Dallas Mavericks 2023-24 season preview and predictions

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Dallas Mavericks season preview

This preview originally appeared in our 2023-24 VSiN NBA Betting Guide, which was released on Thursday, October 5. To become a VSiN Pro subscriber and get all of our NBA coverage throughout the season, click here.

 

Mavericks Betting Odds

NBA Finals: +2200
Conference: +1200
Division: +155
Win Total: 45.5
Playoffs: Yes (-220)

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Team Analysis

The season fell apart for Dallas after it acquired Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline. The Mavericks finished the season 9-18 SU/10-16-1 ATS and were outscored by 1.3 points every 100 possessions. It should not surprise those reading this that the issue that plagued Dallas over the final 27 games was a defense that was the sixth worst over that span (119.4). 

The easy thing to do for the masses was to point the finger at Irving, but it was a complete failure by the Mavericks organization that led to the franchise missing a berth in the play-in tournament. Some wanted this duo blown up before it had the chance to really find its footing, but the front office did right in not only retaining Irving but also bringing in pieces that can work well with their star duo.

But first, let’s chat about that star duo.

There is no denying how good Doncic and Irving can be on offense when they share the floor. According to Cleaning The Glass, the Mavericks averaged 121.7 points per 100 possessions when those two were on the floor together. They were dominant in halfcourt settings at an average of 111.0 points per 100 plays, and those lineups ranked in the 92nd percentile or better in all three major shooting categories. These statistics should not come as a surprise considering these two are insanely talented scorers, but this offense can get better this season.

Outside of simple plays – like Irving coming off a screen or transition opportunities – there was not much synergy between these two on offense. Their play would devolve into a simple ‘your turn, my turn’ style of play with the one that did not have the ball standing in the corner while the other did their thing. More time together in the offseason will allow them to figure out how to play with one another, so bettors can expect a more lethal offensive team this season.

With that in mind, this team will likely struggle on defense with those two on the floor. In the possessions with Irving and Doncic together, they ranked in the 94th percentile of offensive efficiency, but they only outscored opponents by 4.6 points per 100 possessions due to their 117.1 defensive rating in those minutes. That’s not to say that Dallas is devoid of defensive talent though.

Josh Green has emerged as a legitimate on-ball defender, and the numbers support that. He has improved the Mavericks’ defensive efficiency each season in the NBA, and last season he posted a career-high +4.2 efficiency differential while also playing a career-best in minutes. Green has also vastly improved as a catch-and-shoot threat, going from just 17.4% on those attempts in his rookie season to 41.3% last season.

The front office also hit it out of the park in free agency by adding Grant Williams. Williams is a versatile defender who can guard every position on the floor if needed. He can also function as a small-ball five if needed — Boston had a +3.3 net rating when he played center last season — and he connected on 38.6% of his catch-and-shoot opportunities from deep, meaning he fits well next to Doncic and Irving.  

Dallas also has some great depth on this roster. Jaden Hardy showed real potential in his rookie season, they added Seth Curry as another off-ball shooting threat to pair with their ball-dominant stars, and they still have Tim Hardaway Jr. on this roster. Their frontcourt depth is not rife with rim protectors, but Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber remain at the position.

It will be fascinating to see how this team plays this season. Irving brought their pace up from 96.03 to 99.08 when he joined the team, and with the possessions in which he was on the floor without Doncic, the Mavericks played less frequently in the halfcourt, but not by much. This will be a halfcourt-oriented team that plays average defense with elite offense. It makes them a fascinating team to gauge from a totals perspective.

What makes them more fascinating is the wide variety of outcomes that this season could have. A finish as a top-three seed in the Western Conference, an unceremonious elimination in the play-in tournament, and everything in between is realistic for a team like this.

Win Total Analysis

Positive Residual gives Dallas the 10th highest strength of schedule this season. The Mavericks have more games in which they are at a rest disadvantage (10) than those in which they have the advantage (9), and those nine games are on the lower end of the scale regarding overall advantages. Still, there are positives to find with the schedule.

The Mavericks only have 13 back-to-backs this season, and they are in the bottom half of the standings when it comes to total miles traveled this season. The team gets the benefit of playing in a division that could be considered the worst in the Western Conference, and that is buoyed by the suspension of Ja Morant, as Dallas will face Memphis three times before he serves his 25-game ban.

There is also the wild card that is Kyrie Irving. Since the 2019-2020 season Irving has played in only 163 games, and quite a few of those absences are due to personal choice as opposed to injury. At any moment he could decide that Dallas is not for him, and that would throw this team into chaos. This team does have potential though, should Irving be available. The potential is too great to ignore, especially given the state of the division this team resides in.

Win Total Recommendation: OVER 45.5