It’s time to break down the Mavericks’ roster player-by-player.
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 couple of championship-level theme songs – 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.
First up in this periodic series is Davis Bertāns.
THEME SONGS: I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash and Light My Fire by The Doors.
KEY NUMBER IN 2021-22 THAT MUST IMPROVE: 33.5 percent, his 3-point shooting last season, far below the 40.7 percent of his first five seasons.
BREAKDOWN: The 6-10 forward does one thing – and does it very well. He’s a sniper. He shoots the ball quickly and, usually, accurately from 3-point range. What the Mavericks need is for Bertāns to have his best shooting season since 2019-20, when he poured in 42.4 percent of his triples and averaged 15.4 points. That was the season that earned him the $80-million contract, on which he’s entering the third of five seasons. Bertāns won’t play enough minutes to duplicate those numbers, but he must improve on last season, when the Latvian sharpshooter hit 36 percent from long range after joining the Mavericks and 37.3 percent in the playoffs, when he played about 11 minutes while seeing action in all 18 postseason games. He must embrace the line – the 3-point line, that is. What the Mavericks can’t have is for his well to run dry. If Bertāns endures a protracted shooting slump, defenses don’t have to honor his ability to stretch the floor. That allows them to smother Luka Dončić or whoever the primary ballhandler is at the time. So the Mavericks need him to light it up.
NEXT UP: Reggie Bullock.