By Austin Payne
The Mavs have taken the NBA somewhat by storm early on in this season due to just how successful they’ve been in the win column. Though we all knew about Luka Doncic, the 20 year old prodigy from Europe that was one of the best rookies the league has ever seen, no one expected the team as a whole to be this successful this soon.
Off to an 18-8 start, and with Doncic nearly averaging a 30 point triple double despite his limited athletic ability and tendency to look a little bit like Raymond Felton on ball, the Mavericks have blown all expectations out of the water by grabbing the three seed this soon. We know they traded for KP, we know Rick Carlisle is a great coach, and we should know that they have depth, but i think that’s what everyone overlooked. (Doncic’s stats)
Depth is exactly what they’re going to need to lean on in the wake of their young star’s recent ankle injury. Suffering a sprained ankle against the Heat, Luka has only recently come off crutches and could be expected to be out for a few weeks. He is essentially what the entire offense revolves around, and his star running mate Kristaps Porzingis hasn’t exactly lived up to his potential early on this year. (Injury details)
In spite of this, he did last night, and it seems to be so far so good for Dallas as they beat one of the leagues best, and hottest, teams in the Milwaukee Bucks. KP poured in 26-12-4 whilst hitting 4 of his 8 three point attempts, with his help primarily coming from sharp shooter Seth Curry who also dropped 26.
What’s overlooked i believe is again, just the depth that this team has. They go at least 11-13 deep as far as players who can healthily crack the rotation without hurting a lineups productivity. With competent guards like Jalen Brunson, Seth, Delon Wright, even Courtney Lee. They’ve got ball handling and shooting for days. They also have a uh, i don’t know, 7’3 unicorn at their disposal who’s yet to be unlocked, as well as a sharp shooter and offensive specialist in Tim Hardaway Jr who could drop 35 on any given night.
Combine all of these assets with one of the best and longest tenured coaches in the league and you start to realize that hey, maybe they won’t lose every game just because Luka isn’t out there. While nobody expected a 3 seed and may still not expect them to finish there, having seen what we’ve seen thus far it’s very reasonable to expect at least a second round playoff appearance from this young and potential loaded squad.