The Dallas Mavericks have looked great at times and horrible at others. Last night was a great reminder that, no matter the record, Dallas is trending upward.
Luka Doncic. Dennis Smith. DeAndre Jordan. Wesley Matthews. Harrison Barnes. These are the names of the Dallas Mavericks starters and they are also the names of the guys who had to learn a new offensive system for the team this year. I could’ve named more guys, but I felt like the starters give an idea of what I’m talking about.
Sometimes people get so wrapped up into the good news that they forget about some of the bad news. There is nothing wrong with that for a little bit, but at some point the honeymoon phase has to end. In a way, the MFFLs of the world got married this summer to the excitement of Luka, DeAndre and DSJ.
After starting the season with 5 losses in 7 games, the honeymoon phase is dying off and people are worried that the team will never be good enough to compete in this league. Leave it to Mavs fans to travel from one extreme to another without even stopping to take a look out the window.
The fact of the matter is, the Mavs are just going through some growing pains right now. Last year, Dennis Smith Jr. was the guy. He was a key source of the offense and he had the ball in his hands looking to make a play almost all of the time.
Now, Luka Doncic is taking over as the key to the offense and the main distributor of the ball. This has led to undoubted growing pains for DSJ who is looking for his place. Over the past few games, it appears he has found it again.
Harrison Barnes was used to being the man with the plan and the guy that the Mavs turned to when they needed a bucket. He is still capable of that kind of play, but that is no longer the kind of player Carlisle needs Barnes to be exclusively. His time on the defensive end is becoming increasingly important.
Wesley Matthews last year was expected to help carry a very slow paced offense. Now it is time for him to realize that his strength is in the catch-and-shoot method and that these step-back threes need to be erased from his personal playbook. Also, dribbling can be erased too.
DeAndre Jordan is with a new team, which means new timing and new recognition will be necessary. His role as an above the rim player on both ends won’t change, but he needs to figure out the best way to play with Dennis and Luka. If they can get that squared away, this offense will really start to hum.
The bench is tasked with a similar issue, which is learning to play with the starters and finding a place for the rookies like Jalen Brunson, Ryan Broekhoff and Ray Spalding. In other words, this is still not an easy thing to do and can’t be rushed when trying to do so.
Lastly, there is Coach Carlisle. Coach is a mastermind of the game who has put together offenses that highlight the teams biggest strengths on a regular basis. That does not mean, however, that he knows exactly what to draw up at all times. There is a trial and error period and we are standing in the middle of it right now.
My point here is simple: Give this team some time before you write them off for the year. Fans, especially hardcore fans, are textbook overthinkers. Sometimes it is near impossible to just go with the flow and hope for the best, but that is what this team represents right now and we are going to need to find something to be optimistic about along the way.
Once the Mavs players find a way to be one cohesive unit, this will be an entirely different team. At that time, all MFFLs will be ready and Rome will be complete. But not a day sooner.
The Dallas Mavericks are in desperate need of a win to keep their own morale up. The Los Angeles Lakers will be here on Wednesday and that will represent one of the most important games for Dallas going forward. Let’s take LeBron down and show people what this team can do.