3 reasons why the Dallas Mavericks will contend for the NBA Finals

Last season, the Dallas Mavericks missed the NBA playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Here is why the team can make it back to the postseason and reach the NBA finals
Charlotte Hornets v Dallas Mavericks
Charlotte Hornets v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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2. Improved defense

Last season, the Dallas Mavericks ranked 21st overall in the league's defensive rating category. Some areas of weakness include being ranked 27th in defensive rebounds, 28th in blocks, and 29th in steals. Rebounding was the team's Achilles heel, as Dallas ranked 30th.

During the 2022-2023 campaign, Dallas failed to have a player average more than 10 rebounds. The team's leading rebounder was Doncic who averaged 8.6, followed by Christian Wood with 7.3. After that, no one else pulled in five or more boards.

This is one of the reasons Dallas drafted Lively II. In College, he averaged 10.5 rebounds per every 40 minutes. Per 100 possessions, he pulled in 16 rebounds for Duke. For the Blue Devils, he tallied 184 rebounds, 19th best in the ACC.

Another aspect of his game is his ability to block shots. He averaged 2.5 blocks per game in college. Lively II was second in the ACC for blocked shots. As mentioned, rebounding and blocks were both bottom five categories for Dallas.

Like Lively II, Williams is another defensive addition to the team.

In four seasons with the Boston Celtics, he grew into a defensive specialist. On paper, his numbers don't tell the story of his presence on the court. With the Celtics, he was always the main person being called upon to guard the opposition's best player. The former Celtic is a quirky defender who is quick with his hands and fast in transition defense.

The Dallas defense should significantly improve with new additions to the team.