2018 Dallas Mavericks Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
Grab a young European pro on draft day and ride him for two decades. It's a strategy that Don Nelson executed to perfection on behalf of the team (Nelson traded for Nowitzki and Steve Nash is separate trades on that day, which is one of the best trading days in league history), and the Mavs haven't had a second of regret since. Now they are attempting it again with Luka Doncic, with Nowitzki still coming off the bench and acting as a mentor. The move didn't come without cost, though. They had to move up from the fifth pick to the third, and that cost them that fifth pick, point guard Trae Young, and a protected first-round pick for next year. As a pro last year Doncic was the MVP of the Euroleague Final Four, so he has proven himself against men. Fans suggest that he is the most pro-ready player in years and that he has the ability to be at least what Nowitzki was for the team. Critics note he's not the most obviously athletic guy and that he may be close to his ceiling already - even though he is only 19. Doncic defines the short- and mid-term future of this team as much as any draft pick in recent memory. It will be a joy to watch - and you can count me among the optimists.
For Doncic to truly shine, he is going to have to find chemistry early on with Dennis Smith Jr., because if they can find chemistry they will be the twin faces of this team for a long time. Coach Rick Carlisle typically struggles to trust young players, but Smith was given the keys early and often last year. If the two can work together well, then the backcourt of the future will be here now, and the rebuild the team is in will be a much shorter one than it can be. The stakes are very high for this partnership, but so is the ceiling.
Harrison Barnes' contract was eye-opening when the team signed him, but it isn't looking nearly as outlandish now. He may not stay that way for long, but he is the best offensive player on the team right now. And it is his efficiency that really stands out. And not that he has had a lot of chances to prove it over the last few years, but he is a solid performance in pressure situations late in games, too. He is a key part of what could be a pretty solid core here.
2018 Dallas Mavericks Additions and Departures
We covered Doncic much earlier than normal in these previews because of his significance here. But he was far from the only action in the draft this year for the Mavs. Jalen Brunson was a two-time National Champion at Villanova and the National Player of the Year last year. So, you can't really complain when you get a guy like that with the 33rd pick. He is a solid depth option on the point. The team also picked Shake Milton with the 54th pick and then traded him immediately to Philadelphia for the 56th and 60th picks - power forwards Ray Spalding from Louisville and famous brother Kostas Antetokounmpo from Dayton.
In 2015 the Mavericks agreed to a deal with DeAndre Jordan only to have the big man back out after the Clippers aggressively courted him. It was a lot of drama, and now the Mavs finally get their chance to see what they missed out on after signing Jordan to a one-year deal. Carlisle is a magician when it comes to working with defensive big men, so, though Jordan isn't coming off a great season, there is reason for optimism here.
Past familiarity was big in free agency, because the team also signed Devin Harris - just eight months after trading him away to end his second stint with the team. Player and team obviously both know what they are getting into, and he is useful off the bench. Doug McDermott, who the Mavs acquired in the deal for Harris, left in free agency, along with guys like Seth Curry, Nerlens Noel, and Yogi Ferrell. None of the losses feel particularly painful.
2018 Dallas Mavericks Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +25000
Western Conference title odds : +9000
Luka Doncic ROY Odds: +375 (second choice)
Jalen Brunson ROY Odds: +7000
Season win total: 34.5
The team went 42-39-1 ATS on the season, so there weren't long-term profits to be found on either side. They went "under" the total 44 times and "over" 37, so small profits were found by consistently taking the under.
2018 Dallas Mavericks Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I am a big believer in Doncic and am expecting a big impact from him this year. And I really like the addition of Jordan and the play of Barnes. I don't think this team is good enough to be a playoff contender, which is no knock on them because of how tough the conference is. But I expect very significant improvement from the 24 wins last year and would lean to the over on the season win total. I also don't hate the Doncic ROY price, though more as a rooting interest than a bet with real value.
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