The Mavericks play their second preseason game, and only one at home, Friday night. They host the Orlando Magic and first overall pick Paolo Banchero in what should be a somewhat entertaining contest. The Magic are chock-full of young talent, and have been playing their starters over 20 minutes per game. With the number of preseason games being reduced to only three, Dallas is sure to take advantage of the limited time on the court before they lace up for real. Here are three things to watch for Friday night.
The new court
Not much can be taken from preseason play normally, and any reaction to rotation players playing one way or the other should be taken with a very large grain of salt. For exactly this reason, the Mavericks’ new gray and navy court is the number one thing to watch. It is making its official broadcast debut, and based on pictures and the fan jam October first, it should look very sleek in-game. On shots that include the Mavericks’ sideline, look for the 2011 championship team’s names in gold, rather than the blue names of every other Maverick that lines the court in its entirety.
The Magic’s young core
There is a lot of young talent in the NBA currently, and the Magic’s share of them is fairly large. Headlined by the number one pick in the most recent draft, Paolo Banchero, Orlando’s talent pool ranges from small athletic guards like Cole Anthony, to tall, lanky shot blockers like Mo Bamba. The oldest player in their presumed starting lineup is Wendell Carter Jr. at just 23 years of age. Seeing the contrast between the Mavericks’ now veteran team, and a team with no starter able to rent a car, should be intriguing to watch, even if only for 20 to 25 minutes.
The return of Luka Doncic and everything that comes with it
Since Doncic did not play Wednesday in Tulsa, Friday in Dallas seems to be the first time he will don a Mavericks jersey since he walked off the floor in Golden State almost five months ago. This brings about many exciting firsts. We will see Luka take the floor with Christian Wood for the first time in game action. We will see Luka and Tim Hardaway Jr. play together for the first time since Hardaway Jr. broke his foot back in January. And, most interestingly, we will get to see how Jason Kidd divvies up the backup point guard duties with Doncic in the lineup for the first time. Basketball in Dallas is back, and now their franchise player is too.
How to watch
The game tips off at 7:30 PM central, and you can watch locally on Bally Sports Southwest or the Bally Sports App, or on NBA League Pass elsewhere.