Grading the Dallas Mavericks defense in 2021
Head coach Jason Kidd came to Dallas with an emphasis on improving at the defensive end of the floor. The Mavericks were coming off two straight years of producing elite offensive numbers but below-average defensive ones. Kidd knows for the Mavs to be true title contenders they must play better defense.
There have been improvements. The Hall of Fame point guard changed the Mavericks' defensive scheme, and it has them playing more aggressively. Dallas has climbed to 14th in defensive rating, despite dealing with massive COVID issues for the last two weeks that have put ten players in the health and safety protocols.
The Mavs defensive numbers improve dramatically with superstar Luka Doncic off the court. They have a defensive rating of 104.9 without him, which would rank fourth in the NBA. When Luka is out there, Dallas sits at 112.2, which would sit 24th. Doncic needs to increase his effort, and coach Kidd must adjust who is playing with the 22-year-old superstar for the numbers to improve.
Dallas Mavericks defensive grade for 2021: C-plus
The Mavs have improved on the defensive end of the floor from last season, despite having virtually the same personnel. Their goal remains to finish in the top ten in defensive rating, but moving up was enough to earn them a C-plus.
Luka's defensive effort must improve when he returns to the floor. The Mavericks being an above average team with the 22-year-old on the court is a key part of them finishing near the top ten in defensive rating.