Every week, we’ll be grading the Mavericks on their performance from Sunday through Saturday. This will include the team’s performance as a whole, individual performances, as well as performances on social media or in the community. The Mavericks played their first basketball games in the 2022-23 (pre)season this past week, so it’s only fitting that they get graded for the first time as well.
Editor’s note: Grades are from Sunday through Saturday.
Team Grade: B-
Overall, the Mavericks had a good week. They seem to be having a lot of fun during training camp, and it translated to their first preseason game and the first 17 minutes of their second preseason game, which was the first time we got to see everyone playing together. Luka Doncic looked dominant in his debut, Christian Wood impressed in both games this week, and, possibly the biggest development, Jason Kidd announced that Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr. would come off the bench, leaving a hole in the starting lineup.
Jaden Hardy filled this hole in Friday’s matchup with the Magic, but it remains to be seen if the second-round draft pick will be a starter when Dallas opens the regular season in Phoenix. Along with this interesting (and abrupt) lineup decision, the Mavericks blowing a 21 point lead in the second quarter against Orlando factored in heavily to the lower grade.
With only two games this week, there was limited opportunity to stand out. However, two players managed to earn straight A’s this week. Jaden Hardy is the first, for his 21 point performance against Oklahoma City, including a 16 point fourth quarter explosion that led the Mavericks to a comeback win. Hardy showed his shooting potential, shot creation ability, and early signs of a motor that revs up when the game is in the balance. It’s hard to take much from established rotation players in the preseason, but for guys like Hardy who are trying to prove themselves, this means everything. He was gifted a starting role on Friday, and, although he did not have as efficient of a night, he did not look like the moment was too big. In the wake of coach Kidd’s comments about Dinwiddie being relegated to the bench, it’s possible that Hardy could be the starter from day one, and this week he showed Mavericks fans that that decision could be less crazy than it seems.
The other player is Christian wood, who averaged 19.5 points in the two games. He shot 60 percent from the field and look like the player we expect him to be on offense. He looked like the Mavericks second-best player, and we can only hope this efficiency continues into the regular season.
During a time where multiple players are fighting for the same minutes, the room for error is marginal, at best. Because of this, you have got to prove why you belong during every opportunity you get. Tyler Dorsey failed to do so in the first two preseason games, shooting an abysmal 2-of-13 from the floor, and, specifically, 2-of-9 from three. For a guy who signed a two-way deal to primarily shoot the ball, a 22 percent three point percentage over two games is not conducive to establish any sort of role on this team.
This week’s extra credit is going to Luka Doncic for his passing wizardry:
Seeing him back in mid-season form was incredible, but perhaps even more incredible was seeing his teammates in mid-season form, missing open shots off of incredible passes.