Everything You Need to Know About the Dallas Mavericks Before the NBA Restart

Mavericks basketball is back! We made it! We’ll finally get to see the Dallas Mavericks again. Their first scrimmage game is July 23rd against the Los Angeles Lakers. They’ll have three scrimmages before the season restart begins.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Mavericks play. You might have forgotten about some key storylines and developments. Here’s everything you need to know about the Dallas Mavericks before the NBA restart. This will help you get up to speed on all things Mavs.

1. Roster Updates

First things first, who’s in and who’s out?

In: J.J. BareaTrey BurkeAntonius ClevelandSeth CurryLuka DoncicDorian Finney-SmithTim Hardaway Jr.Justin JacksonMichael Kidd-GilchristMaxi KleberBoban MarjanovicKristaps PorzingisJosh ReavesDelon Wright

Out: Dwight Powell (Achilles injury), Jalen Brunson (shoulder surgery), Courtney Lee (calf injury), Willie Cauley-Stein (personal opt-out)

After Dwight Powell suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, Kristaps Porzingis played Center. That allowed the Mavericks to play a “5-out” offense, something Mavs fans had been eager to see.

Here is the Mavericks’ assumed starting lineup for the season restart:

  • PG: Luka Doncic
  • SG: Seth Curry
  • SF: Tim Hardaway Jr.
  • PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
  • C: Kristaps Porzingis

That lineup offers a deadly mix of shooting, spacing, and interior defense.

Among Mavs lineups that played 50 or more minutes together, that lineup was 5th in Net Rating, 4th in Defensive Rating, and 2nd in Offensive Rating. That group averaged an insane 120.7 points per 100 possessions.

2. Historically Good Offense

The Mavericks put on an offensive clinic in almost every game. This team may go down as having the best offense in franchise history and, possibly, in NBA history.

According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Mavericks had an Offensive Rating of 116.7. That’s number one in NBA history. It’s better than the 73-win Golden State Warriors, the 72-win Chicago Bulls, and the ‘87 Showtime Lakers – better than anyone.

The great thing about their offense is that it’s steady. Many high-octane offenses rely on quick shots and fast-break plays.

That often doesn’t work in the Playoffs.

The Mavericks, on the other hand, were 18th in Pace this season. That steady, methodical offense should serve them well in the Playoffs.

However, their offense wasn’t always great…

3. Clutch Problems

It wasn’t all good this year. The Mavericks have several young players. That usually means one thing – problems executing in clutch situations.

That historically great offense? The one that’s best in the league and it’s not even close? That drops to 29th in the league in the clutch.

Opponents were shooting nearly 43% against the Mavericks in clutch situations and were making more than 35% of their 3-pointers.

For the record, I don’t expect this problem to be solved this season, but I also don’t think it’s worth grabbing our pitchforks over. It did get extremely frustrating to see the same mistakes over and over, but it’s a typical problem young teams have. They’ll grow out of it.

In the 2010 season, where those rankings are from, the Thunder were 21-24 in clutch games. That’s 3 games under .500. The Mavericks are currently 8-12 in those games – 4 games under .500.

So the Mavs might have a fun year, finish with 50 wins, and still be bad in the clutch.— Sydney Myers (@_sydneymyers) January 9, 2020

4. Making the Luka-Kristaps Dynamic Work

No surprise, the Luka-Kristaps dynamic wasn’t completely smooth right out of the gate. We often wondered how Rick Carlisle could get Kristaps more involved or how Luka and Kristaps could best complement each other.

It takes time for two stars to learn how to play together. It seemed like Luka and Kristaps were just learning how to do that when the season was put on hold.

We’ll see if their time in the bubble has helped to rekindle that chemistry.

Here’s a podcast episode after one of their best games together. We break down the blueprint for the Luka-KP duo.

Even with a few rough spots, there was one thing you never had to worry about…

5. Luka Doncic for MVP?

Remember when Luka Doncic averaged a 30-point triple-double for an entire month? That was in November 2019 when Luka had fresh legs and a summer of work behind him.

He came back a little closer to earth as the season went on, but he was still in the MVP conversation for much of it.

You could argue that we’ll get November Luka again. He had a few months off during the hiatus that gave him time to work on his game and his body. The difference now is that he has had more time with his teammates than he did before.

He was top 10 in points and assists, averaging 28.7 points, 8.7 assists, and 9.3 rebounds. He had the highest offensive rating among players who played more than 50 games and was third in Usage Percentage.

He’ll be a problem for opponents. Unless that opponent can execute what has been the Mavericks’ kryptonite…

6. Struggles Against Physical Defense

Despite having a great offense, the Mavericks struggled against physical defense. It seemed as if some teams went out of their way to beat up on Luka. It didn’t help that the referees appeared to let it happen.

You might recall several games where Luka was pushed around, thrown to the ground, and fouled on shots at the rim, but the refs held their whistle.

It got very frustrating.

The Mavericks were 15th in the league in free throw attempts per game despite being 9th in field goal attempts on drives and 8th in field goal attempts 5-9 feet from the basket.

I hope that trend doesn’t continue.

Here’s a recap podcast episode after a particularly frustrating game. It’s a good refresher of what Luka was dealing with.

Besides that, there was an even bigger question mark hanging over the Mavericks going into the season…

7. Kristaps’ Recovery From a Torn ACL

Before the season, there were question marks about Kristaps Porzingis. He was coming off a torn ACL and hadn’t played basketball in almost two years.

I looked at data from 69 players who tore their ACL to see if I could use it to predict Kristaps’ production this season. Turns out, the data helped me make a pretty accurate prediction.


  • 32 minutes
  • 19 points
  • 9 rebounds
  • 1.5 blocks
  • 42 FG%,
  • 35 3PT%

Season Averages

  • 31.3 minutes
  • 19.2 points
  • 9.5 rebounds
  • 2.1 blocks
  • 42 FG%,
  • 34.9 3PT%

The point is that Kristaps’ production is totally what you would expect from a guy returning from a torn ACL.

Yes, 19.2 points is lower than his previous average of 23, but there’s nothing to worry about. His numbers might be even better now that he’s had more time to rehab and work on his body.

And they’re going to need a healthy Kristaps Porzingis because he helps in one area where they really struggled…

8. Bad Defense

Ok, so remember how great the Mavs’ offense was? Well, their defense, at times, was as bad as their offense was good. Their defense was bad. That’s what I’m trying to say.

They were 17th in Defensive Rating before the hiatus, according to NBA Stats. The Chicago Bulls had a better Defensive Rating and they were 22-43, for crying out loud.

Now, things had been trending up. In March, the Mavericks were 4th in Defensive Rating. After Dwight Powell was injured, Kristaps played more at Center. That helped their rim protection and post defense. However, their offense took a bit of a dip during that time. Their Offensive Rating in March was 16th, according to NBA Stats.

In general, don’t expect stellar defense when we see the Mavericks again.

Those are the important things you need to know about the Dallas Mavericks before the NBA season restart. Overall, the season had been promising so far. There were plenty of frustrating moments, but we’re still in the early phases of growing a team.

Share this with other Mavs fans who could find it useful! And let me know what your predictions are for the Mavericks as the 2019-2020 season finally reaches its climax.

Dallas Mavericks Nickname Quiz: Guess the Mav by His Nickname

Think you’re a real Dallas Mavericks fan? Take the Dallas Mavericks Nickname Quiz to see how well you know Mavs players – past and present.

You might know the nicknames of recent or popular Mavs, but what about lesser-known players? What was Bernard James‘ nickname? Which Dallas Maverick went by “Pierre”? Was Wesley Matthews the only Mav to go by the nickname “Iron Man”?

You’ll need a deep knowledge of Dallas Mavericks history to get every answer right in this fan quiz.

Share your results on social media to show how much you know about the Mavs. Tell your friends to take the quiz to see who is a bigger fan!

Share Your Results

“I got [X] out 25 correct on the Dallas Mavericks Player Nickname Quiz! Think you can do better? Take the quiz!”
Click to Tweet

How many did you answer correctly? Share your results on social media. Tell your friends to take the quiz and compare results to see who is the bigger fan!

Was Luka Doncic the Greatest Rookie Ever?

When the Dallas Mavericks traded for Luka Doncic on draft night, Mavs fans everywhere rejoiced. He had taken the Euroleague by storm, winning Euroleague MVP and Final Four MVP at just 19 years old.

If he had any doubters heading into his Rookie season, he quickly silenced them by putting together a Rookie of the Year season and breaking plenty of records along the way.

But how great was his Rookie season? Was it the greatest since Lebron James’ in 2003? Was it the greatest ever?

Let’s examine the facts.

Luka’s Historic Rookie Season

First, let’s look at pure stats.

In his Rookie season, Luka averaged 21.2 points, 6 assists, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He shot nearly 43% overall, but struggled a bit from the 3-point line, shooting less than 33% for the season. Though some of the 3-pointers he did hit were almost legendary.

Right off the bat, that puts him in elite company. Only one other Rookie in NBA history has averaged at least 21 points, 6 assists, and 7.5 rebounds – Oscar Robertson.

luka doncic rookie stats

However, limiting the field by assists might not be fair to big men, so let’s see what happens when we remove that condition.

If we look at only points and rebounds, there have been 20 players, including Luka Doncic, that averaged at least 21 points and 7.5 rebounds their Rookie season. All of them averaged more than Luka’s 7.8 rebounds per game but all of them except for Oscar Robertson were either forwards or centers.

It’s actually more impressive that Luka made this list as a point guard/shooting guard.

And just so we’re clear, look at the names on this list.

Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson – these are all-time greats.

But back to the point.

Here’s something else to consider: All of these guys played more minutes than Luka did his Rookie season. I mean, yeah, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 37.6 points and 27 rebounds as a 23-year-old Rookie, but also played over 10 more minutes per game than Luka. The same is true for Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Oscar Robertson. They all played over 42 minutes per game, while Luka played 32 minutes per game.

minutes played by all-time great nba rookies

Ok so what if we look closer at his position – guard. How many Rookies averaged at least 21 points and 6 assists per game?

Besides Luka and The Big O, there’s just one other player, Allen Iverson, who averaged 23.5 points and 7.5 assists – again, while playing significantly more minutes than Luka.

There’s just no player that has matched Luka’s all-around production with as much efficiency.

By the way, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t even mentioned LeBron James yet.

Luka vs. Lebron – Rookie Season

LeBron averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists his Rookie year. Close to Luka’s 21/8/6 line, but not quite. Luka edges out LeBron in just about every statistical category, both traditional and advanced. He recorded a higher PER, True Shooting Percentage, Rebound Percentage, Assist Percentage, and Box Plus Minus, and he had more Win Share Per 48 minutes and a higher Value Over Replacement Player.

luka doncic vs lebron james rookie season

You don’t have to know what all of those mean to know Luka was better.

But there’s something else that puts Luka above all of these other great Rookies.

Luka has proven to be a record. Breaker.

Luka vs. the Record Books

In just his Rookie season, Luka became the youngest 20-point scorer in franchise history, the youngest player to make 7 3-pointers in a game, the first teenager in NBA history with a 30-point triple-double and the first teenager with multiple triple-doubles, and the youngest player to record three triple-doubles. He has four of the five triple-doubles recorded by teenagers in NBA history.

There are other Rookies who set amazing records.

Wilt Chamberlain owns the record for the most points per game and points and rebounds in a game for a Rookie. (Those records will never be broken, by the way.) LeBron was the youngest to score 40 points in a game. Magic Johnson won Finals MVP his Rookie season, for crying out loud.

It’s no small thing to say that any Rookie is the greatest Rookie of all time.

And depending on how you weigh things, you could easily put any of those guys above Luka.

Was Luka the Greatest Rookie Ever?

Even as a Mavs fan, it’s hard for me to say that Luka was the greatest Rookie ever. Even if you take out Wilt Chamberlain’s gargantuan season (will we ever know how to view his stats?) it’s hard to ignore Michael Jordan’s 28 points, 6 assists, and 6.5 rebounds on 51% shooting while more than doubling Luka’s Win Shares Per 48 minutes and dwarfing his Total Win Shares count. For that matter, Magic Johnson almost matches Luka’s statline with 18 points, 7 assists, and nearly 8 rebounds per game with, again, more win shares per 48 minutes than Luka and – oh yeah – a Finals MVP award. And then you have Oscar Robertson who averaged a near triple-double as a Rookie and broke the record books forever.

There’s no doubt that Luka was one of the greatest Rookies ever. Was he THE greatest? That’s up to you. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and let me know what you think.

Luka Doncic Records and Accomplishments

  • First teenager to record a 30-point triple-double
  • Second player in NBA history to post 2,000+ points, 750+ rebounds and 500+ assists in their first 100 career games (the other is Oscar Robertson)
  • NBA record of 20 straight games with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists (Previously held by Michael Jordan with 18 consecutive games)
  • Youngest player in NBA history to record three triple-doubles
  • Only player in NBA history to record two triple-doubles before the age of 20
  • Has four of the five triple-doubles recorded by teenagers in NBA history
  • Youngest player to have 35-point triple-doubles in succession (Previously held by Oscar Robertson)
  • First player in NBA history to record 30+ points, 12+ rebounds, and 15+ assists in a game with 30 minutes or fewer played
  • First player in NBA history to record multiple 30-point triple-doubles in games with 30 minutes or fewer played
  • Second-youngest player to record a triple-double at 19 years and 327 days old (10 days older than the youngest player ever, Markelle Fultz)
  • Fifth player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in his rookie year (Others are Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Tyreke Evans
  • Youngest player in NBA history with 20 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a game
  • Broke Mavericks franchise record of most triple doubles with 22 in just 122 NBA games (Previously held by Jason Kidd with 21 triple-doubles)

NBA 2K Covers: 10 Worst Cover Athletes (Yeah, Zion Williamson Is On This List)

After an amazing 2019-2020 NBA season that saw tantalizing performances from young stars like Luka DoncicJa MorantJayson Tatum, and Trae Young, your first pick for a cover athlete for NBA 2K21 would, of course, be Zion Willia-oh wait, no one would pick Zion Williamson? So, I’m not the only one who thinks a guy that played less than 20 games shouldn’t be a 2K cover athlete?

True, I’m a Dallas Mavericks fan. (Obviously.) But all of the internet went a little crazy when 2K announced that Zion Williamson would be the cover athlete for the next-gen version of NBA 2K21.

It turns out, 2K has made some crazy decisions over the years with their cover athlete. Here are 10 of the worst cover athletes for NBA 2K, in no particular order because I still can’t think clearly after the Zion Williamson announcement.

NBA 2K Cover Athletes That Just Don’t Make Sense

1. NBA 2K21 Next Generation Edition: Zion Williamson

Ok, yes, it’s number one because it’s still fresh on my mind. But honestly, is there a worse one? 2K says, “The future is here,” and then splashes Zion Williamson on the cover. Really? Is the future a guy who played less than a quarter of the season?

True, Zion averaged over 23 points and 6 rebounds for the “season” (19 games), which is amazing for any 19-game stretch. But if we’re talking about the future, there are more obvious choices. *cough*lukadoncic*cough.

2. NBA 2K20 Legend Edition: Dwyane Wade

Why is this one number two? Because I’m a Mavs fan and Dirk Nowitzki got robbed, that’s why.

For NBA 2K20, 2K decided to create a Legend edition. It just so happens that two “legends” retired from the NBA that year. One of them scored over 30k points, won a Championship, a Finals MVP, a regular season MVP, and literally changed the game. The other guy was Dwyane Wade. So who are we going to put on this Legend cover? Dwyane Wade, of course!

3. One of the Allen Iversons

Yeah, I don’t have a particular year for this, but seriously, the dude was on the cover 5 times *in a row*. From 2000 to 2004, Allen Iverson was the cover athlete for NBA 2K.

Don’t get me wrong, AI is an all-time great and deserved to be on the cover at least once. Maybe even twice. (He won MVP during that span.) But you’re talking about a decade that was dominated by guys like Vince CarterTracy McGradyShaquille O’NealTim Duncan, and, oh yeah, Kobe Bryant.

But yeah, let’s stick with one guy for five years.

4. NBA 2K7: Shaquille O’Neal

This was the second time in a row Shaquille O’Neal was on the cover of 2K. It was just after the Miami Heat won their title. If you were going to pick a player from the Championship team to put on the cover, you’d think you would pick-and I can’t believe I’m about to make the case for him, but-Dwyane Wade. You know, the guy that won Finals MVP?

Don’t get me wrong, Shaq had a good year, averaging 20 points and 9 rebounds. But he was clearly slowing down and wasn’t even the best player on his team.

5. NBA 2K12: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson

Ok, so hear me out before you roast me. 2011 was the year of the NBA lockout. The only reason this year’s game didn’t have an active NBA player is because, technically, no one was an NBA player. (Remember when the Mavs won an ESPY for best team and they didn’t know if they could even acknowledge each other or not?)

I mean, Michael Jordan was the cover athlete literally the year right before this. In short, we got robbed. And if I’m being honest, Dirk got robbed. Again.

6. NBA 2K13: Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, and Derrick Rose

Having three players on the cover just seemed like a cop-out to me. Not to mention that a game of “one of these is not like the other” was pretty easy. By 2013Kevin Durant had inserted his name into the MVP debate. On the other hand, Derrick Rose didn’t play the entire season and Blake Griffin had one Playoff appearance.

7. NBA 2K20: Anthony Davis

What has Anthony Davis done so far in his NBA career? Rookie of the Year? No. MVP? Nope. Scoring Champion? No. Defensive Player of the Year? Uh-uh. Total number of Playoff appearances in 7 years? 2. So yeah, let’s put him on the cover of 2K.

8. NBA 2K16: James Harden, Stephen Curry, and Anthony Davis

Like I said before, I think having multiple athletes is a cop-out. And I already made my case for why Anthony Davis doesn’t belong on the cover. But for crying out loud, Stephen Curry had JUST won MVP. This isn’t a trick question. It’s not rocket surgery. Who out of those three should be on the cover? Steph Curry, and that’s it.

9. NBA 2K18: Kyrie Irving

The timing on this one just seemed weird to me. The year before, I could understand it. The Cleveland Cavaliers had just taken down the 73-9 Warriors after going down 1-3 in the NBA Finals. But the very next year, the Cavs lost to the Warriors in a near sweep. Maybe the cover decision was already made by that point? Kyrie did have a great year, so it’s not the worst decision ever.

10. NBA 2K16 Special Edition: Michael Jordan

Look, Jordan is the GOAT. I’m not saying he’s not. But this was the third time he was a cover athlete. At what point is it not special anymore? Yeah, you got a cool wall poster and 30k VC – enough to make MyCareer halfway playable as a Rookie – but it wasn’t like they put Jordan on the cover for the third time because they had something super-special planned. It seemed like another easy way to sell a more expensive version.

For the most part, 2K has great cover athletes. Even some of these didn’t drive me completely nuts. But there have definitely been some questionable decisions here and there. Maybe Luka will get a cover eventually.