The Mavericks go into Wednesday night’s season opener knowing they have a lot of unanswered questions and concerns.

However, there is one thing they don’t have to worry about. They have both of their star players healthy and available.

The opponent in the opener, the Washington Wizards, can’t say the same with all-star point guard out (most likely for the season) after Achilles surgery.

That’s a difficult way to go into a season. But the Wizards that the Mavericks will see do have all-star guard Bradley Beal and a potential rookie of the year candidate in Rui Hachimura, the 6-8 forward out of Gonzaga.

Hachimura, who is accompanied by a large Japanese media contingent everywhere he goes, has drawn rave reviews so far from Wizards coach Scott Brooks.

“Just his maturity,” Brooks said of what’s most impressive of the 21-year-old Hachimura. “He’s been in the States for now a little over three years. Didn’t speak the language very well when he first got to Gonzaga. Just his maturity.

“(And) he gives you great effort every day. A lot of times you have to work that out with younger players, but not one time have I said it out loud or even to myself: Rui has to play harder or Rui has to get back. He just has a great feel and his maturity really stands out.”

If that sounds familiar, it should. The Mavericks had the same feelings about Luka Doncic last year during his rookie season. And, like Hachimura is expected to receive this season, Doncic was rewarded by having the ball in his hands more often than not.

Brooks said the Mavericks are fortunate to have somebody like Doncic who presents so many challenges for opponents.

“He’s one of the best offensive players in the league,” Brooks said. “He has just about every pass that you can have as a perimeter player. He’s one of the best at finding players in the corner for threes. Obviously, he has the great step-back. He has a shot fake. He’s a great player. High IQ.

“It’s very rare what he was able to do at such a young age last season. I’m sure he’s so much better now, but definitely an all-star player that’s going to continue to get better.”

Said Hachimura: “He’s a big point guard and he can handle the ball well. He can pass, he can shoot and he’s young, too. Tonight I get the chance to go against him, so I’m excited about that.”


Dwight Powell, who was sidelined early in training camp with a left hamstring strain, will miss the first two games of the season and then be re-evaluated, coach Rick Carlisle said.

“Powell continues to progress,” Carlisle said. “We’ll update you Saturday if there’s an update as to whether he’ll be considered to play on Sunday.

“We’re not going to hurry this. He’s doing extremely well, but he’s going to have to be perfect to be back out there.”

The Mavericks visit New Orleans on Friday, then return home for Sunday’s game against Portland. Carlisle said earlier this week Powell would need to go through some practice work before being ready for games.

Twitter: @ESefko

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