5-2! The Mavericks are 5-2! What’s been your favorite thing from the first seven games and what’s one thing you’re concerned about
Christian: 5-2. Wow. You know it’s been a truly special start to the season when majority of fans are bitter that the Mavericks aren’t 6-1 or even 7-0. Winning basketball games is fun, so I almost immediately want to just say that.
However, I’ll make it a little more particular. I think my favorite thing about this season so far is the obvious bond and camaraderie this team shares. The guys on this roster seem to actually care about one another, and the evidence is obvious. The traditional squad pic in the tunnel before the game, the constant Instagram posts or comments on teammate’s profiles, or even just the way the bench celebrates selflessly for each and every player. It’s fun to watch, and makes winning easier, but this leads almost entirely into my biggest concern.
TRADES. RONDO. CHRIS PAUL. AHHHHHHH please no. With nightmares of 2014, I’m terrified of the Mavericks realize they’re one piece away, and decide a seasoned veteran is the answer. Let’s ride this wave, and not rush the timeline. The Mavericks have a good thing going, let’s keep it that way.
Kevin: My favorite thing through the first seven games is that this team can win even if they kind of play like ass. 5-2 is very cool. 7-0 would’ve been a lot cooler, but this team could’ve been 3-4 without some real grit in a couple of the close games. As the team gels and the rotations solidify, hopefully some of the close games wont be so close.
Jordan: Like Kevin said, a couple of these wins should have been losses on most nights. So while they should have beaten the Lakers (and really, probably the Blazers) it evens out to a fun start to the season.
What I’ve liked the most has been the variety of ways they’ve won. A few games it feels like it’s been all Luka, some nights all bench, and a beautiful Delon Wright night in New Orleans. When teams take big steps forward it has to do with being able to win in a variety of ways. They’re doing that so far.
I’m a little concerned long term about the lineup fluidity. I’ve actually been surprised at how fun I’ve found it so far. But if the Mavericks really want to make a mark this season (or postseason) I think roles will need to be solidified. Eventually. Otherwise we may get some inconsistent performances from The Stable (the bench...I will make this nickname stick).
Matt: My favorite thing for this season in general is the simplicity of our goals. That is, to make the playoffs. The fact that we actually look good and are winning games makes it all the more enjoyable. In seasons past, it was hard to turn off that part of your brain that wants to see your team win while also acknowledging that losing games is a better long term outcome. The inside of my head has basically been this Larry David gif for the past 3 seasons.
Now, there’s no ambiguity as to where this team has set it’s sights, and for the first time in years, it aligns with the interest of the viewing public. Gone are the days of “I hope this is a good close game that we ultimately lose while Dennis has a solid box score.” It’s just win, baby. In whatever way possible.
My concern, in addition to what others have said, is really more of the existential: injuries. That could really be a boiler plate answer for any given season, but looking around the league, it seems like every playoff hopeful is having important pieces go down. Portland and Zach Collins. Houston and Gerald Green. Indiana and Myles Turner. Golden State and, uh, everybody. Porzingis is obviously the Mavericks most concerning “injury watch” player, but just knowing that one wrong landing could bump this team off of what has been such a promising start to the season is always gnawing away at the fringes of my otherwise boundlessly optimistic outlook.
Kirk: I have to say I’m just pleased with how I look forward to every game. Last year was really great until the J.J. Barea injury then the Mavericks started losing then the trade for Porzingis happened. After that, the games became much more of a slog. So going from, basically, mid-February to late October without a game to truly look forward to is a really long time.
Now we’re covering every game, podcasting, finding new and different things to talk about nearly every game and it’s just a lot of fun to be anticipating actual basketball again.
Josh: My favorite thing is that Luka Doncic is so good that all my concerns about the rest of the roster are slowly starting to melt away, much in the same way I felt with Dirk in his prime. Dallas has two losses and they both went down to the buzzer - they haven’t been thoroughly outclassed yet because Luka seemingly refuses to let them. And during the worst game of his career against Denver, the bench picked him up. While I don’t think last season’s team hated each other, it did feature a roster with a lot of different agendas and timelines. All of the Mavericks main rotation players being comfortable in their roles and where they stand in the league is delightful.
My main concern has to be the revolving starting lineup and terrible starts. Dallas simply can’t continue to fall down multiple possessions in the first half of every first quarter this season. It’s eventually going to snowball on them in a bad way. This ties back to the rotating starting lineup. While the Mavericks being flexible with their match ups is fun, they need to eventually lock down a somewhat reliable starting group so those five guys can learn to play with each other to the fullest. Luckily it’s still very early and there’s plenty of time to figure that stuff out.