It’s time to continue our series breaking down the Mavericks’ roster.
Rather than just running down the assets and debits of each player, we’re going to approach this year’s roster evaluation a little differently.
With a sound track.
Since the Mavericks reached the Western Conference finals last season and have made it clear that championships are the only measuring stick they will use moving forward in the Luka Dončić era, it’s time to analyze what they need from each player to someday make that a reality, preferably sooner than later.
And there’s a theme song, sometimes more than one – basketball’s version of walk-up music, if you will – for each player.
So here we look at each player (in alphabetical order) and what they must accomplish for the Mavericks to be title worthy. We’ll assume good health for everybody, which is always the No. 1 issue.
Next up is Luka Dončić.
THEME SONGS: (I can’t get no) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones, and I’m Free by The Who.
KEY STAT FROM 2021-22 THAT MUST IMPROVE: 74.4 percent free-throw shooting. That actually was a mild step up from his career average of 73.7 percent.
BREAKDOWN: They say the best things in life are free. So why are the free throws so important? Well, last season’s average was below the 77.1 percent the Mavericks shot as a team. And since Luka goes to the line nearly eight times a game (another number that needs to rise), it’s imperative that he get his average up to the league norm, at the very least. If he could get up to 80 percent, he would have scored 27 more points last season – points that he would not have had to work one bit more to get. So that’s the nitpick. Otherwise, Luka needs to continue to be the best (or one of the best) players in the NBA. He will be high on the list of everybody’s MVP contenders. The only other things he can do to get even better is to continue to make everybody around him better and perhaps make a few more 3-pointers. But again, there’s not a lot that he doesn’t do. Still, you know he never gets satisfied with where he’s at in his journey. You get the feeling he’s on a similar career path as Dirk Nowitzki was. It’s just a matter of time until the right combination of teammates is around him to put everything together for a championship.
Davis Bertans. https://www.mavs.com/profiles-bertans/
Spencer Dinwiddie. https://www.mavs.com/dinwiddie-profile/
NEXT UP: Tyler Dorsey.