The Dallas Mavericks welcome the Washington Wizards Tuesday night at 7:30 CT at the American Airlines Center. Here we have a battle of 2-7 teams, after our battle of 2-6 teams against the New York Knicks on Friday night went so, so poorly.
|Dallas Mavericks||Washington Wizards|
|Position||14th in West||14th in East|
|Dallas Mavericks||Washington Wizards|
|PG||Dennis Smith, Jr||John Wall|
|SG||Wesley Matthews||Bradley Beal|
|SF||Luka Doncic||Otto Porter, Jr|
|PF||Harrison Barnes||Markieff Morris|
|C||DeAndre Jordan||Dwight Howard|
The Washington Wizards are led by 8-year point guard John Wall and, last year All-Star shooting guard, Bradley Beal. This duo is considered by many to be one of the best backcourts in the NBA, certainly the Eastern Conference. Since Beal came into the league in 2012, the pair have been to the playoffs 4 out of 6 years but have failed to advance past the conference semifinals and regressed last season as they finished as the 8 seed and were bounced in the first round by the Raptors.
With the playoff losses has also come rumors that the All-Star backcourt is having serious trouble co-existing. So much so, in fact, that SB Nation had an article titled “The Wizards have petty locker room drama nearly every single season” ranking the team’s top 10 public beefs over the years, several of which center around Wall and Beal.
These public displays of disaffection, however, did not dissuade Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld from locking the pair up on monster long-term deals:
- Bradley Beal signed a 5-yr/$127M deal in July 2016.
- John Wall signed a 4-r/$170M extension starting in 2019 which includes a 2022-2023 player option of $46,872,000!
So, what do you do when your team has a petty locker room ruining the spirit of your star players? Sign Dwight Howard, the locker room killer, to a two-year deal and send your team tail spinning to a 2-7 start. Otto Porter, Jr has not taken the next step that the Wizards expected him to take after signing a 4-yr/$106.5M deal in the summer of 2017. The good news for the Wizards, much like the Mavericks, is that it is still very early in the season and there is still time to get it together.
After the Mavs 118-106 home loss to the lowly New York Knicks it seems like the sky is falling. Our defense is terrible, we couldn’t stop rookie second round pick, Mitchell Robinson, and undrafted rookie Allonzo Trier, from coming onto our home floor and getting to the basket at will. It was not the effort MFFLs were expecting from our 2-6 “desperate for a win” Mavericks team.
Then came the reports of Wesley Matthews having some sort of meeting with Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle about his role on the team. Then we see the close-up video of DeAndre Jordan pushing Luka out of the way for a completely uncontested layup with an angry Mark Cuban yelling in the background. Luke did not seem to appreciate the push in the back, especially since Luka was listed on the injury report as ‘Questionable’ for the game with a sore back.
But, with all of that said, this is game 10 of 82. We are tied for last in the Western Conference with the Suns, who beat us on opening night, but as of today we are 2.5 games back from the 8-seed Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s 73 games to make up 2.5. This is not the start MFFLs envisioned but the sky is not falling. Instead, we have a great opportunity to right the ship against the volatile Washington Wizards.
What to Watch For:
- Mavericks needs to improve on their 24th worst turnover rate in the league of 16.2/game.
- Mavericks need to improve on their 21st ranked 3P% of 34.1%.
- Most of all Mavericks need to improve upon their weak, porous, non-active team and individual defense.
- Mavs still unsure if rookie Luka Doncic will play against the Washington Wizards. Carlisle calls it “unlikely.” (UPDATE: Luka is officially active for tonight’s game!)