It’s been a long offseason, one of the longest the Mavericks have had since Doncic arrived in Dallas. That lengthy layoff was due to the team’s disappointing finish last season, toiling at 11th in the West and missing postseason play entirely. Now Mavericks basektball is back, about to tip-off the new regular season in San Antonio against the Spurs.
After months of digesting the Mavericks issues and new roster additions, our staff is here with their record predictions and the reasons why.
Ben: The Mavericks finishing 43-39 feels about right. Doncic is dealing with a nagging injury already, and Irving misses games on a consistent basis for the past few years. Teams that play overseas during the preseason historically get off to slow starts. Dallas plugged a few holes in their rotation with veterans Seth Curry and Grant Williams, but they’ll also be relying on rookies Prosper and Lively way too much. Doncic will cover up a lot of the issues, however, and keep them a few games above .500 so they can compete for a play-in spot.
Isaac: The Mavericks will finish the season with a record of 47-35, good for a top-five seed in the West. The combination of Doncic and Irving will give defenses fits and Williams/Lively will give the defense the boost it desperately needed last year. The team will have struggles this year but I think they’ll figure it out and I do think Tim Hardaway Jr. will get moved at some point this season, giving the team more depth at the center position.
David: I’m predicting the Mavericks to finish 45-37, sixth in the West. They’re going to take some time to hit their stride but when they do they’re going to be good. Dallas could be a top four team in the west in an “all cylinders clicking” scenario, but to account for the variables that this team has a sixth place finish sounds right. Luka Doncic is still not healthy, Kyrie Irving is unpredictable, and the role players, including the rookies, are going to need some time to settle in. Mix all of that up and the season is going to even out at 45 wins.
Matt Martinez: I’ve got the Mavs going 42-40, good for the eighth seed in the West. It could be a slow start for the Mavericks, which isn’t much of a limb to go out on considering the team’s recent track record. Sure they have plugged some of the holes from last year’s roster, but they’ll be depending on rookies for a couple of those plugs, as well as a couple of guys who haven’t proved that they’re big time players in this league becoming big time just because we’ve asked them to be. Doesn’t always work like that, as Mavs fans well know. This team feels weird. There will be really cool highlight plays all over the place, but ultimately we’ll all like watching the second unit better than the starters if Luka and Kyrie can’t unlock some chemistry. I don’t personally have a great deal of optimism in that department. This season might become an 82-game study in watching the wheels spin.
Doyle: I think there’s an appropriate amount of shell shock from last season’s disappointment looming over predictions for the Mavericks this season. Under Jason Kidd, Dallas has overperformed and underperformed in dramatic fashion. There’s really no telling how well this iteration of the Mavs will perform, especially with a number of new faces added to the rotation. That said, the floor for Dallas is probably something like 33-35 wins. That feels crazy to write about a team with Luka Doncic, but injuries and other variables certainly play a factor. I think the Mavericks will hover around .500 for much of the season, but two-three short winning streaks help them climb to 44 wins.
Christian: The Mavericks will finish 48-34 and will finish sixth in the West. I am hoping to be wrong and that the team finishes better but the Mavericks are relying too heavily an a rookie center to help fix their defensive holes. Too many question marks for me. Will Josh Green and Hardy make that leap? Will Williams be able to stay a consistent shooter beyond the arc and show flashes of his penetration skill. The offense still concerns me with both Luka and Kyrie on the floor at the same time. I hope Kyrie stays in attack anode because he tends to take a backseat until the second half to Luka. It should be them taking turns, they should be trying to play off each other. I think Dallas will struggle on the road but offset that with a great home record. The improved will at least win us 10-12 games that we would’ve lost last year.
Gracie: I am expecting the Mavericks to finish the season 44-38, good enough for that first play-in spot at the seven seed. The Mavericks made slight improvements over the offseason, but being in a conference as deep as the West is, it’s honestly unimaginable to see the Mavericks outperforming that. The Luka Doncic thigh injury combined with Kyrie Irving’s uncertainties and relying on young players are several challenges the Mavericks may have to navigate this season and causes slight concern in my eyes for the future of this team. The Mavericks made some roster changes that will hopefully improve their defense and lead to more wins. With this being said, we only got 16 games of the Luka-Kyrie duo in action. Giving that duo an entire training camp plus an 82 game season of playing together, I expect the Mavericks to rack up several more wins this season than what they had last year.
Kirk: I think 44-38 makes sense. The Mavericks were a disaster last year and had to tank to get under .500 to finish 38-44 in 2022-23. There’s a floor with a Luka Doncic team and adding Kyrie Irving helps hold that floor and push the ceiling. There’s a range of outcomes where they finish closer to 50 wins, but I think with some better luck and better late game execution, this revamped slightly younger team should perform well enough to have Dallas in the play-in chase.
Josh: This Mavericks team really confounds me in a lot of ways. The team finished 11th in the West last season, and the roster was such a mess from years of mismanagement, it feels slightly foolish to think the team will just need one summer to jump back into contender status. Yet Luka Doncic is still here, and so is Kyrie Irving. The offseason addressed the roster issues about as well as the team could considering their limited resources — Dereck Lively, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Grant Williams, Seth Curry, Dante Exum, and Derrick Jones Jr. all address needs the roster has been ailing for, whether that’s more shooting, lineup flexibility, defense, or athleticism.
So much of the data from last season showed the Doncic, Irving combo worked really well, it was just the depleted roster that held the team back in the second half of the season. So instead of relying on 6’5 Reggie Bullock to play the four, the team has Williams, who has big game playoff experience at the position. Instead of scrapping the bottom of the barrel for competent guard play off the bench, the team now has multiple options in Curry, Exum, and sophomore Jaden Hardy. Instead of relying on the vibes guy to give minutes at the wing, the team can go to a more legitimate NBA player in Jones or a talented rookie in Prosper. If the Mavericks really do fill in those gaps, 50 wins doesn’t feel outlandish. The thing will be how well do the new pieces fit, how quickly do they fit, and can a rookie in Lively really hold up as a starting center on a team with desires of contention. With how stacked the West is, I feel like any outcome is possible. So I’ll split the difference and say the Mavericks finish 45-37 and the sixth seed.
Xaiver: 41-41 — this team reeks of .500 basketball. They are operating on two timelines which I believe Kidd will struggle to manage. The Mavericks should prioritize the development of their young players. That will undoubtedly come at the expense of wins. The Mavericks will probably learn that closing games with rookies can be a losing proposition and opt to give those minutes to aging vets. The offense should be good and often great at times due to the individual brilliance of Luka and Kyrie. The lack of defense will ultimately be this team’s downfall.