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Mavs Offseason: Reason to be ‘Optimistic’

Even with the loss of Jalen Brunson, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks still have plenty to work with.

The Dallas Mavericks addressed a major concern this offseason with the additions of Christian Wood and JaVale McGee.

In the playoffs, Dallas had the second-worst rebounding average. Against the Golden State Warriors, the Mavs were outrebounded 234-177 in give games. Luka Doncic was Dallas' leading rebounder with 45.

Even with the new additions, Dallas has yet to solve find a replacement for Jalen Brunson.

So does losing Brunson hurt Dallas' playoff chances or do the new acquisitions improve the team?

The Athletics' Tim Cato weighs in.

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Vegas has a lot of confidence in Luka Doncic to win the NBA's MVP award this season. However, that confidence is lowered when it comes to the Dallas Mavericks' place in the championship race.

“I think the Mavericks have a narrow path to being better next season,'' Cato wrote. “I feel my perspective slightly more optimistic than what’s felt nationally.”

One reason for optimism is the progress of Doncic. This summer, the Slovenian guard has appeared to improve his conditioning and get in better shape. On Friday, he dropped a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds against Turkey, helping Slovenia to an overtime win.

“Doncic expected improvement from people like you and me, who’ve watched nearly every second of his career, still might be understated from those watching less closely,” Cato added. 

So, can Dallas survive without an extra ball handler? Assuming the roster stays intact, Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie will be the main offensive catalysts. 

“Dallas needs another ball handler who can create space,” Cato maintained. “Space creation is perhaps the most valuable thing you can do on a basketball court, that's why Josh Green and Frank Ntilikina’s passing abilities don’t translate to them being effective point guards.”

Could another deep playoff run be in the Mavs’ future? The season opens Oct. 19 against the Phoenix Suns.