DALLAS - Avery Johnson knows basketball about as well as anyone, as evidence by his success with the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 and 2007, as well as his impressive coaching resume.
More interestingly though, were Johnson's comments about his former team during an interview with CBS Sports' Amanda Guerra on Monday, not just citing the Mavericks as the team he is most interested to watch, but also naming them as a club that could potentially sneak into the Finals.
"I'm really interested and looking forward to seeing the Dallas Mavericks," Johnson said in the interview. "Outside of LeBron James, they have a guy in Luka Doncic who is just walking triple-double, you know he averages 28 points, nine rebounds, and eight and a half assists, and he's just so much fun to watch. He's going to be in the playoffs for the first time in his career. And then with Kristaps Porzingis, whose the Robin to the Batman in Luka Doncic, there's of the best one-two punches in all of basketball."
To Johnson's credit, while the NBA is now flooded with a slew of two-star teams, most notably including the Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, 76ers, Celtics, and (the very soon to be star duo of) the Brooklyn Nets, the Mavericks duo has shown an exceptional chemistry growth in a relatively short amount of playtime together.
This, along with their youth, unpredictability, and rather unique skill sets, makes them a very dangerous team when the NBA returns at the end of July.
"If you put those guys in a seven games series, they're a team that can potentially sneak into the finals," Johnson said. "So, when you look at a team like the Mavericks when Luka Doncic is at point guard, and now Tim Hardaway Jr. is at two-guard, who's a prolific three-point shooter, they're very hard to guard. And when you have that pick and roll combination with Porzinigs and Luka Doncic, it's hard to game plan for, especially in a seven-game series."
Also, as Johnson notes, the added dimension of Tim Hardaway Jr., as well as the other weapons surrounding the Mavs star duo, such as Seth Curry and defensive aces like Delon Wright, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Maxi Kleber, make Dallas one of the most dynamic and interesting teams participating in Orlando.
The Dallasbasketball.com staff went into further detail on this subject in our weekly podcast, The Mavs Step Back Podcast, on Monday, and you can listen to that discussion here.
Dallas opens up the resumed season on July 31st against the Houston Rockets at The Arena At Walt Disney World on July 31st at 8 PM CT on ESPN and will head into the game as 1.5-point underdogs.