NBA Power Rankings #18: Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks had one of the more noteworthy off-seasons out of anyone in the NBA, and their major roster changes make it difficult to pinpoint exactly where they'll fall this season. Dallas went 24-58 last year, their worst record since the 1998-1999 season, and landed the 5th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery. The Mavericks on draft night however traded that 5th pick, and a future first round pick, to the Atlanta Hawks for the 3rd pick in the draft which they used to draft Luka Doncic. Doncic, the signing of Deandre Jordan, and what could be Dirk Nowitzki's final season will be the biggest contributors to how Dallas' season pans out.
Doncic is a 19-year-old from the EuroLeague that is praised for potentially having the highest season out of anyone in the draft. However, the Power Rankings only apply to how a team is set to preform this year. Luckily for the Mavericks, Doncic also has been said by scouts to have the highest floor out of anyone in this draft. Doncic is coming in as the most accomplished teenager to ever come from overseas to play in the NBA and has been playing professionally since 2015. He can come in and help out the Mavericks from game one. He'll have a lot to learn still and we should expect to see a lot of turnovers, but his presence will help the Mavericks win games from opening night. His passing skill set should be perfectly suited to help new addition Deandre Jordan get acclimated to his new team as well.
Jordan coming to Dallas is a long-time coming, and Maverick fans are happy to finally have him. Dallas has always thrived when they have a defensive-minded, athletic center (i.e. Tyson Chandler) and fits the Rick Carlisle system perfectly. Jordan is an All-Star and can be counted on for double-doubles on a nightly basis. This signing will most likely move Dirk Nowiztki to the bench for the first time in two-decades, but the up-tempo style of play that Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, Harrison Barnes, and Deandre Jordan love to play, that may be for the best.
Nowiztki will of course be the biggest part of the franchise as long as he's on the roster, but his age will match his jersey number by the seasons end and he just can't be counted on for more than fifteen to twenty minutes a game this season. Those legs just have too many miles on them (50,573 minutes of regular season play to be exact) to do anything more than that.
The Mavericks will be pressing to give Dirk one more taste of the playoffs before he finishes his Hall of Fame career, and with the addition of Doncic and Jordan, it's possible they're able to give the greatest player in franchise history what he deserves. It's possible that you see Dallas higher on the list by the end of the year, but since teams ahead of them such as Miami and Washington have had their core together for a few years, they'll probably get off to a better start than Dallas will as they have to incorporate their new additions.