The Dallas Mavericks suffered their second loss of the season to the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night. Dallas fell 127-116, as the team was outrebounded 50-38. Rookie Dereck Lively II sat out of the game as he suffered a non-COVID illness.
However, there are still plenty of bright spots for Dallas. The team sits at 6-2 and owns the second-best record in the Western Conference.
Luka Doncic, Grant Williams, and Tim Hardaway Jr. have all been the difference this season. Doncic averages 31.6 points per game, the third highest in the league, and is a clear candidate for the MVP.
On the other hand, Williams is averaging 14.0 points per game, a six-point increase from last season. It's possible he could be in the running for Most Improved Player if he keeps this level of play up.
Hardaway Jr. also has the opportunity to win an award. His 18.0 points per game make him a leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.
Mavericks' biggest weakness from last season is now at an all-time high
However, one difference this season has been the team's chemistry.
Last season, Dallas traded for Kyrie Irving to get Doncic a co-star. The trade was a learning experience, as the Mavs finished 11th in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs.
The problem was the team's inability to adapt to one another. Questions would arise about the team's chemistry and Irving's fit with Doncic and the team.
Jason Kidd spoke on the chemistry between Doncic and Irving a few weeks after the trade.
"They gotta go through the ups and downs of understanding each other and the movements and that it takes time. It just doesn't happen overnight, even with the two best players in the world. "- Jason Kidd
Fixing the team chemistry was the game plan going into the season. Towards the end of the season, Kidd outlined team chemistry as being one thing the team would work on during the summer.
In September, Doncic elaborated on the importance of building chemistry with Irving. He explained that the bond between him and Irving would continue to improve. He stated that things would improve with a full training camp and preseason.
The chemistry has been improving between the Mavs' duo. In the video above, Irving pushes the ball up-court and finds the open Doncic. In the play before, Doncic drew a double team and passed the ball to the wide-open Irving.
The chemistry also goes beyond Irving and Doncic.
This is a step up from last season. Last season, Dallas struggled in transition offense. The team played a slow pace and revolved most of their offense around Luka.
The Mavs' ceiling can only get higher as they have a full season to work together. It could be a matter of time before the Doncic-Irving combo becomes one of the most dangerous duos in the league.
For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.