The Dallas Mavericks have reaped the benefits of some players getting better as the season has gone on, and through 17 games a few players are playing dramatically different than they were last season, and even since the start of this season in a few instances.
The comfortability between Mavericks players on the court is only increasing from the perspective of knowing teammates' tendencies, being in the right place at the right time, and trusting each other within the Mavericks' defensive scheme.
3 Dallas Mavericks players who have improved since the season started
This newfound sense of comfortability can be seen across the board in Dallas, as Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. had this to say after being tasked with coming off the bench instead of starting in Dallas' 121-115 victory over the Houston Rockets.
"For me, there's no adjustment. There's no difference. I go out there and do my job. Whenever my number is called, I go out there and do my job. That's it. It goes back to just the trust and the chemistry I have with the guys. From when I first got in here, he (Coach Jason Kidd) told me to play my game and be who I am."- Derrick Jones Jr.
The Mavericks are becoming more comfortable with one another and are improving marginally on a game-by-game basis, but here are the three Mavericks players who have improved since the season started.
3. Kyrie Irving
Despite some poor shooting performances from the field at the earliest juncture of the season, Kyrie Irving has undoubtedly proven to be a great superstar to pair with Luka Doncic this season for the Dallas Mavericks. Irving has been affecting the game within many facets this season, as he’s grown more savvy with age in other aspects of his game such as defense and rebounding.
Early on in the preseason, Irving wanted to take steps as a leader and wanted to bolster the chemistry between Dallas’ roster. Irving has become a basketball savant through 13 professional seasons, so perhaps we can attribute his early-season shooting woes to the fact that he was focusing on more ancillary things such as team camaraderie.
Irving’s overall process on offense looked fine early on, but shots have been falling for him at a much-improved rate through the last 10 games for Dallas. In his last 10 contests, Irving is averaging 26.5 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, and 4.4 rebounds per game. Even more impressive is that Irving has done all of this on an obscene 48/44/90 shooting split, a feat that is extremely impressive given the degree of difficulty that most of his shots are.
Irving may have had a rough start to the season shooting the ball, but he’s looked comfortable in late-game situations and direct actions with Luka Doncic all year so far. Jason Kidd even went on a rant recently regarding the national media not spinning enough positive headlines about Doncic and Irving’s fit, and he's starting to turn the tide in terms of the national perception of Doncic and Irving as a duo.
Nonetheless, Irving has found his groove shooting-wise in the last 10 to 12 games or so, so fans should have nothing to worry about as he and Doncic continue to do everything they can to get this Mavericks team over the hump.