As Dallas’s young star, Luka ‘The Legend’ Doncic, continues to rise and surpass expectations we also see the makings of a well rounded team capable of competing in the stacked Western Conference. This makes for an interesting debate, who will be the king of the Texas Triangle?
Will the Mavericks exceed expectations coming into the season? That remains to be seen, however what MFFLs have witnessed over the last stretch of games has been impressive. Stinging great team victories over the likes of some of the Association’s finest including the Celtics, Trail Blazers, and the defending champion Warriors (although it be without Stephen Curry) for eight out of the last ten. As alluded to earlier, the Texas Triangle has been a great measuring stick for success in the past with the Rockets and reining NBA MVP James Harden to the east, and the model of consistency over the last two decades the San Antonio Spurs lead by Greg Popovich.
With last year’s deep playoff run, and the return of one of the best backcourts in basketball the Houston Rockets came into the season as Western Conference Finals hopefuls. However with a shift in the roster and the loss of undervalued pieces such as Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, and a failed Carmelo Anthony experiment their engines have sputtered to a slow and disappointing start. To the south the San Antonio Spurs had an eventful offseason that resulted in a swap between stars DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard. Clearly a move that was forced, resulting in the loss of a top ten talent which warrants a drop in production. The Mavericks have taken advantage of their window of opportunity to slide into the discussion of for the best team in the Lone Star State, the future looks bright in Dallas.
The headline of the season has been the move to draft European Superstar, ‘Wonderboy’ Luca Doncic. The favorite for Rookie of Year by a landslide, and leading the association amongst rookies in scoring. His natural basketball ability is uncanny, silencing the critics and taking the basketball world by storm early. However, my MVP for the Mavericks twenty games in has been the productive and veteran lead Maverick’s bench. The tandem of JJ Barea, Dorian Finney-Smith (who has stepped up in the starting lineup due to injuries), Dwight Powell, a recently healthy Devin Harris, and last but not least a highly energetic, opportunistic Maxi Kleber has been spectacular. With a mix of talented youth in the backcourt, a veteran presence in the frontcourt and coming off the bench to provide proven stability the Mavericks are a very dangerous team. Not to mention one of the best minds in the game in head coach Rick Carlisle, this is one opponent that has to have their opposition rethinking their status as a ‘rebuilding’ franchise.
Don’t sleep on this teams’ playoff potential, in a constantly shifting Western Conference this team might exceed expectations. One thing is for sure this fan is impressed and excited to see what the next sixty games holds for this franchise.
Christopher Weaver is a fourth generation Dallas, TX native, and currently resides in the North Texas suburb of Allen, TX. A Texas Tech University Alumni with a passion for sports, music, food and travel along with an eagerness to share all of what the DFW metroplex has to offer.