Basketball is coming back in the next few months, which means the Dallas Mavericks will get to finish out their 2019-20 season which saw the team take a dramatic leap forward compared to previous years. Here’s a few things I’m looking forward to as basketball inches closer to returning.
The Dallas Mavericks getting actual playoff experience
Dallas being in the playoffs will be huge for this team. We’ve seen different scenarios including a 16-team bracket where teams are seeded regardless of conference which could be an interesting experiment (In case you were wondering, our opponent as of today would be none other than the Los Angeles Clippers).
The focus, however will be on getting this team that much needed playoff experience. This particular group of guys is one that has excellent team chemistry, a factor that has contributed to the Mavericks having the highest offensive rating in the league (115.8).
Dallas has many guys on their roster who haven’t had much experience dealing with the excitement, pressure, and increased level of play that comes with the playoffs. They need a chance to experience playoff basketball together to intensify their hunger to bring the city of Dallas another championship.
Another major question mark is the current shape of the team. Tim Hardaway Jr. has made it no secret that he’s staying on top of his workouts with his posts on Instagram. Luka has showed us he’s keeping his passing skills sharp with his posts that show him playing fetch with his dog, Gia.
When the season does return, there will certainly be some miscues on the court that will naturally come with the fact that the players haven’t played together since March. Hopefully, they’ve all managed to stay on top of their workout routines and have been able to get access to a gym. I hope to see everyone close to in-season shape because once play resumes, it won’t be long before they’re heading into their first playoff series.
Seth’s hot streak and Tim’s terrific season
Seth Curry’s been incredible in his second stint in Dallas, but I don’t think anyone could’ve anticipated how good of a season he was going to have. This season, he’s shooting 45 percent on 5 three-point field goals per game which has pushed him to the second spot on the all-time three-point field goal percentage list behind Steve Kerr. He put up a career high 37 points against Miami back in February where he went 8-9 from the three-point line. Seth has been red hot this season and I hope to see him get right back into the swing of things when the season resumes.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has also had an impressive season averaging almost 16 points per game while shooting 40 percent on seven three-point attempts per game. He started the season coming off the bench and since taking on a larger role in the starting unit, he has not disappointed. He’s shooting much better from the three-point line than he has in his entire career. Last year in New York, he shot 32 percent from three on seven attempts per game. His new role as an off-ball shot creator has allowed him to flourish as opposed to his role as primary play maker from when he played in Atlanta and in New York. I hope to see him continue his remarkable season once we’re back in action.
Getting past injuries
This season, Dallas got hit with the injury bug left and right. We all remember Dwight Powell’s tragic season-ending injury. Jalen Brunson had surgery in March to repair his shoulder which will also sideline him for the season. Doncic, Porzingis, Finney-Smith, Curry, Barea, Wright, and Hardaway Jr. have all had minor injuries throughout the season that have taken them out at one point or another. It seemed like Dallas was facing a new obstacle each week in regards to injuries, so hopefully having this time away from the game has allowed the players’ bodies to rest and heal for when they return.
One thing that can be said about Luka Doncic is that he never fails to come out of the gates swinging. His rookie year, he quickly turned some heads with his high level of play. The organization had decided to rest him through summer league after his long season with Real Madrid overseas. That rest was surely much needed because when the season finally came, he hit the ground running.
This season, some may have questioned if a sophomore slump was coming (yes, I’m talking to you Dirk), but instead Doncic came out and put up three triple-doubles in the Mavs’ first six games. Doncic getting time off and rest has always proven to be a good thing for him, and perhaps even more so with his injured hand.
Luka doesn’t come back needing a couple games to get back into the swing of things. He comes out ready. Knowing Luka and the winner that he is, he is hunting for this playoff experience. When the season finally returns, I hope to see him come out with a bang, just as he has after every period of time off he’s gotten.