1. Dereck Lively II
Dereck Lively II, the rookie center from heaven, tops the list. After being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks this summer, most people didn’t even expect him to get meaningful minutes this season. His development and readiness to learn has taken everyone by surprise. He’s right now considered a top three best rookie of the season, for goodness sake. Let’s be thankful for Dereck Lively, his talented mentor and mom, Kathy Drysdale, and his high basketball IQ.
2. Luka Doncic’s shape
We are always thankful for Luka Doncic around here, but his shape to start to season is a little bit of a miracle. If he can keep up the good habits he established this summer all year, there’s potential for a Luka MVP season. He runs more in transition, pushes the pace and even has fuel enough to put more effort into the defense.
LUKA BEHIND-THE-BACK DIME— NBA (@NBA) November 4, 2023
NBA In-Season Tournament
West Group B action on ESPN pic.twitter.com/fyZkmsslYb
He is in such good shape that the Mavs social media team made this video about him:
The Dallas Mavericks just played this video during a timeout— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) November 20, 2023
“Some say I’m in the best shape ever… And they’re right, and you can be too. Thanks to Body by Luka!”
Would you subscribe to Body by Luka? pic.twitter.com/bpyf0x7Ud1
3. Kyrie Irving’s peace in Dallas
Kyrie Irving seems at peace in Dallas right now. No one asks him about wars, conflicts and controversial movies, and he likes that. He’s had no bad attitude and has only missed three games, all due to injury or pain. Kyrie Irving wants to protect his peace, and it seems like he’s succeeding in Dallas.
4. Derrick Jones Jr.’s athleticism
Derrick Jones Jr. has brought something to Dallas which we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s been so long that we forgot what it’s like. It’s been so long that we may have started to doubt if it can exist in Dallas. He’s brought athleticism, both defensively but also offensively, and it feels quite amazing to watch.
DJJ has found his NBA HOME!!!!! pic.twitter.com/wMOJR1V48C— MavsHighlights (@MavsHighlights) November 11, 2023
5. Grant Williams’ vocal chords and jovial presence
The Mavericks needed a communicator and defensive specialist on the team, and Luka needed a body double and new bestie. They got both in Grant Williams, whose vocal chords have been known to irritate, but seem to be appreciated in Dallas. Luka enjoys the jokes, support and the willingness to take a tech for him, that much is clear. For that reason, and many more, we are thankful for Grant Williams.
New friendship is born ✨️ pic.twitter.com/CnE17YGZlN— Luka Updates⁷⁷ (@LukaUpdates2) September 27, 2023
6. Better rotations
At this point, I’d like to give a shout-out to better rotations and the ones who make them. It’s unclear why they’re so much better this year, but generally, they’ve been very good and coach Jason Kidd has done a good job adjusting in-game. As fans of the team, we know that we cannot take these things for granted, so let’s be thankful as long as it lasts.
The chemistry and connection on the Mavs have increased this season and the guys just clearly enjoy being around each other. Never underestimate what chemistry can do to a team, making the sum of the team greater than its parts. There’s potential for that this season, thanks to improved chemistry.
8. A good start to the season 10-5
Let’s not forget the bottom line: the Mavericks had a great start to the season and are 10-5. It’s grounds for optimism. If this team continues playing like this (and just does an average job on defense), it will be a very fun season.
9. More fastbreaks
I am always thankful for fast breaks, all year round. They’re fun, entertaining to watch, easy and quick points and then they’re momentum changers and win deciders. Let’s be thankful for fastbreaks because they haven’t been around for a long time, and you can never be certain they’ll stick.
Mavs have increased their pace the MOST of any team from last season pic.twitter.com/Qu4tngCBnT— MavsHighlights (@MavsHighlights) November 16, 2023
10. The joy is back
Lastly, Luka Doncic’s joy of basketball is back. He said himself that the difference between last year and this season is that “we’re having fun”. I’ll take that as a yes, and rejoice in the good news that our wunderkind has found his joy for the game again.
Luka is a special specimen of a basketball player, who inspires an incredible number of people around the world with his joyful approach to the game. For that reason, and because we want the best for him, we are thankful that Luka Doncic’s joy is back. It makes it a little more fun to watch the Dallas Mavericks play. No, a lot more fun.