Not a lot of people had very high hopes for the Dallas Mavericks this season, especially after they missed the play-in tournament last season even after trading for perennial All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.
But they have gotten out to a 6-1 record, which is currently the second-best record in the NBA behind the defending world champion Denver Nuggets.
Per the Mavs’ Twitter account, Irving said that the difference so far this season is that they have banded together and found ways to win close games.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) November 7, 2023
While Dallas hasn’t excelled on the defensive end — they rank only 19th in defensive rating — they’re fourth in offensive rating and fifth in scoring at 120.7 points per game.
The thinking coming into this season was that they lacked any serious firepower other than Irving and Luka Doncic, but guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is averaging a robust 18.1 points a game while free agent acquisition Grant Williams is at 15.1 points per contest.
The Mavs also rank second in 3-point shooting percentage, as Irving is shooting 41.3 percent from downtown and Williams is at 54.3 percent from that distance.
The one bone of contention some may have about their early success is that they have a lack of wins against prominent opponents, while at the same time, they fell to the Nuggets, 125-114, on Friday.
If they are to not only make the playoffs but also make some noise there, Irving will have to lead the way both on and off the court, something he hasn’t really done over the years with his previous teams.