Now that the NBA bubble is in action and the mavs are practicing, how do you feel about games starting back up?
Doyle: How do I “feel” about games starting back up? How do I feel about anything right now? I lost my ability to properly translate feelings months ago.
That said, I’m happy that the league has seemingly found a nice rhythm for its return—at least as far as the Mavericks are concerned. It’s pretty clear that they went to Orlando with a narrative in mind and they are sticking to a positive script. It’s made everything they do have a veneer of normalcy about it.
As for the games, who knows? I really don’t know what to expect from the basketball product as a whole. Some teams haven’t seen a full roster report to Orlando yet. Dallas seems lucky in that regard. Only Michael Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t there yet and that’s not such a huge deal.
The players have said on several occasions that everyone is starting from scratch as games get back underway. I think that’s a good thing to remember. The Mavs only have to win a few games to lock in their playoff spot. They won’t be scrambling just to try and get in. So, it may take a few or most of the eight seeding games to find a groove.
I think the Mavs have as good a shot as anyone at the moment thanks to their health and positivity. How far they go rests solely on them.
Ryan: It feels like yesterday the idea for the bubble was unveiled. With the Mavericks starting scrimmages in exactly a week and regular season games only a little over 2 weeks out, basketball is getting very close. Close to the point where I feel myself getting excited and optimistic, something that hasn’t been a common theme since March.
The bubble appears to working pretty well so far. Players are occupying their free time with fishing, ping pong, board games, starting YouTube channels, and more. I’ve become increasingly optimistic about this plan day by day. Hopefully, things will keep going well as players continue to make the correct decisions to protect themselves and the season.
The Mavericks specifically have been spending a lot of time together it seems. The natural chemistry this team has is something I really do believe could play a factor in their playoff success. I’m excited to see how a well-rested Mavericks team looks in scrimmages and beyond.
Sam: I’m getting pretty excited for games to start back up. Though the circumstances are wildly different, the Mavericks are likely back in the playoffs since 2015-16, and like Doyle said, there is a sense that almost anything can happen.
While the home court advantage won’t mean much, the Mavericks still have a chance to move up in the standings. They are currently on 2.5 games back from the Jazz who will be without Bojan Bogdonavic. And the playoff atmosphere wont be anything like it normally is, so maybe there’s a chance the unproven Mavericks can make noise in a new environment for everyone.
I’m probably most excited to see the Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis pairing back in action. The two players nursed several bumps and bruises and never quite found a solid rhythm. And at the beginning of the season. Porzingis was still working the rust off his lengthy layoff while Rick Carlisle was still scheming ways to use him. If those two players are in sync, there’s really no ceiling as to what Dallas can do in this unprecedented setting.
Jordan: On the personal side, the tug of war of every day reality and watching how the NBA Bubble develops is a kind of brain teaser. Some days it’s such a relief to see talks of upcoming games and playoff hopes. Other days it’s the last thing I want to hear about.
The shiniest bright spot so far has been how fun the Mavericks seem to be as a whole. They’ve truly made the best out of the situation, and look to be a fun group with great chemistry. That matters in terms of how they’ll play, but also something that could factor into free agency down the road.
It will without a doubt be fun to see this team in action again, even if the product may be bumpy. I really think they have a shot at moving up in the standings. And as long as it doesn’t involve facing the Clippers in the first round, things could get interesting.
Kevin: So, many times in the last couple months we heard “we need sports back! Sports will give us some normalcy!” and I get the sentiment, I really do. But this is not going to be normal. Every game is going to be a reminder that the world is insane. Our world, anyway. Props to other countries.
That being said, live hoops WILL be fun. I’m ready for that. The team seems ready as well. The word out of The Bubble (TM) seems to say that folks feel relatively safe and protected, which is great. The Mavericks have the best chemistry of any team in Orlando, which is very good. And finally, there is just zero pressure at all. Could not be less pressure. If Dallas goes 1-7 in the opening games, nobody will remember by next season.
Getting the guys back on the floor will be good for development and chemistry. Could they make a run at The Finals? I think they have an extreme outside chance. Could they draw The Clippers in the first round and get swept? Sure they could. And if they do, who cares. That’s four games of Luka figuring out how to deal with multiple barracudas attacking him on defense. That makes him a better player moving forward.
As long as the guys can stay healthy, everything else in Orlando is just playing with house money.