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Mavs Money Mailbag: New season, new Mavericks, new questions

Let’s answer some questions.

Dallas Mavericks v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

A new season is upon us, and with it new questions. Will Jason Kidd elevate an already good Dallas Mavericks team to great? Will Luka take another leap? Is Kristaps Porzingis finally healthy? There’s a lot of questions, and until the games start, not too many answers. But we’re still going to try. We put out a call for questions about the Mavericks, and you delivered. Here’s a Mavs Money Mailbag to open the season:

Who do you think has a bigger impact on this season: Reggie Bullock, Sterling Brown, or Josh Green? via DW Schabbing (@dubndatub on Twitter)

It’s unequivocally Bullock. Josh Green isn’t ready to play big minutes for a team that can make a deep playoff run like the Mavericks. He’s a raw prospect that needs a ton of reps to develop, and he’s not going to get those reps on a team that will be chasing the best record possible.

Brown will be helpful this season, simply because he will be a playable perimeter player. Think of all the guards and wings on the roster last season that simply weren’t available to play big minutes—JJ Redick, Wes Iwundu, James Johnson, Trey Burke, and Tyrell Terry. By the end of the season even Josh Richardson was having trouble seeing the floor. So if Brown can be productive with limited minutes, it raises the floor of this team.

But Bullock will raise the ceiling. He’s not the secondary playmaker they need to pair with Luka, but he’s the desperately needed upgrade from Richardson. He’ll shoot more willingly than Maxi Kleber or Dorian Finney-Smith, something that’s underrated. And he’ll make them at a 39% clip. Add to that his perimeter defense, and you’ve got an instant improvement in an area that the Mavericks already considered a strength. Bullock doesn’t change the dynamic of the Dallas attack, but he makes it better. And that’s saying something.

Which player aside from Porzingis will most benefit from Kidd’s coaching style? via The Mavs Report (@TheMavsReport on Twitter)

I’m not sure we know what Kidd’s coaching style is yet. We can take some clues from his time in Brooklyn and Milwaukee, but that was ages ago in NBA years. Is he still the same inflexible, mind-game manipulator he was with the Bucks, or did he truly learn and grow during his time with the Lakers? We won’t know until about a quarter of the way through the season at the earliest.

But to answer your question—maybe Luka? Kidd knows something about being an electric superstar point guard carrying a team to greater success than the sum of its parts. If Luka really wants to listen, Kidd can definitely impart some wisdom about what it takes to win in the NBA. That’s something to watch for over this season.

Who do the mavs have to beat in the playoffs first round to convince us they can go all the way ? Suns ? Jazz? Nuggets? Lakers? via Eliezer Espitia (@Speeets on Twitter)

After a decade of playoff futility, just winning a series would be a start. If they were to defeat any of the teams mentioned above, it would get everyone excited. The Mavericks have ran into the worst possible matchup in the Clippers the last two postseasons. If they somehow draw a different opponent this year, the result might be different. But there’s a lot of basketball between now and then.

What areas of improvement are needed for each of the second year guys to find regular rotation mins? via Jonathan Dennis (@jonathanwdennis on Twitter)

The Mavericks are down to just one second year guy now, and it’s Green. As far as finding regular minutes, well, that’s tough. Green is a raw prospect who needs time to work out all of his mistakes. And he’s not going to find that on a team like the Mavericks, who will be gunning for the best seed they can get.

But to make the most of the time he gets, he’ll need to be an absolute monster on defense. He’ll need to be aggressive but stay within the Dallas scheme and not miss rotations when defending pick-and-rolls on the weak side. This will make him playable in limited situations, like when the Mavericks have a good lead late in the fourth and are facing a team with multiple scoring wings. If Green develops a 3-point shot, even if it’s just league average, that’s when he’ll start to see serious minutes for a contender like the Mavericks.

Where is Moses Brown compared to Dwight Powell? Is it only the 3-pointer difference or else? via LDFFL207 (@LDLFFL on Twitter)

Powell is better at Brown at a lot of things, but it’s not the 3-point shooting. The Mavericks experimented with Powell stretching the floor a couple years ago, but it didn’t take, and they abandoned it the last two years.

Powell just has more experience than Brown—on diving to the rim, more time with Luka, and a better understanding on defense. It’s underrated, but just being in the right places at the right time is such a crucial part of basketball. The one area where Brown laps Powell is athleticism, size, and rebounding. If Brown can show he understands where he’s supposed to be on both ends of the floor and develops the habit of rolling to the basket at just the right time (which is a hard skill to master), then he’ll see some significant minutes this year.

Thoughts on the impact of Igor Kokoškov on the coaching staff? via miha ha (@mihancic on Twitter)

There’s two factors here: first, how much input is Kidd willing to accept from his assistants. In the past it’s been minimal. So who knows how much of Kokoskov’s influence will be on the team’s schemes. But the second factor is probably more important. Kokoskov just being around Luka will be helpful. He’s someone Luka trusts, respects, and will listen to during a long season. That was something sorely missed last year.

Is the Goran Dragic thing happening, or should Mavs fans move on (provided you wanted it to happen of course)? via brandon_may (@brandon_may on Twitter)

I definitely want it to happen. Dragic is only one calendar year from being the second or third best player on a Finals team. So please, give me whatever talented players are available.

Is it going to happen? I think so, but I don’t know when. If Dragic reaches a buyout with the Raptors or any other team, the Mavericks are probably one of his top choices. But there’s some questions lingering there. Are the Raptors dead set on keeping him the whole season? Will their trade demands diminish as the year progresses?

If they are committed to a trade, it’s tough for the Mavericks to bargain with them. Dragic makes almost $20 million this season, so Dallas would have to match that salary, and that would be tough without giving up a significant chunk of their roster. They’d have to hope Powell plays really well going forward and that the Raptors are interested in bringing him home to Canada. Unfortunately, we’ll just have to be patient with the situation. It’s tough to do, I know.