Big man that could cause Dallas Mavericks issues in postseason: 5. Jonas Valanciunas
The Mavs do not want to face the Warriors in the play-in tournament, but the Grizzlies also present a difficult matchup. Ja Morant is one of the best young players in the league, and Memphis has surrounded him with talent. Valanciunas dominated the Mavericks just last week. He had 19 points and 16 rebounds, but Dallas won after an improbable comeback was punctuated by an incredible Luka Doncic game-winning buzzer-beater.
Valanciunas grabbed nine offensive rebounds against Dallas on April 14 as he exposed a flaw the Mavericks will be looking to correct before the postseason.
It was not a one-off either. JV had 11 points and 15 rebounds in the first meeting between the division foes this season. The 6’11 big man missed some easy shots in that one that prevented his night from being larger.
Valanciunas will be a thorn in the Mavericks side on the glass if the two teams match up in the play-in tournament. Those extra possessions could be the difference in a tight game with the defense ratcheted up. Dallas’ worst-case scenario is having to face the Grizzlies and Warriors in the play-in tournament. The Mavericks would only have to win one game to advance, but it would be difficult on either front.
Next: No. 4