make the leap that would require playoffs this season and while the two losses were fairly gross, Luka looks great and it’s just going to take some time. It’s also early and maybe the Mavericks can still surprise us. Stranger things have happened.