The Dallas Mavericks kicked off their second half of the season on a positive note with a victory against the San Antonio Spurs. However, it takes more than just one win to become title favorites. The Western Conference is known for being incredibly competitive, and on any given day, a team can go from fourth to eighth place in the standings. While Dallas has the 7th best odds to win the championship, they cannot take their position for granted.
Whether or not the Mavericks are contenders, they need to focus on having a strong second half of the season if they hope to make it deep into the playoffs. Here are three crucial elements for their success in the second half:
- Consistency – The Mavericks need to maintain consistency in their performance throughout the second half of the season. They cannot afford to have a series of wins followed by a losing streak.
- Better Defense – The Mavericks have struggled with their defense this season, allowing too many points to their opponents. They need to improve their defensive game in order to compete at the highest level.
- Health – Injuries have plagued the Mavericks this season, with key players like Kristaps Porzingis and Josh Richardson missing games due to various injuries. To make a successful playoff run, they need to prioritize the health of their players and avoid further injuries.
1. Use Schedule to Advantage
The Dallas Mavericks faced a tough challenge before the all-star break, losing three games in a row, including matches against strong Western Conference teams like the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings. However, the team’s fortunes could take a turn for the better as they are set to face one of the easiest schedules, as per NBA.com.
According to statistics, the Mavericks have 13 games left against teams with a win-loss record below .500 out of their remaining 22 games.
One of the biggest concerns for the team will be re-establishing the chemistry between star players Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. If both players can find their form, then the team should have a great opportunity to capitalize on their remaining games.
After securing a win against the Spurs, the Mavericks are now focused on their next 21 games.
2. Solve Big Man Woes Now
Ever since the departure of Tyson Chandler, Dallas has struggled to solve their big man issues down low. For starters the team averages 13.7 rebounds, a league worst.
Second, they are ranked as the second worse team when it comes to points in the paint. Oh and who can forget they standings as a bottom five squad in blocks per game.
So what’s the issue?
Honestly, it’s a variety of things. Remember in the summer, Dallas acquired both JaVale McGee and Christian Wood to solve their issues down low. Yet, that plan has seemed to sail. Currently, McGee is lucky if he plays more than eight minutes a game. As for Wood, coach Jason Kidd has been hesitant in starting the Mavs’ third best player.
The answer for this seems simple: Get Wood starter minutes!
We all know Dwight Powell is not it, and the team must find a permanent solution soon.
3. Use Veteran Assistance
One thing that made the 2011 Mavs team so successful was they lineup of notable veterans. Fast forward to now, and the team has just four players over 30: JaVale McGee (35), Justin Holiday (33) Markieff Morris (33), and Reggie Bullock (31). Both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kyrie Irving sit right at the 30 mark.
Between the first four names mentioned above, Bullock is the one player to average over 10 minutes a game. Well now you can include Holiday’s name on the list after last night’s game.
While the trading deadline has passed, Dallas has the ability to add more veteran presence through free agency. Just two weeks ago the team was linked to seven-time all star Lamarcus Aldridge. Something that might worth keeping an eye.
But if that falls through, they are plenty of other veteran big men on the market including: Carmelo Anthony, Avery Bradley, former Mavs Trey Burke and Kemba Walker, and Serge Ibaka.
Basically the Mavs have two options when it comes to veteran presence –
- Play the players you have now or
- Add notable free agents now!
Whichever route Dallas chooses, the answer is simple – get back on track.