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Grading the Dallas Mavericks 2021-22 regular season

The regular season has wrapped, and it’s time to hand out some report cards.

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Before we turn our complete focus to the playoffs, let’s reflect on a weird regular season and hand out some grades.

For the purposes of this article, I will not be grading every player that suited up for the Dallas Mavericks this season. The players I chose to grade were chosen on a completely arbitrary scale of how much I cared about them, for better or worse. Let’s get started.

Dorian Finney-Smith

Grade: A

I need to publicly eat some crow. Early in the season, I said multiple times that I didn’t think Dorian Finney-Smith was a starting-caliber player in the NBA. I was dead wrong — like embarrassingly wrong.

Finney-Smith has been nothing short of awesome this year. He was the Mavs’ best defender, he shot a career-high from 3-point range (40% on over five attempts per game), and he got himself paid.

He still has areas of his game he needs to grow in. For example, even though he showed some improvement this season, I still don’t trust him to do anything off the dribble. But Finney-Smith has turned himself into a quality starter and a very important piece for the Mavericks.

Dwight Powell

Grade: B-

Dwight Powell had a rough start to the season. Fans, including myself at times, directed a lot of their angst toward him. The Mavericks struggled to keep teams out of the paint (and still do), but Powell ended up finding ways to maximize his role on this team. He’s been a good role man for Luka Doncic to find and he’s anchored a good defense despite not being a very good rim protector. Ultimately, he’s a reliable guy. He played all 82 games in a season where that is almost unheard of.

Is Dwight Powell a quality starting center going forward? Probably not. More than anything, his lack of size inside hurts him. But he made the best out of a weird situation this season.

Theo Pinson

Grade: A+

This one is easy. Theo Pinson came in as a COVID-relief guy, but ended up being one of the most important players on the Mavericks roster — not because of his play, but because of his bench presence.

He’s the ultimate teammate, constantly up off the bench hyping his guys up. He’s contributed to Mavericks success without actually playing much at all, and that’s something special.

Reggie Bullock

Grade: B

To start the season, Reggie Bullock wasn’t playing a ton, and he was shooting a very poor percentage from deep. But as he started to see his minutes increase, he also started to shoot the ball better. It’s almost like being allowed to get in a rhythm helps a guy shoot the ball better. Huh!

Reggie got up to 36% from deep on the season and carved out a role as a crucial starter.

Josh Green

Grade: C+

The Josh Green discourse has been through it over the last couple of years. Depending on which Tweets you read, you likely either think Josh Green is worse than me at basketball or think he’s the next coming of Michael Jordan.

The truth is kind of boring.

He’s turned himself into a guy who can handle some spot minutes and make a positive impact on the game (which is good!), but it’s still tough to shake the fact that he’ll likely never be better than Desmond Bane, Tyrese Maxey, or Desmond Bane — three guys the Mavericks could’ve drafted instead.

Jalen Brunson

Grade: A+

I have nothing negative to say about Jalen Brunson. It’s a contract year for him, and he’s done nothing but impress. He’s shape-shifted his role depending on what the team needs. When Luka Doncic is out, he’s shown he can be the guy. When Luka is in, he’s shown he can be a perfect secondary creator. He’s also the vibe guru.

Jalen Brunson, take a bow.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Grade: D+

This grade doesn’t feel fair, but I guess some things in life aren’t fair. Prior to injuring his foot, Tim Hardaway Jr. had an absolutely brutal year, shooting under 40% from the field and just over 33% from deep. If he didn’t get hurt, there’s a chance he could’ve worked out of his slump, but that’s just not how the situation worked out. The reality is that he got hurt and had a bad year.

Spencer Dinwiddie

Grade: A

Dinwiddie came to Dallas as the main guy in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, and he’s exceeded all expectations. In his 23 games, he’s shooting almost 50% from the field and over 40% from three. He’s accepted a bench role, been a great teammate, and has come through in the clutch. What else is there to say? As far as regular-season stints go, his one with the Mavs was great.

Maxi Kleber

Grade: C-

Let’s keep it simple with Maxi here. His defense has been incredible all season. He’s the second-most important defender on the Mavs, behind DFS. But, it’s also been the worst offensive season of his career.

Luka Doncic

Grade: A-

This Luka season has been diagnosed ad nauseam, so we don’t need to overdo it.

He came into the season out of shape, but still put up good numbers. Then, he got into great shape and started looking like the best player in the world. Ultimately, he’ll likely end up earning a First-Team All-NBA selection, and it’ll be well-deserved.

The only thing that could’ve made this Luka season better was if he came into camp in elite shape. Hopefully that happens next year. The bar is incredibly high for this kid.

Coach Jason Kidd

Grade: A-

I didn’t like the hire when it was announced. I didn’t think Jason Kidd was the right guy for this team. It appears I may have been wrong. While it’s too early to give a full diagnosis, the regular season was a good showing for him, and that’s what we’re grading here.

Kidd coached up the Mavs defense to an elite level and encouraged creativity and freedom on offense. It was awesome for the regular season. Now, let’s see what happens in the playoffs.

Team

Grade: B+

The Mavs were no strangers to ups and downs throughout the season. At times, they looked like they were destined for the play-in tournament, but by the end of the season, they had a real shot at the three-seed in the West.

The best thing the team did was trade Kristaps Porzingis, and it paid off immediately. The team probably deserves a grade closer to A-minus, but I’m docking them for the Luka calf injury in the final game of the season.

I don’t really have an opinion on whether or not he should’ve been in the game at the point of injury, so I’m not sure if it can even be fairly blamed on the team. But, I’m angry, and the blame has to go somewhere. The injury happened in the regular season, so it affects my regular-season grade.

All in all, though, 2021-22 was a successful regular season for the Dallas Mavericks.