The Dallas Mavericks are set to enter the dawn of a new era. Now that Dirk Nowitzki has retired from the league after 21 seasons, it will be up to the young guns to step up for the franchise.
In the past, Mark Cuban has never hesitated to what is necessary to improve the team and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him pull the trigger on a few deals this season.
And while the Mavericks may not be ready to compete right away, they have put together one of the most promising young duos in the league in Porzingis and Doncic. But who will join them? Let’s take a look:
Bench: Jalen Brunson, JJ Barea, Seth Curry, Tim Hardaway Jr, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Boban Marjanovic
Point Guard: Delon Wright
Mark Cuban already hinted Delon Wright would be the team’s starting point guard early in the season, even though Carlisle was really high on Jalen Brunson’s playmaking and aggressiveness as a scorer.
Wright is a much better defender than Brunson and, while Luka Doncic may run the offense through major stretches, he won’t be able to stop top-tier guards, so Wright will be asked to handle most of his assignments.
Shooting Guard: Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic had one of the most impressive rookie seasons ever, but now he’ll have to prove he’s not just another "one-year-wonder." He showed his never-ending bag of tricks and had the confidence of a veteran.
Doncic can run the point, score efficiently from all three levels, rebound and even improved as a defender in the passing lanes. It’ll be interesting to see him share some touches with Porzingis this upcoming season.
Small Forward: Justin Jackson
Justin Jackson has shown glimpses of being a solid 3-and-D player, but could not handle many minutes with the Sacramento Kings early on. He’ll be in a much better position now under Rick Carlisle.
Jackson can do a little bit of everything and he has already embraced a lesser role at Sacramento after being one of Duke’s stars a couple of years ago. Now, he’ll have the green light to shoot from deep and prove his worth.
Power Forward: Kristaps Porzingis
Things were a lot different around the league the last time Kristaps Porzingis suited up to play. LeBron was still with the Cavs, Kawhi was playing for the Spurs, and the Warriors were the team to beat in the league.
There’s definitely going to be some rust on the Mavs’ new star power-forward, but they’ll let him ease his way back to his game. He needs to do a better job at rebounding the ball but has all the tools to become the face of this franchise going forward.
Center: Dwight Powell
Dwight Powell won’t impress you with athleticism or his rim-running abilities, but he won’t be asked to do much in the offensive end anyway, other than just putting back shots or finishing below the rim.
Still, Powell is a solid rebounder and shot-blocker. He’s an efficient scorer (59% shooting last season) and a smart player, and Maxi Kleber’s presence will put some pressure on his shoulders.