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Dallas Mavericks: Examining defensive woes and how to fix them

Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks Dorian Finney-Smith Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks got off to a slow start. Injuries and COVID issues wreaked havoc on the roster as the Mavs sat 14th in the Western Conference after 21 games. They have gotten healthy and won five of their last seven games. Luka Doncic has the offense returning to an elite level, but the defensive issues have persisted.

The Mavericks made a handful of moves in the offseason with improving their defense in mind. They traded for Josh Richardson and James Johnson, drafted Josh Green and Tyler Bey, and signed Wesley Iwundu over franchise legend J.J. Barea in hopes of moving up from 18th in defensive rating. The Mavericks are 27th on the season.

They have been worse since everyone returned on Feb. 1. The Mavs have a defensive rating of 123.3 which puts them 29th in the league. Dallas won five of their eight games during that stretch, but that is not sustainable long term. Where are the Mavericks struggling, and how can they get back on track?

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Examining the Dallas Mavericks defensive woes and how to fix them

The Mavs have played 28 of their 72 regular-season games this season. That is less than 40 percent, and the team’s preferred starting five has played eight games together. It would be unfair to make any label about the 2020-2021 Mavericks permanent, but fans are disappointed because they were expecting more.

The defense has to be better. The Mavs allow the opposition to shoot 67.4 percent in the restricted area, which is the second-highest mark in the NBA. They are in the bottom half of the 30 teams in opponent 3-point shooting at 37.4 percent.

Let us examine the Dallas Mavericks’ defensive issues before determining some potential fixes to get them back on track.

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