On Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks set their sights on Abu Dhabi to play in two consecutive preseason games against the Minnesota Timberwolves. On October 5 and 7, the Mavericks and Timberwolves will officially tip off the first preseason games of the 2023-24 NBA season.
However, this trip to Abu Dhabi won't be the last for the Dallas Mavericks. Just three days after their pair of games in the United Arab Emirates, the team will once again lift off for the country of Spain. While in Spain, the Mavericks will play Luka Doncic's former team, Real Madrid at the WiZink Center in Madrid.
3 things to watch for as the Mavericks tip off preseason
The Mavericks will round out their preseason schedule with a home game against the Detroit Pistons on October 20. This will officially end their preseason schedule, leaving them five days out from their October 25 match against the San Antonio Spurs, this game will formally launch the Mavericks 2023-24 season.
During the first set of pre-\season games, the Mavericks will have a new-look starting five with three of the five starters being new additions to the team this offseason. Rookies Olivier-Maxenece Prosper and Dereck Lively II have been confirmed to get the starting nod.
Also, newcomer Grant Williams will hunker down the four spot as the team will play two All-Star centers in Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns.
As the team ramps up play in preparation for October 5 against the Timberwolves, we can expect to see some intriguing narratives play out. Here are three things to be on the lookout for as the Mavericks play their first preseason game against the Timberwolves.
3. What shape is Luka Doncic in?
One narrative that has plagued Luka Doncic through the start of his career has been his reluctance to report to camp in shape. Unfortunately, this has been a problem that has trickled through the first few games of the season for Doncic.
However, last season was different due to Slovenia playing in the EuroBasket tournament. This allowed Doncic to play year-round, which would keep the young star in shape just a few weeks before the 2022 training camp would begin.
The beginning of this season has followed a similar path because Doncic and Slovenia made a late tournament run in the FIBA World Cup. By all accounts, Doncic has reported to camp and is in shape due to his shortened offseason.
However, training camp videos and highlights cannot account for game speed. Doncic looks to have flipped that narrative due to last season's historic start to the season. With similar events taking place we should expect to see mid-season shape Doncic but it will still be something to be on the lookout for.
If Doncic is once again behind the eight ball and refuses to begin the season in shape, we could once again see the Mavs get off to a slow start.