Mavs

5 Mavericks With the Most to Prove in the Bubble

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The Dallas Mavericks will enter the NBA bubble in Orlando with a 40-27 record. Currently, they will most likely face the LA Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. This scenario isn’t exactly ideal. With eight games left on the season, the team will need to make up some ground in an attempt to face any other opponent.

Why are the Clippers an unfavorable matchup? For one, Dallas lost both games this season to them already. Secondly, the Clippers are well equipped defensively to slow down the Mavericks’ leading scorer, Luka Doncic. Whether it’s Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, or Patrick Beverley, they always have someone available to disrupt the flow of Dallas’ offense.

The Mavericks are ahead of where experts projected them at the start of the season. However, being ahead isn’t an excuse when it comes to whether or not they will have success in the playoffs. Dallas still has much left to prove.

1. Luka Doncic

While the boy wonder has had plenty of postseason success in Europe, little of that matters in the NBA. Just like success in college looks impressive on a basketball resume, it doesn’t mean much when you are on the court with professionals. He’s already won the rookie of the year award, became an all-star starter, and now the next step is playoff success.

Doncic will have to prove that even though he’s only 21 years old, he has to be the leader this team needs. Chances are, he’ll be everything they need and more, just as he has been the past 126 games with the Dallas Mavericks.

2. Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis has yet to be on a team that has made the playoffs. While that shortcoming isn’t entirely his fault, he has a reputation of not being able to last a full season. It’s no surprise that the first team he’s on not named the New York Knicks is playoff-bound. Everyone will be watching whether or not he’ll be able to elevate his game when the contest counts for more.

Not many guys in the league his size can accomplish the feats he can achieve. He’ll be a mismatch at some point against every team he faces. It will be interesting to see if head coach Rick Carlisle can capitalize on his abilities in the postseason. The rumor is that he added to his bag while quarantining too.

3. Tim Hardaway, Jr. 

Tim Hardaway Jr. may not have as much to prove as everyone else on this list. However, he’s been around the league long enough (and made enough money) to be in a position where postseason success could be career-defining. After a shaky start to the season, he’s finally found his spot in the rotation and flourished before everything halted.

Similar to Jason Terry, THJ has the opportunity to be a third option on a playoff-contending team. Playing alongside two guys like Doncic and Porzingis put him in a position where he hasn’t had to be before, and that’s positive.

4. Rick Carlisle

The Dallas Mavericks haven’t made it to the postseason in the past three years. However, much of that frustration is due to roster construction and not coaching. The former coach of the year remains one of the better NBA leaders. Now, he finally has a squad that he can mold positively.

With all of the uncertainties facing the remaining season, having someone with Carlisle’s experience is a bonus. Whatever happens with the Mavericks this season, Carlisle’s job will be safe. Coaches of his caliber aren’t easy to find, yet, even still, the fanbase is ready for some form of success.

5. Mark Cuban

When owner Mark Cuban pulled off the draft-day trade to bring in Doncic, everyone was excited. If you polled Mavs fans today, they’d still pay the price tag that it took to acquire him. Cuban didn’t stop there either, pulling off another substantial move in bringing in Porzingis and Hardaway Jr.

You don’t do these deals if you want a slow rebuild. You do these deals when you want to win. The fanbase still has negative memories from when the team shifted after the championship. While this current team probably isn’t a championship contender at the moment, making a deep run in the playoffs is still an available option and one that helps the fanbase in seeing the long-term plan that Cuban had in mind.

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About Charles Allen

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