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Basketball is about feelings: Mavericks chemistry check

What does it take to build a winning culture?

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Today we’re going to do an investigation into the Mavericks’ team chemistry. I’ve chosen the best video clips and quotes I could find from media day, the first days of training camp and the Mavs Fan Jam to piece together a picture of what the team chemistry of the Dallas Mavericks looks like right now.

I’m especially paying attention to whether the long-time Mavs players have found the old vibes - and whether the new players are buying into the culture and chemistry that this team built last season.

I’ve picked 4 of my favorite examples, but make sure to post yours in the comments below if I’ve missed any.

Spencer Dinwiddie: “Better than the sum of our parts”

The blowout game 7 against the Suns and the whole playoff run are great examples of what team chemistry can do. The team came together in an almost otherworldly fashion, performing on a higher level than what anybody expected.

During media day, Spencer Dinwiddie shared his impression of what happened, when he sat down with the guys from LockedOn Mavs, and really opened up about what this team means to him and what makes it special. He talked about how the playoff run taught him something about chemistry:

“I learned how much chemistry and accountability really do affect a unit. We were better than the sum of our parts for sure and that just comes down to everybody really genuinely liking each other.”

And Dinwiddie confirms what many of us have suspected: Jason Kidd has done something extraordinary with the Mavs. Spencer describes the culture Kidd has built as “night and day” from the other NBA-teams he’s been part of. “There was great balance last year. We could keep it light and make jokes, but everybody knew their jobs and legitimately tried their best.”

Tim Hardaway Jr.: “They brought a winning culture”

Spencer Dinwiddie is not the only one lauding the Mavs’ head coach, GM Nico Harrison and their staff. During media day, Tim Hardaway Jr. made sure everyone understood the difference they’ve made for this team.

“They brought excitement, they brought energy, they brought a winning culture. Now it’s our job to show the new guys.”

Hardaway then gave an important insight into what Kidd and his staff are doing to mold and form a winning culture. According to him, it’s all about your mindset:

“We do have principles, we do have a mindset that you have to have day in and day out in order for us to be successful moving forward.”

He finished with a sentence that I think everyone watching this team in the playoffs and during this year’s preseason can attest to: “That culture is going to go a long way”.

Wood and Hardy connection

And it seems like the good vibes and positive energy of a high-chemistry team easily rubs off on new members. At least in Dallas. At media day, Christian Wood did something that touched my heart. Despite it being a small thing, it was a great gesture and an even greater sign of how Wood has already bought into it the chemistry and winning culture.

Wood passed rookie Jaden Hardy, who was giving an interview to various reporters. “He’s a steal,” Wood calls out. Hardy’s shy grin shows what this small gesture really means to him.

Luka and Theo

If anyone is doubting the connection between Luka Doncic and Theo Pinson, they’ve been either under a rock or unaware of a certain something called the Theo Pinson rule. But here’s a clip to show that the two of them are better than ever and that the vibes have stuck with these guys. In a good way:

If you’ve been following this column for the last couple of weeks, you won’t be surprised that I’m using so much space on the importance of chemistry. On high-performance teams of any kind, chemistry is king and it’s getting more and more evident that the whole league agrees. Although team chemistry is hard to quantify, it exists, it’s powerful and the Mavs are not the first team to reap the benefits.

Find last week’s Maverick Feelings here.