After the Dallas Mavericks got blown out by the Miami Heat at home, Coach Kidd said he thinks the Heat are the best team in the league right now. Since then, the Heat dropped a weird game to the Celtics, but Kidd isn’t very far off. The Heat are legitimate title contenders. Are the Mavericks?
Best player: Luka Doncic vs Jimmy Butler
Spoiler alert: This is the only category the Mavericks are going to win in this matchup. Enjoy the positivity while it lasts!
Luka Doncic and Jimmy Butler are two completely different players. Butler is 32 years old, has invaluable playoff experience, and is one of the best and most versatile defenders in the NBA. Doncic is still only 22 years old but is a top-3 player in the association.
There will be games where Butler looks better than Doncic. That’s just how it goes. Right now, Jimmy has had a better start to this regular season. But if we’re talking about playoff games, I’ll take Luka over Jimmy every single time. 100 times out of 100. It’s not close.
Sidekicks: Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. vs Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry
That’s right, folks! We have a switch-up in the sidekicks category.
Before the season started, I wrote six of these Contender Comparison articles. In all of those, I listed Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. as the sidekicks for Dallas. I can’t do that anymore. Krisaps has officially fallen into the depth category. He’s no longer a sidekick.
Porzingis played three horrible games and then came down with a back injury that might be more serious than we originally thought. The Mavs keep making it sound like he’ll be good for the next game, and then he keeps sitting out. Who knows what will happen at this point?
Brunson, on the other hand, has been absolutely sensational, averaging 15 points per game on .484/.423/.731 shooting splits to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He’s been the Mavs’ second-best player, and he’s now a more valuable asset than Kristaps Porzingis.
On the Miami side of things, Bam and Lowry are awesome. Bam is the center every Mavs fan wishes we had on the roster. Lowry is the veteran secondary playmaker every Mavs fan also wishes was on the roster. Yikes!
The Heat win this category in a landslide.
The Heat are deep and well-rounded. Tyler Herro would be the Mavs’ second-best player, and he didn’t even crack the sidekicks category for Miami. They also have Duncan Robinson, one of the best shooters in the NBA, and a supporting cast that is well-above average.
The Mavericks have... yet to figure out how to use their bench.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Mavericks are doing fine in the swag category. Unfortunately for Dallas, Miami is on another level.
Jimmy Butler is the CEO and Founder of Big Face Coffee, which is swaggier than anything any Maverick has done. Tyler Herro has a Jack Harlow song named after him. P.J. Tucker’s constant complaining to the referees during games brings them down a peg, but not enough to let the Mavericks pass them. Jimmy and Tyler are too much.
Overall advantage: Heat
Who knows what will happen as the season wears on? Maybe Kristaps Porzingis will get healthy and be a positive addition to the Mavs. Maybe Jimmy Butler will play at an MVP level. We’re a couple of weeks into the season, and an infinite amount of questions remain. But based on everything we’ve seen so far, there’s no reason to believe the Mavericks have a better chance of winning the title than the Heat. It’d be ludicrous to suggest that.
It’s sad, but it’s the truth.