Five things to Watch for in Preseason

  1. Will Trey Burke be given a real opportunity?

Trey Burke’s decision to jeopardize his spot on the Mavs’ roster is rather risky to be kind. He is one year into his first long term deal since his rookie contract, having finally found a home in Dallas after a breakthrough performance in the Orlando bubble. Now that his vaccination status is well documented, the Mavericks have a decision to make, especially with fellow bubblers Frank Ntilikina and Tyrell Terry competing for that last roster spot. 

Burke was quite a disappointment last season, and even Rick Carlisle, one of Burke’s biggest fans, completely took Burke out of the rotation in the postseason, even as the Mavericks were desperate for offense from wherever they could find it. Ntilikina and Terry, provided the latter’s personal matters are resolved in time, would be available for every game when healthy. As of now, the same cannot be said for Burke. 

2. How will Dallas’s offense change?

One of Rick Carlisle’s greatest strengths over his time in Dallas was his ability to keep his team’s offense in the top third of the league year after year. Two years ago, the Mavericks set the all-time record for the highest offensive efficiency rating in league history, and while they regressed a touch last year, were still pretty potent up until the playoffs. 

Under Jason Kidd and a completely new staff, how the team’s attack looks night to night will be telling early. Igor Kokoskov is the only other member of the staff with head coaching experience, and Jared Dudley most definitely has none to speak of. Dallas made a couple nice moves in free agency, but Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown are hardly going to make opposing defenses fear the Mavs’ attack any more than they already do. 

3. Does Josh Green have a role?

Rick Carlisle famously was avoid playing young players, especially rookies, unless he absolutely had to. Jason Kidd will actually give Josh Green a chance to develop into a potential rotation player. The second year Aussie has a ton of improving to do, but the raw talent is still there for the small forward. He just needs more chances on the floor. 

Green is stuck behind a number of similar small forwards in Dorian Finney-Smith, Bullock, and the wings are already being occupied by Tim Hardaway Jr. and Brown. Josh Green still has a future in this league, but he needs more guidance than he ever got last year. Luckily, he has a player development-oriented coaching staff leading the way. 

4. Are the Mavericks serious about Moses Brown?

Moses Brown has generated quite a bit of buzz after several gigantic games towards the end of last season with the Thunder. He was traded to Boston as part of the Al Horford deal, but ultimately got sent to Dallas after they brought Josh Richardson over. Brown wasn’t originally a part of the deal, but was sent to Dallas at the last minute a day after the deal was announced. 

Dallas has a deep, albeit less-than-stellar group of centers. Dwight Powell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Brown, and Boban Marjanovic are all alright at best. They’re also dealing with a perpetually injured Kristaps Porzingis. Brown has a lot of promise, but it will be interesting to see just how much Brown actually plays in preseason and in the future, how much of a player they think he can be for a winning team. 

5. Is this the last chance for KP?

Kristaps Porzingis’s first year was quietly pretty great after returning from injury. He was fantastic in the bubble, with multiple 30+ point double-doubles and brilliant rim protection. But this past year just wasn’t the same, and the playoffs were brutal to watch. A lot of that had to do with Rick Carlisle demanding the 7’’3 big man stand in the corner and attempt to stretch the floor. 

This is probably the last chance Porzingis is going to have to truly establish himself as the second banana in Dallas, and they desperately need him to become it. Doncic’s new contract essentially takes them out of any kind of cap space game, and with Hardaway Jr. locked up long term as well, Dallas’s flexibility is pretty much limited to trades and mid-level exceptions. 

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