The Dallas Mavericks finished opening week 1-1 with a nail-biting loss to Phoenix and a blowout win in their home opener to Memphis. Facundo Compazzo has joined the team, but has not appeared in a game yet. The Mavericks unveiled their new “statement” jerseys in their game against Memphis on Saturday:
Team grade: A-
Despite a blown 22-point lead to the Suns, the Mavericks have looked good in their first two games. Their defense looks elite, their offense looks borderline unstoppable, and the difference in Luka Doncic’s fitness to start the year this year as opposed to last year is stark. They got out to 20-plus point leads in the first half against two of the top three teams in the West last year, which is no easy feat. The Mavericks numbers do not lie, but even more, they look like they are enjoying playing together, even in the loss.
Doncic has looked fantastic, and although it’s early, a bet on him to win MVP is looking like a winner right now. There is no difference between the level he is playing at right now and the one he finished at last season, at which he looked like a top three player in the world. His backcourt mate, Spencer Dinwiddie, has played off of Doncic well, and has run the second unit efficiently when Doncic is off the floor. Dinwiddie has scored 15 points in each of the first two games, and has been a great second ball handler thus far.
The loss to the Suns was bad, but it doesn’t really take away anything from the way I feel about this team. Despite the off-season dramatics in Phoenix, they are still one of the best teams in the league, and are incredibly hard to dominate for an entire game. The Mavericks defense was great all game, their offense just stalled in the third quarter, which is going to happen.
The win against Memphis was every part of a statement victory. Memphis is a young and talented team, but the Mavericks continued to show that they are the superior up-and-coming force in the West. Another Luka versus Ja matchup, another win for the Slovenian superstar.
Straight A’s: Christian Wood
Christian Wood has been incredibly impressive in the first two games. Threes, post-ups, blocked shots, and strong drives highlight his impact thus far. He is a perfect partner for Luka Doncic, and has been incredibly efficient in his minutes. He has scored 50 points in just 49 minutes on 55 percent shooting. As much as he’s been sensational on the floor, his handling of his bench situation has been all the more impressive.
After being pulled in the fourth quarter during the game in Phoenix, he had this to say regarding his limited minutes:
Christian Wood on being taken out late in the fourth quarter: “It’s just a trust thing. I have to build the trust with this team. I’m on a new team. Once I do that, I think we’ll be good.” pic.twitter.com/pXBgiajTXa— Landon Thomas (@sixfivelando) October 20, 2022
As someone who has been Dallas’ second best player through two games, it would be completely understandable to see him upset about playing such little time and sitting in key moments. Instead of pouting, however, he has shown maturity in his media answers and has been appreciative of the opportunity in Dallas. He has been incredible in all facets through one week of play.
Failing miserably: Josh Green
To put it simply, Josh Green has shown almost no improvement in game situations. Other than possibly being less hesitant, he looks like the same player. His 6 points and 7 fouls in 33 minutes of playing time speak for themselves. The videos of his workouts over the summer are a perfect example of why you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the internet.
Extra credit: The Mavericks defense
The Mavericks were a top-10 defense last year, and Reggie Bullock said on media day that they wanted to build on that and be top-five this year. After a week, they are doing just that, and sit at fourth with a 103.6 defensive rating. Not only that, but they sit alone at number one in net rating (20.5), and number two in offensive rating (124.1).