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Dallas Mavericks Mid-Season Report

Prabhat Seelamsetti / Back Sports Page

The Dallas Mavericks stand at seventh place in the Western Conference with a 34-32 record with sixteen games remaining in the season as of March 8th.

The Mavericks have failed to string together a series of wins, despite playing well in the majority of their recent contests in the midst of one of the most closely contested Western Conference playoff chases in league history.

The team has already surpassed their loss total of thirty last year which has made this a disappointing season as far as expectations go.  The good news is that the Mavericks are not far behind the other teams in the West, and the organization has more than enough time to turn things around.


New Additions 

The Mavericks have found themselves in more headlines than usual this year, namely with the acquisitions of Justin Holiday, Markieff Morris and eight-time All-Star guard, Kyrie Irving. 



Irving has dazzled and captured the hearts of Mavericks faithful quickly with his recent play. The eleven-year veteran has averaged 27.6 ppg, 7 apg (a career high), shooting 52.4% from the field and 42.1% from three-point range in ten games with the Mavericks.

Dwight Powell spoke on the addition of Irving post All-Star break, detailing the energy he has provided to the team since his arrival and the experience of matching up close in practices.  



Holiday has also quickly made himself a valuable asset to the Mavericks guard rotation, boasting a long defensive frame and excellent shooting abilities. The California native has shot 50.0% from three through six games with the Mavericks including a fifteen-point performance in his debut. 

Holiday’s minutes have seen a slight decline since his first showing, but his potential to impact the team has quickly been acknowledged and embraced by the roster. Tim Hardaway Jr. spoke on the flexibility that Holiday provides to the Mavericks guard rotation and how they can replicate the three-and-D play style perfected in last year’s playoffs. 



Morris has had a limited role with the Mavericks through three games, but could play an essential role in their success through the playoffs as another big rotational defender who can effectively spread the floor for Luka Dončić and Irving to operate. 

Offensive Production 

Few are surprised to see the offensive outburst the Mavericks have put up in recent games. Dončić and Irving have averaged 33.3 and 26.0 points respectively, with the team amassing more than 130 points multiple times. 

The Mavericks have shot 41.1% from three since Irving’s arrival, while also boasting a team field goal percentage of 49.9%. The team has also seen a rise in their total assist numbers with two thirty-assist games over their last nine games, a feat accomplished only once with this roster in the previous fifty-four contests. 

The return of key rotation players such as Maxi Kleber and soon to be Dāvis Bertāns will also help play into the success of the Mavericks aforementioned three-and-D play style. 

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd shared his thoughts on the team’s potential from beyond the arc and how he would like to see his newly formed roster embrace that game-plan. 





The Mavericks championship hopes will be riding upon their ability to playoff-level defense. The Mavericks clearly boast one of the most talented and fire powered offenses in the league, top to bottom. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of their defense. 

The Mavericks lost their best wing defender after shipping Dorian Finney-Smith to the Brooklyn Nets in the Irving trade, and it has become painfully apparent. 

The Mavericks have posted a defensive rating of 120.8 since the trade. That would rank dead last in the league, followed by the San Antonio Spurs with a rating of 120.1. 

Kidd has stated the identity of this team is not tailored to winning games through their defense, but the previous ten games have clearly shown that offense alone cannot apprehend the Mavericks defensive woes. 



One of the major storylines also surrounding the Mavericks this year has been their rotations, mainly the playing time Kidd has allocated to Christian Wood. 

Wood is averaging 17.2 PPG and 7.7 TRB on an efficient 52.3% from the field and 36.8% from three-point range in twenty-six minutes per game.

Many expected Wood’s role to increase in the absence of Kleber, but he remained primarily a role player throughout his injury and a backup to Powell. 



Prabhat Seelamsetti / Back Sports Page


Wood’s Defensive Fit

The obvious concern for the Mavericks with Wood on the floor is a lack of paint protection and defense, a dangerous formula given the team’s already poor defensive stature.

Defensive statistics may silence some of Wood’s defensive concerns, however. The Mavs have a defensive rating of 117.4 with Wood on the floor as opposed to Powell and JaVale McGee who have ratings of 110.0 and 113.0 respectively.

This is not to suggest that Wood is a solution to the Mavericks defensive problem, but more so that they are missing out on potential offensive production for similar defensive results from Powell and McGee. McGee could also see more minutes as the playoffs approach, with rotations of Wood and Kleber at the four-spot to stretch the floor. 

Kidd may throw different lineups at teams come postseason with the wide variety of skill sets and bodies that the Mavericks have in their four and five rotations. 


Approaching the Playoffs

The Mavericks have established that Dončić will remain their primary option on offense, and that has been reflected through his 38.1% usage rate. This mark is second across the league only to Giannis Antetokounmpo at 38.6%

Irving, who has a rating of just 29.4%, has arguably been just as productive as Dončić on similar, if not better, efficiency.

The success of this team will ride on the complimentary play of the backcourt. Kidd must conjure a game plan for the star tandem to find consistency on the offensive side of the floor while simultaneously addressing blatant defensive issues.

Out of their remaining games, only eight of their matchups will be against teams over .500. The Mavericks not only have a perfect opportunity to improve their place in the standings, but also find their identity as a team before the playoffs begin. 

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