The Dallas Mavericks are now 2-2 in their pre-season play and they seem to keep struggling on the defensive side. Do not let the pre-season fool you. It’s pre-season and there’s nothing more boring than exhibition basketball. The fans know it, the coaches know it and the players know it. Yes, it is good for the coaches to see the young players and rookies get their minutes to prove themselves that they are worthy of playing regular minutes during the regular season. However, when it comes down to it the pre-season does not really show much in what any team will do in the regular season.
I mean look at the Golden State Warriors they are 4-1 so far in pre-season play and do you think that they will be the best team in the West? No. How about the Los Angeles Lakers? They are winless (0-4) so far and do you think they will be in last place in the NBA? I do not think so. The pre-season in the NBA is all about getting the veterans their legs back and the young players the opportunity to prove themselves.
The Mavericks have allowed their opponent in their last two games to score 100 points or more, but that does not mean they are a weak at the defensive end. Their starters for the past two games have been Elton Brand, Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison. Dirk Nowitzki has been out for the past three games due to his knee injury which he should be doing surgery if his knee is not better by the mid-week of next week.
I believe that Brand, Collison, Mayo and Marion will be part of the Mavs defensive team and all four of them have the capability in frustrating their opponent to the point where the Mavs offense takes advantage. Plus remember Nowitzki is out, so the past two games was not a pretty site to see.
Once the regular season gets here the Mavs may be a little rusty during the first half of the month, but that does not mean that they will stay like that throughout the season. As long as Dirk Nowitzki is healthy for most of the season then the Mavericks will be just fine. They are still, in my opinion, a 52-55 win team.
However, I have been liking the performance of their young rookie, Jae Crowder, who has averaged 15 points in their past two games. He will be the difference maker I believe this year. It may take awhile for him to adjust to the NBA level, but it will not take him long before the Mavericks will use him regularly in the rotation.
Again, do not let the pre-season fool you because in the end the team that is playing on the court during October is not the same team that you will see during the regular season. Jae Crowder may not be the guy that the Mavs were hoping for and maybe the Mavs defense will be good enough to stop teams from scoring over 100 points. The pre-season will not tell you much, but once the season begins and when mid-December gets here that’s when everybody will see how their team will be throughout the regular season.