A massive leap forward in regular and post season performance has the Dallas faithful hoping for another deep playoff run.  Whether or not they can pull it off depends largely upon their ability to address the backcourt gap left in the wake of Jalen Brunson’s offseason departure.  If Spencer Dinwiddie and the rest of the starters can’t backfill the offensive responsibilities shouldered by Brunson, we could see even more usage for Luka Doncic, who sits at the helm of perhaps the most top-heavy offensive lineup in the NBA (1- Luka………………………. 2- Spencer Dinwiddie/Christian Wood?).  Needless to say, standby for another plodding campaign from last year’s slowest team.

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After a heartbreaking first-round exit, the Dallas Mavericks made relatively small adjustments over the offseason.  That’s not to say the past few months have been without drama in The Big D.  At the center of the post-season speculation was Kristaps Porzingis, who had a rough series against the Clippers.  While there may have been some talk of shopping him, it likely dissipated when the Mavs realized the extent of the decrease in trade value.  Other trade rumors involved the Mavs making a deal with the Raptors to bring Goran Dragic to Dallas.  That deal hasn’t materialized, but stay tuned.  In the meantime, the Maverick core remains intact, as Porzingis remains on the roster and Dragic is still in Toronto.  With real-world expectations running high for another season, let’s take a look at the roster from a fantasy perspective.

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The Dallas Mavericks were a historically great offense last season, posting the greatest offensive rating ever recorded at 115.9. Most of that due to Luka Doncic’s improvement to MVP levels. Luka put up 28/9/8 in his second season in the pros and the Mavericks put the ball in his hands as much as possible to facilitate their offense. This offseason the Mavericks needed to improve on defense, and they did.

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The Mavericks finished just above the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference last season. The future, however, is so bright that they need sunshades, as the roster now boasts two of the top young stars in the Association. ESPN has Luka Doncic listed as a SF and Kristaps Porzingis as a PF, but talk to any real basketball savant and they will tell you they both defy positional description. KP is built like a telephone pole but shoots like a shooting guard, while Doncic is built like a tight end but passes like a willow the wisp PG. Mark Cuban can’t wait to see how their skill sets merge on the court, and we can’t either. There is not enough talent around them to make the playoffs, but their development as a duo will be must-see TV.

Having given up this year’s first-rounder to move up to draft Luka, and having traded 2nd rounder Lithuanian Deividas Sirvydis to the Pistons, the Mavs have no drafted rookies in camp. But youth still abounds in developing players Justin Jackson, acquired in the Harrison Barnes trade, Delon Wright, acquired from Memphis in a sign-and-trade deal, and last year’s 2nd round rookie, Jalen Brunson.

It will definitely be a wait and see season for the Mavs. Wait and see how healthy KP is. Wait and see how all the pieces mesh. Wait and see if Rick Carlisle can meld these pieces into a reasonable team.

Will the Mavs better last year’s 33-49 record in a decidedly stronger Western conference? We will have to wait and see.

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