We are now eight games into the 2013-14 NBA season, and the Dallas Mavericks sit at a solid 5-3 record. The thing is, there hasn’t really been much of anything surprising about how the season has played out so far.
For starters, the Mavericks have basically beaten the teams they are supposed to but have faltered against teams who are supposed to be better than them. A case could be made for the Minnesota Timberwolves being a team that they should have beaten, but at the time they played the Timberwolves had only lost one game. Other than that, the Mavericks have only lost to the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, both of whom are expected to finish among the top teams in the Western Conference.
On a deeper level, the Mavericks are essentially the kind of team that they were expected to be, although the results of that kind of team may be a bit better than predicted. This team will go as far as its offense can take it. They’re the type of team that is looking to outscore their opponents more than make it difficult for other teams to score. As long as they can get key stops when they need them late in games this isn’t necessarily a problem. Teams like the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers with Magic Johnson, or more recently the Phoenix Suns with Steve Nash, have been able to have a lot of success as high scoring teams.
Luckily for the Mavericks, so far they’ve been able to out-rebound their opponents, an area that was a major concern coming into the season. The defense has been porous but perhaps not as horrendous as predicted. The Mavericks have a big test against the Miami Heat on Friday, and a win against the Heat could go a long way toward sending the message that the Mavericks can beat the top teams in the league.
For now, the Mavericks are fifth in the West, which seems about right for them give or take a spot or two. I predicted they’d finish sixth, and at this point I have no reason to rethink that prediction. But if they can prove they can fight the NBA’s top teams then maybe they’ll prove us all wrong.