We’ve had two preseason games. Whether you’ve watched or not, what’s your main overreaction?
Ben: The team looks…unburdened. Rick Carlisle is a better coach than Jason Kidd is, and always will be. But it really looks like Carlisle’s coaching style (cantankerous) had started to take its toll in Dallas. The team looks like they’re having fun playing basketball, and that’s at least refreshing. We’ll see if it lasts all year, but it should at least get the Mavericks off to a good start.
David: This team will make the Western Conference Finals, at least. Having played basketball my whole life, and knowing from personal experience the difference the coach/player relationship can make, I can say with 100% certainty that if this team really likes each other and the coaching staff as much as they seem to do, they will win games that few people expect them to. They have the talent, and if they play for each other on a nightly basis and are having fun, I don’t know if any team in the NBA wants to see them in a seven game series, especially given all of the additional variables going into this year (injuries, COVID, etc.).
Doyle: This isn’t necessarily game related, but the Mavericks are doomed. Recently, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. who seems to care more about sports than effective city leadership, sat down with new Mavs GM Nico Harrison for a long chat.
Great meeting today with the @dallasmavs new GM, Nico Harrison. I’m very excited he’s here and already working hard to bring another @NBA championship to Dallas! He’s also big on community service and wants to partner to help make Dallas a better city. Great guy! pic.twitter.com/CpHktz6cZS— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) October 9, 2021
On the surface, this looks little more than a silly photo op. However, Johnson is a notorious jinx for local sports teams. When the Dallas Stars went to the Stanley Cup in 2020, Johnson made a bet with the mayor of Tampa Bay, FL that the Stars would win. He did this confidently after the Stars won Game 1. The Stars didn’t win another game in the series. Now, he’s already talking about the Mavs winning it all. For those old enough to remember, this is shades of Laura Miller and the parade route in 2006. This isn’t the kind of juju the Mavericks need hanging around the team, but they appear to have already made their bed.
Editor’s Note: sigh Doyle
Matthew: Porzingis looks fantastic. The majority of the offseason was spent debating whether a healthy offseason would result in a more mobile and effective Porzingis. So far it has. There will always be a fear of the next lower body injury given Porzingis’ size and injury history but he can’t stay healthy without beginning healthy and so far, so good. The team is also getting quite a bit more passing from complimentary players. Rather than assigning the play making burden to any one individual, everyone appears to be empowered to drive and kick if they have an advantage. That is much tougher for an opposing team to game plan for.
Darreck: The team unquestionably looks lighter but those good vibes only last until adversity rears its head. Kidd’s coaching past has some red flags on player management and KP doesn’t sound like the kind of player who would handle that well. I want to see how much Kidd has grown to that end because it’s critical that he steer the ship in the right direction given the state of KP’s deal and future cap space.
Jordan: Is it an overreaction to say everything will be fine? Look, this was a divisive summer, within the organization and also the fan base. While that meant opportunity for a fresh start, there’s also plenty of risk: new GM, new head coach, running back nearly the same roster, etc.
What seems clear right now is that, thanks to a team built on Luka, things will be fine. Porzingis, for now, looks fresh. Doncic already seems locked in. And while there are some clear tactical differences under Jason Kidd I could question, I think this team will still be a problem for a lot of teams. Take a breath. Everything will be fine.
Kirk: I have two, one positive, one negative. On the positive side, Kristaps Porzingis is moving like the player we all dream about in the best case scenario. He looks great and that isn’t really about what he’s doing stats-wise or anything like that. I fully believe if the movement is good, everything else will follow given time. I just don’t how long that lasts.
On the flip side, second year player Josh Green is still a dreadful basketball player. I know, I know, he could be fine in a few years. Heck, he could be fine this year. But right now, in terms of ranking the Mavericks in order of best to worst player, he has to be a bottom three guy. The older rookies know how to play basketball and he doesn’t have a feel right now. Maybe this is too much? It is an overreaction. We’ll see how things go.