The Dallas Mavericks are off to a hot start to begin the season. They rank third in the Western Conference with a 15-8 record. At no point last season was Dallas seven games above .500.
This season's turnaround is certainly impressive. Dallas' offense and defense have improved after a lackluster year a season ago. The Mavericks are averaging six more points per game this season. And while playing at an even faster pace, Dallas is only allowing two more points per game than last year.
The defensive rating is nearly equal to the 2022-23 season. Although it may appear as if the defense has stagnated, it has improved. A season ago, Dallas ranked 28th in pace. This season, the Mavs rank 9th in the NBA.
5 Awards that Dallas Mavericks players could win this season
Typically the faster teams play, the more points they allow. And while the Dallas defense is nowhere near perfect, it's an average unit, which is okay due to the offense's proficiency.
Nevertheless, the Mavericks' improvement can be accredited to several new players and a few holdovers. Here, we'll discuss five Mavericks who are in the running to take home awards this season.
5. Clutch Player of the Year - Luka Doncic
In 2022-23, the NBA introduced the Clutch Player of the Year. In the inaugural season of the award, De'Aaron Fox took home the honors.
This season, Luka Doncic is one of the frontrunners for the award. First and foremost, he ranks third in the association in clutch plus/minus, at plus-37.
Additionally, in clutch moments, Doncic has led the Mavericks to a 9-2 record. In 38 minutes of clutch time, the All-Star has put up 35 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and four steals.
Doncic has also played with extreme efficiency in the clutch. He's only recorded two turnovers and committed just two fouls. And when the game's on the line, he shoots it 50 percent from the floor, 45.5 percent from three, and 100 percent from the line.
Despite Doncic's typical heroics come clutch time, the Mavericks ended up with a losing record in the clutch a season ago. Doncic himself shot only 44 percent from the field and 19 percent from three in the clutch last year.
This season, Doncic is much improved when the game matters most. His efficiency and counting stats are up in the clutch. He's also still hitting the big-time shots we've grown accustomed to seeing.