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Feeling Good? Mavs Have Reasons for Optimism

Last season, the Dallas Mavericks exceeded expectations by advancing to the Western Conference finals. Can they do it again?

This summer, Dallas Mavericks fans got a glimpse of what a slim-down Luka Doncic can do. In the EuroBasket tournament, Doncic scored 182 points in seven games. 

His best performance came Sept. 7 against France, where he dropped 47, the second-highest total in EuroBasket history and the most in more than 65 years. 

So is an MVP-type performance good enough to lead Dallas back to contender status? How good can the Mavs be this season?

The Athletic's Tim Cato offers up his opinion. 

"I have no concerns that the Mavericks, if healthy, will be good this season. They proved last year that this collective group, even with some additions and departures, can succeed against the league’s best teams," Cato wrote. "They have one of the league’s best players who sets a ridiculously high floor for success."

One reason for optimism is the improvement and play of Doncic. During the season's final three months, the three-time All-Star averaged 31.2 points. He averaged 32.6 points against the Phoenix Suns in the West finals. 

ESPN's Brian Windhorst believes in Doncic's improvement, as he ranks this season as his best "chance to get that first MVP."

"An offense built around Doncic can thrum through the regular season with brilliant results," Cato wrote.

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Last season, Dallas finished with a 52-30 record after starting the year 17-18. After trading for Spencer Dinwiddie in February, the Mavs went 18-6.

In the playoffs, the Mavs went 9-9 and won their first playoff series since 2011. 

Can Dallas have a repeat performance this coming season? 

"I have the Mavericks winning at least 50 games in most realistic scenarios," Cato wrote. "This season should be enjoyed."

If the Mavs can replace the offensive production of Jalen Brunson, Dallas should have a realistic shot at improving this season.

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