It’s time to wrap up our monthlong series breaking down the Mavericks’ roster.

We’ve given you the sound tracks for 14 Mavericks so far, trying to explain musically what must happen in 2022-23 for players – and by extension, the Mavericks – to be successful.

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, the analysis has centered on what players must do to help make that a reality, preferably sooner than later.

And we’ve had a theme song, or two or three – basketball’s version of walk-up music, if you will – for each player.

So here we look at each player 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.

We finish the series with newcomer Christian Wood.

THEME SONGS: Celebration by Kool and the Gang, Friends in Low Places, Garth Brooks and Physical by Olivia Newton-John.

STAT FROM 2021-22 THAT MUST IMPROVE: There’s not a lot that Wood must do differently. If he can duplicate the 10.1 rebounds per game he averaged last season, it’ll be a godsend for the Mavericks. If there’s one area that could use an uptick, it’s his free-throw percentage, which was 62.3 percent last season. He probably will get to the line a fair amount with Luka feeding him lobs and interior passes, so taking those free points at the line will be important.

BREAKDOWN: About those theme songs, allow me to explain. First, nobody would hold it against Wood if he had a big party to celebrate his departure from Houston, which figures to be rebuilding for at least another season or two. He didn’t fit in with that timeline. Second, it would be nice to see the 6-10 Wood put in lots of time in low places, as in the low block, and get physical at both ends of the court. That’s something he’s clearly capable of and, while his 3-point shooting is a big weapon on offense, the Mavericks will need him to be a presence in the paint, as well. The Mavericks essentially used the trade for Wood as their free-agent catch. They weren’t going to get a starter-caliber player with their late first-round draft pick. They didn’t have to give up a lot more to get Wood, who most certainly is an offensive force after averaging 17.9 points and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range last season. That’s in addition to his rebounding acumen. At the very least, it’s commendable that the Mavericks’ front office saw their glaring need. They were dominated on the glass in the playoffs against Golden State and getting Wood and JaVale McGee should help alleviate those problems. And with Wood, some of the scoring void left by Jalen Brunson’s departure could be filled.


Dwight Powell:

Theo Pinson:

Frank Ntilikina:

JaVale McGee:

Maxi Kleber:

Jaden Hardy:

Tim Hardaway Jr.:

Josh Green:

Dorian Finney-Smith:

Tyler Dorsey:

Luka Dončić:

Spencer Dinwiddie:

Reggie Bullock:

Davis Bertans:

Twitter: @Esefko


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