Dallas Mavericks: Game 1 Outlook


The Dallas Mavericks kick off the 2015-16 NBA season on the road Wednesday, traveling to Phoenix to take on former center Tyson Chandler and the rest of the Suns.

It would be easy to point to the Chandler storyline as the biggest reason to tune in, but for Mavericks fans this one is all about getting a second chance to see new guards Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews, and how they fit in their new surroundings. Those two suited up for the first time against the Chicago Bulls on Friday and played well.

They both looked to be moving fluidly, drastically affected the Mavericks’ spacing on the offensive end, and did some work in the post against smaller defenders. The ability of those two down low adds an element to the roster that the Mavericks haven’t really had since Jason Kidd.

For the Mavericks to compete in the Western Conference the new starting backcourt is going to have to be good. They’ll get their first of many tests against the talented duo of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. Bledsoe averaged 17 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.2 rebounds in 2014-15.

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Another area to watch for the Mavericks is the battle on the boards. Chandler was the only guy to average more than six rebounds for Dallas last season, and Alex Len averaged more than eight a night after the All-Star break. They’ll need Zaza Pachulia and Salah Mejri to be effective there to start the season with a win.

Speaking of Mejri, he and the rest of the bench could end up being the difference. Phoenix may have the advantage in regards to the starting lineups, with Chandler Parsons still sidelined and Matthews and Williams limited, but Dallas probably has the better second unit. Look for John Jenkins to pick up where he left off during the preseason, Jeremy Evans to continue his above the rim impact, and J.J. Barea to lead an up-tempo attack. The game tips off at 9 pm CT.

Next: Dallas Mavericks: 5 Reasons for Optimism

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