Here’s our preseason roundtable for win/loss predictions. How does everyone see the season finishing out?
Kirk: I had a very last second change of heart and went with a 43-39 prediction. Considering Dallas would need to go just 10-17 to hit my prediction, I’m going to guess they go 16-11 the rest of the way and finish a rather preposterous 49-33. It’ll probably be somewhere in the middle, since it seems they’re most likely to finish in 6th or 7th in the West.
Doyle: I still think my prediction of 38 wins was reasonable at the time. They should best that by at the very least six games and that’s great. Neither I nor anyone could have predicted the Mavs to develop the most potent offense the NBA has ever seen.
Now that we know what to expect from the Mavs, it’s a pleasure knowing that they will be back in the playoffs and that they are capable of a dramatic improvement seemingly overnight. Sure, they have some issues to sort out going forward, but this is about as great an outcome as anyone can hope to see.
Matt: Well, I so rarely get the chance to be “that guy,” so if you’ll allow me to revel in it for just a moment... it looks like I pretty much friggin’ nailed it?! What more could a person ask for than to set an unreasonably high bar and have it be met anyway? It feels good. It feels real good. So for the rest of the season, all I’m going to be expecting is more of the same, in a sense.
I honestly thought, if my prediction was going to be met, it was going to be due to Luka and Porzingis forming an unstoppable two-headed monster, roaming the league and devouring those teams not fortunate enough to have two under-25 All Stars. To see that it’s come true essentially through MVP-esque strides by Luka alone while KP has still been rounding in to shape makes me giddy for the potential of a 1st round playoff upset in the immediate near term, and the ensuing years of contention for this team in Dallas.
Kevin: So I picked the Mavericks to finish with 44 wins, but also I basically said they should win 48 games. So Matt and I both totally agreed that they would win 48 games. We are the smart boys. Both Matt and I, who-again-tied at making the best projections.
Sam: I’m fine with my preseason prediction, but it’s clear the Mavericks have proved me wrong. I did not think Doncic would ascend to MVP-caliber play, nor did I, like most rational people, think Tim Hardaway Jr. would be shooting 40% from three. Considering Doncic and Porzingis have played together in only nine of the past 26 games, I’m becoming anxious for the unofficial second half of the season.
I’m comfortable predicting the Mavericks finish 19-8 the rest of the way, but when I consider that means Dallas will end up with a 52-30 record, I hesitate. However, this team hasn’t given me a reason to sell them short so far, so I’ll stick to it. In Porzingis’ 11 January games, he averaged 22 points while shooting 37 percent from three on seven attempts per game. If he’s finally finding his footing, the sky could be the limit. My only reservation is if Doncic will run out of gas or not. Ultimately, this team has forced heightened expectations, upon themselves, for better or for worse.
Jordan: I had 42 wins, which still sounds fair to me. I didn’t account for two things: the West being more wide open than in year’s past, and the Mavericks taking a giant leap forward. Casually counting off the rest of the reason without much thought I got to 50 wins, and that’s sort of jaw-dropping after the last several seasons. The last time they did that was the romantic and devastating 2014-15 squad, which feels like a century ago. My hunch they don’t quite get there, but that’s not what this season is about.
Luka becoming a 20 year old superstar is a massive reason why. The second reason? Tim Hardaway Jr. turning into a true starter. Almost no one saw that coming (though I was fairly optimistic in my scouting of him here*). I’ve said it so many times, but I’m really excited for the Mavericks to be an annoying first round out this postseason. It’s a rite of passage for many up and coming contenders, and should get us amped for the next several seasons.
Josh: I was at 40 wins, and I’ve already written many times how wrong I was about it. Simply put, the questionable role players I doubted before the season have all done more than I expected, particularly Dorian Finney-Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. Oh and as much as I loved Luka I didn’t think he’d be a 20-year-old MVP candidate.
I’m still a little unsure where the team will go this season. In November I would have said the Western Conference Finals! Now, who knows. I think the biggest thing is seeing Luka and Kristaps healthy and playing together as much as possible, as I think that duo is turning the corner on how well they can play together. That’s the key for me on whether this team does some damage in April or meekly bows out