The Dallas Mavericks had an inconsistent first half of the regular season that ended with a loss to the Thunder on Jan. 8. They defeated some of the best teams in the NBA, and lost to multiple lottery teams. Luka Doncic was outstanding, but the play around him was up and down. Still, Dallas is 23-18 at the midway point, and they sit fourth in the Western Conference.
There was offseason panic when the Mavs lost Jalen Brunson in free agency and failed to replace him. The team’s top free agent signee of the offseason went from starter to out of the rotation in the first ten games, and Dallas was 9-10 to begin the year. There was plenty of panic, but the Mavericks are back on track and looking like one of the top teams in the conference again.
What did fans Mavs fans learn in the first 41 regular season games? Here are five takeaways from the first half.
Takeaway from 1st half of Dallas Mavericks regular season: 5. Need another playmaker
The Mavs are 0-4 when Luka Doncic sits this season, and they lost the only game Spencer Dinwiddie did not play. Dallas only has two playmakers on their roster after releasing Kemba Walker, and it is clearly an area of need heading into the Feb. 9 trade deadline.
The Mavericks had two ball handlers sharing the floor on their run to the conference finals last season. Jalen Brunson started in the backcourt next to Luka. Dinwiddie came to Dallas in a deadline day trade, and he served as the team’s sixth man. Head coach Jason Kidd staggered the minutes, so two playmakers were always on the floor.
Brunson’s departure in free agency left the Mavs one ball-handler short, and they could not secure a replacement. Facundo Campazzo made the opening night roster, but he was released in November. Dallas also experimented with Kemba, but it just did not work.
Will the Dallas Mavericks trade from another playmaker before the deadline? General manager Nico Harrison and the front office will be searching, but can the organization find a deal that works? It is one of the many things to watch before Feb. 9.