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Mavs Mailbag: Fun basketball is back in Dallas

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Plenty of highs, and a couple lows, in the first week of the NBA regular season has us trying to channel our excitement.

Portland Trail Blazers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Mavericks hit the second week of the NBA regular season with a solid 2-1 record, after their nail-biter of a home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. There’s plenty of excitement surrounding this Mavericks squad, that yes is a work in progress, but bottom line: Fun Basketball is Back in Dallas.

The excitement has spilled over to this week’s Mavs Mailbag, with awards, trades, and finals appearances all on the line. We have a ton of questions, so let’s just dive in!


The Warm-Ups

@saxetniniltiac: Will the Mavs win 82 games or only 81?

They lost Sunday night, so I guess now it’s 81. Quite a season they’ve been able to put together.

@arashko22: How many diamonds will be in our championship ring?

If it’s not 41 I’m suing.

@TheAverageBrian: How soon can I buy AAC tickets for the Finals?

Just buy a ticket to any home game here in the next few weeks, bring a sleeping bag, and hide in the rafters. You can come down for home games whenever you’d like, then just stay down for the months of May and June. The AAC staff will be so used to seeing you they won’t even question it.

Two Lukas

@J3Wheeler: Could the Mavs win a game if they restricted their shot selection to nothing but KP or Luka 3 pointers? Also, if you could clone one of those two and insert them into the lineup which would you clone and why?

Well for stretches on Sunday night it looked like this was the team’s strategy, as Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis combined for 21 three point attempts in their loss to the Blazers. And let me tell you, it did not work. The whole team was bad from deep, but alas, it looks like someone else will need to do something.

But if it came to it, you’d want to absolutely clone Luka. Imagine KP setting a screen for Luka, only for Luka to find Luka in the corner, attacking the weakside of the defense. Two Lukas.

@TheFranceman13: What would it realistically take for KP to win DPOY?

It would take him doing more than just blocking shots. Porzingis has been great for long stretches of the first three games. But as Kirk points out here, there are parts of his game that needs work. A few of those things are on the defensive end. He’s had a tough time guarding the pick and roll, defending the glass, and he still gets pushed around if he hasn’t positioned himself for a block. He’s a ways to go if he wants that award.

Who’s Healthy and Who’s Not

@Rpiamonte: Is Boban injured?

An addition this offseason for the Mavericks, very very big man Boban Marjanovic has more talent than most men his size. Particularly on offense. But he’s also limited. Boban will be a fan favorite, and part of plenty bench GIFs. But his time on the floor will be very matchup dependent. Otherwise he’ll get run off the floor. He’s been a healthy scratch, but he will certainly have his moment.

@hiblake0: Does Luka look tired to anyone else? He played something like 38 minutes against the Pelicans. If he was rested that bank shot would have been nothing but net.

Luka has a big workload on this team, and that will be the case all season. He shed some weight this summer, and doesn’t look nearly as out of shape as he did last year. His conditioning and rest is worth monitoring...but for now, I say enjoy the bank shot.

@TheLukador: When is Powell coming back? And What’s your current win total prediction for the season; has it changed since last week?

There had been some thought that Dwight Powell was making a possible return Sunday night in Dallas. He clearly did not, but should be back soon.

As for the win total, last week I predicted 42 wins, and I’d say that’s still about right. Though I will say there are more things clicking earlier than I anticipated. Still, there’s a loooot of season left, and it could head in many directions.

THE MARKET

@BChaiWJ: Do you think the Mavs try to make any sort of trade? If so, what type of player do they target?

I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas pops up in trade talk around the deadline, if they stay in the hunt. If Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson go shopping, it’s probably for a shooting forward, simply because there hasn’t been any consistency there, and they need someone for Doncic to throw to in the corner.

@RaiderMaverick: Realistically, who do you think the #Mavs should look to acquire to that could potentially bring them over the hump?

Same as above, I think they need a three or four with a consistent outside shot. It’s early, but it doesn’t look like they have players to rely on at the forward positions to shoot from deep. Being this early in the season, the trade market hasn’t even set itself, so we’ll just keep monitoring.

@Moose23444: What isn’t working so far?

Two things: consistent three point shooting from role players, and interior defense. Rick Carlisle opted for a strange starting lineup in New Orleans on Friday, but they got completely torched in the lane.

The Mavericks have 38-of-126 from three in their first three games, 30-percent. THIRTY. That ain’t gonna cut it.

Rotations

@FauxPauxFaux: If THJ play continues to be like this will his minutes get lower and lower or does Rick feel a need to play him 15-20 minutes?

@TannerCBlack: Why does THJ get any playing time over the other guards?

Carlisle is going to continue to play around with rotations deep into the season. He will also be tasked with anticipating which role player has the hot hand on any given night. That’s one of the issues with the system and roster they’ve built for themselves. On any given night Tim Hardaway Jr. could be the hot hand. He also provides a different kind of energy than the other bench forwards have. It’s going to be trial and error for a while.

@JonRambo7: Why is Curry not getting more minutes. What will happen to the center rotation when Powell returns?

Seth Curry was a little banged up to start the season. I’m not sure why he hasn’t seen similar time than other bench guards, or why he’s being used when he is. He continues to prove valuable when he does see the floor, and I think his playing time will grow to reflect that as the season progresses.

@donniedrafter: What is Carlisle doing with these lineups? After two games, who do you all think should start?

To save a little time, see above about what Carlisle will be tasked with this season. After now three games, I think the lineup against Portland made a lot of sense: Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright, Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber. I think on any given night Seth Curry should slot in for Brunson. I also believe Kleber has done enough to make us ponder if he should remain a starter even after Dwight Powell returns.