5 Massive strengths, 5 weaknesses for Mavericks heading into playoffs

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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4. Weakness: Point-of-attack defense

You may be wondering why we’ve listed the Mavericks’ point-of-attack defense as an area of weakness when the Mavericks have done a pretty good job at defending the point-of-attack ever since Derrick Jones Jr. was inserted into Dallas’ starting five. While all of that is true though, the Mavericks have had stretches this season where they’ve gotten exposed at the point-of-attack on defense by smaller wings and guards.

This comes off the heels of Josh Green having a less than ideal defensive season for Dallas, as the Australian native has missed a fair chunk of games for the Mavericks and hasn’t improved upon some of his defensive intangibles this season despite his athletic tools. Green has shown stretches where he can be a versatile defender that can guard 1-3, but it hasn’t been consistent enough. Dante Exum has done a great job at defending guards off the bench for the Mavericks this season, but Dallas doesn’t always have the luxury to match Exum up with smaller wings and guards depending on their lineup combinations as well as who they are playing.

Derrick Jones Jr. has All-Defensive Team caliber speed and length, as he’s showcased that he is easily the Mavericks best point-of-attack defender this season. However, Jones Jr. and Exum can’t be Dallas’ only answer at the point-of-attack, as the Mavericks occasionally get worked by opposing teams who have enough ball handlers in their lineup to exploit Dallas’ weaker defenders (i.e. games against Boston earlier this season).

While this isn’t one of the Mavericks’ biggest weaknesses, it’s an area on defense that has been volatile for the Mavericks all season, especially when you take into consideration that Tim Hardaway Jr. is a minus defender and Green and Exum have been out of the lineup with injuries throughout various stretches this season. If the Mavericks are fully healthy and Green is playing slightly better on defense then this likely won’t be an area of concern with how well Irving and Doncic have played defensively lately, but the Mavericks will need to be wary of this heading into the playoffs still.