Over the past two seasons, the Dallas Mavericks have made the Western Conference Finals and missed the playoffs altogether. The team hopes things will change this season with a different starting lineup and additions.
In Dallas' first preseason game, the Mavs rolled out a different starting group that consisted of Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Grant Williams, Dereck Lively II, and Olivier-Maxence Prosper. In contrast to last season, Dwight Powell and Tim Hardaway Jr. were left out of the team's starting lineup.
It was recently rumored that Lively II could become the team's starter center. ESPN's Tim MacMahon detailed how there is "momentum" building for Dallas to start their rookie. Not to mention, he also started in the team's second preseason game.
3 scenarios the Dallas Mavericks must avoid during 2023-24 season
Another addition to the lineup was Prosper. While it is unsure if the small forward will start during the regular season, he has been getting valuable minutes. Assuming he doesn't get the nod, other players like Josh Green could be prime candidates. Remember, Green started for Dallas in Saturday's game.
Other changes to the team included moves for Seth Curry, Richaun Holmes, Dante Exum, and Williams. Each player brings a certain flair to their game, from lethal 3-point shooting to defensive assets and skills.
However, one area Dallas will need to grow is building chemistry between Doncic and Irving. Last season, the dynamic duo played 16 games together. Staying healthy is crucial if the team hopes to take the next step. Irving missed Saturday's game with left groin soreness.
So, with things changing, Dallas should be trending upward right. I mean, what is the worst that could happen? There is still a possibility things go sour.
Here are three scenarios Dallas needs to avoid this upcoming season.
3. Dwight Powell becoming a starter
The Dallas Mavericks acquired Dwight Powell during the 2014-15 season, as he was an extra player in a deal for Rajon Rondo. At the time, he was a backup to Tyson Chandler. However, seven seasons later, he has started 242 games for Dallas.
The problem is the Mavs have yet to find someone better and more consistent than Powell. Last season, the team acquired JaVale McGee and Christian Wood to take over the center role. Both players eventually fell off the map, as they failed to live up to coach Jason Kidd's expectations.
Two seasons ago, the team added Willie Cauley-Stein and that was a failed experiment.
Things could change this season, as Dallas drafted rookie Dereck Lively II. The 7-foot-1 center started in the team's first preseason game. In 15 minutes, he recorded five rebounds and two points. He tallied four rebounds in the second game. Last season, Powell averaged 4.1 boards per game. It is safe to say Lively II is a step up.
Starting Lively II might not be a bad idea. He averaged 8.5 rebounds in the Summer League. This is better than any Mavs big man from last season.
If Dallas makes Powell a starter, it would derail the team from making significant progress and limit Lively II from developing.