The Dallas Mavericks have been anticipating getting back on the hardwood for months after their dreadful 38-44 season last year ended on April 9 versus the San Antonio Spurs.
There were a lot of intriguing things to take from their 99-111 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves today as the Mavericks kicked off preseason basketball in Abu Dhabi in their first of three international preseason games.
The Mavericks got off to a really slow start offensively in the first half as they shot horrendously, but luckily they were able to ride the coattails of some efficient first-half offense from Luka Doncic en route to a bit of a pseudo-comeback.
3 studs, 2 duds from Mavericks' disappointing preseason loss to Timberwolves
However, once Dallas decided that they were going to forego playing four out of their five starters for the rest of the game after the first half, the game had much more of an exhibition feel the rest of the way. Both teams tapped deep into their rotations for most of the second half, and the Mavericks played everyone that was listed to suit up by the end of the game as is typically customary in the first few preseason games.
Luckily preseason holds no actual stakes and Dallas will get to continue practicing and working on team bonding ahead of their second matchup versus Minnesota in Abu Dhabi on October 7.
Nonetheless though, here are 3 studs and 2 duds from the Mavericks' first preseason affair.
Honorable Mention: Dereck Lively II
Dereck Lively II came out with energy in the Mavericks' preseason debut. The rookie had a tall task trying to hold down veteran rim protector Rudy Gobert on both ends, but he had his bright spots. Lively II stepped up to protect the rim a few times in the second quarter and showed his rolling ability with a beautiful catch and finish on an alley-oop pass from Luka Doncic in the second as well.
However, he encountered many predictable rookie woes too. Lively II was routinely out of position for defensive rebounds and lost his man a few times on defense as well. He wasn't finding many gaps within the defense to make himself available as the roll-man and will need to get better at fouling less as well. Going head-to-head against Gobert isn't ideal for a rookie center in their debut though, so we'll definitely cut him some slack.