The Dallas Mavericks climbed in each of the NBA Power Rankings published this Monday, thanks to their perfect 3-0 performance this week. NBA analysts across the board noted Luka Doncic’s return to true MVP form, improved team shooting and defensive numbers, and the impending return of star Kristaps Porzingis.
Here are where they stand after four weeks of action:
Last Week: 22
Rick Carlisle changed up his starting lineup after a 2-4 start, inserting Willie Cauley-Stein and Maxi Kleber while moving Dwight Powell and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the bench, and so far it’s working. The Mavs had a 3-0 week, including an impressive win over the Nuggets in Denver, as Luka Doncic emerged from his relative early-season funk to average 30.3 points, 12 rebounds and 11.3 assists during the winning streak. Hardaway thrived in his bench role and in one start due to missing players on Saturday, scoring 25.7 points per game on scorching 19-for-31 3-point shooting in the three games.
Last Week: 14
The Mavs have seemingly found their offense. With Luka Doncic returning from a one-game absence and averaging a triple-double (30.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 11.3 assists), they scored 114 points per 100 possessions over three wins last week. Doncic hasn’t exactly caught fire from 3-point range (8-for-26), and he totaled 22 turnovers over the three games. But he averaged 29 drives last week after averaging just 20.4 through his first five.
The Mavs also made a lineup change, playing bigger and starting Maxi Kleber and Willie Cauley-Stein on the frontline. Cauley-Stein did some nice things defensively (a pass interception, swallowing a Jae’Sean Tate drive, preventing James Harden from turning the corner) in Houston on Monday, Kleber hit a huge 3 in Denver on Thursday, and the Mavs have outscored their opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in their 85 total minutes together.
The running joke on Twitter is Luka Doncic has started dominating again, yet the 21-year-old is not even in game shape. After a rough start, the Mavericks have won three straight to move above .500 for the first time this season. Have we mentioned Doncic isn’t even in shape yet?
Last Week: 14
Tim Hardaway Jr. has earned a lot of respect for his professionalism, as well as his production, during the Mavs’ three-game winning streak. He responded to a role change by scoring 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting in his first game off the bench. Hardaway moved back into the starting lineup two games later, when three Mavs were forced to quarantine, and he had his highest-scoring game in a Dallas uniform with 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting. — MacMahon
Last Week: 17
The Mavericks look like they are slowly rounding into form on the offensive end. Going 3-0 last week, they averaged 116.3 points with wins over the Rockets, Nuggets and Magic. For the week Dallas’ offensive rating was 115.9, nearly 10 points better than what it was heading into the week.
Dallas desperately needed that win against Denver. Both teams have high expectations and both have struggled out of the gates. Wins like these are important to have in the bank when the season comes to an end and seeding comes into play.
The Mavericks’ future schedule is very much up in the air due to several positive COVID-19 tests. It’s possible they don’t play a single game for the next week as per the health and safety protocols. Stay tuned in to Mavs Moneyball coverage as the situation unfolds.