We are back with our second check-in around the interwebs to see how the Mavericks’ performance last week stacks up against the rest. At a glance, two things have jumped off the court to many: much of what made the Mavericks successful last season has carried into this one, and Christian Wood coming off the bench has been dynamite.
There is still plenty to prove for the Mavericks to be seen as a real contender, but there is a nice rhythm early for Jason Kidd’s squad. The team has an important stretch of basketball on the horizon, as John Schuhmann of nba.com notes in his rankings, as the Mavericks play 10 of 12 games at home where they have been league best in the 2022 calendar year.
Here is where the Mavericks sit heading into the week!
Rank: 7 (Tier 2: Brink of Contention)
Last week: 10
First impressions: The Dallas Mavericks are really good. I know that’s not amazing, in-depth analysis, but I’m very impressed with how they have transformed under Jason Kidd the last season-plus. Their experiment with bringing Christian Wood off the bench is really smart. It simplifies his role, and it’s something in which he can excel. Spencer Dinwiddie has replaced Jalen Brunson nicely, but they have to worry about Dinwiddie’s health history. While they blew a big lead to Phoenix, they responded by dominating Memphis. It’ll be interesting to see how they get Tim Hardaway Jr. up to speed.
How do they move up to Contenders tier? I want to see how Wood continues to operate in that sixth-man role, and how well Dinwiddie fills the loss of Brunson. Things look good except for blowing that lead against Phoenix.
Last week: 13
The Mavs won their two first halves by a total score of 126-81, holding the Suns and Grizzlies (two teams with top-five offenses last season) to just 81 points on 97 possessions before halftime. But they’re just 1-1, because they blew a 22-point lead in Phoenix on Wednesday, struggling to deal with Deandre Ayton inside. Prior to that, the Mavs had won the last 56 games (including Games 6 and 7 against the Suns) that they led by 20-plus.
They did continue to pour it on against the Grizzlies on Saturday, with Luka Doncic (leading the league in time of possession for the third straight season) registering 32 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists in less than 30 minutes. JaVale McGee continues to start (with Dwight Powell out of the rotation), but the Mavs have scored a ridiculous 93 points on 63 possessions (148 per 100) in 31 minutes with Doncic and Christian Wood on the floor together. They have the pick-and-pop and Wood can also make good reads off the short roll when opponents try to get the ball out of Doncic’s hands. For now, they’re both scoring; Wood and Doncic are two of the five players who scored more than 36 points per 36 minutes in Week 1.
After the Mavs visit New Orleans and Brooklyn, they’ll play 10 of their next 12 games at the American Airlines Center. Since Jan. 1 (and including playoffs), they’re a league-best 28-6 at home.
Last week: N/A
Dallas apparently took its loss to Phoenix personally and took it out the very next game against Memphis. The Mavericks trounced the Grizzlies by 41 points, the biggest win of the week, and it was another great outing for Christian Wood, who’s not-so-quietly averaging 25 points and 10 boards off the bench. Of course, everything Dallas does revolves around Luka Dončić and he dazzled in both games, too. The three-and-D Mavericks are raining down threes and bottling up opposing offenses; Jason Kidd’s recipe is working.