Reviewing the 2019-20 Dallas Mavericks

November 14th, 2020

by Alan Lu

The Dallas Mavericks’ present-day logo.
(Photo:
Dallas Mavericks/Sports Logo History)

The Dallas Mavericks had a very good season in 2020.  They surpassed expectations to make it to the playoffs, and they were the 7th seed out in the West under head coach Rick Carlisle, who had led his team to win the title in 2011 against the Miami Heat once before. 

Superstar guard Luka Doncic had a terrific season, as he averaged nearly 30 points a game, and he was a triple-double threat nightly, and he was able to get to his first All-Star game this year.  Doncic and Carlisle helped the Mavericks win two games in their first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, but they eventually lost the series to them in 6 games.

Dallas Mavericks’ superstar, Luka Doncic had a fantastic season in 2020, as he made his first NBA All-Star team, averaged roughly 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists per game, and he was one of the best players in the NBA this past season.
(Photo:
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images, via Mavs Moneyball)

G Luka Doncic – A

2020 (DAL): 61 GP, 28.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 8.8 APG, 46 FG%, 32 3PT%, 76 FT%, 33.6 MPG, 27.6 PER, 8.8 WS

Luka Doncic had a tremendous, second-year with the Dallas Mavericks, and he did a great job of scoring, facilitating, and rebounding the basketball, as he averaged nearly 30 points per game, and he was a consistent triple-double threat when he was on the floor.  Doncic had an exponential rise to superstardom, and he also played very well in the playoffs.  He will need to improve his outside shot and also show that he can consistently defend well in the meantime, but Doncic’s tremendous offensive skills may allow him to be one of the best players in the game for the upcoming season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Franchise player, starter on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2021 Rating: 4 stars (4.5 star potential)

Kristaps Porzingis played well for the Mavericks this year, but he ended up missing playoff games due to a knee injury in the Orlando bubble.
(Photo:
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images, via Mavs Moneyball)

C Kristaps Porzingis – B

2020 (DAL): 57 GP, 20.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 1.8 APG, 43 FG%, 35 3PT%, 80 FT%, 31.8 MPG, 20.2 PER, 5.2 WS

Porzingis had a solid season with the Dallas Mavericks prior to missing the rest of the season due to a knee injury, which prevented him from finishing his run in the playoffs in the Orlando bubble.

He is a very athletic, skilled big man that possesses versatile scoring skills, and he also excelled as a rebounder and shot blocker for his team.  Porzingis will need to stay healthy and be a more consistent defender in games, but his strong ability to shoot and score the basketball could make him a very good player for the Mavericks for years to come.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starting center on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2021 Rating: 3 stars (4 star potential)

G Tim Hardaway Jr. – B-

2020 (DAL): 71 GP, 15.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 43 FG%, 40 3PT%, 82 FT%, 29.5 MPG, 14.5 PER, 4.4 WS

He is an athletic, scoring wing player that can knock down shots from all over the floor.  Hardaway is adept at knocking down shots to help his team on offense, but he will need to improve his rebounding and defense in the meantime.  Still, his ability to shoot and score the basketball will allow him to get many minutes either with the Mavericks or another team in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starter/solid bench player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

Side note: Hardaway Jr. has a player option at the end of the 2019-20 season that allows him to opt in or out of his contract for next season.

F Dorian Finney-Smith – B

2020 (DAL): 71 GP, 9.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 47 FG%, 38 3PT%, 72 FT%, 29.9 MPG, 12.3 PER, 4.9 WS

Dorian Finney-Smith is an athletic, combo forward that excelled in a 3 and D role for the Mavericks this past season.  He shot the ball well as he made shots efficiently, and he shot his highest three-point percentage in an NBA regular season.  Plus, he also did a good job of passing and rebounding the basketball.  Finney-Smith is also a fairly solid defender that will take on the tough assignments.  However, he will need to be more assertive on offense, as he will need to look for his own shots more.  Right now, he projects to earn a lot of playing time on the Mavericks next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starter/solid bench player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

F Dwight Powell – C+

2020 (DAL): 40 GP, 9.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 64 FG%, 26.5 MPG, 15.9 PER, 3.6 WS

Dwight Powell had a fairly solid season with the Mavericks prior to going down to a season-ending Achilles injury that caused him to miss out on the Orlando bubble in 2020.  Powell excelled as a finisher and interior defender in the paint, but he will need to be more assertive on offense, and also will need to improve his outside shot and his rebounding.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starter/solid bench player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

G Seth Curry – B

2020 (DAL): 64 GP, 12.4 PPG, 49 FG%, 45 3PT%, 82 FT%, 24.6 MPG, 15.5 PER, 4.3 WS

Seth Curry is a sharpshooting combo guard that really excelled at shooting and scoring the basketball, and he is a gifted marksman that can make shots from all over the floor.  He will need to improve in the other facets of the game, but his ability to make shots will allow him to get plenty of minutes on Dallas’ team next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

Dallas Mavericks’ forward, Maxi Kleber was the house DJ for the Dallas Mavericks in the Orlando bubble, as first covered by NBA Bubble Life via Twitter.
(Source: YouTube/Long Ethan)

F Maxi Kleber – B-

2020 (DAL): 74 GP, 9.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 46 FG%, 37 3PT%, 85 FT%, 25.5 MPG, 13.6 PER, 4.8 WS

Maxi Kleber did a good job of knocking down shots in his role with Dallas this past season, and he also excelled as a shot blocker for his team.  He will need to improve his passing ability and on-ball defense, but his ability to shoot and defend will likely earn a lot of minutes on Dallas for the upcoming season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

G Delon Wright – B

2020 (DAL): 73 GP, 6.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 46 FG%, 37 3PT%, 77 FT%, 21.5 MPG, 15.4 PER, 4.4 WS

Delon Wright had a solid season with the Mavericks in 2020.  He excelled as a shooter, facilitator, and defender, and he generally played a solid all-around game for them this year.  He will need to be more assertive on offense, but Wright’s ability to excel in many different areas may make him a valuable role player for them next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

G Jalen Brunson – B-

2020 (DAL): 57 GP, 8.2 PPG, 3.3 APG, 47 FG%, 36 3PT%, 81 FT%, 17.9 MPG, 14.9 PER, 2.1 WS

Brunson is a skilled, offensive-minded point guard that played well in his role on the Mavericks this past season.  He excelled at making shots efficiently, and he also was effective as a distributor on the court.  He will need to improve his defense, and he also missed some time due to a shoulder injury, but his ability to shoot and pass the basketball will allow him to earn plenty of minutes in Dallas’ rotation in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars (2.5 stars potential)

Trey Burke was one of the best mid-season acquisitions of the year, and Burke played very well in the Orlando bubble, especially during the playoffs.
(Photo:
Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images, via Mavs Moneyball)

G Trey Burke – B+ (B with Philadelphia, A- with Dallas)

2020 (TOT): 33 GP, 7.4 PPG, 2.5 APG, 45 FG%, 43 3PT%, 79 FT%, 15.8 MPG, 15.6 PER, 1.3 WS
2020 (PHI): 25 GP, 5.9 PPG, 2.1 APG, 46 FG%, 42 3PT%, 72 FT%, 13.2 MPG, 15.4 PER, 0.9 WS
2020 (DAL): 8 GP, 12.0 PPG, 3.8 APG, 43 FG%, 43 3PT%, 91 FT%, 23.9 MPG, 16 PER, 0.5 WS

Trey Burke is a skilled playmaker that experienced a renaissance in the Orlando bubble in 2020.  He shot the ball well as a backup point guard for Philadelphia, but he ended up getting cut anyways despite having made 42% of his threes for them.  Burke managed to latch on with Dallas prior to the NBA restart, and he really excelled for them, as he showed off strong shooting and scoring skills off the bench.  He managed to score 25 points as he made 4 threes in his team’s Game 4 win over the Clippers, and Burke might have played his way into landing a larger contract than anticipated for the upcoming season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars

Side note: Will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Dallas Mavericks’ 7-4 center, Boban Marjanovic starred in John Wick 3 alongside action star Keanu Reaves, and Marjanovic’s fight scene took place in a library.
(Photo:
Niko Tavernise/Lionsgate, via Entertainment Weekly)

C Boban Marjanovic – B

2020 (DAL): 44 GP, 6.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 57 FG%, 9.6 MPG, 25.7 PER, 1.8 WS

Boban Marjanovic is a very tall center who excelled as an inside scorer and rebounder for his team in limited minutes.  He’s a PER warrior that has been known to be very efficient in the minutes he’s allotted, but concerns about his mobility and defensive skills have prevented him from getting consistent playing time in games.  Still, he is a situational use center that can excel against other big-bodied centers when he is on the floor.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars

C Willie Cauley-Stein – B- (B- with both Golden State and Dallas)

2020 (TOT): 54 GP, 7.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 58 FG%, 20.3 MPG, 17 PER, 2.9 WS
2020 (GSW): 41 GP, 7.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.1 SPG, 56 FG%, 22.9 MPG, 16.2 PER, 2.2 WS
2020 (DAL): 13 GP, 5.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 69 FG%, 12.1 MPG, 22.2 PER, 0.7 WS

Willie Cauley-Stein played well in his role with two different teams this season.  He excelled as an inside scorer and interior defender, and he rebounded the ball very well in limited minutes for Dallas.  Cauley-Stein opted out of the Orlando bubble though, and he has yet to play in the playoffs, but he will likely receive plenty of playing time either for the Mavericks or somewhere else in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars

Side note: Cauley-Stein has a player option at the end of the 2019-20 season that allows him to opt in or out of his contract for next season.

F Justin Jackson – D+

2020 (DAL): 65 GP, 5.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 40 FG%, 29 3PT%, 84 FT%, 16.1 MPG, 9.5 PER, 1.2 WS

Justin Jackson received plenty of playing time on the Dallas Mavericks this past season.  He’s known for having starred in the 2017 NCAA Tournament for the eventual college champions, North Carolina Tar Heels, and Jackson projected to play in a 3 and D type of role in the NBA.  However, he has not really made shots consistently in the NBA, and has only played well once in his second season in the league.  He will need to shoot the ball better in order to improve his chances to be a regular in Dallas’ rotation next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Fringe rotation player, backend roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 star potential)

G J.J. Barea – C+

2020 (DAL): 29 GP, 7.7 PPG, 3.9 APG, 41 FG%, 38 3PT%, 91 FT%, 15.5 MPG, 14.6 PER, 0.7 WS

J.J. Barea played well in his role for the Mavericks, and he excelled as a shooter and facilitator for his team.  He’s not really the scorer he used to be off the bench, and has never really been a great defender, due to his lack of size or elite athleticism, but he’s been a gritty, gutty game manager for the Mavs, and he will likely be on the team for as long as they allow him to be on the roster in the NBA.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Fringe rotation player, backend roster
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars

Side note: Barea will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

G Courtney Lee – B-

2020 (DAL): 24 GP, 4.5 PPG, 49 FG%, 45 3PT%, 86 FT%, 14.4 MPG, 10.8 PER, 0.7 WS

He is a veteran role player that is a 3 and D role player in the NBA.  Lee excelled as a sharpshooter and defender for Dallas this past season, but ended up missing the rest of the season due to an unfortunate calf injury.  He will need to return to full health, but he could earn plenty of minutes for an NBA team if he can do so next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars

Side note: Will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – F (F+ with Charlotte, F with Dallas)

2020 (TOT): 25 GP, 2.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 33 FG%, 25 3PT%, 79 FT%, 11.2 MPG, 4.2 PER, -0.2 WS
2020 (CHO): 12 GP, 4.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 34 FG%, 29 3PT%, 78 FT%, 13.3 MPG, 6.1 PER, -0.1 WS
2020 (DAL): 13 GP, 0.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 31 FG%, 0 3PT%, 80 FT%, 9.3 MPG, 1.7 PER, -0.1 WS

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a former 2012 first-round pick that was taken second overall ahead of Washington Wizards’ superstar guard Bradley Beal, as he was a former teammate of eventual Lakers’ superstar big man Anthony Davis on the famed 2012 Kentucky Wildcats team that won 38 games and won the National Championship.  Back then, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was seen as a potential Scottie Pippen-type of player when he was chosen by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2012 NBA Draft.  Unfortunately, Kidd-Gilchrist has not come anywhere close to those once lofty expectations.

This season, Kidd-Gilchrist played his worst basketball by far in an NBA season.  He really struggled to shoot or score the basketball, and he had really had trouble putting the ball in the hoop.  He did rebound the ball well, but he has not displayed the playmaking or defensive skills that was expected of him coming into the league.  MKG didn’t make much of an impact on Dallas.  It seems doubtful that Dallas would look to bring him back, but if they do, it would likely be on a minimum contract.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Depth forward, fringe roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars

Side note: Kidd-Gilchrist will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

F Antonius Cleveland (Two-Way Contract) – D-

2020 (DAL): 11 GP, 1.0 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 29 FG%, 0 3PT%, 60 FT%, 4.2 MPG, 2.5 PER, -0.1 WS

Antonius Cleveland is an athletic swingman that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he will actively crash the glass to get his team rebounds, but has been an inconsistent player in the NBA.  He has seen only limited playing time in this league, and has not really established himself as a player in the association, but his ability to score and defend could enable him to be a backend roster player on an NBA team in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Depth wing player, fringe roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars

G Josh Reaves (Two-Way Contract) – D

2020 (DAL): 4 GP, 2.0 PPG, 0.8 APG, 0.8 RPG, 33 FG%, 0 3PT%, 100 FT%, 7 MPG, 5.8 PER, 0 WS

He is a tough, gritty combo guard that has some playmaking skills, and he also may project into being a plus-level defender in this league.  On the downside, he did not shoot nor defend well in limited minutes for Dallas this past season.  Reaves has not gotten extended playing time in the NBA, but he will need to find a team that will play him heavy minutes in the league next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Depth guard, fringe roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 star potential)

Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle has been one of the best active coaches in the NBA, and he led his team to plenty of more wins than expected in the regular season.
(Photo:
Christian Petersen/Getty Images, via The Smoking Cuban)

Head Coach:
Rick Carlisle – B+
2020 (DAL): 43-32, 2-4 in the playoffs
Coaching career: 794-659, 60-66 in his playoff career, 1 NBA title with the 2011 Dallas Mavericks

Rick Carlisle is the head coach that helped lead the 2011 Dallas Mavericks to an NBA championship over the favored Miami Heat, and he was able to get Dirk Nowitzki to win a title that year.  He is a team-oriented coach that emphasizes moving the basketball and the flow of their offense, and his team shot the ball very well in 2020.  After his teams had floundered in 2018 and 2019, the 2020 Mavericks overachieved and were able to get 43 wins in 75 games, and they were able to get the 7th seed in the playoffs before losing their first-round series to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Head Coach of the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2021 Rating: 3 stars

2019-20 Dallas Mavericks’ season grade: B+

The 2020 Mavericks far exceeded expectations, and they were able to get a terrific season out of their superstar point swingman, Luka Doncic.  They won plenty of more games than was expected out of them, made it to the playoffs, and they also took the Clippers to 6 games before succumbing to them in the first-round of their playoff series.  Things are looking up for Dallas, and they could be poised to make a deep playoff run in 2021.

The Dallas Mavericks’ Projected 2020-21 NBA Rotation

Projected Starters:
C Kristaps Porzingis
F Dwight Powell
F Dorian Finney-Smith
G Tim Hardaway Jr.* (Has a player option)
G Luka Doncic

Key Reserves:
F Maxi Kleber
G Seth Curry
G Delon Wright
G Trey Burke* (UFA)
G Jalen Brunson

Others competing for a spot in the rotation next season:
C Boban Marjanovic
C Willie Cauley-Stein* (Has a player option)
G Courtney Lee* (UFA)
The 18th Overall Pick of the 2020 NBA Draft

Other players that are currently projected to be on their next season’s roster:
G J.J. Barea* (UFA)
The 31st Overall Pick of the 2020 NBA Draft
Josh Reaves (Two-Way Contract)
Antonius Cleveland (Two-Way Contract)

Players that will be Restricted Free Agents:
None

Players that will be Unrestricted Free Agents:
Trey Burke
Courtney Lee
J.J. Barea
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Projected Players Cut from Next Season’s Roster:
Antonius Cleveland

2020 NBA Draft Picks:
#18, #31

Projected Offseason Plan for the Mavericks:

The Mavericks exceeded expectations in 2020, and they will be building their team around Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.  They are an offensively gifted team, but there are questions as to how they will continue to build their roster around them.  In the draft, they may look to select players that can both shoot and defend to play off of both of them, but may also need players that can help their team improve defensively.   The Mavericks are pretty much capped out, so they may look to bring almost everyone back, as well as to sign undervalued players to minimum contracts.

Expected Regular-Season Record in 2021*: 38-34, 5th seed in the Western Conference

The 2021 Dallas Mavericks would be poised to play against the 4th seeded Utah Jazz in this scenario in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs.

Expected 2021 Season Outcome: The 2021 Dallas Mavericks are likely to be a solid playoff team out in the West, and they will likely finish with a seed somewhere between 3 and 6 in the 2020-21 season.

(* – The asterisk denotes that the expected regular season win total is adjusted for the 72-game schedule that the NBA will play for the 2020-21 season.  The initial projection for the Mavericks was for them to get 44 wins in an 82-game season.  Also, the projected record does not take into account for the NBA draft or free agency, as those events have not happened yet.)

In case if you need the rubric for my player rating system of projecting NBA players for the 2020-21 season, here is the link. In addition, Basketball-Reference, RealGM, and Spotrac were vital information sites that I used to look at player and team statistics, as well as contract information.

Side note: Also, the letter grades attached to the player name was my grade for their 2019-20 season, as it is my judgment of their performance and whether or not they met or exceeded my expectations, and didn’t have much bearing on my projection of how they will perform for the 2020-21 NBA season.

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