The Mavericks started the week with a shaky win against Brooklyn, and finished the week with a strong win against a good Portland team. Sandwiched in the middle came two losses to Orlando and Washington, on a road back-to-back. Luka Doncic’s streak of 30 point games to open the season ended at 9, where he sits alone in second place all-time.
Team grade: D+
To say this team has its flaws would be putting it lightly. Signing a big man in the offseason and promising him a starting spot, only to have his backup’s backup take his spot two weeks in has been a lethal blow for the Mavericks. To make matters worse, Christian Wood, who could potentially solve the problems at the five spot, is only getting 23-25 bench minutes a game, and is on the sideline for the closing stretch more often than not. Dwight Powell or Javale McGee cannot be the starting center if this team is going to go deep in the playoffs. Christian Wood needs more minutes, and until he does the Mavericks are going to keep losing dumb games.
The Mavericks are a weird team. With the Magic, Wizards, Nets, and Trailblazers as a week’s opponents, the Trailblazers and Nets would not be the first choices if you had to choose two wins. Playing to the level of competition is a blessing and a curse, and the Mavericks felt both ends of that stick this week. Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock have both been inconsistent, and when two of your five starters are consistently scoring less than 10 points it exacerbates the heliocentrism that is Luka Doncic.
Straight A’s: Christian Wood
If this past week showed anything, it is the importance of Christian Wood to the current makeup of this team. The two losses without him were ugly, and specifically the offense stalled a lot. Wood continues to produce when he is given opportunity and has given the coaching staff every reason to play him more. He is shooting 57 percent from the floor and 42 percent from three, and provides a lot of value as a roll man. With all of the Mavericks deficiencies at center, Wood is an in-house solution that is playing well enough to justify him getting big minutes, yet continues to come off of the bench. he is doing everything he can, and deserves a lot of credit for that.
Failing miserably: The Mavericks front office
The Mavericks, as currently constructed, need more than just another playmaker. The signing of Javale McGee has soured quicker than even the biggest critics of the deal could have imagined. The Goran Dragic fumble is documented and actively hurting Dallas. Not only do the Mavericks have holes at the center spot, but they still lack tertiary playmaking, and right now they lack shotmaking from a lot of rotation players as well. The coaching staff has not put this team in positions to win, but even more so the front office has made head-scratching decisions regarding the roster.
Extra credit: Dallas’ resiliency
There is a reason why Luka Doncic has only had a losing streak of more than three games once after his rookie season. He is a winner in its purest form, and his aura is contagious. The Trailblazers are a very good team, and after two horrific losses to shorthanded Magic and Wizards teams, Dallas could have easily dropped a third. They didn’t, and that speaks to the type of people the Mavericks have on their team. They are resilient, and that will matter down the line.