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Dallas Mavericks: How the Mavs are transforming into a top 5 defense

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Kristaps Porzingis Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Kristaps Porzingis Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks: How the Mavericks are transforming into a top 5 defense

The Dallas Mavericks finished 16th in the NBA in points allowed and 18th in defensive rating last season. They need to be better to win a championship. Each of the last five NBA champs finished in the top four in defensive rating.

With high expectations, the Mavs knew they needed to improve and were not shy about doing it. In his opening press conference this season, coach Rick Carlise said this about his team.

"“When you establish that you’re a galactically successful offensive team, but below average defensively, that’s not gonna win you a championship. I don’t believe there’s ever been a team that’s won a title in the NBA that hasn’t been a good defensive team.”"

More. How the James Harden trade impacts the Mavs

Dallas Mavericks emphasizing defense this season

Acquiring veteran James Johnson and Josh Richardson, as well as drafting Josh Green and Tyler Bey showed fans the emphasis the Mavericks placed on defense. Improving their talent helps, but their core remained relatively unchanged. After 11 games this season, the Mavs have the third-best defense rating in the NBA.

In five of the Mavericks’ six victories, their opponents have scored less than 100 points. Last season in 81 games including the playoffs, Dallas allowed less than 100 points only 11 times. The narrative was Luka Doncic needed a bodyguard, and Mavericks fans were reminded of the years the media spent calling Dirk Nowitzki soft. 2020-2021 Mavs are different, though.

After a slow start, Luka reminded everyone why he is an MVP candidate. Despite having many of their best players sidelined due to health and safety protocols, the Dallas Mavericks have won four of their last five games, and commitment to defense has played a massive role. Here is a look at what the Mavericks are doing to become one of the league’s best defensive teams.

Next: Luka's commitment