The Dallas Mavericks will face off against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Friday night. It’s their last preseason game before the season gets started in earnest on Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns.
The Jazz are a much different team than the one Dallas dismantled in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are gone, as well as key rotation pieces Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanovic. Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson remain, though they’re probably not long for the roster themselves.
It’s doubtful we’ll see new Maverick Facu Campazzo but you never know. There’s also no telling how long we’ll see the starters. Dallas recently waived four camp invites, so some key rotation players will have to play real minutes.
Here are three things to watch for when the game starts:
I don’t have to tell you this game doesn’t matter at all. It’s just to get the players some reps without consequence and keep them in shape. So the important thing is for everyone to stay healthy. No diving for loose balls, no hard fouls, and nothing courageous in the paint. Letting your opponent dunk isn’t fun but Friday is the time for business decisions. Depth isn’t one of the Mavericks’ strengths, and it would be nice for them to head into the regular season with a blank injury report.
Will the rotation become clear?
It’s possible Jason Kidd shows his hand during this last preseason game and plays the rotation he’ll use to start the regular season, at least for the first half. He started Jaden Hardy in the last game, something that seems unlikely once the games actually count. But then again he may want to keep everyone guessing—media, opponents, his own team. We’ll have to wait to see.
Last chance for guys on the bubble
So far, Tyler Dorsey hasn’t shot well enough to be secure in his spot on the roster. He’s already got a two-way contract, but those are far from guaranteed. Friday night is another chance to prove to the Mavericks he’s intriguing enough to stash in Frisco with the Texas Legends. Meanwhile, McKinley Wright IV is trying to prove he should be the other two-way contract the Mavericks have to offer. He’ll have the inside track, as the Mavericks have trimmed their roster to just 16. But neither player can let up, as the Dallas front office certainly has their scouts eyeing other players around the league for those spots.