We’re back for the Mavs mid-season report card with 41 games in the books.
Before the season I predicted the Mavs would make the playoffs but I had them in the 7-8 range. When we checked in for our first quarter report card, the Mavs had made their way up to the 2 seed but things have changed since then.
Just like the first quarter report card, I’ll be handing out letter grades for all of the key players and Coach Carlisle. These are not grades on how good they are, this is a grade on how good they are at doing the things they should be doing at this time.
Luka Doncic: A-
Stats: 28.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 9 apg, 1.1 spg (4.4 TO) 58.6% from 2, 31.7% from 3, 78.6% FT
Now a lot of people are going to see the minus and lose their minds but I had to adjust Luka down slightly because all of his numbers are down slightly from where they were at the end of Q1. He’s still our boy and he’s still, clearly, hooping but as the season has gone along it appears that the wear and tear is catching up to him.
Throwing out his per game totals, his shooting numbers going down at all 3 points is the most concerning. Not just because he’s shooting worse as the season goes along, but because he’s appeared to be pressing to get himself out of shooting slumps. His 3 point percentage this year is now a full percentage point below where it ended last season (32.7%) and most agree that’s an area he can improve.
The best thing he could do here is have better discretion about when it’s time to launch and when he should defer or drive. He’s still shooting 9 three pointers a game and that is still too many.
Kristaps Porzingis: B*
Stats: 17.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 2.1 bpg 44.5% from 2, 34.3% from 3, 72.5% FT
KP had a C+ in Q1 and his numbers actually went up across the board, the complete opposite of Luka.
While his rebounding numbers are better than ever, his shooting numbers are still a work in progress. I put the asterisk here because while the work that KP turned in was great, he has missed the last 10 games and I have to give him an “incomplete” for the quarter.
Given our lack of a paint presence, KP’s absence has been felt on the interior as Dwight… I’ll save that. KP’s absence has been felt, and the team is keeping his injury a mystery. He’s apparently going to be listed as day-to-day until one day the team decides that he’s fine to play. Some are worried that this injury may be more serious that the team is letting on but I’m not willing to speculate that far.
Dwight Powell: A-
Stats: 9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.9 bpg 72.3% from 2, 66.4% FT.
I told you guys to stop acting like my tweets are gospel. I tweet for fun so most of what I tweet is an exaggeration. My beef with Dwight is that he’s goofy and I don’t enjoy looking at him on a basketball court. He’s also useless against almost any player willing to back him down and, though he flies around and flails at rebounds, he doesn’t grab them. With all of that established, he does what’s expected of him well.
He’s up a full letter grade from Q1 by increasing his points and rebounds and getting his FT% up from the 58% he was previously on. He started the season injured but has now played more games than the other two consistent starters.
Tim Hardaway, Jr.: B+
Stats: 14 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.7 apg 49.2% from 2, 38.4% from 3, 77.9% FT
Hardaway made the move to the starting lineup in the latter portion of Q1 and the results at that time were positive. He continued his hot streak from outside and is up almost 4% from the Q1 closing number so that moved his grade up slightly.
He missed a couple of games with injury and has come back looking like he may have reverted back to the hold Timmy but we’ll see. In the meantime, credit where credit is due.
Dorian Finney-Smith: A++
9.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.4 apg, 58.4% from 2, 38.1% from 3, 71.2% FT.
You may recall that Finney-Smith had an A the first time around so he definitely had to get the two +’s from me. His stats are up across the board and in the last 20 games he’s increased his 3 point percentage by a whopping 6%!!! When he gets the ball in the corner I now expect it to go in instead of just hoping it does. He has turned into an incredible asset for this team and should not be taken for granted.
Maxi Kleber: A
9.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1 apg, 0.9 bpg 57.6% from 2, 40.6% from 3, 87.3% FT.
You can debate whether Maxi or DFS is the 3rd most important player on this team. (We asked for the blocks back and Maxi has delivered in KP’s absence btw.)
Seth Curry: A-
10.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.7 apg (second only to his first run with Dallas) 54.1% from 2, 39.5% from 3, 90.9% FT
I really want him to join the 50/40/90 club. I’m loving what he’s doing using the drive lately. He’s taking more shots inside so his overall FG percentage is climbing. 3 point percentage is climbing also.
Delon Wright: A
7.4 ppg, 3.2 apg, 3.6 rpg, 1.3 spg 52.2% from 2, 38.5% from 3, 81.8% FT.
Somehow he’s maintained his production and improved his 3 point %age. His role is weird but we can’t say he hasn’t done his job.
Curry, Delon, and Maxi are the key reserves and they’ve all been great. They’re the head of the league’s best bench unit and they are very important to what we do. All 3 have started games and all 3 have made big plays for us in important games.
Rick Carlisle: B
I had to knock Carlisle down this time around. While we have had to deal with injuries, some of the lineup decisions he’s made during this time have been weird. He started Barea and Justin Jackson two games in a row. Brunson plays forever then gets a DNP. Seth gets hot then sits for 20 minutes. It has all been annoying to fans.
However the biggest issue is the consistent blown leads. We can talk about how the team is young or how Luka tries to do too much late all we want but at some point the coach has to realize what’s happening and make adjustments. That hasn’t happened yet and we’ll wait to see what happens down the home stretch of the season.
The Mavs have come back down to Earth a bit after their hot start. We can talk about losing KP, Luka, and THJ for games at a time but every team has dealt with injuries. The team is still in a better place than most people anticipated and we could very well bounce back into the home court conversation if we EVER get an answer on KP’s return.
In the meantime we have a lot to be happy about. The trade deadline looms large and we’ll see if the Mavs make a move to change our current trajectory.
MFFL Twitter: F
There is way too much arguing and hostility within the Mavs community. Whether it’s Drummond, Powell, Carlisle or Luka, Mavs fans seem to be constantly bickering these days. We are never going to always agree but we can at least try to be somewhat civil. It’s easy to block, mute, or unfollow people that you don’t want on your timeline or to interact with you. That’s a much better use of your time than going back and forth with a stranger.
That’s just my two cents.