The NBA’s All-Star break is firmly in the rearview mirror and the Dallas Mavericks are poised to make some noise in the final months of the 2019-2020 season as they aim to head back to the postseason with the goal of making trouble for the Western Conference this summer.
The Mavs currently sit as the seventh seed in the conference and find themselves just a game back of Oklahoma City and 1.5 games back of division-leading Houston. Dallas is well within striking distance and will have ample opportunity to rise in the seeding with three games total remaining against both.
After some early-season success this season that was nearly derailed by injuries, the Mavericks are looking for their first playoff berth since 2015-2016 when they lost in the first round of the playoffs for a third consecutive season. Those teams were on the backside of Dirk Nowitzki’s best years but now Dallas has a new star in Luka Doncic leading the charge.
A run to the playoffs doesn’t appear to be fool’s gold either, with Dallas owning their highest winning percentage since the 2014 season. If Doncic can stay healthy, the ceiling for the Mavs could be a deep playoff run when considering the pieces that have been put in place around the Slovenian superstar.
The team, of course, is led by Doncic, who is coming off his first All-Star appearance, but they are now enjoying the reemergence of Kristaps Porzingis and have a Sixth Man of the Year hopeful in Seth Curry. The trio – along with a buttressed supporting cast that recently added Willie Cauley-Stein and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – will be asked to answer just how deep the Mavs can go. There will be no cupcakes in the West, but the Mavericks won’t be an easy out themselves.
Porzingis’ recent games of 30+ points and 10+ rebounds goes to show that it won’t all fall on Luka. If Dallas’ star has an off night, there are at least two guys behind him that can pick up the slack on the scoring front. Doncic can hurt you in so many more ways than just dropping 29 points each and every night.
Curry has been an absolute sniper from three, hitting .435 of his shots. His play coming off the bench will be a critical component for Dallas in the second half as teams start to play tighter with the playoffs on the line.
The Mavericks have failed to get beyond the first round of the playoffs since their magical 2010-11 run at the title. The last 27 games on the schedule will answer a lot of questions on just how good this team is, but with Luka leading the way, you never know what kind of heroics he has in store in a season that he is hoping will eventually lead to his first taste of NBA Playoff basketball.
And, win or lose, this chance won’t be the last either as Doncic is just 20 years old with his best years still to come.
Do you think Luka will be able to help send the Mavs back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 season? Share your thoughts with Patrick on Twitter @PatSportsGuy.