The Dallas Mavericks improved steadily in a lot of different areas in their last preseason game against the Detroit Pistons last Friday.
However, there is still a ton of room for improvement, and with Dallas not having their full complement of players in virtually every preseason game they played, there are still plenty of question marks regarding lineup combinations and rotations that Dallas will have to work through at the start of the regular season.
3 things the Mavericks need to improve by start of the regular season
Luka Doncic essentially hasn’t played the last two preseason games for Dallas, and improving on certain areas of the game with him in the lineup will be another task for Dallas to unravel once the season starts. Luckily, the holes on this Mavericks roster aren’t definitive as we haven’t even started regular season play yet, and we still need a proper sample size to evaluate what the deficiencies on this roster are.
But based on preseason action, the Mavericks definitely have some things they need to patch up before facing off against Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs in less than 48 hours, so here are three things the Mavericks need to improve upon before the start of the regular season.
The Mavericks ranked 24th in defensive rating last season, so it’s no secret that it was a primary area of focus that Nico Harrison and the rest of the Mavericks front office were going to place a lot of importance on this past offseason.
The Mavericks added plenty of wing depth defensively, but with a rookie center in Dereck Lively II likely set to start at center, there are definitely question marks about how far the Mavericks defense can go heading into this season. The Mavericks wings have looked promising early on in the preseason, with Josh Green, Derrick Jones Jr., and Grant Williams embracing their role in locking down the opposing teams' best wings next to Doncic and Irving, and even some bigs in Williams’ case.
But there have definitely been instances of miscommunication throughout preseason thus far on defense, as the Mavericks switch-heavy scheme induced a lot of mishaps at the point of attack when the Mavericks allowed way too many single dribble blow-byes and easy attacks to the rim in their first two preseason games versus the Timberwolves in Abu Dhabi.
The Mavericks presented more of a stout defense in terms of the decreased slippage they allowed to the rim in their preseason game versus Real Madrid, but in doing so they botched a lot of their defensive rotations and didn’t close out to shooters well enough en route to allowing 20 3-pointers made in their 127-123 loss.
Dereck Lively II has had plenty of ups and downs throughout the preseason, but he’s looked especially good in the last two preseason games and is growing by the day. He’ll certainly have his rookie woes, but if he can minimize them and not overcomplicate things too early on by embracing being a star in his role as he showed in the Mavericks' most recent preseason game versus Detroit, then Dallas will definitely have cause to be optimistic that they can have a good defense this year once all the pieces come together on October 25.