As is tradition in sports, one game is enough for fans to proclaim their seasons a total success or utter failure. The 2017-2018 Dallas Mavericks season began with a 117-111 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. With so much hope and despair in the air, hyperbole is the name of the game. So now that the Mavs’ regular season is underway, let’s take a look into the future based off of one game.
Dennis Smith Jr. will sell a billion jerseys
Before the game even began, the Mavs rookie was the center of attention. Fans were clamoring for his autograph or for a chance to tell him all their hopes and dreams rested on his shoulders. No pressure. And don’t bother asking Rick Carlisle about how the 19-year old is coping with being marketed as the new face of the franchise.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he answered.
The coach mentioned that Smith Jr. already has experience playing under a microscope. “My job is about trying to make this about playing a basketball game.”
Opponents will attempt the fewest 3-pointers in the league
The Atlanta Hawks attempted a total of two shots from beyond the arc in the first quarter, but it wasn’t due to amazing closeouts by the Mavs’ defense. Instead, the Hawks relentlessly attacked the Mavs’ interior. Without Nerlens Noel on the floor, there was little Dallas could do to stop even sharpshooter Marco Belinelli from laying it in.
The future is here
Looking to play his way to a max contract, Nerlens Noel came out strong in game 1 with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Smith Jr. matched that with 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 10 assists. The pair also played with more energy and fire than anyone else in white. To paraphrase a popular contemporary show, “DSJ and Nerlens and their adventures! DSJ and Nerlens forever and forever, 100 years.”
Dirk Nowitzki’s days of closing out games is over
Tie game, under two minutes left, and the Mavs’ center is . . . Dwight Powell? Noel checked in with 34.6 seconds left, and Dirk kept his warmups on. Nowitzki eventually checked in, but by then the game was just about out of reach. So obviously Dirk is too old to play and we’ll never see a Dirk dagger ever again. Never mind that Dirk requested Powell stay in with three minutes remaining.
Here are a few more conclusions we can all jump to. After suffering a loss to what was expected to be a lowly Hawks team, Dallas will go 0-82. The Mavs will challenge for the top draft pick. And all the players are overpaid, or underplayed, or forever injured. All of these will come true—or will until at least the next game.
Follow Jeff Mapua on Twitter @JeffMapua