The Dallas Mavericks begin the NBA season next Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. Some things to look forward to include a new-look Luka Doncic and a revamped team.
The Mavs' All-Star had a busy offseason. He represented Slovenia in the FIBA World Cup. Doncic also looked more lean than usual as he intensified his conditioning and training this summer.
Recently, he was seen sporting a new look. The Mavs guard wore a headband to practice, something fans have not seen in a game. Could a leaner Luka and a different squad around him make a difference this season?
3 reasons Grant Williams is the Mavericks' X factor this season
However, that wasn't the only buzz this week. Other news included Dallas bringing back a fan-favorite player. The Mavs' G League team, the Texas Legends, traded for Theo Pinson on Tuesday.
Pinson joins a list of other players added to the team's roster. The Mavericks also acquired Richaun Holmes, Seth Curry, Derrick Jones Jr., and rookies Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper.
One difference will be the addition of Grant Williams. The 6-foot-6 forward is expected to make an immediate impact for Dallas.
Williams was named a starter for the team even before the season began. His defense and shooting should make him a solid role player next to Doncic and Kyrie Irving, but the other two spots in the starting lineup are still up for grabs.
Most of his work is seen on the defensive end, as he is usually called to guard the opposition's best forward.
So, what can Mavs' fans expect from Williams? Could he be the team's missing link?
Here are three reasons why Grant Williams will be the Mavericks' X factor this season.
3. Defensive skillset
One of the reasons Dallas brought in Grant Williams was to help set the tone on the defensive end. In past seasons, Dorian Finney-Smith was the team's defensive anchor. He was the one player guarding multiple positions. His defensive presence played a role in Dallas advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2022.
Williams spoke about the defensive impact he can bring to Dallas in a podcast episode of The Old Man & The Three with JJ Redick & Tommy Alter.
"In a perfect world, in a role that I star in, it looks like being a versatile defender on the defensive end guarding the best player, high impact energy guy."- Grant Williams
The former Celtic showcased what can contribute in the Mavs' most recent preseason game. Against Real Madrid last week, Williams recorded nine rebounds, two blocks, and one steal in under 25 minutes.
His big body helps him face the best players in the league, as he makes it harder for opponents to back him down in the paint. He is turning into a complete defender that can do it all.
Williams will have more opportunities to showcase his defensive assets, as he will likely be a nightly starter in Dallas. Will he be the team's missing defensive piece?