There’s a whole bunch of new Mavericks to watch and with that in mind, which Maverick (new or returning) are you keeping a close eye on this season and why?
David: My initial thought was Josh Green but then I remembered I don’t want to think about Josh Green that much. Olivier-Maxence Prosper is much more intriguing to me and I am very interested to see how he fares offensively. His game is very smooth but he does need some time to develop at the NBA level. How far along his offensive repertoire gets will be a point of emphasis for me to watch.
Isaac: I’m keeping an eye on Grant Williams. He had a rough first preseason game but I’m not worried about that. The ceiling of this team does depend on him and the leap he takes. I think he’s got it in him to make that leap and be that difference maker we need, but he’s in a new system with new players and no guarantee works out. Need him and Luka to get more chemistry together so that pairing can work for the next four years.
Gracie: I’m interested in watching Jaden Hardy this season. He looked comfortable during his minutes in the first preseason game and was one of the only enjoyable aspects to yesterday’s game. He seems to have more of an awareness on where to be on defense and has made improvements to his playmaking. Hardy plays with a level of energy and confidence that this team needs. It gets a little fuzzy though when you start to think about where he lies in the rotation. With Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry also coming off the bench, it’s hard to envision Hardy playing more minutes than either of them based on Kidd’s tendency to play veterans over young guys. I’m excited to watch Hardy’s sophomore season because if he continues to play like he did yesterday, then it will be difficult for Kidd to deny him minutes.
Matthew: The Maverick I am most excited to watch is Kyrie Irving. There is a reason he was chosen to be the main character in a basketball movie. His game is possibly the most visually pleasing game to watch of anyone in the NBA. He doesn’t foul hunt or bait, and he’s just really fun to watch. We are all fans and his game was made to just sit back and enjoy.
Chris: Hardy spent his entire summer in the gym and he should have a monster year. If Hardaway gets more minutes than Hardy I will be very disappointed.
Matt M: Jaden Hardy for me, and not just for the vibes. The vibes are going to be LARGE this year for Hardy, and I think he’s got a game to match. Hardy could be a big part of the Mavs surprising some folks in 2023-24. I don’t see why he can’t get 25 mins per night. He’ll just have to impress early on and show signs of continual improvement on the defensive end. Hey, it could happen, right?
Kirk: Mine’s Luka Doncic. It’s a slightly boring pick, but after the way last season ended and what his summer was like... it’s safe to assume Doncic has a target on his back in a way like he hasn’t prior. He has to answer the call and lead the Mavericks back to the playoffs.
Brent: Quick, name the Mavs number 10 player from opening night last season. Don’t feel bad because I can’t either...as I have attempted to excise last season from my memory with intermittent success. It is undeniable is that the Mavericks approached this off-season placing a higher priority on playable depth. The regular season is grueling and the quality of roster spots outside of the top 8 allows a team to weather injury storms, matchup more competitively, and leave some tread on the core rotation’s tires for the postseason. That’s why I am keeping an eye on Dante Exum who is slated to be right around the tenth man position. Can his reborn three-point shot translate from the ABL? Can he help Josh Green fill the point-of-attack defender role? If so, he can write a second chapter to his NBA story and help Dallas be a more well-rounded roster this season.
Ben: I’m excited to watch Grant Williams. He’s not going to put up big numbers or have a huge impact on games most nights, but he’s the type of player the Mavericks have been missing in the Luka Doncic era. I’m hoping he brings hustle, grit, and defense to the roster. It’ll be huge early in the season because Lively and Prosper are rookies and will have a huge learning curve to start the year. Williams’ presence will help the Mavericks until the rookies are caught up enough to provide much-needed depth.
Matt G: I’m curious about Richaun Holmes. He was a guy who I had on my wishlist the last time he hit free agency, and in true Dallas Mavericks fashion, the team failed to sign in and then managed to acquire him years later. When he’s at his best, he’s an efficient scorer with a solid go-to move in the floater he can put up in the lane. Additionally, he’s the latest contestant in every Dallas fan’s favorite preseason game: “Can this guy beat out Dwight Powell for the starting role?” Powell has dashed the hopes of much higher-pedigreed centers in the past, and Holmes wasn’t even necessarily brought in to be a starter, until last season when he fell out of the Kings’ rotation due to their player shakeup and building a roster around newly acquired Domantis Sabonis, he played starter’s minutes for three seasons and did a solid job not just putting up points (roughly 12 per game over 3 seasons), but also bringing down boards, averaging over 12 per game in the seasons he was starting.
Josh: I’m shocked we got all the way to me and no one said Josh Green. Despite entering his fourth season, Green still feels like a mystery box to me — is he a bonafide wing starter? A shutdown, point-of-attack-defender? A potential offensive hub? The third best player on a contender? The....seventh best player on a contender? I could believe any outcome you tell me about Green, because his first three years in the league have seen outrageous peaks and valleys — from basically not-existing in his first season to doing Paul George impersonations last season when Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving were out of the lineup. His true-shooting percentage is on a hilariously historic trajectory, starting at 49 percent, then 57.8 percent, then last season at a staggering 64.5. Where does he go from here? Green proving himself as a legitimate starter is one of the most interesting storylines I’m paying attention to this season.