Dallas was the best offensive team in the league in terms of offensive efficiency and by a wide margin. On the other hand, considering their average defensive unit, it was surprising how Dallas only managed to land the #7 seed in the West and was forced to play against one of the toughest opponents in the league, the Clippers, in the first round of the playoffs.
The Mavs should have landed a top 4 seed in the West last season. That did not happen due to their inability to win close games. They were the worst team in the league in games decided by 3 or fewer points, with a 2-11 record in such games, the only team with double digit close losses.
In the playoffs, Luka Doncic had some great moments but with Porzingis injured, Dallas had no chance against the Clippers.
As they were the #1 offense in the league last season, Dallas focused their attention in the offseason on defense. Dallas simply couldn’t stop the Clippers’ perimeter players and they didn’t forget that. So, they gave up a great shooter in Seth Curry and got Josh Richardson. Even though Richardson isn’t as good as a spot up shooter, he is a huge upgrade on defense and he will make Dallas a better perimeter defensive team. They also added James Johnson and Wes Iwundu for the same reason.
Luka Doncic will be a MVP contender this season and he will have a perfect offensive system surrounding him. The Mavs also count with the returns of Dwight Powell and Jalen Brunson who suffered injuries mid last season and missed the final stages of the season.
Dallas is counting on continuity and Doncic’s development to be a contender this season. If the Mavs solve their incredible lack of clutch ability, they will be a top 4 seed this season. The key will be how long will Porzingis be still out. Dallas’s frontcourt unit is a more traditional unit without shooting range without him, so Porzingis is a key piece in the team.