Dallas Mavericks: The need for a third scoring option is growing

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Tim Hardaway Jr. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Sean Berry/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Tim Hardaway Jr. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Sean Berry/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The supporting cast has to step up to alleviate the pressure on Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Curry, Hardaway Jr. and others will get opportunities and they need to capitalize as the Dallas Mavericks need a consistent third scorer.

At 2-1, the Dallas Mavericks are one of the NBA’s most exciting teams. They have arguably the best duo with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, who are averaging 29.3 and 26.3 points, respectively. Expectations have risen in Dallas as the Mark Cuban-owned Mavericks are leading the league in attendance. While it is still early in the season, there are holes in the Mavs lineup, most notably the need for a reliable third scoring option.

Doncic and Porzingis are the cornerstones of the franchise. At just 20 years old and only in his second season, Doncic is lighting up the NBA. He is shooting 50.0 percent from the field including 67.7 percent on two-pointers while averaging 10.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists.

Porzingis is shooting 40.9 percent from long range while averaging 2.7 blocks and playing strong defense in the paint. On any given night, each of them can go off for 30+ points but filling up the stat sheet will quickly tire them out and could lead to more losses and a missed opportunity to make the playoffs.

Aside from Delon Wright (11.0 points), there are no other Mavs averaging double-digit points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. was included in the Porzingis deal (mostly so the Knicks could unload his albatross of a contract) but he is averaging a disappointing 7.7 points per game. His usage was bound to dip coming off the bench while playing behind Doncic, but not to the current numbers.

He’s shooting a disastrous 27.3 percent from the field and that slips to 11.8% on three-pointers. Hardaway’s had good years in the league and he’s a career 13.0 points per game scorer but he needs to find his range and be more locked in when he gets into the game.

Jalen Brunson is shooting just 37.0 percent from the floor. Dorian Finney-Smith is shooting just 20.0 percent on long distance. Justin Jackson, the former lottery pick, is averaging just 6.7 points.

Coach Rick Carlisle also needs to give center Boban Marjanovic some minutes. Marjanovic, a career 26.4 PER (player efficiency rating) with one of the smoothest touches around the rim, has yet to enter a game. The pace obviously slows down when Marjanovic is on the floor but Carlisle has got to show more trust in his bench. At 7’3, Marjanovic shoots nearly 60 percent from the floor and is basically unguardable when he gets into the paint.

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Porzingis is just a year removed from major knee surgery and he sat out all of last year so he’s still working himself back into game shape. It’s only three games into the season but hopefully Seth Curry, Hardaway, and others can hit their stride. If the surrounding cast around Doncic and Porzingis elevate their game, the Mavs could be more than just a playoff-bound team.