Dallas Mavericks: sleeper or just a hot start?

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis from the Dallas Mavericks warm up prior to a 142-94 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis from the Dallas Mavericks warm up prior to a 142-94 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Manit Patel, Senior Staff Writer

The last time the Dallas Mavericks were relevant in the NBA was when foreign superstar Dirk Nowitzki was paired with another foreign star in Steve Nash as they electrified the stadium in every game they played. This season, those superstars have been reincarnated in the form of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, who are also both foreign. Doncic hails from Slovenia, while Porzingis is from Latvia. While Doncic won Rookie of the Year last season and established himself as the future of the Mavericks, he has improved upon last season’s performance by miles. He has made a legitimate case for the Most Valuable Player award this year, putting him amongst the NBA’s elite. While it might still be early in the season the Mavericks have already proven they can win against the best. The real test will be sustaining their current success, which has been predicated on a high flying offense. They score over 110 points per game on average and grab rebounds in bunches. For the Mavericks to be able to compete over the remainder of the season with the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets, they need 3 key things to happen.

The first thing is that Doncic has to sustain his recent production. He is averaging nearly a triple-double, and beating records that have only been set by some of the greatest players to ever play this sport. The attention he draws from opposing defenses opens up other players to take shots. His player efficient rating (PER, the measure of how efficient a player is in the time he plays), player impact estimate (PIE, the impact a player has on each game he plays), and win shares (WS, the estimated wins a player adds) have all increased largely when compared to last year. In fact, Doncic has nearly added the same amount of wins in 19 games this season, as he did in 72 games last season.

However, while Doncic may open up other players, the Mavericks sorely lack perimeter threats and perimeter defenders. A trade for players such as JJ Redick, Evan Fournier, Danilo Gallinari, or Andre Iguodala, all of whom are on rebuilding teams would greatly help. The Mavericks have the draft picks and players with potential that these rebuilding teams would gladly take. Any of these four players would instantly and positively impact the Mavericks team and bring them one step closer to a championship contender. 

The last thing that would need to happen to solidify the Mavericks is the addition of a third star or the possibility that Kristaps Porzingis returns to his All-Star form. There are players who might be available such as Bradley Beal, Lamarcus Aldridge, or Demar Derozan who would take the pressure off of Doncic and Porzingis, and add more star power to the team. Dallas has finally returned to being fun to watch with their foreign talent, and now these two superstars want to return the Mavericks to the championship fear they provided when they ran the floor with Dirk and Nash.