The first preseason game of the 2020-21 season is in the books for the Mavericks. After securing a 112-102 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, I’m trying my hardest to behave accordingly and not make any obscure comments about Dallas going undefeated this season. To keep myself centered, I’ll focus in on a few key individual performances from the game.
8 points/8 rebounds/4 assists: Nate Hinton’s stat line
This is who Hinton is — a bruising, hard-nosed guard with a knack for rebounding the ball. Knowing this about him, I still had lower expectations surrounding him compared to the other rookies. Well, Mr. Hinton, you have shut me up.
His eight rebounds, three of them coming on the offensive end, led the team tonight. He did that in 15 minutes. He also only had one turnover. This kind of production from an undrafted free agent is great to see. Tonight he showed he can hang with the big dogs, and I am thrilled to see Mavs’ Twitter is already beginning cries to crown him Rookie of the Year.
3-for-4: Josh Richardson’s three-point shooting
I really liked what I saw from Richardson in the run he got early in the game. He got all nine of his points from behind the arc. The belief I had of Richardson receiving an offensive bump by playing next to Luka Doncic became a little stronger tonight.
Since the 2018-19 season, Richardson has only had three games where shot at least 75 percent from deep while also taking at least four three-point attempts. I know it sounds like a ridiculous stat, and it’s only preseason, but I am still (rationally) excited about how good Richardson could be.
13 points/7 rebounds/3-5 3PA: Maxi Kleber’s stat line
Kleber got himself back into the groove tonight with a solid performance. Last season, he only had five games where he put up at least 13 points and seven boards. He played at least 23 minutes in all of those. Tonight, he only played 16 minutes. Again, I know it’s preseason, but it’s exciting production from a player coming off a career year.
Kleber also reminded us how good of a defender he is, putting a pretty good clamping on Giannis Antetokounmpo in the third quarter. Giannis went 1-for-5 from the field in the third quarter, a majority of those attempts defended by Kleber, and he committed three turnovers.