According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey 85 percent of Mavericks fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s up from 55 percent last week and 69 percent two weeks ago.
Losses to the Kings will take the wind out of our sails, but wins against the Heat and Nets followed by a shellacking of the Cleveland Cavaliers in back-to-back contests do wonders for the confidence of the fanbase. One wonders how getting dominated by the Grizzlies will affect how everyone feels in the voting this week, but it’s possible a late close to the season this weekend will help center everyone.
As the playoffs approach, the biggest surprise of the season is likely the success of the New York Knicks. For the first time since 2013, the Knicks have reached the postseason and they did so without a true superstar leading the team.
In place of a superstar, the team is led on the court by Dallas native Julius Randle and head coach Tom Thibodeau, both of whom fans believe will finish the season with an individual award. 69 percent of fans around the league believe Randle should win the 2020-21 Most Improved Player award. The next closest player, Michael Porter Jr., received 11 percent of the vote.
With Randle dominating this category, it’s worth projecting ahead to next year in the place of any Mavericks. Second year players getting more minutes can earn some attention, but voters tend to want genuine improvement. That likely rules out Josh Green already, just because he hasn’t played much, even if he could develop his shooting enough to make himself more of a rotation piece. Past him, there really isn’t anyone else in a Dallas uniform who could realistically qualify next season.
50 percent of national fans believe Thibodeau has earned the Coach of the Year award this season. Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams took 23 percent.
Coaching is one area where the Mavericks get overlooked year in and out, despite Rick Carlisle being hailed as one of the best. The Mavericks never had a defining run this season, despite winning 66% of their game since February first. Balancing an ever-changing line up, whether due to COVID-19 restrictions or injuries to players, while just chugging along to plenty of victories is remarkable. But it’s hard to argue with the voters over all, the Knicks are a very similar roster to last year while being way under the salary cap. The Suns have Chris Paul and a team not that different from last year. Both Thibodeau and Williams deserve the credit they’re getting.
Next week we’ll try to have a question or two about the Mavericks specifically. If you have any ideas, post in the comments and we’ll see what we can do!
To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here. It’s a fun way to participate in a league-wide wisdom of the crowd polls.