61 games into the season it’s time to grade the Mavs to this point.
The Mavs have settled into the range I had predicted them to finish when the season started but there is still room to climb back up the standings.
Just like the first quarter and mid-season report cards, I’ll be handing out letter grades for all of the key players and Management. These are not grades on how good they are, this is a grade on how good they have been at the things they should be doing this season.
Luka Doncic: A-
Stats: 28.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 8.8 apg, 1.0 spg (4.3 TO) 57.6% from 2, 31.9% from 3, 76.7% FT
Luka started the season so hot that he set a high bar. Considering that his stats remained relatively the same from his mid-season report, I couldn’t bump him up on this one. He missed 9 games during this period as well so I could have given him an incomplete like I did KP. However, he did enough to earn his grade in my opinion.
Going into Q4, we simply want to get Luka healthy. We need to finish strong heading into the playoffs to get the most out of this experience and we can only do that with a healthy Luka.
Kristaps Porzingis: A
Stats: 19.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 2.0 bpg 47.9% from 2, 35.8% from 3, 77.3% FT
KP has arrived. It won’t be properly reflected in his 3rd quarter grades but Porzingis truly hit his stride as of late. He just won the Western Conference Player of the Week for the last week of February and has looked like All-Star KP for quite a while.
During Q3 he gave us three 35+ point games, nine double-digit rebound games (including the last 3), his shooting has improved from 2, 3, and the line, and he’s gotten his block average up to his career standards. Currently, his season averages are either the best or second best of his career. Oh yeah, and he only missed 4 games.
I left room for improvement because I’d love to see KP hit the 20-10 threshold before I give him that perfect grade.
Tim Hardaway, Jr.: A+
Stats: 15.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.9 apg 48.2% from 2, 40.5% from 3, 79.9% FT
Hardaway has continued to start through the 3rd quarter of the season and is one of the few guys to play every game in this stretch. He has also remained hot during this stretch and has finally gotten his grade up to an A. He is shooting 4% better from 3 than he’s ever shot in his career, and I don’t think anyone could have predicted this coming into the season. If we plan to have a chance to play spoiler in the post-season, he will be a huge factor.
Dorian Finney-Smith: A+
9.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, 58.5% from 2, 37.1% from 3, 72.6% FT.
Finney-Smith also played every game during the 3rd quarter and he’s been the one consistent piece since the beginning of the season. I dropped one of the plusses off of his grade this quarter since his 3 point percentage dropped by a percentage point. Regardless, he’s doing his job and there is very little you can complain about from him.
Seth Curry: A+
12.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2 apg 55.2% from 2, 44.8% from 3, 84.9% FT
For the purpose of this post, Seth Curry has been moved to the starting lineup. He started 10 games during this stretch and, with Dwight Powell out, it appears the Mavs will be looking to play smaller. Curry has been lighting the league on fire of late. His 12.4 ppg is the second highest of his career and he appears to be well on his way to a career high if he even stays close to his current pace.
The one issue for Seth this season has been consistency. I’m pleased to report that during this stretch he only had 5 games with less than 10 points. He also had 5 games with over 20 points including his last two with 27 and a career high 37.
I am still angling for Seth to get into the 50/40/90 club but he’s going to need to tighten up his free throw shooting. He’s currently sitting at 49.3/44.8/84.9 having dropped 6% on his FT shooting. Not just a testament to him missing, but also how few shots he’s taking.
Maxi Kleber: A
9.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.2 bpg 59.4% from 2, 37.8% from 3, 85.9% FT.
Maxi is having to play more 5 currently, though we’ll see if that changes with WCS coming back. During this stretch this has not affected his point or rebound totals but it has increased his block totals and gotten him above a full block per game average. He’s scoring more on the inside and has regressed from deep but is still on pace to shoot a career best from beyond the arc.
Personally, I’m just glad to see him back putting people on the wall.
I honestly can’t even speak on many of the other bench pieces. Their playing time, performances, and necessity to the team is minimal at best. The top 6 are the key to the team’s success.
Look. I’m not happy with a lot of things that have little to do with the product on the court. Carlisle’s rotations still annoy me of course, but the decisions to rest players like we’re gearing up for a championship run and sitting in first place annoys me more. We have a legitimate shot of getting to the 4 seed but have players taking games off like we’re content sitting at 7.
Then, we made a couple of moves. While I’m fine with bringing in Cauley-Stein and think he can be valuable down the stretch, I am hurt by the decision to cut Broekhoff. Had Broekhoff been cut for a player that was worth something I’d probably have gotten over it but not for MKG. I’m sure MKG is a great guy but I just don’t know what he adds to this team. Broekhoff almost had a double-double in the first half against Charlotte and is a shooting threat that you have to be concerned with when he’s on the court. MKG is an energy guy who we are going to have playing at the 4 or 5 despite the fact that he’s the size of a big 2 or small 3.
Anyway, here’s to hoping we actually try to make a push down the stretch of the season.