10 Biggest early-season surprises for the Dallas Mavericks

Nov 1, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) and Dallas Mavericks
Nov 1, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) and Dallas Mavericks / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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7. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Grant Williams' offensive efficiency

Grant Williams has already become a huge fan favorite in Dallas despite his Philadelphia Eagles fandom.

The 24-year-old is shooting an obscene 56.1 percent from outside to the start of the season, and Williams has his eyes set on something even crazier. He wants to shoot above 50 percent from downtown for the year.

His 3-point shooting percentage will likely take a dip, but nonetheless, Grant Williams’ floor spacing this year has been invaluable.

Sure we knew Williams was going to be a threat from outside heading into this season, but if he’s producing at this sort of rate and truly is just that much of a benefactor from the space created by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving on offense, then he may be much more lethal from outside in his first season with Dallas than we all expected.

Williams has done a great job at side-stepping preemptive closeouts to make himself open all the time from three even if the look isn’t always there upon receiving a kick-out pass, and he’s keeping the defense honest by finishing at the rim when he attacks closeouts.

In the same vein as Williams, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been much more effective offensively and shooting-wise than many of us expected heading into the season. Hardaway Jr. is shooting a pretty standard (for himself) 38.5 percent from downtown this season and doing so on a lofty 9.3 attempts per game.

Hardaway Jr. has shot a few head-scratchers this season, but other than that, this might be the best we’ve seen him offensively in Dallas. He’s coming off the bench and initiating offense much more efficiently, as he’s got to his in-between game and has been much more dynamic off the dribble.

Coming off the bench may be Hardaway Jr.’s best role, especially with the amount of offensive firepower in the Mavericks starting lineup. Nonetheless, if he and Grant Williams continue to shoot at this level, Dallas will be drawing a lot of national media attention soon for how good their offense is.