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Roundtable: Revisiting pre-season predictions

How’d we do?

2020-21 Dallas Mavericks Content Day Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Here’s our set of pre-season predictions. How do you feel about your prediction, knowing what we know now? Where were you wrong? Where were you right?

Iztok: The season went more or less how I envisioned. However, Covid was much bigger factor than I anticipated. My Mavs prediction is off by 1 win, but Mavericks did much better than I thought based on how hard they were hit by Covid. My predicition that the Mavericks will be cautious with Porizingis’s health was correct, but I didn’t envision him having such a rough time and up and down season. Overall, the West went by my prediciton, the main surprise were the Suns, finishing second in the West, and the Lakers finishing seventh. It goes back to Covid, the most healthy teams Utah, Phoenix, Clippers and Denver ended up at the top of the Conference.”

Ritik: I’m pretty satisfied with my record prediction being 1 game off overall. But it feels more like the Mavericks were several different teams throughout the course of the season, each of which had very different win percentages that eventually averaged out to 42-30 rather than being a single team that wins about 58% of their games. The COVID Mavericks were genuinely a bottom-5 team in the NBA, the March Mavericks looked like contenders, and recently Dallas has gotten blown out by some bad teams while beating some good ones. I certainly didn’t expect this path the Mavericks took to their 42-30 record, but hopefully the playoffs will answer questions I have about the team.

Ben: So I was overly optimistic, to say the least. I thought youth and continuity would benefit the Mavericks in a compressed season with essentially no training camp. I expected Dallas to compete for a top 3 seed, possibly even grab the best record in the West. I was very wrong. Covid19 derailed a season that didn’t start off well in the first place. Doncic came in out of shape, Porzingis was up and down, and several role players regressed. But somehow Rick Carlisle, NBA sorcerer, figured it out and got them to a five seed. Which seems exactly right for this team.

Ryan: All things considered, I feel strange and weirdly proud about my prediction. I had the Mavs two more games over .500 while also assuming Doncic would win MVP, Josh Richardson would clearly be the Mavericks third-best player, and KP+Luka would be one of the league’s best pairings. None of those things came to fruition, but the Mavericks still played decent basketball. I also didn’t see the team getting hit harder than anyone else in the league with COVID and Doncic starting the year in a miserable shooting slump. So, in retrospect, I think I’m happy with my prediction and the way the Mavs played this season. Things could’ve gone better — a lot better — but I’m satisfied with how they performed over the season as a whole. Now, it’s time for the playoffs to answer the overarching questions I still have about them.

Tim: So I was 5 wins too optimistic - maybe don’t lose to the Kings 3 times and the Rockets twice? I don’t know. All things considered, I don’t feel too ashamed about my preseason prediction. I will say, though, that I didn’t realize how big of a factor the condensed schedule was going to be. Knowing what I know now, that many games in a short amount of time should’ve been a bigger factor in my preseason thoughts. I was way too high on Josh Richardson being a perfect fit - he finished the season not even being on the floor at the end of games, which is a shame. KP was mostly not available and Luka, being the stud that he is, won games for the Mavs that they probably shouldn’t have won: clutch buckets vs Spurs, Boston game-winner, Memphis game-winner, etc. I was hoping for a top 4 finish but can’t be too upset with the Mavs landing at 5.

Jordan: In my prediction I said I could make arguments for 40 or 50 wins. My 40-win argument would have played out very close to what actually happened this season, so I feel good there. But 50 wins would have been mighty generous. Ultimately I think this season (unfortunately) can’t really be used as a measuring stick for the progress of building a contender, because of setbacks due to Covid. I do believe deep down if they didn’t get hit so hard they would have been competing for homecourt. That in mind, this season can’t be seen as anything but a success at the micro level. Big picture there are big questions that this offseason needs to address, and I’m not sure I saw that so clearly entering the season.

David: I feel great about my prediction. I predicted Covid and rest games to take a toll on the Mavericks’ win total and that is exactly what happened. When the Mavericks were healthy, I predicted them to make a clear leap forward and when they were healthy for periods between late February and mid-April, they looked great. My record prediction (42-30) was spot on, and the season played out almost how I thought it would. I did not predict Josh Richardson’s inconsistency and thought James Johnson would have a bigger impact, but other than that, there wasn’t too much I did not see coming.\

Kirk: I predicted 50 wins? Oh boy. That’s high for anyone, let alone a grump like me. I still think Dallas could’ve won 3-4 more games even factoring in COVID and the randomness of close games. That said I was a little too bullish as I thought Rick Carlisle would find a way to play guys that could work together. In February he closed rotations down to about 7.5 guys, so that didn’t happen. The roster didn’t fit like I believed it would. Oh well, playoffs are good!