Mavs

Diving Into Dallas’ 2020 Playoff Push

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With 25 regular-season games left in the NBA season, the push for the Dallas Mavericks post-season success has a few things to work out. They currently sit 34-23, 10 games out from first place and 8.5 games out from falling out of a playoff spot. While a playoff seed is nearly a guarantee at this point, making it out of the first round isn’t.

After a surprising start to the season, the Mavericks have found themselves treading water lately. A combination of mid-season injuries and late-game collapses have the tides turning ever so slightly in Dallas. However, there is still time to figure it all out.

MAKING IT ALL FIT

The Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis duo has been absolutely brilliant at times and down right awkward at other times. This can partly be explained in a few ways. Doncic is a second-year player learning the intricacies of an NBA offense with a new set of starters. Porzingis was also out of NBA action for a long time prior to arriving in Dallas. Both have also missed some time this season dealing with injuries.

Even with stating the obvious above, for the Mavericks’ post-season to be successful, head coach Rick Carlisle is going to have to continue ironing out the details of how to make this marriage work. If both guys are not playing well, and not playing well together, this team is going to have a hard time making it out of the first round.

Doncic will have to learn how to thrive without the ball in his hands, something he’s not asked to do too often. Porzingis will have to be the aggressor on offense, even when sharing the floor with Doncic. These two have the make-up to be a great one-two punch, but it’s going to take time.

MAVS’ POST-SEASON ROTATION

One thing that constantly irks Maverick fans is Carlisle’s rotations. The way he decides who starts, or even get starter minutes, is often a mystery. Sometimes a guy gets a start one night and then we don’t see him even get minutes the next week.

With the post-season looming, one thing that’s for sure is that the playoff rotation is going to need minutes. This is going to mean figuring out which 8-9 guys are you going to give the most responsibility to. As of now, only two guys in the rotation are averaging over 30 minutes per night. I’ll give you two guesses at to who they are… yep, Doncic and Porzingis.

The Mavericks lineup that feature the most consistency are the ones that have Dwight Powell in them. Unfortunately though, Powell is out for the rest of the season. Whether the team decides to finish out the season featuring another big man in his spot, or if they decide to play a small-ball lineup is unknown at this point. Regardless of their decision, someone is going to have to step up to fill that void.

CAN DEPTH GO THE DISTANCE?

One of the key strengths of this team all season long has been their depth. The bench being able to step in, either for injured players, or just to keep the game afloat, has been one of the main reasons for the teams success. While the league is a star-driven league, every team needs gritty glue guys who can makes plays, or almost just as importantly, not make mistakes.

The success of the Mavericks post-season will largely fall on the shoulders of the two young, European stars. However, this team will not go far without the support cast stepping up too. Defensively, this is going to mean they’ll need a rotation of guys like Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Delon Wright to throw at the West’s top talent. Offensively, Seth Curry, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Jalen Brunson are going to need to keep the opposing defenses honest.

This team doesn’t have much playoff experience. However, if the chemistry they’ve built all season long is any indication, that might not mean much. In the interview below, Carlisle, talks briefly about how the team is approaching the upcoming post-season.

“Nothing happens over night, you know? When you’re talking about an endeavor like trying to get a young team acclimated to what playoff basketball is all about”, said Carlisle.

Here’s to hoping that over the next 25 games, this young team is ready for whatever the post-season throws their way.

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