Just like last year, the Dallas Mavericks are coming into a new season with high expectations. Young superstar Luka Doncic figures to keep getting better in his fourth season, optimism around a healthy Kristaps Porzingis is being renewed with each passing day, and replacing Josh Richardson with Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown could be one of the more underrated moves of the offseason.
Everyone seems to agree that the Mavs will be a good regular season team, but do they have enough to be a true title contender as currently constructed? At least one NBA analyst believes so.
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On Sirius XM NBA Radio, ESPN’s Bobby Marks joined Brian Geltzeiler and Sam Mitchell to discuss title contenders in the Western Conference, and here’s how that conversation went:
Geltzeiler: “If you could pick one team in the West that you think could go to the finals that’s not the Los Angeles Lakers. Which one would you pick?”
Geltzeiler: “Dallas! Wow.”
Marks: “Dallas, that’s who I’m picking. I’ve always been high on Phoenix. I kind of road them to the finals last year, and I think they’ll be good again. I think the injury with Murray in Denver, the injury with Kawhi with the Clippers I think eliminates those two teams. I think we could certainly talk about Utah again. I’m expecting big things out of Dallas. I know the Bullock (and) Sterling Brown signings were kind of under the radar. (They’ve got) Luka, they’ve got Jason Kidd. There’s going to be a magnifying glass on Jason Kidd with this Mavericks team with him taking over for a Hall-of-Famer in Rick Carlisle. But it all comes down to Porzingis. I feel like we’ve been saying this for the last three years. Kristaps Porzingis is the x-factor, and if he’s healthy and plays like he did in New York, which is a big if, I think this Mavericks team has enough to get to an NBA Finals.”
When you consider the improvements that Dallas made on the edges this offseason while factoring in projected internal growth from a handful of players already on the roster, maybe winning the West is more attainable for this team than many think after all.
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Although the Phoenix Suns won the West last season, one could argue that the Los Angeles Clippers would’ve faced the Milwaukee Bucks in the finals had Kawhi Leonard not gotten hurt. And the Mavs were a couple of bounces away from eliminating that team in the first round, despite the lack of spacing with Richardson and having some players not be fully healthy.
Going to the NBA Finals is a lofty goal to have, but it’s one that Luka Doncic has had for himself personally over the last year or so. And when you have a 22-year-old MVP-caliber player leading the way, the sky is limit. So why not dream big?