What games do you have circled on the Dallas Mavericks’ schedule for the 2023-24 season?
Ian: The October 25th opener against San Antonio and the Christmas showdown against Phoenix are obvious picks, but I’m going with the December 2nd matchup against the OKC Thunder.
It’s a Saturday night game with a 9 ET start so who knows how many will be even watching, but I’ll be sure to catch it on DVR the following day so I can see not just Chet Holmgren’s first regular season game action against Dallas(and hopefully bouncy rookie big man Dereck Lively), but the Thunder’s emergent stable of jumbo playmakers. Gilgeous-Alexander is already all-NBA and fresh off Olympic triumph, but Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams are also coming into their own. Dallas has flirted with a similar deployment of 6’6 and up ballhandlers, pairing Doncic at different points with Spencer Dinwiddie and Delon Wright.
The Thunder and Mavericks may not be too far apart geographically, but the organizational approach to roster building couldn’t be more opposed. The Thunder own 35 draft picks over the next 7 years(not a misprint), while Dallas in the last 10 drafts has traded away their first-round pick 5 times, and still owes future firsts for both Irving and Porzingis.
Ben: I’m interested in the Mavericks’ first matchup with the Pelicans on 11/12. New Orleans is a team on the same level as Dallas, so it’s a good test of how good this Mavs team might be. Plus we might get the elusive Luka-Zion matchup, something that’s been incredibly rare thus far.
Matthew: I am looking forward to the opener against the Spurs. I was perhaps the most vocal, and at one point the only Wembenyama doubter so it will be fun to watch Luka and Kyrie put him in a blender.
Or on the other side I have been vocal in the belief Grant Williams is overrated. He will most likely match up with Wembenyama a good bit, do if Wembenyama does do well, I can argue that it proved my other point.
Isaac: This is kind of cheating but i’m looking forward to the 3-game stretch of:
- 12/14 vs Minnesota
- 12/16 at Portland
- 12/18 at Denver
Minnesota is always tough for us because of our lack of big man depth. Portland is going to be a talented young team, but one we should beat, and Denver are the defending champions. This stretch will be about two months into the season so we should have our chemistry down better than it is now.
If we win all three of these games, I’ll know we have a chance to do something special this year. If we win two, I’ll have reason to be optimistic. If we win one, it’ll be a disappointment, and if we win zero, I’ll know we need to make major changes if we want to be serious about making the playoffs this year.
All of this assuming we’re healthy by then, which is no guarantee in itself.
Jack: Jalen Brunson and the Knicks come to town on January 11th in what should be JB’s long-awaited return to Dallas. You might recall that Brunson was injured for last year’s home meeting, a game with an ending you may have heard about. We can only hope that all the stars are healthy for this one; watching best pals Doncic and Brunson go head-to-head should be a real treat. I’m also looking forward to the MFFL cohorts at the AAC welcoming Brunson back and showing him the gratitude he deserves. Can’t wait to celebrate his time here and then win the game by 25 points.
Christian: The Mavs hosting the Pheonix Suns on my birthday January 24th. Those games against the Suns are always uber competitive and to see two teams that genuinely do not like each other makes that much more of a watch. While this is not the first meeting between them, this is a good measuring-stick game to see how the Mavs handle the “super team” Suns. Who do we have who can guard KD? Is this when Grant Williams proves his worth on the defensive end? Looking forward to more Booker V Luka drama
Brent: January 11th. The Knicks. So much has intertwined these two franchises over the last five years - lest we forget that despite now playing for Boston the Mavericks still owe New York a draft pick for Kristaps Porzingis - and this matchup always heightens the discourse. It required a healthy serving of Luka Magic to somehow beat the Knicks and I am eager to see if this year’s roster can provide considerably more support so that Knicks fans can be properly silenced without that level of heroics being called forth. It is also a chance to check in with our now departed cornerstone Jalen Brunson and hope that the lesson was finally learned so that in another 15 years there won’t be a third franchise point guard Dallas chooses to let slip away for nothing.