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Mavs Mailbag: Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have now played basketball together

Mavericks basketball is back and now we dig in after two preseason games.

Dallas Mavericks v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

With all the anticipation of the upcoming season the sweltering summer months were an eternity without Mavericks basketball. And then, quite suddenly, we’re here and Luka Doncic & Co. have two preseason games under their belt with another on the way tonight (their first at the American Airlines Center).

After a few months away, Mavs Mailbag is back taking your questions. All things preseason should be taken with a grain of salt. But hey, we got to see Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. On the floor. Together. During an organized basketball game. Let’s live a little.

@Mikedsjr: Two games down. Are they overrated? It seems like they haven’t figured out what they are. Offense seems clunky if it isn’t Luka or Porzingis. Everything feels piecemeal. If we are any good, shouldn’t we have won the second preseason games easily?

Wow. Right out of the gate and @Mikedsjr is ready to live dangerously. I would say first, let’s take a breath. This is the preseason, and wins and losses mean very little. What does matter is the content, especially when the core of Rick Carlisle’s assumed rotation is out there playing together. There are new faces in important roles, matched with returning players in new roles. It is going to be a process.

I suppose asking if they’re overrated depends on what the rating was to begin with. What we’ve seen so far is a team that, if healthy and has their game clicking, could challenge for the eighth spot in the West. And that will require constant growth throughout the season., I’d say they’re properly rated.

@ZafriZee: Shouldn’t Seth play more minutes with Luka considering Luka’s ability to find the open corner man?

This sort of falls under what was said above in the sense that we all need to practice some patience. Rick Carlisle is a lineup tinkerer, and it shouldn’t be surprising if he is consistently adjusting his rotations deep into January.

No one is playing normal minutes right now, and the preseason is the chance for the Mavericks to really mix things up to see who jells. Long term we should expect to see more of Seth Curry as the weak side shooter off of Luka-KP pick and rolls. It’s been a thing of beauty already to see Doncic kicking no-look passes to the corner and finding guys like Curry and Delon Wright. Ultimately what will matter most is the closing lineup, and it’s likely we’ll see that trio on the perimeter.

@Michaelthewei: Is it just me or does anyone else feel like (Josh) Reaves is a better prospect than (Isaiah) Roby?

@Xeroze1: In an ideal world, should Roby and Reaves’ contract be swapped i.e Roby with two-way and Reaves with a four year actual?

While it’s great to see so much interest from MFFLs in prospects like Josh Reaves and Isaiah Roby, it’s too early to arrive at any verdict on either player. The Mavericks are at least in a good place right now that they shouldn’t have to rely on either rookie, allowing both the chance to develop with the Texas Legends or in practices with the Mavericks.

Both players have opportunity to take a step forward and secure an NBA future for themselves. It will require a lot of hustle, a lot of effort, and a lot of growth. Because of the nature of Josh Reaves’ style, he’s likely the one to take a quicker step forward. He brings so much energy and creates so much chaos. Carlisle will love that.

Without reading too much into it, it’s worth noting that Reaves saw time in both preseason games with core rotation players while Roby saw his minutes in the third unit. With Dwight Powell and Kristaps Porzingis both out of the first preseason game and Powell out again in the second, it seems like it should have been easy for Roby to get bumped up in the rotation. And he wasn’t. That should at least serve as motivation.

@Christo75028704: I know it’s only been one game, but what differences, good or bad, have you seen with Justin Jackson?

We really saw both extremes from Justin Jackson in these preseason games. With Doncic and Porzingis absent from their opening matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder Jackson looked assertive, energetic, and efficient — all things that are sometimes absent from his game. Then Jackson returned for their game against the Detroit Pistons, playing alongside the star duo, and notched two points, one steal, one turnover in 23 minutes. In two games (38 minutes of basketball) he has totaled one rebound, one assist, one steal.

Outside of that simply being unacceptable, it really paints the picture of the conundrum that is Justin Jackson. There are plenty of rumblings to support Jackson as the fifth starter entering the regular season. But that sort of inconsistency on a night to night basis is concerning.

@mcoronado88: Projected regular season starters? 6th man?

As it was mentioned previously, Carlisle will likely tinker with the starting lineup long into the season. Assuming Dwight Powell will appear with the starters when healthy, the assumed lineup based on the two games would be: Delon Wright, Luka Doncic, Justin Jackson, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dwight Powell. But don’t be surprised if four or five bench players end up in that Jackson spot at some point during the season.

But assuming that’s the group, I’d like to imagine a tandem Sixth Man of Jalen Brunson and Seth Curry. The second year Brunson looks like he’s already taken a step forward and could be primed for a nice season, and Curry will bring needed reliable shooting. Tim Hardaway Jr. is the obvious volume-shooting bench player that fits a Sixth Man mold (and he had a nice night against the Pistons). But for my money, give me Brunson-Curry off the bench first.