The Dallas Mavericks have been blessed by contributions from many who weren’t on the team last season, as the likes of Grant Williams, Dereck Lively II, and Derrick Jones Jr. have all added new elements that this Mavericks team didn’t have last season.
The Mavericks have still improved from within as well though, and not just at the fringes with their G-League talent. When a team starts 10-5 after finishing six games under .500 and missing the playoffs last season, then everyone within the organization bears some sort of credit for the team’s success from top to bottom.
3 returning Mavericks who have drastically improved this season
The interesting part about Dallas’ success is that they still haven’t turned the page much on the defensive issues that plagued them last year. With that taken into account, the Mavericks have gotten to another level of offensive consistency this year to the point that their defensive lapses haven’t been hurting them as much. Dallas has looked far more comfortable on offense across the board, and it’s coming most from some players who were already on the team last season.
That being said, here are three returning Mavericks who have taken their game to the next level.
3. Luka Doncic
As obscene as it sounds, Luka Doncic has taken even another step from last year. The 24-year-old Slovenian superstar is shooting 40.8 percent from three-point land and is doing so on a career-high 9.8 attempts per game.
We are only 15 games into the season so we’ll see how long Doncic is able to persist with this level of consistency from downtown, especially given the degree of difficulty that most of his 3-pointers are. Regardless though, Doncic has continually improved within the margins every year in Dallas and has done so again this year by improving on many facets of the game that don’t necessarily show up in the box score.
Doncic has played better defense this year per the eye test, as he’s making fewer mistakes that are conducive to a lack of effort. Doncic has a good frame to play defense at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds even if he doesn’t have the longest wingspan, and he’s doing a much better job of using his stout frame against smaller and quicker guards this season.
Doncic may inevitably have his scoring average go down a little with Kyrie Irving splitting more offensive possessions with him, but that wouldn’t matter in terms of the MVP discussion if the Mavericks were sitting atop of the Western Conference standings at the end of the season.
Defenses are clamping down on Doncic more than ever before, as he’s facing traps at the point of attack for what seems like every possession. Doncic is doing a great job finding the right man in these situations, even if it doesn’t lead to a direct assist for him.
Doncic’s counting stats may not differ from last year whatsoever barring his 3-point percentage, but the changes he made to his off-season workout routine have been paying huge dividends this season in Dallas as he’s in much improved physical shape and is taking steps to become a vocal leader in the locker room as well.