NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
With the NBA season just a few months away and the majority of player movement being done, I’m going to start previewing the teams. Based on my projected order of the standings, we’ll start at the bottom and work towards the top rotating between East and West. Past previews will be linked as well.
Jalen Brunson PG (draft), Luka Doncic Wing (draft), Devin Harris PG (free agency), DeAndre Jordan C (free agency)
Seth Curry SG, Yogi Ferrell PG, Doug McDermott Wing, Nerlens Noel C
Offensive Rating 104.1 (23rd)
Defensive Rating 107.4 (18th)
Net Rating -3.3 (22nd)
True Shooting Percentage 54.4% (23rd)
Assist Percentage 59.4% (10th)
Rebound Percentage 47.4% (30th)
Turnover Percentage 12.5% (1st)
Pace 97.54 (27th)
The Mavericks head into Dirk Nowitzki's final season with a solid group of veterans, but lack in star power. Enter European phenom Luka Doncic who I firmly believe was far and away the best prospect in the draft. DeAndre Jordan joins veteran holdovers Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes, in what should be a respectable rotation. With a young talented backcourt of Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks might have a shot at the 8th seed.
DeAndre Jordan had a down season in Los Angeles, but is just one year removed from being an all-star, and two years removed from being an all-NBA first team selection. The Mavericks finished dead last in the NBA in rebound percentage and offensive rebound percentage. Jordan should immensely help in both departments.
Figure out Harrison Barnes
Entering his third season with the Mavericks it seems like we know what to expect from Harrison Barnes. A solid player, okay defender, good third or fourth piece. The Mavericks poached him away from the Warriors with a max contract and expected much more. Only 26, Barnes has shown incremental improvements as a passer and rebounder but still has time to grow. The addition of Doncic should take away some of the playmaking and isolation responsibility from Barnes, and allow him to work harder on defense and be used more as a spot up shooter.
All-in on Doncic
Admittedly I'm extremely high on Doncic, but the Mavericks clearly are too. His age adjusted stats in Europe are off the charts, and if you have seen any of his game film there's a lot to like. The Mavericks do want to make a playoff push in Dirks final season, but if they can move a veteran for a younger piece that fits well with Doncic they need to make that move. Wesley Mathews is in the last year of his contract and could help a lot of teams.
Player to Watch: Dennis Smith Jr.
Last season Dennis Smith Jr. was a sportscenter staple with his highlight reel dunks, but his all around game wasn't quite there. With the addition of Luka Doncic and his ball handling ability, Smith Jr. can play off the ball more which might suit him better. On catch and shoot three pointers Smith Jr. shot a respectable 37.2% versus pull up attempts where he shot just 27.4%. Catching the ball and being able to create is probably more conducive for his play style.
PG: Dennis Smith Jr.
SG: Luka Doncic
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: DeAndre Jordan
PG: JJ Barea
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Dorian Finney-Smith
PF: Maxi Kleber
C: Dwight Powell
Westgate Projected Win Total: 34.5
Projected Record: 35-47 (12th in Western Conference)